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School ofSocial Work

ContinueContinue to the School of Social Work's website

Why Social Work?

Southern’s social work program prepares students to be local and global leaders in providing services to individuals, families, and communities.

  • Students are introduced to the latest in concepts, theories, and field experiences, all within the context of a Christ-centered environment. They are able to implement the knowledge gained in the classroom during assigned field practicums. 
  • Our 4+1 program (4 years BSW, 1 year MSW) allows students the opportunity to complete both degrees in just 5 years.

  • Faculty members have extensive experience in social work practice and continue to develop research and ministry projects. 
  • Proximity to Chattanooga's urban environment provides a variety of practicum and internship partners.
  • Students may work with faculty and staff on formal collaborations with the local government. 

Interesting Facts

Students in Action

  • Study tour destinations include Europe and New York City. A Washington, D.C. Policy Tour is part of senior-year requirements for BSW majors.
  • Students and faculty engage in service projects both on and off campus.
  • Mu Chi is Southern’s chapter of Phi Alpha, the national honor society for social work students. 
  • The Social Work Club provides student leadership opportunities in organizing service, social, and professional activities.

Marks of Distinction

  • Southern’s social work programs at both the bachelor's and master's levels are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Accreditation for the master's program was granted early through an accelerated status reserved for high-quality programs.
  • The high curriculum standard required to achieve CSWE accreditation thoroughly prepares undergraduate students for graduate studies,  providing sufficient hours and prerequisites for acceptance  into most master’s programs.

Statistics to Note

  • The School of Social Work has an enrollment of approximately 70 bachelor's students and 60 master's students each year.
  • Most of Southern's recent social work graduates have begun working in the field of social work or entered graduate programs.


  • Laura Racovita, PhDLaura Racovita, PhD
  • Evie Baker, MSWEvie Baker, MSWAssociate Professor
  • Lunelle Bertresse, MSWLunelle Bertresse, MSWAssistant Professor
  • Cheryl Craven, BACheryl Craven, BAOffice Manager
  • Tricia Foster, BSTricia Foster, BSMSW Program Manager
  • Stephanie Guster, MSWStephanie Guster, MSWAssociate Professor
  • Annette Heck, DSWAnnette Heck, DSWProfessor
  • Lorri Merchant, PhDLorri Merchant, PhDProfessor
  • Nina Nelson, PhDNina Nelson, PhDAssociate Professor
  • Corneliu Rusu, PhDCorneliu Rusu, PhDProfessor
  • Kristie Wilder, JDKristie Wilder, JDProfessor

My adviser is so
consistent and
professional about
the way she handles
her responsibilities
as a professor and counselor.John Olaore, ’14Social work major

A social work professor and student discuss classwork



Graduates have found many fulfilling opportunities, including the following:

  • Pursuing graduate studies (master's and doctoral) with graduate assistantships 
  • Serving the needs of inner-city children  
  • Beginning careers in child and social welfare in the United  States and internationally  
  • Working with homeless international refugees and in drug rehabilitation  
  • Serving as medical social workers and mental health case managers 
  • Advancing social work education as university professors


Students with a social work degree can pursue jobs in many areas: 

  • Child Welfare
  • Community Development 
  • Community Service Agencies
  • Family Services
  • Counseling: Adult, Career, Child/Adolescent, Family/Marital, Mental Health, Trauma/Crisis, Private Practice
  • Case work: Children/Families, Geriatric Hospital, Judicial System, Prison, Psychiatric
  • Mental Health  
  • Policy Change and Advocacy
  • Research
  • Social Services 
  • Social Service Administration  
  • Supervision 
  • Social Worker: Hospice, Medical, Psychiatric, School
  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation


Cheryl Craven, office manager

I am a part
   of Southern.
You should be too! Zanzabar JonesSophmore