A Christian Liberal Arts University, Est. 1846

Social Work Major

The Case for Social Work

Social work is a human service profession focused on enhancing the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social Work majors learn to impact circles of influence in an effort to advance social justice.

We integrate discipleship into the classroom to prepare you for a social work career of advocating for the forgotten, ignored, and oppressed—the “least of these” as Jesus called them in Matthew 25. Taylor’s Social Work professors integrate Christian values with professional values to challenge worldviews, personal beliefs, and societal constructs.

Our nationally accredited Social Work program is designed to prepare future social workers for beginning-level generalist practice, including formal and informal lifelong learning.

Interdisciplinary Advocates

Taylor prepares you with in-class education and hands-on service experiences that will allow you to make a difference and incorporate your faith with your everyday work.

Our Social Work curriculum breaks down into five content areas: human behavior and the social environment, practice, policy, research, and field instruction. The individual social work courses integrate topics like psychology, minority issues, research methods, human behavior, and troubled families, allowing you to gain a robust, interdisciplinary understanding of what it means to be a social worker.

Putting Theory to Practice

Outside of social work classes, Taylor students receive a wide range of practical experiences where they can apply the skills and theories learned in the classroom to real-life situations. All Social Work majors begin by completing 30 hours of volunteer work with organizations like prison ministries, social justice advocacy programs, mental health facilities, churches, nursing homes, schools, and after-school programs.

Students also develop their professional network during junior and senior practicums in the geographical areas that interest them. Junior practicums give Social Work students the opportunity to practice social work abroad during J-term. Past students have traveled to Korea, Philippines, Uganda, and Bahamas, though our majors can travel anywhere in the world where social work supervision can be found.

While the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) requires students to complete a 400-hour senior practicum, our Social Work program gives students a greater opportunity for real-world experience, having Social Work majors complete 480 hours in hospitals, refugee resettlement organizations, local schools, etc.

Social Work Curriculum & Degree Options

Contact the Social Work Department

Dr. Cathy Harner, Professor of Social Work & Director of Social Work Education

Greta Kiers, Social Work Program Assistant

Special Programs
Social Work Department
Jesus’ Hands and Feet in a Hurting World

You will see the reward of doing social work in the faces of those you help because children, teens, and adults alike need an advocate like you.

As a social worker, you will combine social work knowledge with a variety of theoretical concepts from psychology, sociology, political science, education, economics, and biology in order to make a difference in the lives of those you help. You will become a lifelong learner, integrating your Christian values with professional social work values. Taylor’s Social Work faculty will prepare you for a career in social work—helping people at an individual, familial, organizational, or communal level—or a master’s degree in social work or counseling.

Program Accreditation

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits Taylor University, meaning your degree will prepare you for a social work licensure valid in all 50 states. With a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Taylor, you can move into a professional position upon graduation or complete a master’s in social work in one year.

Social Work Assessments

All senior Social Work students are required to participate in a practicum experience. To view more information about how this practicum experience is assessed, please view the Senior Practicum Evaluation document. Senior Social Work students must also put together a portfolio for evaluation. To read more about the requirements of these portfolios, please refer to the Portfolio Contents & Grading document.

The Measured Assessment Plan contains a summary of the assessment results of recent years of Social Work graduates. Assessment outcomes are reported and updated regularly.

Listen to This

Dr. Cathy Harner, Social Work Department Chair, speaks about the unique global opportunities you will have as a Social Work major at Taylor.

Let Me Tell You

See to what Social Work graduates want to tell you about how their time at Taylor has prepared them for the work they are doing today.

  • Quynn Foster ’16
    “I appreciate the depth into the research process that I learned at Taylor. As a MSW student, I am able to understand and develop my research skills more efficiently then my classmates. This is all because of my experience in the research classes in Taylor’s Social Work program. I came into the program my sophomore year and the professors were very helpful in making it easy for me to succeed even though I came in late. During my time as a Social Work major at Taylor University, my professors also did an amazing job of demonstrating the importance of showing grace and care for clients. I would recommend Taylor’s Social Work program to anyone. It highly prepared me for my work in social work today.”
Future Focus
Grad Programs

Our graduates have attended the following graduate schools to receive their master’s in social work:

  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Michigan
  • Washington University of St. Louis
Career Opportunities

Alumni have become residential counselors, school social workers, and social work faculty, and Taylor’s emphasis on global awareness has prepared these social workers for wherever God has called them. The Social Work department has a 100% career placement rate. Every student that has completed our social work program in the last four years has found a job, internship, or graduate program within six months of graduation.

Learn more about Taylor University’s Social Science philosophy.

Programs Offered
Faculty & Staff
Department Head

Cathy Harner

Professor of Social Work & Director of Social Work Education



Deborah Stiles

Assistant Professor of Social Work


Cheryl Thompson

Assistant Professor of Social Work



Greta Kiers

Social Work, Sociology, & Anthropology Program Assistant