Smith College created the School for Social Work in 1918 under the name Smith Psychiatric Training School. The School grew out of a summer program that prepared clinical social workers to address the burgeoning needs of World War I Veterans suffering from what was then called “shell shock”. With an incoming class of 60, the School grew quickly and was soon recognized as a leader in clinical social work. By the 1950s, the School had expanded its focus to include social work research, social welfare, interdisciplinary collaboration and international social work.
Today, SSW is recognized for its concentrated block curriculum and its focus on community-based clinical social work with unparalleled depth and rigor. Throughout the years, the nature of the coursework shifted alongside changing cultural, political and economic environments, but the School’s commitment to being a leader in clinical social work education has never wavered. Today, the Smith College School for Social Work is the premier clinical social work graduate school.