Social Work

Why study social work at Taylor?

Taylor has a reputation for excellence with a specific emphasis in teaching.

We are dedicated not just to your four years at Taylor, but to the 40+ years that follow. We integrate discipleship into preparing you for your future as a social worker advocating for the forgotten, ignored, and oppressed. The “least of these” are the exact people Jesus wants us to reach.

Dr. Cathy Harner

Taylor prepares you with in-class education and hands-on service experience to integrate your faith with your everyday work to make a difference for the kingdom.

Dr. Cathy Harner, head of the social work department, answers some common questions below. If you don’t see your question, please contact Dr. Harner today!

What opportunities do I have for professional development outside of classes?

  • Each major must complete 30 hours of volunteer work with organizations like prison ministries, mental health facilities, criminal justice settings, nursing homes, tutoring or after-school programs.
  • For national accreditation, students must complete 400 hours in a senior practicum; Taylor requires 480 hours. Taylor students receive a wide range of practical experiences applying the skills and theories learned in the classroom to real-life situations.
  • Taylor’s accredited social work program has a very active Student Social Work Organization (SSWO).
  • Students can get leadership experience in the Student Advisory Board.

Are there opportunities to study abroad?

Yes! Taylor provides a variety of travel and study abroad opportunities for its students. Here are a few:

  • The Korean Studies Program, Lithuania Study Program, and the Cuenca, Ecuador Study Program offer excellent opportunities for social work majors to study abroad for the semester. These opportunities usually occur during the first two years of study and before beginning the social work practice sequence.
  • Juniors can have a practicum study abroad experience during January term (J-term). Junior practicums can be done anywhere in the world where social work supervision can be found. A departmental commitment to a Junior Practicum Study Abroad experience is offered yearly. Past study abroad experiences include: Korea, Philippines, Uganda, and Bahamas.
  • Seniors must complete a practicum (480 hours over the course of one semester) in the geographical area where the student is interested in finding employment following graduation. This allows for development of professional networking during the practicum. Some completed practicums include a local school in Grand Rapids, Mich., a refugee resettlement organization in Austin, Texas, the Department of Children Services in Montrose, Colo., and a hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Social Work students can also participate in a Lighthouse trip during January term. Since 1972, Taylor's Lighthouse program has enabled students to gain unforgettable, life-changing experiences serving cross-culturally around the world. Recent Lighthouse destinations include India, the Czech Republic, Paraguay, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Southeast Asia, Ecuador, Singapore, and Thailand.