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Timeline :: Pittsburgh university begins social work education


The University of Pittsburgh shares 100 years of history with the University of Edinburgh!

The School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh was formed in 1918 as a division of the University’s School of Economics, Department of Sociology.  The program was first officially accredited in 1919 by the American Association of Schools of Professional Social Work (AASPSW).  Early curricular emphases were child welfare, mental health, and community building. In 1922, the University withdrew its social work program from the AASPSW.  Though social work courses continued to be offered, the formal social work program was disbanded. 

In 1926, Manuel Conrad Elmer was appointed chair of the Department of Sociology. He was committed to rebuilding the social work program and in 1928, course listings in social work reappeared.  In 1931, the Division of Social Work was created as a separate unit within the Department of Sociology and in 1932, the University began the process of having its accreditation reinstated by the AASPSW. By 1938, the University of Pittsburgh created the School of Applied Social Sciences as the University’s 18th separate school. Historically, the social work program has had several designations:  Division of Social Work (1918-1922); Division of Social Work in the Department of Sociology (1931-1938); School of Applied Social Sciences (1938-1947); School of Social Work (1947—1957); Graduate School of Social Work (1957-1971); and the School of Social Work (1971 to the present). 

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