What You’ll Study

Through a mix of classroom experiences, field work, community engagement, and work crew assignments, you’ll learn the workings of different social systems and develop professional problem-solving skills to help you make positive changes in the lives of others.

Topics You’ll Cover

  • Developing empathy and cultural sensitivity for people of different ages, classes, cultures, races, sexual orientations, and beliefs
  • Advocating for client access to social services and resources
  • Learning effective methods of intervention, and how to decide when to intervene
  • Applying social work ethical principles to your professional practice

Current Issues in the Field

In this program, you’ll wrestle with the most common problems social service organizations face today. These three issues are woven throughout your courses:

Environmental Sustainability

As the state of the physical and natural environments becomes more urgent, social work can no longer afford to ignore the effects of environmental degradation on people and communities, as well as the relationship between social and environmental justice.

International/Global Perspective

The world is becoming more and more “globalized,” and it’s essential for social workers to approach their work with a global perspective. Understanding global interdependence will help you work with client systems both domestically and abroad.

Multigenerational Practice

As the population ages, people from different generations are co-existing like never before. Whether you work with children, teens, the elderly, communities, or social policies, social workers today need to be aware of multigenerational needs and opportunities.

Field Internship

Social work majors complete their coursework with a semester-long field internship at a local social service agency. You’ll work with a supervisor to practice social work, helping real clients and interacting with agency professionals.

Some Recent Field Internship Agencies

  • Buncombe County Department of Social Services
  • Children First Family Resource Center
  • Pisgah Legal Services
  • BeLoved Asheville
  • Bounty and Soul
  • Asheville Racial Justice Coalition
  • Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness
  • Mountain Area Residential Facilities

What can I do with a social work major?

With a bachelor’s degree in social work, you can make a difference for society’s most marginalized populations, like the poor, homeless, children, teenagers, elderly, mentally ill, people with physical and developmental disabilities, LGBTQIA, people of color, and refugees.

The major can also be useful if you’re looking to pursue graduate school in social work or if you’re interested in a related service field like public health, recreation, city planning, public administration, or policy development and analysis.

Manuals, Accreditation & Assessment

Social Work Program Policy Manual

Social Work Field Education Manual

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Form AS 4(B) Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Read more about Warren Wilson College’s accreditation.

Explore Classes in This Program

SWK 4300

Field Education

In this field study for social work majors, you’ll spend four days a week embedded in a social service agency, practicing the skills you’ve built in classes and making a real impact on people’s lives by serving an active role in your agency’s work.

SWK 2020

Skills for Communication and Partnering

You’ll learn to establish and build relationships with the people you serve through active listening, empathy, verbal and non-verbal communication, and problem solving. Through community engagement, you’ll interact directly with others and reflect on your experience in a helping role.

Meet Our Faculty

I am committed to preparing new generations of social work professionals who are critical thinkers and competent practitioners through rigorous academics that integrates civic engagement and practical experience.

Lucy Lawrence, Ph.D.
Professor Lucy Lawrence lectures
Lucy Lawrence, Ph.D.
Sarah Himmelheber

I've loved getting to know Warren Wilson students — they are, by in large, natural systems thinkers. This awareness of social justice issues ensures that students avoid blaming those seeking social work services for their circumstances. They see the connections between people and their social and physical environments, and that opens up the range of potential points for intervention.

Sarah Himmelheber, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
Sarah Himmelheber
Sarah Himmelheber, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
Professor Lucy Lawrence lectures
Professor Lucy Lawrence has led four Warren Wilson College study abroad trips to Cuba since 2012.
Distinctive Learning

Learning from the Inside Out

The scene resembles any college classroom: Students trickle in and find a seat as the professor prepares for today’s discussion. At first glance, this could be any creative writing class at any university in America. But look again and a peculiarity comes into focus: Half the students wear identical sea-green cotton shirts and jeans issued by the N.C. Department of Corrections. Those in green uniforms are inmates at the Western Correctional Center for Women, but for the next hour and a half, they’re also Warren Wilson College students. In class, they learn alongside undergraduate classmates from outside the fences. The unusual tableau was orchestrated by the innovative Inside-Out program between Warren Wilson College and the NCDOC, the first of its kind in the state.