A group of hands together

About Social Work

Social workers assist those who are most in need in our society — troubled teenagers, neglected children, isolated elderly people, and all who struggle with poverty, homelessness, or addiction. Some social workers assist patients during hospital stays; others serve as counselors in high schools or colleges; and many work with disadvantaged families to help with their child-rearing, housing, or employment needs. Some have private practices, just like physicians or psychologists do, to advise patients who are experiencing personal problems.

Although social work is a notoriously tough field, it also can be tremendously rewarding. Those who pursue social work often describe feeling a “calling” to help others — a deep need to create positive good in the world. And there is a growing need for these professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that the social work field will grow 25 percent faster than the average for all occupations. 

Students in the program develop the skills required to work with clients who are diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability, and religion. They also gain the knowledge and skills gleaned from a liberal arts education, including writing, logical thinking, and analysis.

Social Work, B.S.

Social Welfare, Minor

Degree Information

A bachelor degree in social work can be used across multiple settings and fields including, but not limited to: mental health, health, law, business, criminal justice, education, addiction treatment, art therapy, music therapy, and politics. Most graduates either obtain jobs in the field, some from their college field placements, or they pursue a master’s degree in social work. Popular social work specializations include: 

  • Addiction Recovery
  • Child Welfare
  • Clinical Social Work
  • Corporate Social Work
  • Correctional Rehabilitation
  • Developmental Disability Care
  • Environmental Crisis Intervention
  • Gerontology (Elderly Care)
  • HIV/AIDs Care
  • Hospice Care
  • Juvenile Justice/Corrections
  • Legislative/Political Social Work
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Mental Health
  • Palliative (Serious Illnesses) Care
  • School Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Veteran/Military Counseling

Our graduates are represented in a variety of practice fields at agencies and organizations: 

  • Horizon Health Services
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Community Action Organization
  • Georgia Department of Family and Children Services
  • Big Brothers-Big Sisters
  • AIDS Community Services
  • Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled
  • Buffalo Public Schools
  • Head Start
  • Jewish Family Services

Student Social Work Organization: This campus organization enables students to meet one another, give back to the community through volunteer projects, and gain learning experiences outside the classroom. 

Kappa Omega Chapter of the Phi Alpha Honor Society: Phi Alpha is a national social work honor society for undergraduate majors, faculty members, and local practitioners.  

National Association of Social Workers: Members attend networking events and receive discounts to publications such as NASW News, Social Work, and NASW JobLink.

E-mentoring: Provides students with a network of working professionals who can help them explore educational, career, and graduate school goals. 

Undergraduate Research:  Students can do undergraduate research with a faculty adviser, typically in conjunction with the annual Student Research and Creativity program.  Students also have conducted research abroad in countries such as Nicaragua and Trinidad.

Undergraduate Research 

Internship Requirements:  All social work students are required to intern for two semesters in their senior year, at 15 hours per week. The extensive field experience ensures students are well-prepared to practice social work upon graduation. Per semester, approximately 67 students are placed in local agencies as case managers, care coordinators, direct service workers and social workers at local agencies such as:

  • Best Self — Homeless Program
  • Buffalo Public Schools
  • Cantalician Center
  • CCWNY — Older Adult Services - Project Hope
  • Charter School for Applied Technology
  • Center for Human Services — St. Vincent's Center
  • Erie County Legislature 
  • Erie County Medical Center - Advocacy Risk Management
  • Family Justice Center
  • Friends of the Night People
  • GA Family Services - Foster Care Program
  • Gerard Place
  • Hearts and Hands Program
  • Holy Cross Head Start 
  • Horizon Health Services
  • Housing Solutions
  • Jewish Family Services
  • King Center Charter School
  • Lancaster Youth Bureau
  • Liberty Partnership Program
  • Native American Community Services
  • Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
  • North Tonawanda Middle and High Schools
  • Pathways Supervised Visitation Program
  • Preventionfocus-Womanfocus Program
  • Renaissance Addiction Services Inc.
  • STEP at University at Buffalo
  • The Summit Center

We're Accredited

Our program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1975, and is unique in that it combines relevant academic preparation with hands-on practical experience. 

Plenty of Friends

Our Social Work Department is the largest undergraduate social work program in the SUNY system. Annually, about 300 students are enrolled in the program. 

Expert Faculty

Our faculty have expertise in such areas as interpersonal violence, children and family dynamics, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and addiction. 

A Unique Minor Option

The Social Welfare minor examines the historical socio-cultural significance of citizenship, poverty, social welfare, diversity, and market economies, and helps students develop skills to solve local and global problems. 

“College was a way for me to prove myself to myself. If anything interested me, I tried it.”
Cassandra St. Vil Alumni