The Catholic University of America

. . . Join one of the most innovative yet oldest schools of social work in the nation

The well-respected Gourman Report ranks the National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS) in the top 11% of accredited social work programs, making it the only area program ranked in the top 20 nationwide. Our commitment to supporting traditional social work values while responding to today's educational and practice developments continues to make ours a highly regarded program both within the academic world and the practice community.

NCSSS was founded in 1918 under the sponsorship of the National Catholic Welfare Conference to train women for diocesan social service programs and was officially named when it became a two-year graduate school. An autonomous educational institution until 1923, the school then became affiliated with The Catholic University of America. The university established its own school of social work to train priests, religious, and lay men in 1934, but in 1947, the men's and women's schools merged and have continued as the National Catholic School of Social Service of The Catholic University of America ever since.

Education toward the master's degree was the primary mission of NCSSS at its inception, but additional degree programs have been subsequently established. The doctoral program, established in 1934, is the third oldest social work doctoral program in the world. An undergraduate degree program was established in 1969 through the university's School of Arts and Sciences. Since 1996, NCSSS has collaborated with Metropolitan College to encourage the non-traditional undergraduate student to pursue social work.

Today the school, fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, has more than 3,500 alumni working throughout the world in many fields, including child welfare, gerontology, family preservation, health and mental health, social policy, social justice and social work education.

. . . Learn to appreciate people as bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings

Derived from the mission of The Catholic University of America, the needs of people, and the goals and values of the social work profession, the mission of the National Catholic School of Social Service is to prepare generalist and advanced practitioners, scholars and educators whose work is grounded in the social justice and charity foundation of Catholic intellectual tradition and Judeo-Christian values as well as in the tradition of a modern university which welcomes all forms of human inquiry and values.

In keeping with the social teachings and values of the Roman Catholic Church, NCSSS embraces as its special responsibility the education of social workers who promote the dignity of all people as bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings, and who serve the Catholic community, the neighboring community, and beyond. Our goals include: advancing professional social work knowledge, values, and skills; educating students to become ethical practitioners and leaders; educating students to address the basic needs of all people with attention to the oppressed; contributing to social justice and promoting individual and societal well-being.

As part of the university, NCSSS has special responsibilities to contribute to the development of social responsibility and to be of service to the general community, the Catholic community, the nation, and the world. The school also contributes to the development of the profession in order that it may increasingly serve society in the prevention and treatment of social problems and the enhancement of social well-being.

Consistent with Catholic teachings and social work values, the National Catholic School of Social Service strives to educate its students to contribute responsibly to the fulfillment of social welfare objectives and to be of effective service to all peoples. To educate students toward these goals, we strive to be truly welcoming of all in our university community, regardless of age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin, or handicapping conditions. We aim to respect and honor diverse and conflicting points of view within our community without judgment.

We are an academic community bound by the sometimes divergent, often similar, policies of the Council on Social Work Education and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Guided by these broad guidelines, we work to accept and honor the personal values and beliefs of all those we teach, work and learn with, and those we serve through our practice.

. . . Study in the nation's capital

Washington, DC is an exciting place to live and study. Students have access to some of the world's finest research facilities, performing arts venues, parks and sports arenas, and many free cultural attractions. Washington is home to the Smithsonian Institution, "the world's largest museum complex," the Library of Congress and dozens of art museums and galleries. The Mall, with its many free cultural and historic attractions, and Capitol Hill, minutes from the campus, are favorite haunts for CUA students. Other popular sites include the Washington Monument, Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, and the White House. Our DC location is ideal, offering internship opportunities in social service agencies, national associations, and internationally recognized settings such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Council on Aging and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Convenient transportation is the key to getting around in the nation's capital. Students travel by Metrorail, the transit system that serves Washington and its suburbs. The Brookland/CUA Metro stop is adjacent to campus.

. . . Work to promote the dignity of all people

The faculty and the staff of NCSSS fostered student growth in such a way that you couldn't graduate without having been touched by a myriad of individuals, both professors and clients alike. I could go on and on and on and on.
Marissa Pullano, B.A. 2004

NCSSS provides an M.S.W. degree with substance. I chose this program because a diploma would not be enough for me … I wanted an education backed by a sincere, dedicated and professional staff of faculty and administrators who share enthusiasm for the field and the desire to promote ethical practice. I feel competent and effective in my new career and credit the solid foundation I built at NCSSS.
Gini Webster, M.S.W. 2004

I grew both professionally and personally in the doctoral program at NCSSS. The classes were small enough to allow for a collegial environment with the faculty, whom I admire and am still in contact with. The dissertation phase of the program was exceptionally rewarding and I developed a deeper appreciation of the research process and its importance to social work.
Barbara J. White, D.S.W. 1999
Professor, Department of Social Work, Gallaudet University

Link to sites of interest to social work students and social workers