5 Great Scholarships for Social Work

social work
  • CSWE Scholarships
  • NASW Foundation Awards
  • Clinical Oncology Social Work
  • Davis-Putter Fund
  • ISTSS Outstanding Student Achievement Award

Social work scholarships often focus on a specific area of practice like clinical social work, child protective services or doctoral research. Social work students should look for funding related to their interests as well as general scholarships. It’s rare to find an award that covers the entire cost of books, tuition, and fees, so students should be prepared to apply to many different social work scholarships.

1. CSWE Scholarships

The Council on Social Work Education, which is the leading accrediting agency for social work degree programs, offers several scholarships for aspiring warriors of social justice.  One fine example is what was formerly known as the Feminist Scholarship Award and is now called the Feminist Manuscript Award.  The Feminist Manuscript Award was established by the CSWE Women’s Council to “recognize innovative scholars who contribute to the advancement of feminist knowledge as it pertains to social work theory, research, practice, and education.”

2. NASW Foundation Awards

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) coordinates a range of scholarships and fellowships for graduate-level students. Funds are available for both Master of Social Work (MSW) and Doctor of Social Work (DSW) students and support research projects, practicum experiences and tuition payments. Each award has different requirements and focuses on different areas of social work or social workers from different backgrounds.

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3. Clinical Oncology Social Work

The American Cancer Society offers $12,000 to students planning to work in clinical oncology social work (helping patients with cancer). The student receives $10,000, and the school the student attends receives $2,000. The award is intended to support students completing a practicum experience. A practicum is a professional training for students at the end of their MSW program and often requires completing hundreds of hours of supervised social work practice for no compensation. Because students can struggle to finish degrees when obligated to work for free, the American Cancer Society wants to provide this help for completing an MSW.

4. Davis-Putter Fund

The Davis-Putter Scholarship fund has been supporting campus-based student activism for decades. The fund awards up to $10,000 to students who demonstrate financial need and a commitment to social change. Applicants can work on anti-oppression movements related to political, economic or socioeconomic discrimination, including veterans’ issues, environmental activism, and sweatshops. There is no requirement to be pursuing a social work degree, but many MSW and BSW students will find natural parallels between macro-level interventions and the focus of the Davis-Putter Fund.

5. ISTSS Outstanding Student Achievement Award

The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) awards $3,000 annually to an MSW student who has advanced the field of trauma studies. The organization considers published research and academic achievement as well as financial need. Most awardees have focused their academic career on studying traumatic stress. Some applicants show a strong interest in community service related to trauma, like working with domestic violence victims. The award is typically given during the last semester of the MSW program.

Most scholarship committees want to see students who live social work values. Students are encouraged to volunteer, advocate for social justice and join social work organizations to have the best chances of winning social work scholarships.

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