Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Philip Popple


This thesis looks at the major attempts to conceptualize social work and how these presented in the introductory courses in the undergraduate social work curriculum. It was found that interest in conceptualizing social work seems to have faded away after 1977. This research uses historical methodology and content analysis to analyze the conceptualization of social work and their presentation in the introductory course. The historical approach helps in comprehending the major concepts which form the basis in social work education, and content analysis helps in narrowing down the differences while presenting the concepts to students. This research has studied a randomly selected sample of 34 Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) programs. This study shows the various efforts to conceptualize social work finding that basic concepts are split into eleven categories. The resulting data indicates that four different approaches to teaching conceptualizations of social work are used in BSW programs: fields of practice, diversity, social welfare issues, and history. It is concluded that this lack of uniformity in presenting a key foundation element for the curriculum is a problem for social work education, and social work educators should give more attention to the introductory courses in the undergraduate curriculum.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons