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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

social work students

Welcome to the Department of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa


Why Choose Social Work at UNI?

The Department of Social Work offers a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Program (BA in Social Work) and a Master of Social Work Program (MSW). Both the BA in Social Work and the MSW programs were reaccredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in June 2015.

The BA in Social Work prepares students to be professional social workers that are able to work in multiple settings with diverse populations experiencing a variety of issues. The MSW specialization is trauma-informed care. MSW students study the widespread impact of trauma and understand the potential paths to recovery; they learn to recognize signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others; they discover how to respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and, they acquire skills to actively resist re-traumatizing clients.

We offer the following degrees to educate students at both the generalist and advanced levels:

Field placements are also an important component of our programs. The Office of Field Instruction coordinates and supports graduate and undergraduate internships in a wide variety of local and regional agencies.

​Professional Development Opportunities


An Advanced Overview of Early Childhood Neglect (Ages 0-3)

Friday, January 26th, 9am-12:15pm, State Room, Maucker Union, UNI

Registration fee: $80     Student Fee: $20      3 CEUs

Register Here!

This workshop provides participants an overview of the newest research regarding the effects of early childhood neglect (ages 0-3). The workshop will be structured in the following format: 1) A comprehensive discussion on the effects of early childhood neglect on infant brain development, attachment styles, emotional regulatory processes, inhibitory control, and social/relational functioning, 2) long-term mental health trajectories, which include discussion of reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED), and borderline personality disorder (BPD), and 3) a discussion of promising interventions that can serve to mitigate problematic emotional and behavioral disorders in children exposed to chronic neglect. Mental health professionals, educators, early childhood specialists, and child welfare workers are especially encouraged to attend.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Toxic Stress, and the

Epigenetic Effects of Trauma

Friday, February 16th, 9am-12:15pm, State Room, Maucker Union, UNI

Registration fee: $80      Student Fee: $20      3 CEUs

Register Here!

This workshop provides participants an overview of the complex relationship between traumatic experiences and the effects on infant, child, and adult health. Topics will include 1) a discussion of the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, 2) the effects of traumatic stress (or toxic stress) on infant and child brain development, 3) the long-term effects of traumatic stress on physical health and well-being, and 4) the role of epigenetics in the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Additional topics will include ways in which agencies and organizations  can integrate assessment strategies for detecting trauma in their client populations, along with new and promising interventions to mitigate the deleterious effects of traumatic stress.

An Advanced Overview of Acute and Complex Trauma

Friday, March 23rd, 9am-12:15pm, State Room, Maucker Union, UNI

 Registration fee: $80       Student Fee: $20      3 CEUs

Register Here!

This workshop provides participants an advanced overview of the neurobiological, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning of those exposed to traumatic incidents (e.g., abuse, disaster, war). This presentation will be divided into two parts. First, a discussion on single incident traumatic exposure (acute trauma), its definition, effects on cognitive and somatic functioning, and behavioral presentation. The second part will discuss the effects of multiple incidents of traumatic exposure (complex trauma), and will include an overview of the psychosomatic mechanisms that produce confusing and often difficult to treat symptoms (e.g., extreme aggression, blackouts, self-harm, hallucinations, and dissociation). Discussions of how to effectively work with traumatized populations will be woven throughout the presentation.

Processing Trauma and Building Resiliency

Monday,  April 2nd, 9am-4:30pm, Oak Room, Maucker Union, UNI

Registration fee: $150     6 CEUs

Register Here!

 Based on content from the workshop “An Advanced Overview of Acute and Complex Trauma”, this all-day workshop will provide the clinical practitioner a step-by-step overview of a new, client-centered, multi-modal form of trauma treatment that can be used to 1) enhance client safety and resiliency, and 2) quickly and safely process acute to moderately complex forms of trauma. This intervention draws upon techniques from many traditional and current evidence-based trauma interventions (e.g., body-based psychotherapy, somatic experiencing therapy, EMDR, mindfulness, and sensorimotor psychotherapy), and is flexible enough in its application that it can be incorporated with other forms of therapy. Significant class time will be devoted to skill building through role-plays and instructor observation. All participants will receive a manual that provides detailed instructions for all skills covered in the workshop.

Note: Prior attendance of the workshop “Advanced Overview of Acute and Complex Trauma” is strongly recommended.  

Other Workshops/Trainings