Social Work

Collection Selector


Meredith Kirkpatrick


Mugar Memorial Library

General Purpose of the Collection

The library’s collection in Social Work has been developed primarily to support the courses and research conducted by the School of Social Work. The collection includes materials on all aspects of social work including the history of social welfare; welfare policy; methodology; social work practice with individuals, groups, and communities; and social work ethics. There has also been an increasing emphasis on acquiring cross-cultural studies. The collection includes commercially published monographs as well as some non-commercial publications such as papers and reports from universities, associations, and agencies. Major reference and bibliographical sources and a representative collection of core journals are also included. Social work is tied closely to other areas such as psychology, sociology, health sciences, political science, and management/economics. Social workers draw on many resources in these areas for information relevant to their research and curricular interests.

The School of Social Work offers a full-time two year program leading to the MSW degree. Part-time programs are offered on the Charles River campus, in Chelmsford, in Fall River, and on Cape Cod. The School offers dual degree programs in social work and public health (MSW and MPH), social work and theology (MSW and MTS, MSW and MDiv, and MSW and DMin), and social work and education (MSW and EdM or EdD). The School also has an interdisciplinary PhD program in social work and sociology. A number of certificate programs are available as are continuing education classes for practicing social workers. An MSW online program will be introduced in September 2011.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded
Only English language publications are collected in this subject area.
Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate
There are no limitations on geographical areas covered although the emphasis is on materials published in and about the United States and Europe. There is, however, an increasing interest in cross-cultural studies, which are acquired whenever possible.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
There are no limitations in terms of chronological periods covered.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
There are no limitations in terms of publication dates covered, although most materials collected are current.

All materials collected by Social Work in the following Library of Congress classifications are found in Mugar Memorial Library.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations


  • HV 1-4999 : Social Welfare
  • Z 7164 C4 : Bibliography. Charities. Public Welfare. Social Service General
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

Collected Selectively:

  • RA 790.5 : Community Mental Health
  • RC 488.5 : Marital and Family Therapy
  • RC 489 : Art Therapy
  • RC 506 : Group Psychotherapy

Social Work overlaps to a certain extent with Health Sciences, Management, and Psychology.

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

Health Sciences
Although Health Sciences is responsible for most of the R classifications, Social Work is selectively responsible for Community Mental Health (RA 790.5) and Marital and Family Therapy (RC 488.5).
Management is responsible for publications related to Social Security (HD 7088-7250.7) and Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Workers and the Handicapped (HD7252).
Art Therapy (RC 489) and Group Psychotherapy (RC 506) materials may be acquired by either Social Work or Psychology.

Types of Materials

Books, periodicals, conference proceedings, and reference materials including bibliographies, encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and indexes and abstracts.
Collected Selectively
Dissertations and theses, microforms, and electronic resources.
Not Collected
Textbooks, juvenile literature, and popular literature.

Other On-Campus or Local Resources

The Boston University Alumni Medical School Library has psychiatric materials that are used by students and faculty from the School of Social Work as well as by other patrons from the main campus.

The Boston University Law Library has legal materials that are used by students and faculty from the School of Social Work.