Social Work and Youth Justice Dual Major

Why Social Work and Youth Justice?

  • Rewarding and meaningful career that adds value to society
  • Diverse job opportunities serving clients from all backgrounds
  • Opportunities to engage in research and community-based service learning
  • Hands-on experience working with children and families
  • Help provide opportunity and pathways to success to young people
  • Interesting and contemporary curriculum with a unique focus on positive youth development

Why Wheelock?

  • Wheelock focuses specifically on youth, unlike broader criminal justice programs
  • Emphasizes social justice and positive youth development
  • Close relationships with faculty who have extensive experience as practitioners
  • College-wide mission to improve the lives of children and families

The mission of the Bachelor of Social Work Program is to improve the quality of life for children, adults, families, and communities by preparing entry-level social work practitioners who work collaboratively with clients to provide services, help to identify and secure resources, and human rights and social justice.

In a complementary fashion, the Youth Justice and Advocacy program prepares students to work with youth and their families in a range of settings including preventative programs, advocacy programs, and programs for juvenile offenders. The focus in the Youth Justice and Advocacy major is on adolescent development, legal systems, conditions and circumstances that place youth at risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system, and effective methods of prevention, advocacy, and intervention with youth.

Social Work-Youth Justice dual majors focus their academics and practical experiences in understanding the dynamics of working with adolescents and youth at risk. These students complete a yearlong practicum in a juvenile justice setting that fulfills the field requirement for both programs and concurrently take separate field seminars in each.

Program Options & Licensure

You'll earn a bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW), which qualifies you to take the Massachusetts social work licensing exam at the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) level.

Our versatile and flexible dual major program can stand alone, or you may choose to add an arts and sciences major.

Hands-On Experience in the Social Work and Youth Justice Fields

You will have direct field experience with clients in an intensive, year-long, supervised practicum. Internships take place in a range of settings throughout the Boston metropolitan area, including schools, community organizations, and health centers. During the Fall and Spring semesters, students attend two full days, typically Monday and Wednesday, completing a minimum of 16 hours per week.  With the consent of the Field Instructor, students may make other arrangements with the agency provided that practicum hours do not conflict with classes. Recent field experience sites include: 

  • AIDS Action Committee
  • Boston Public Schools
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Franciscan Children's Hospital
  • Friends of the Children
  • Lutheran Social Services, Brockton
  • Malden Early Learning Center
  • Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
  • On the Rise Women's Center
  • Phoenix Charter Academy
  • Smile Daycare

Sample Courses

  • Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege
  • Introduction to Social Work
  • Social Welfare Policy
  • Social Work Practice and Skills Lab
  • Juvenile Courts and Juvenile Law
  • Delinquency: Cause, Prevention & Intervention

Core Competencies

  • Identify as a professional social worker/juvenile justice professional
  • Apply ethical principles
  • Apply critical thinking
  • Engage diversity and difference
  • Advance human rights and social and economic justice
  • Engage in research
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment
  • Engage in policy practice
  • Respond to contexts that shape practice
  • Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, organizations, groups, and communities

Career Opportunities for Social Work/Youth Justice Graduates

This dual major will prepare you for a variety of human service positions, including:

  • Social worker
  • Family advocate
  • Child counselor
  • Case manager
  • Community resource specialist
  • Residential counselor
  • Mental health assistant
  • Early intervention specialist
  • Legislative aide
  • Patient care assistant
  • Immigrant/refugee advocate
  • Youth worker
  • Administrator
  • Legal advocate
  • Nonprofit/government juvenile policy specialist

Graduate Study

Upon completion of your BSW, you will be eligible to apply to Master of Social Work (MSW) programs with advanced standing status at Wheelock and other graduate schools. Advanced standing enables you to complete your MSW degree in a shortened timeframe.

Accreditation of Wheelock's Social Work Program

Wheelock is accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). See the College's Accreditation Information web pages.

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