The exterior of the NYU Silver Center for Arts and Science building, home to some of the interesting classes in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies minor.


NYU was founded to be “metropolitan in character, democratic in spirit,” and responsive to the needs of the rapidly evolving New York City population. Today, these themes are still at the core of NYU. And they have led the university to develop 10 distinct undergraduate schools and colleges in New York City, degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and 12 additional global academic centers and programs in cities around the world. NYU’s urban spirit is fundamental to the student experience. For example, at NYU, professors are experts in their fields who are tapped into local networks; courses take advantage of the opportunities and interact with the city culture; and internships are right around the corner.

We understand it is the people who live there that make cities great. Therefore, being connected to our communities is fundamental to the University’s growth. What’s more, as people struggle in response to global turbulence, it is critical to help them overcome challenges. Social work can be a lifeline for those in need of healing. And the NYU Silver School of Social Work empowers students to make a difference as they gain a degree with broad applications

NYU Silver’s undergraduate programs teach you how to advocate for people of all backgrounds and facilitate positive change. The curriculum features experiential learning that immerses you in real situations. It also includes training in human behavior, interpersonal communication, antiracist practice, and social justice, which can translate to almost any field. Read more below about how NYU Silver’s undergraduate degree program and fieldwork opportunities can prepare you for a meaningful career.

A student taking notes in class.
A professor pointing to written notes on a chalkboard.

An Engaging Curriculum

NYU Silver focuses on elevating lives by promoting human compassion and the advancement of social justice. Silver’s approach to social work education pairs data-driven research with direct practice. This fosters making connections, solving problems, becoming a leader, advocating for human rights, and championing social and economic justice.

NYU has the reach and opportunities of a large school, but Silver’s classes stay small. “We have 15 to 20 people in a class. And we actually get to interact with the professors rather than being in a lecture hall full of hundreds of people,” says alum Maria Romero. “I knew my classmates and my professors well. I always wanted to pay attention, and I really learned things.” These smaller classes offer a more interactive and engaging learning experience where discussion can unfold naturally.

Along with the undergraduate major in Social Work, NYU Silver offers the Global Public Health and Social Work dual major. Students examine timely topics like living with HIV, social welfare policy, and depressive disorders with faculty members such as Cora de Leon, Deborah Padgett, and Peggy Morton. Students also have the option to take advantage of two minors: Inequality Studies and Multifaith and Spiritual Leadership.

In addition, NYU Silver is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Therefore, the community is a safe place that welcomes students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds and encourages collaboration. What’s more, the social work curriculum weaves in courses and seminars that promote belonging and understanding, which can benefit students in all aspects of their lives.

Apply Classroom Learning Through Fieldwork

Silver students can conduct fieldwork through multiple placements at New York City agencies that include:

  • City University of New York (CUNY) Service Corps, where students improve New York City’s civic, economic, and environmental sustainability
  • Federal Defenders of New York, an agency that defends people charged with federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney
  • Henry Street Settlement, which supports Lower East Side residents through social services, arts, and health-care programs
  • International High School, which helps students who recently immigrated to the United States thrive in their new learning environments

These are just four of the 400-plus organizations NYU Silver can link students to. Through partnerships with agencies like these, students gain direct, invaluable work experience to draw on in their future careers. In fact, nearly 96 percent of the NYU Silver Class of 2021 was employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within six months of graduation.

Two students talking in class.

A Growth-Focused Education

In addition to fieldwork, NYU Silver’s undergraduate program offers many courses designed to help students make a positive impact on people’s lives. The classes listed below are just a few on offer that orient students toward a bias-free, experience-based practice.

  • Diversity, Racism, Oppression, and Privilege: This course deepens students’ understanding of race, ethnicity, class, gender and culture as well as prejudice, discrimination, oppression, stigma, and stereotyping. By creating awareness and promoting acceptance, this class prepares students to work with people from all backgrounds.
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment: This course focuses on the transactional relationship between human behavior and pertinent psychological, social, biological, economic, culture, environmental, and institutional forces.
  • Society and Social Welfare: This course provides an overview of the social work profession. It orients students to social work’s value system and goals and examines the various professional modalities of working with individuals, families, groups, and communities.

Courses like these help prepare students for fulfilling careers. Students can also complete internships and participate in other professional development initiatives. For example, NYU Silver alum Frank Harvey Laskowitz interned at AHRC New York City. “My field internship inspired the greatest transformation I’d ever undergone,” he says. “It allowed me to perceive things through a social work lens for the first time and actually make a difference.”

What’s more, alum Malcolm Variano says, “At NYU Silver, I’ve been pushed to reconsider the world I’ve always lived in but have only just begun to learn about through the lens of social justice and service. My social work education continues to be a challenging and invigorating process that I’m grateful for daily.”

Related Stories

Want to learn more about the student experience at NYU? Meet NYU is your main source. Start by learning more about what careers you can pursue with an NYU Silver Social Work degree. Don’t forget to read these articles about why Silver’s minors are worth considering and how science drives social work. And to learn more about Silver alum Frank’s success story, check out this profile piece.