COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.


The Social Work major is definitely not for the faint of heart. It leads to some of the most demanding jobs, but as such, also some of the most fulfilling.

At the heart of the social work major is a desire and willingness to respond to people in need. It means compassion, dedication, and a genuine desire to improve someone else’s life. As a social work major you will have a wide assortment of problems on which to focus your talents. Whether it is inner city poverty, illiteracy, substance abuse, homelessness, racial inequalities, or any of the hundreds of other ills affecting our society, the Social Work major prepares you to counsel and aid people as they struggle to better their lives.

You will have the freedom to study the problems and crises in today’s society from several different perspectives. Translation: lots of humanities and social sciences. Your courses will range from biology and psychology to direct field work with clients who, in the end, may teach you more than any course or textbook.


  • Determinations of Social Functioning

  • Field Practice

  • Human, Natural, and Economic Resources

  • Individual Needs and Societal Response

  • Minority Perspectives: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender

  • Philosophy

  • Political Science

  • Problems, Policies and Programs in Social Work

  • Psychology

  • Quantitative Analysis of Social Data

  • Social Work Practice

  • Sociology


It’s never too early to begin practicing what you preach. There are always organizations looking for volunteers to spend a few hours a week teaching, reading, or just talking to people. It’s a great way to not only explore the field first hand, but also to start making a difference.

As far as coursework goes, take psychology if your school offers it and all the history and economics classes available.