In 2014, USA Today listed the University of California, Berkeley, New York University, Rutgers University, Fordham University and Adelphi University as having the top five social work programs. The rest of the list included the University of Wisconsin, University of Seattle, Syracuse University, University of Texas and University of Georgia.
Excellent student outcomes, high graduation rates, low student loan default rates and job attainment after graduation were the factors used to develop the rankings for the best undergraduate social work programs. In particular, low loan default rates mean that graduates can find appropriate jobs that cover their student loans and allow them to live.
Many of the universities listed also have graduate social work programs and innovative research programs for aspiring undergraduate students. Many of the programs boasted that students entering into the social work industry earned salaries of at least $40,000 on average with midcareer salaries being roughly $60,000.
The programs offer well-rounded educations with courses in psychology, social policy, human rights, social justice and human behaviors. Students can specialize in juvenile social work in addition many other specializations. The courses teach students how to interact with diverse groups while also offering real-life opportunities to build their communication skills.