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Global Engagement

UNC School of Social Work is engaged with partner institutions globally to address social issues around the world. We share this commitment with our academic home, UNC-Chapel Hill.

This University-wide commitment to global engagement provides our School with unique opportunities. For example, in 2019, several of our faculty members traveled to the Galapagos Islands of Equador, where our University hosts a Center for Galapagos Studies. Many people think of these islands as a tourism hotspot filled with environmental diversity. Our faculty members learned about a different aspect of these islands — above-average rates of domestic violence — and are exploring ways we can share our professional expertise to address this critical issue.

Faculty Collaborations

Our faculty welcomes opportunities to engage with colleagues around the world to address social work issues through education, research, and field programs. Several of our faculty members have lectured at colleges and universities in Asia, and our School has hosted visiting faculty here. Other faculty members have collaborated with peers at other universities to conduct research, develop interventions, and evaluate outcomes.

Faculty listings within our School’s online directory include information about each faculty member’s research interests, project awards, recent publications, and other background. We encourage you to use our directory to identify faculty members with whom you may choose to collaborate.


The Global Social Development Innovations research center is part of our School and is focused on the intersections of social, economic, and health issues in low-resource countries. Director Gina Chowa, Rainier Masa, and David Ansong have led research activities conducted by the center in Ghana, Kenya, India, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia.

As part of its public and professional outreach, GSDI sponsors the Michael Sherraden Lecture Series, which brings influential and original thinkers from around the world to showcase scholarship in social development research, policy, and practice.

Visit the GSDI website for more information.

Study Abroad

Opportunities for students to study abroad through our School vary from year to year. These opportunities are often linked to a particular educational partnership between our School and a school of social work (or related field) in another country and may not be available every year.

In past years, our study abroad program participants have traveled to China, Costa Rica, Cuba, England, eastern Europe, Honduras, India, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Sweden. Some of these trips have focused on social welfare issues in different societies and cultures. In general, these trips have been short term (1–3 weeks).

Other trips have focused on a particular area of research and have been open to doctoral students who were engaged in that research.

Currently, our School is developing a MSW exchange program with Australian Catholic University, which has several campuses throughout Australia. This program will include both coursework and field education.

Additional Opportunities

UNC-Chapel Hill actively promotes global engagement on every level. In 2019, our University ranked fifth among the Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing universities. Funding is available for graduate students who want to pursue studies internationally through a variety of different programs. These include the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships and the Boren Fellowships (both emphasizing language studies), the Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship (emphasizing civic engagement in South Asia), and the Ronald W. Hyatt Rotary Public Service Award (emphasizing innovative public service projects), among others.

These and other fellowships for graduate students pursuing studies internationally are administered by other units within our University. Visit UNC Global’s website for details about these funding opportunities.



Gina Chowa, Associate Dean for Global Engagement, 919-843-8453