About Us

Department of Social Work Mission

The Department’s mission is to foster the development of knowledge, values, and skills necessary to understand and positively influence the human condition.  Through a rich selection of courses in Social Work, we create a learning environment that challenges students to think critically about our social world, and to seek creative solutions to human problems.  We offer a welcoming and supportive environment that intentionally engages students in the community, and prepares them for both professional employment and graduate study.


What We Offer

Northern Michigan University’s Social Work Department offers a major in social work and a minor in social welfare. We also work with students to design individually created programs (ICPs), which use our offerings to meet student learning goals. As you consider your academic and career future, we hope you will take some of the wonderfully rich courses offered by the department, even if you choose to major or minor in other areas. 

There is often confusion about the difference between sociology and social work.  Talking in generalizations can be risky, but we can make some general distinctions between the two areas. For more information on sociology please visit the sociology website.


  • Social Work: Social work has an applied focus. Social workers may be policy makers and planners at many levels. More often, however, they are practicing social work by assisting individuals, families or communities with problems. 
  • Sociology: Sociological work is generally less applied, though it often involves the study of problems and rarely involves one-on-one work with individuals.