Washington University in St. Louis is the home of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, also known as the Brown School, a CSWE accredited program. The Brown School offers an extremely flexible approach to the study of social work, allowing students to customize the curriculum to adapt to each student’s interests and career goals.
The Brown School offers both MSW and Doctoral degrees. Students of the MSW program, which has over 200 newly enrolled students each year, choose one of six concentrations and specializations including management; social and economic development; children, youth, and families; gerontology; health; mental health; and an individualized concentration. Much like other nationally-known MSW programs, the Brown School offers students a collection of Foundation courses required for graduation, then allows students to complete coursework in their concentration in addition to electives in other academic disciplines. The advanced standing option is also offered to students with a Bachelor degree in Social Work and allows students to bypass select Foundation courses in order to complete the program with 44 credit hours. Students with a BSW are required to enroll in a course entitled “Evidence-Based Practice Skills for BSW Graduates.” Masters in social work students must also completed 960 hours of field practicum at a variety of sites in St. Louis, the state, the nation, or the world.
The Brown School offers dual degree programs that allow students to earn an MSW as well as a degree in architecture, business, divinity, pastoral studies, Jewish studies, law, or public health.
The Brown School also offers a doctoral program for students wishing to earn a PhD. Fields of interest for students include child welfare, disaster relief, addictions, and many other social issues. Preference is typically given to applicants with a master’s degree in social work. PhD in Social Work courses includes a curriculum in social research, analysis, and statistics in the first year, and becomes much more individualized in the second year and following. The Brown School has ten research centers on or near campus that develop policy and conduct research that contributes to the community. The new Social System Design Lab simulates problems facing communities and other social systems, and like the other research centers, offers employment opportunities to MSW and PhD students. Recent research reports written and published by students include projects about grandparents raising grandchildren, protein consumption of farmers, and research on informal caregiving.
There are also additional training and labs in order to instruct students on a variety of topics. Various presentations and lectures are held by faculty members and nationally renowned figures in the field of social work for free for students and members of the community as a way of offering professional development.