We are delighted that you are interested in Social Welfare for your undergraduate studies at Berkeley!

Berkeley’s first woman faculty member, Jennifer Peixotto, established the social work curriculum at Berkeley in 1918 in the Department of Economics. The graduate Certificate in Social Service was established in 1927 and was accredited by the American Association of Schools of Social Work the next year. The School of Social Welfare was formally established at UC Berkeley in 1944, and since then we have prepared over 11,000 social work professionals for leadership positions in public and nonprofit human service sectors. Our faculty represents an array of disciplines and specialties that will provide you a professional education of the very highest caliber.

The Undergraduate Major in Social Welfare, offered under the auspices of the College of Letters and Sciences, provides you with a solid foundational education in the basic liberal arts and social sciences. In pursuit of your Bachelor of Arts degree, you will be introduced to the major problems, policies and methods that define and shape the field of social welfare and the profession of social work. You will gain knowledge of the professional practices, policies, and programs required to address a wide range of contemporary societal problems.

Undergraduates from our program are well prepared to enter graduate programs in social welfare, social work, family therapy, law, counseling, psychology, sociology, health education, human resource management and other fields where foundation knowledge in the social sciences is important. Many program graduates not seeking higher degrees successfully pursue careers as human service workers, counselors, family life educators, and family specialists, non-profit organization administrators, and staff members of other agencies addressing human needs.

About this Handbook

This Undergraduate Student Handbook is your major resource and reference guide for practical advice about your major program. It includes essential information about School of Social Welfare operations; the undergraduate major program, curriculum and degree requirements; student expectations; and the valuable resources available to help students succeed at Berkeley. The handbook also sets forth the obligations that you have, not only to the School, but also to your fellow students and the faculty in terms of academic and professional conduct and ethical standards. All students, faculty and staff should be familiar with the School and University policies, procedures, and information resources outlined in this handbook.