Catholic University of America

Catholic University

About Us 

Our commitment to supporting traditional social work values while responding to today’s educational and practice developments continues to make ours a highly regarded program both within the academic world and the practice community.

In the search for undergraduate and graduate programs in social work, the School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America stands out. Its reputation as delivering a top quality education for those seeking to enter this profession speaks for itself.

A degree from CUA is a prestigious credential. Consistently earning top ratings in every category, the BSW and MSW programs, both accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, hold the standard for excellence high. The PhD Program, the third oldest in the nation and accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, continues to produce social work scholars who further the development of the profession through research, knowledge-building, and leadership.

When assessing the value of a social work program, size can be a key determinant. At the School of Social Service, classes are small—translating to a high degree of student–faculty interaction and individualized attention.
Rather than being lost in a sea of students, social work students are mentored by faculty from their first day through graduation and beyond.

History of the National Catholic School of Social Service

The National Catholic School of Social Service was founded in 1918 under the sponsorship of the National Catholic Welfare Conference to train Catholic women for diocesan social service programs and was officially named when it became a two-year graduate school. An autonomous educational institution until 1923, the school then became affiliated with The Catholic University of America.  The university established its own school of social work to train priests, religious, and lay men in 1934. In 1947, the men’s and women’s schools merged and have continued as the National Catholic School of Social Service of The Catholic University of America ever since.

Education toward the master’s degree was the primary mission of NCSSS at its inception, but additional degree programs have been subsequently established.  The doctoral program, established in 1934, is the third oldest social work doctoral program in the world. An undergraduate degree program was established in 1969 through the university’s School of Arts and Sciences.  Since 1996, NCSSS has collaborated with Metropolitan College to encourage the non-traditional undergraduate student to pursue social work.

Today the school trains social workers within a framework of Catholic Intellectual Tradition, and is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.  The school has more than 6,800 alumni working throughout the world in many fields, including child welfare, gerontology, family preservation, health and mental health, social policy, social justice and social work education.


NCSSS Mission Statement

Derived from the mission of The Catholic  University of America and that of the social work profession, the  mission of the National Catholic School of Social Service is to educate  students from diverse faiths and cultures who in their professional  endeavors will embody the values of social justice, service, and  scholarship.  This mission is grounded in the justice and charity  foundation of Catholic social teachings and the tradition of a modern  university that welcomes all forms of human inquiry.


  1. To advance knowledge, values, and  competencies through the development, application, and dissemination of  theory and research relevant to the social work profession.

  2. To serve and empower vulnerable, oppressed, and impoverished people and communities.

  3. To promote social and economic  justice and individual and societal well-being in the context of The  Catholic University of America, the social work profession, and the  needs of the local, national, and global communities.