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Silberman School of Social Work


The Lois V. and Samuel J. Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College (SSSW) is the largest and oldest public school of social work in metropolitan New York. Founded in 1956 and accredited since 1958, the School educates and trains outstanding social work professionals, who are lifelong learners engaged in knowledgeable, ethical practice with communities locally, nationally, and globally. Guided by this mission, the School is uniquely committed to social work excellence in the public interest. Its classroom curriculum, practicum experiences, and community-engaged partnerships are focused on supporting persons, families, organizations, and communities, while respecting the humanity of all individuals. The School enrolls around 1,300 students in its flagship Master of Social Work (MSW) and growing Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs, along with nationally recognized continuing education, executive leadership, dual master’s degree, and doctoral programs.

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs offered by the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, 1701 Duke Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314.


With the support of the Silberman family and the Hunter College senior administration, the School moved to a state-of-the-art campus in East Harlem in 2011, designed specifically to meet its needs in the community. The School was also renamed in honor of its benefactors Lois and Samuel Silberman, whose generosity not only made this relocation possible but has also steadily supported and enhanced the School for more than half a century. The Silberman Building includes a well-resourced and beautiful library; community meeting spaces; state-of-the-art classrooms and conference rooms; four computer labs with extensive software; an interior courtyard garden; and a large terrace. Co-located with the School of Social Work in the Silberman Building are the library and archives of Centro, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College; the Hunter East Harlem Gallery; and the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging. These resources each enhance the School’s cross-disciplinary learning environment. Together with all of Hunter College, the Silberman School of Social Work is dedicated to engaging and supporting its dynamic neighbor communities in East Harlem, and communities across the New York region and beyond.

What Can I Do with my Degree in Social Work?

A degree in social work opens up a range of exciting and meaningful professional opportunities. Most broadly, social workers support the complex needs of individuals, groups, communities, organizations, and populations across the lifespan. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) underlines the depth and breadth of this work, describing social work practice as:

the application of social work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends: helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services; and participating in legislative processes. The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social and economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interaction of all these factors.

There is significant need across the United States for professionals who possess that knowledge along with the unique values, principles, and techniques that a social work education confers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations [7%]” (BLS 2018). This growth is driven by increasing demand in the healthcare and social service sectors. Earning a social work degree is not only intellectually stimulating and socially transformational – it also offers many opportunities for career advancement.

The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College is committed to preparing its students for practice and research across this dynamic, growing array of professional environments, approaches, and specializations. Silberman students gain comprehensive knowledge and practice capability in one of three dedicated methods; develop specialized understanding and experience in a field of practice specialization; benefit from rich professional development resources within the School and College community, alongside the support of highly accomplished faculty; and learn amid an abiding, School-wide culture committed to social justice inside and outside the classroom.

The Silberman School of Social Work is also committed to ensuring that students are prepared to take and pass the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) licensure exam, administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Licensure is the national standard for practicing social workers. The School’s Licensure Central initiative is a digital gateway that provides students with resources, materials, information, and practical steps to help them become licensed LMSWs. It is available through the Hunter Blackboard portal. The School’s Department of Continuing Education, additionally, offers courses for alumni and others dedicated to licensure preparation.

These characteristics, among many, define the professional preparation and competitive edge that Silberman School of Social Work students bring into their entire careers.