Why major in Social Work?

As a social work major at UPIKE, you will learn professional values, ethics and evidence-based techniques to make the world a more fair and caring place. You will learn how to create change with and on behalf of individuals, groups, communities, organizations and societies. Social workers are employed in areas such as education, healthcare, mental health, counseling, services to the aging, substance abuse services, corrections and criminal justice, child welfare services, services for the mentally and physically disabled, rehabilitation, veteran services, government, politics and social policy, community development and other related areas.

Student listening in a social work class.

Program Distinctives

UPIKE’s social work program has a strong field education component, which means you’ll gain at least 400 hours of real experience practicing social work in the community under the supervision of a social worker. Field education is geared toward your personal interests and may include medical settings, mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment providers, offender programs, child advocacy centers, child protective services, homeless shelters, school settings and crisis centers. UPIKE also offers the option to complete required hours during evenings and weekends. UPIKE’s social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Social Work Book

Interesting Courses

SW 300 Diversity & Difference
Would you like to help make the world a more fair, open and caring place? You have the power to make a difference for people of all colors, faiths, ages, genders, sizes, orientations and ability levels. This course can help you identify your place in the fight for social justice.

SW 334 Professional Ethics
Everyone loves a good challenge, right? This course was specifically designed to help you explore the foundations of your personal values and morals and assist you in deeply identifying how to make ethical decisions. Students often make statements like, “This class made me rethink everything I thought I knew” and “I can’t believe what I was basing my decisions upon and thinking that it was actually the right thing to do.” But don’t worry – after we pick it all apart, we’ll explore a new model of ethical decision making that you will come to love. Our graduates still talk about how often they use the model.

Students studying in a classroom.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a UPIKE social work graduate, you’ll be able to assist families, groups, communities and organizations in restoring or enhancing their capacity for social functioning. Your work may involve providing direct services such as mental health counseling, helping people navigate through complex social service organizations, advocating for client needs or even working in the policy arena to create change that improves social conditions for all people. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to demonstrate ethical and professional behavior; advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice; engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice; take part in policy practice; consider diversity and difference in practice; and engage, assess, intervene and evaluate practice with clients across micro, mezzo and macro levels of practice.

Click here for program assessment results

Career paths in Social Work

Addictions/Substance Abuse
Advocacy and Community Organization
Behavioral/Mental Health
Child Welfare and Family Services
Developmental Disabilities
Global and International Social Work
Health Care Social Work
Military/Veteran Affairs
Occupational Social Work
Policy and Planning
Poverty and Inequality

Where Recent Graduates have gone to work or study

Appalachian Community CARE, Inc.
Bluegrass Care Navigators
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Eastern Kentucky
Galen College of Nursing
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Division of Protection and Permanency
Mountain Comprehensive Care Center
Northern Kentucky University
Sunrise Children’s Services
University of Missouri
University of Kentucky
University of Louisville
Youngstown State University


“The University of Pikeville’s social work program helped me to overcome my shyness and grow into a confident, competent and compassionate advocate for others. The program gave me the knowledge and skills I needed to use my voice to make a difference in the lives of others. Before I entered the social work program, I would have never been able to speak in front of others, and now I am standing up and making my voice heard.”


The University of Pikeville Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.

Accreditation of a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’ Commission on Accreditation indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited program has sufficient resources to meet its mission and goals and the Commission on Accreditation has verified that it demonstrates compliance with all sections of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.


Ashton Bartley

Director of Undergraduate Social Work Program
(606) 218-5001