Society has made great strides in becoming more diverse and inclusive regardless of people's heritage, gender, and sexual orientation. Getting into social work prioritizes these standards and will continue to enforce them in various communities and organizations. It is important for them to be culturally sensitive to their clients and they have an ability to eliminate existing discrimination and oppression through gathering information and developing a strong relationship with the community.

Social Work Programs Specialized in Ethnicity and Race

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has created a Code of Ethics that all professional social workers are expected to follow. Some of the core values in the code include providing a high level of service to everyone in the public, having full competence in the area of social work they perform in, and providing social justice to all people to eliminate poverty and oppression.

Specifically in the code, all social workers must recognize the strengths that all races and cultures provide, determine the differences when working with people from other cultures, such as their use of electronic technology.

Online MSW Programs

Obtaining a higher education degree in social work can most commonly be pursued on-campus, but students do usually have an option to pursue either a flexible schedule or an accelerated pathway for those already achieving core competency from a Bachelor's degree obtained in social work. There are opportunities to complete the program in an online format, however.

Typical Environment

These institutions may require some courses to be completed on campus, or have minimal meetings on-campus on a weekly or monthly basis. Students should become familiar with the learning management system that the school will be utilizing for online course distribution. They must have the required computer equipment to access course materials.

Students should also review the curriculum format and determine if they are able to complete the program. Accreditation is also very important to look for in terms of gaining a quality education, and it is important to look at regional accreditation as well as the organization specializing in this field, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Bachelor's Degrees in Ethnicity and Race

One of the foundational requirements in many social work degrees, regardless of higher education level, is the advocacy of social justice. These professionals will work consistently with communities that are diverse and infused with various cultures. All clients should be treated equally regardless of demographics and have the same opportunity as others. There will be courses that emphasize theory and practice when working with diverse groups in order for workers to identify any societal problems that must be solved.

Example for a Bachelors Program

At California State University in Sacramento, their Bachelor of Social Work have five goals for students to complete during their studies. One of them is obtaining a global perspective, meaning that they will implement fair human rights and eliminate oppression in local communities. There is also a mission to recruit diverse students and faculty members to move the program forward. Among the liberal arts classes needed satisfy general education, such as individual and society and arts and humanities, they will need to complete writing courses within social welfare and human behavior.

Master's Degrees in Ethnicity and Race

Many Master's degrees with a discipline in social work will have advanced education in administrative roles. It is imperative for leaders in a community or organization to understand the importance of diversity, whether being a director in the space or a program coordinator. An executive role in diversity will create strategies to bring in underrepresented groups and will work with established employees to understand culture and race relations. These graduate programs will prepare established professionals that go into a career specializing in ethnicity and race.


Example coursework in Master's programs include exploring human oppression, micro and macrosociology, social welfare policy, political advocacy, and building communities to achieve equality and empower those to work together. Microsociology covers the nature and theory of everyday interaction on a smaller scale and explores topics in attachment, empathy, human behavior, and much more. Graduates with Master's degrees will typically work in advocacy groups, human rights organizations, and labor unions.

University of Alabama

The School of Social Work at the University of Alabama offers a Master of Social Work that emphasizes the community aspect and the creation of policies that will create systemic change. This work will consider and be aware of cultural differences and how this can fuse relationships among children and families. The curriculum will specifically cover how to work with a diverse group of people, influencing social welfare policy to create a balanced community, and evaluating and recommending certain programs with evidence-based methods. Eventual graduates should be able to follow ethical standards and regulations and be able to deliver their work without discrimination on certain characteristics.

In order to get into the 60-credit hour program, students must hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative 3.0 GPA (or in the last 60 credit hours of the undergraduate program). Those that do not meet the GPA requirement could submit test scores, such as the GRE or GMAT. Admission takes place in the summer and fall semesters. An accelerated format of the program is available only to those that hold a Bachelor’s degree within social work that is accredited by the CSWE.

Michigan State University

Students considering the Master of Social Work at MSU have to ability to complete the program online and they can select one of two concentrations: Clinical Social Work, and Organization and Community Leadership. The goal of the second specialization is to advocate for social justice in various social systems, identifying the power structure in communities and making policies that can fix social problems. The idea of macro-level social work eliminates any barriers within a population. Course topics that are emphasized include culture, diversity, theory, and ethics.

There are many formats that students can choose to complete the degree. The regular program requires 57 credit hours to complete and is offered at the East Lansing campus, Flint campus, and there is the hybrid version that utilizes East Lansing and online courses. The last version is only available in a part-time format, and there is the statewide and weekend versions. Students should live within 30 miles of either campus or 50 miles from the Michigan border. There is a mandatory class meeting once per month. The advanced standing program requires the completion of the Bachelor’s degree in social work that has been accredited by the CSWE.

University of Texas

The Steve Hicks School of Social Work at Austin offers a Master of Science in Social Work that requires 60 credit hours to complete, or between 42 to 48 credit hours for those that already have a Bachelor’s degree within social work. While the program cannot fully be completed online, there are various pathways to complete the curriculum, including the accelerated one-year curriculum for those that already hold a Bachelor’s degree. The program can also be completed in two years, three years, and three and a half years. Many core courses in the program are offered both during the day and in the evening to accommodate working schedules.

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There are two concentrations to choose from – Clinical Social work and Administration and Policy Practice. Students have the ability to enroll in a dual degree along with the Master of Arts with a major in Latin American Studies. This education will prepare students for roles in human services for the Latino population, gaining competency in language and culture. The program combines the social work school along with the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies.

Arizona State University

The School of Social Work offers an online Master of Social Work that can be completed at the downtown campus or fully online. The 60-credit hour curriculum features 20 total courses and 960 hours of hands-on education at internship locations affiliated with the school. Courses will meet in an accelerated format, taking approximately 7.5 weeks each to finish. An example of courses that students will take include Macro Human Behavior and Social Environment, Diversity and Oppression in a Social Work Context, and Assessment of Mental Disorders. Students pursuing the online program will complete the curriculum with the Applied Portfolio Project and requires a B grade in order to graduate.

In addition to the clinical practicum sessions that gives students real-world experience, the curriculum pushes for eventual graduates to find solutions to social problems for those that are underrepresented in their community. Admission takes place in the fall and spring semesters, and students should submit proof of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree, official transcripts, professional or academic references, statement of purpose, resume, and GRE or GMAT scores for those that have below a 3.2 GPA in their last 60 credit hours. Prospective students should have logged at least 240 hours of work experience or volunteered in social services in the past five years. These total hours must have been collected within a six-month span.

Social Work Ethnicity Focused Jobs and Careers

Health Equity Coordinator

Makes sure that people of all ages are receiving proper treatment regardless of race and gender. They will provide data-driven recommendations and statistical results in order to deliver the best results at a medical facility. Also, they directly engage with community members in order to gain proper information that best resembles their needs. They can also help with special services and administrative duties in order to determine if the results needed are being met.

Race Relations Officer

Evaluates and gives recommendations to improve racial discrimination between organizations and the community. Frequent duties include being the moderator between racially-charged issues and developing strategies and information to utilize in order to be more culturally sensitive. They will determine if organizations are following specific anti-discrimination laws, bridging the gap between police officers and public trust, and offering fair and equal housing rights.

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Urban Designer

Develops the blueprint for public services to enhance the community, such as new housing or upgrades to public transportation systems. They will closely work with various organizations and public leaders to determine the best course of action when it comes to implementing new features to better serve the community. This ensures that there will not be disruption in the process as all rules and regulations will be met. Certain skills in architecture and sociology will help in this career path. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for urban and regional planners is just over $73,000.