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Welcome to Clarke University! Together, we will cultivate new ways of delivering the Clarke experience supporting each other and our community. We stand as One Clarke, One Community.

Spring 2021 Return to Campus Information
COVID-19 Communication

Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work

As a social worker at heart, you possess the dream and drive to provide compassionate services that help change lives. The lives of people in your community can become difficult for many reasons. No matter your focus, a social work degree from Clarke University will help you lead change for individuals, families, and communities. With a Clarke social work degree, you’ll obtain tangible skills and hands-on experience to make a difference in the lives of others. Clarke’s social work major requires understanding in psychology, sociology, biology, and spirituality. In Clarke’s school of social work, you’ll learn theory, research, and practice skills from a diverse group of experienced faculty members. This background serves as a foundation for the many fields of professional social work. Please visit Clarke’s campus in Dubuque, Iowa, to see for yourself how outstanding our social work program truly is.

Social Work Degree Specifics

In our social work degree program, classroom time is fast-paced and the work is rigorous. Students create close relationships within their cohorts and, after graduation, remain colleagues and networking teammates. In the social work major program, the academic work culminates in a 440-hour field practicum with an area agency. Clarke students graduate as competent professionals ready to work in a range of settings. With our bachelor of social work, you will become a leader in social work and a mentor to those who surround you.

Through evidence-based training, you’ll gain the insights and practical skills you need to pursue a career in a number of social work fields, from child welfare, family services, and elder care programs to mental health, addiction, domestic violence, and corrections services. You WILL make a difference with Clarke’s social work degree.

Jet Setter

There are many angles when you ask yourself to consider how to become a social worker. In addition to serving locally in Iowa and nationally, travel abroad or service-learning is an integral part of the Clarke social work degree experience. You’ll be able to arrange your schedule to travel abroad, an experience that enlightens you to different cultures and broadens your mind. Previous travel programs have included Spain, Scotland, Ireland, and Japan. You will gain knowledge of other less advantaged areas and how to help those individuals within their reach. Nothing is as invaluable as hands-on, interactive, in-the-field research and service. You will get that with Clarke’s bachelor of social work.

Clarke University social work degree students hands clasped in solidarity

Program Details

Clarke’s Bachelor of Social Work program focuses on helping you build the practical skills and knowledge needed to be an ethical and competent practitioner. Our CSWE-accredited program includes 400+ hours of field experience and invaluable face-to-face interaction to help you prepare for the real-world practice and state license. You’ll study topics such as policy and advocacy, diversity, human behavior in the social environment, and crisis management.

With our BSW degree, you’ll perform research for area social service agencies early in your program of study and earn your final eight credits working in a human service agency under the supervision of professional, close-knit staff.

  • Students spend their final one or two semesters learning and working at their field practicum.
  • Students select from over 100 local agencies for their field practicum.
  • Students are involved in service-learning projects each semester.
  • Students with a BSW can enter graduate school with advanced standing and receive an MSW in one year.

The use of technology is an important vehicle to offer in the school of social work services. Clarke’s BSW degree program teaches the use of technology to help you provide enhanced services through multiple formats and geographic locations, expanding the reach and effectiveness of social service programs.

Cool classes

Social Work with Individuals — Introduction to the professional practice of social work with an emphasis development of written and oral communication skills through the use of interviewing, role plays, videotaping, and case studies.

Issues in Social Work Practice — An analysis of various social work topic areas including Child Welfare, Death and Dying, Social Work in Health, and Social Work in Older Adults.

Community Organization — Exploration of the aspect of generalist practice involving proactive responding to large groups, communities, and organizations.

Rewarding careers

Careers available in social work in Iowa, nationally, and worldwide:

  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Juvenile Justice Worker
  • Probation Officer
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Child Protective Worker
  • Domestic Violence Advocate
  • Hospice Social Worker
  • Nursing Home Social Worker
  • Case Manager
  • Nonprofit Administrator
Classes You'll Take

Admission to Clarke University

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Apply to Clarke today to begin your journey.

Master of Social Work Degree (MSW)

Think ahead beyond your BSW degree. Clarke offers both a bachelor of social work degree and a master of social work degree. Students with a bachelor of social work degree can enter graduate school with advanced standing and receive a master of social work degree In just one year. This is one of the many qualities that makes Clarke’s social work major one of the best schools for social work.

MSW Pathways

Clarke University offers multiple high-quality pathways to a Master of Social Work degree, making our program one of the best social work programs available. Our MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and is focused on integrated health social work practice with particular attention to rural areas. Clarke’s MSW program develops mindful, engaged social workers who are prepared to competently serve their communities, responsibly engage in advocacy, and compassionately bend the arc of the universe towards justice. Clarke’s social work degree program prepares students through academically rigorous coursework and provides rich field experiences in a wide variety of settings. The MSW offers flexibility in scheduling to work with your needs as a student whether you need part-time, full-time, weekdays, or weekends.

MSW Pathway Options:

  • Advanced Standing Program (1 year full-time, 2 years part-time)
  • Hybrid Weekend Program (part-time)
  • Traditional Day Program (2 years full-time, 3 years part-time)
  • Articulation Program (part-time or full-time)
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Meet Our Faculty

When our school of social work graduates speak about the Clarke moments that helped shape them, there’s always a professor in the story. That’s because being a faculty member at Clarke University requires a deep passion for educating, encouraging, and empowering students. Here, your professors will know your name. They will push you to develop your full potential, and then they’ll ask for more. And, they’ll be right there to congratulate you when you exceed even your own expectations. Often, it’s a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

View Our Faculty & Staff
Regina Boarman, Ph.D.

Regina Boarman, Ph.D.

Chair/Professor of Social Work

It is a privilege to teach, to walk briefly with students on their journey through Clarke. I believe it must begin with the student’s reality. My responsibility is to listen carefully to each student, teach, and guide. In all things I strive to be consistent in my expectations and my presence emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Mary Gitau, Ph.D.

Mary Gitau, Ph.D.

Professor of Social Work

I am always prepared to share knowledge, to facilitate discussion and activities, to provide learning opportunities, and to evaluate the course and students’ effort.

Colleen Mahoney, Ph.D.

Colleen Mahoney, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Social Work

My enthusiasm for my students’ ideals and potential, I hope, provides encouragement and inspiration for them to believe in themselves and begin to impact the world around them.

Tara Velez, MSW

Tara Velez, MSW

Assistant Professor of Social Work; Director of Field Education

I strive to create a classroom environment built upon respect and dignity.

Apple in Clarke University classroom
There’s more to college than going to class.

The Classroom and Beyond

But don’t take our word for it…

Our Students & Alumni

Suzie Stroud

Suzie Stroud

Social Work ‘15, MSW '18

Finding my niche and having faculty support, encourage, and show genuine interest in me helped me realize, or re-discover, that I CAN accomplish things. I am currently employed at Crescent Community Health Center as a social worker and it is my passion.

Mackenzie Jaeger

Mackenzie Jaeger

Social Work '17, MSW '18

My educational experience in Clarke’s social work program greatly exceeded expectations by allowing me to learn from knowledgeable professors with years of experience. The small class sizes and individualized attention I received helped me to better develop my skill set to begin my Master of Social Work degree.

Elena Domingez

Elena Domingez

Social Work '20

My experience in working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work in Clarke’s program has been outstanding. I couldn’t ask for more qualified, professional, and knowledgeable professors from which to learn. After graduation I plan to continue to earn my MSW and will begin working locally, serving members of my community.

$ 49,470

Average salary for a social worker in 2018.

11 %

Employment for social workers is projected to increase overall by 11% by 2028, and the need for health care, mental health, and substance abuse social workers is projected to grow at an even higher rate, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The one-to-one learning that happens at Clarke means students succeed at securing internships and career opportunities.


Clarke University’s social work program is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education, 1701 Duke St., Suite 200, Alexandria, VA, 22314.

Other Programs to Explore

Experience Clarke Social Work for Yourself

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