Since 1937, we’ve given social workers the skills and knowledge they need to bring positive outcomes to a variety of contexts—from clinical counseling to community-based and macro-level settings. Today, we’re a dynamic graduate school, offering MSW and PhD degrees as well as continuing professional education.

Mission & Our Values

Our vision is to advance a just and compassionate society that promotes health and well-being and the empowerment of all oppressed groups, especially those affected by racial, social, and economic inequities.

Our mission is to develop dynamic and diverse social work practitioners, leaders, and scholars through rigorous teaching, innovative research, and transformative community engagement.

Our commitments are to:

  • Develop visionary social work practitioners who use effective clinical, community, and policy methods to enhance strengths in urban and other contexts.
  • Promote equity, especially in the area of health, through high-impact prevention and intervention research and scholarship, characterized by trans-disciplinary and inter-professional collaborations.
  • Advance graduate social work education through innovative instructional methods and promotion of life-long learning.
  • Further social justice through local, national, and global partnerships and service that value community capacities and expertise.

Bending the arc toward social justice*
adapted from Martin Luther King, Jr., PhD, BU alumnus, 1955

Areas of Expertise

We recognize our profession’s ever-changing demands and are dedicated to the highest quality of teaching, scholarship, and political action. At BUSSW, you’ll find exciting opportunities to gain knowledge and apply skills in many current and emerging areas of social work, and you’ll study with faculty who are nationally and internationally recognized for their contributions at the forefront of practice, research, and training, with diverse populations in such areas as:

  • Aging and gerontology
  • Children, youth, and families
  • Communities, policies, and practice
  • Disability
  • Health and public health social work
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Mental health
  • Refugees and immigrants
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicide prevention
  • Trauma


All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report MSW student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies which comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice which all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.