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The Department of Social Work

Students studying social work


Social workers help people solve and cope with challenges in their everyday lives. Clinical social workers diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.

WCU’s Department of Social Work offers a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree and Master of Social Work (MSW) degree that present students with a variety of career options from working in child welfare, integrated care, mental health, and addictive disorder settings to working in private practice, non-profit, and social service administration.

Mission of the Department of Social Work

The mission of the Department of Social Work at Western Carolina University is to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to practice at the generalist (BSW) and advanced generalist (MSW) levels of Social Work practice. Congruent with the University’s mission to improve individual lives and enhance community development in the predominately rural Western North Carolina region, the Department seeks to prepare professionals who are committed to the core Social Work values of respect for all people and advancement of social and economic justice.

Programs in Social Work



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The challenging curriculum covers a wide range of topics and hands-on experience through participation in the field practicum internship, an indispensable component which gives students the opportunity to gain practical experience in preparation for professional Social Work practice.

Enjoy a personalized learning environment in an intimate setting, where our dedicated faculty will work with you in the classroom and the field to help you gain the knowledge and experience you need to succeed.

Professional Development and Certificates

WCU offers professional development courses for social workers and counselors in the areas of addiction treatment, culturally based native health, and school social work.

Addiction Studies Certificate Program

This 12-hour certificate program provides individuals pursuing licensure as clinical addiction specialists with the necessary educational foundation required by the board to seek full licensure. Courses include Addictions, Methods of Addictive Disorder Treatment, Cultural Humility in Addictive Disorder Treatment, and Science of Addiction. Courses are approved by the North Carolina Addiction Specialist Professional Practice Board. 


Culturally Based Native Health Certificate Program

This 12-hour certificate program provides a new approach to training for health professionals serving Native peoples, grounded in a tribal community. A certificate in Culturally-Based Native Health will enable students to utilize their training in a health-related discipline and apply it to Southeastern Indian cultures. 

Explore the program

School Social Work Certificate

This 6-hour certificate program at Western Carolina University offers the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction approved School Social Work course online each summer and has the option of the additional education course being offered either online or face-to-face at WCU. 


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