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UNC School of Social Work ranked No. 4 best graduate school for social work in the nation 

Tied for No. 2 public, No. 4 overall, UNC School of Social Work is recognized alongside a score of Carolina programs ranked Top 10 in the nation in their respective categories by the magazine.  

Months after being ranked fourth in national research and development (R&D) expenditures among R1 higher education institutions, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work earned another No. 4 ranking today.  

The School of Social Work moved up three spots in the latest U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools” rankings, rising to a tie for fourth in the nation among the 319 surveyed social work schools accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education.  

The School ranked No. 1 among schools of social work across the Southeast and tied for second nationally among public universities. 

Dean Ramona Denby-Brinson said being ranked second among all public university social work programs was especially meaningful due to the school’s responsibility to serve local, national and global communities. 

“Our new national ranking is exciting news,” Denby-Brinson said. “Among many measures of success, the ranking recognizes the tremendous contributions of our faculty and staff. Our MSW (Master of Social Work) program is preparing practitioners, researchers and advocates who improve life for thousands of people each day. We are honored to be recognized by our peers for the excellence displayed by our faculty in all they do.” 

Executive Vice Provost Amy Locklear Hertel, a clinical assistant professor at the School, said “The UNC School of Social Work is a true asset on campus, to our state, and the globe. By drawing our attention to pressing issues of our most vulnerable populations, to developing strong communities and systems, to informing policy as well as practice, the UNC School of Social Work is preparing social service practitioners and researchers to fully ‘advance equity, transform systems, and improves lives’ — just as the School’s mission states.” 

She went on to say, “It is an honor to be a clinical faculty member in the School.” 

Since arriving at the School as dean in August 2021, Denby-Brinson worked closely with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners to establish a strategic plan that helped to elevate the graduate programs, modernize the curriculum, and increase student enrollment by providing access and flexible degree offerings while using advanced learning modalities and proven pedagogical tools.  

“Our graduates are prepared to work with individuals, families and communities to solve complex problems,” Denby-Brinson said. “The practice approaches that we teach derive from the impactful research produced by our faculty. We have a strong faculty, and they are tackling entrenched issues and devising real world solutions.” 

“I’m delighted to hear this news, and to note that the School has consistently ranked in the Top 10 since 1997,” said Dean Emeritus Jack Richman.

The latest rankings were compiled based on peer assessments from administrators, deans and faculty of accredited degree programs and are compiled on a scale of one (marginal) to five (outstanding). The surveys were sent in fall 2023 and early 2024. 

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