The field of social work is a popular choice for students who want to make a difference in other people’s lives. A major in social work prepares you to work in this field by exposing you to the study of mental health, social issues and counseling for individuals and groups.

The classes for a social work major revolve around public service and include studying topics such as alcohol and drug addiction, behavior and social environment, child welfare, gender issues, human diversity and social welfare policy. Students learn how to handle scenarios pertaining to substance abuse, racial inequalities, poverty, and homelessness.  Graduates with a degree in social work find positions at various government, private and not-for-profit organizations assisting the public with human rights and public service issues.

Social work programs at these top universities are highly ranked due to their excellent student outcomes. These colleges have low student-to-faculty ratios, high graduation rates and low student loan default rates, showing that students are actually able to find jobs after graduation. Many of these universities also have graduate programs available, allowing undergraduate students unique research opportunities.

Note: This is a ranking for undergraduate programs only. Many students choose to continue their education to receive a master’s in social work or a related field to further expand their career opportunities. Read more about the methodology behind the ranking here. Salary data is provided by Payscale.

Click here for a list of the Top 10 U.S. Colleges for Social Work Majors: The top 10 U.S. colleges for a major in social work — USA TODAY College