Responsible Conduct of Research

Research & Statistics

The CSWE organizational mission includes the charge to advocate for social work education and research. CSWE's strategic plan outlines the need for research to inform policy and practice and to serve the needs of CSWE member programs—their deans, directors, faculty members, and students. The CSWE Commission on Research (COR) and CSWE research staff work to serve that need. The COR developed research priorities with input from the CSWE commissions and councils to guide their work; they will report on progress periodically.

CSWE conducts research through surveys, the annual census of social work programs, and quality assurance measures for the Commission on Accreditation. Descriptions of the ongoing research efforts and reports on the results are available in this section. Contact the Institutional Research staff for more information about projects and data.

Research Updates

CSWE Member Surveys: Impact on Social Work Education

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, CSWE plans to continue its efforts to quickly and efficiently collect real-time data on the shifting landscape of social work education. CSWE has been conducting “pulse” surveys of members each semester to better understand how social work education programs in the United States are being affected.

Special resource for CSWE members: Accredited social work programs have value not only to the students seeking quality education and a career in social work. Accredited programs also have value for colleges and universities that provide that education. CSWE members can download a 1-page highlight here.

Spring 2021: As COVID-19 continued to force higher education institutions in the United States to make adjustments and alter their operations in spring 2021, CSWE collected additional real-time data on the shifting landscape of social work education in the United States. The spring 2021 pulse survey was launched on March 10, 2021. Focuses of the survey were field placements and collecting innovative ideas to minimize the impact on students, as well as applications, enrollment, staffing, budget concerns, and student and faculty/staff member well-being. More than 260 unique institutions responded to the survey, representing 226 baccalaureate programs, 130 master's programs, 10 practice doctorate programs, and 23 research doctorate programs. A reference copy of the spring 2021 survey is available here. You can access the brief here.

Fall 2020: Respondents were asked to identify how their programs were being administered in the fall 2020 semester and whether this was different from how they traditionally administered the program. E-mail invitations were sent in early September to program representatives from all CSWE-accredited baccalaureate and master’s social work programs and to primary contacts for the practice doctorate and research doctorate program sections for the CSWE Annual Survey of Social Work Programs. More than 250 unique institutions responded to the survey, representing 214 baccalaureate programs, 131 master’s programs, nine practice doctorate programs, and 22 research doctorate programs. Access the brief here.

Spring 2020: A short pulse survey was administered in March 2020, as institutions were first experiencing the impacts of the pandemic, to better understand how CSWE's members were being affected. A short brief with the results is available here.

CSWE/GADE Report on the Current Landscape of Doctoral Education in Social Work

More social work students are pursuing doctoral degrees today compared to 5 years ago. This report paints a picture of practice doctorate and research doctorate programs by highlighting trends in enrollment, degrees conferred, student demographics, program offerings, students' goals for completing the degrees, and more. The data also show a steady increase in the number of practice and research doctorate programs being offered over the last 5 years. Read the report for more insights.

2020 CSWE Annual Survey

The Annual Survey of Social Work Programs collects information about social work programs, students, graduates, and faculty members. This information is used by the social work education community in research, program planning, and advocacy work. This year the data will become particularly helpful in determining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on enrollment, degree conferral, and staffing levels.

The data collection instrument for the 2020 Annual Survey was sent to the primary contacts of all CSWE-accredited programs and contacts for practice doctorate and research doctorate programs on December 16, 2020. The data submitted were based on the 2019–2020 academic year except for enrollment data, which were based on fall 2020. Data collection closed on Friday, March 5, 2021. Data will be reported in late summer 2021.

A reference copy of the 2020 survey with instructions and definitions can be found here.
Please direct any questions to the Research team at [email protected].

New Report: 2019 Annual Statistics on Social Work Education in the United States

The 2019 Annual Statistics on Social Work Education in the United States report includes the most comprehensive and current information on the state of social work education and is used to inform policy decisions, identify issues and trends, and assist in social work education research. The summary report provides a broad picture of social work programs and their offerings, including 

  • students and graduates at all levels, 
  • enrollment numbers,
  • degree conferral rates, and 
  • graduate loan debt information. 

Data collection for the 2019 Annual Survey began on November 21, 2019, and closed in February 2020.   

New Brief: Social Work Student Perceptions: Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Educational Experience and Goals 

CSWE presents research that shows that more than nine in 10 social work students whose in-person classes moved online during the spring 2020 semester would be interested in returning to the classroom. The survey, conducted in partnership with faculty members from the California State University, Sacramento, Division of Social Work, showed the impact on students when social work education moved online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also gathered information about students' intentions to enroll in fall 2020 courses in different scenarios and how students had been personally affected by the pandemic.

Specifically, the results show that 91.1% of students who had face-to-face classes in the spring would re enroll in face-to-face classes in the fall if offered by their programs.

Access the full brief here.

2015 State of Field Education Survey

Read a final report of findings on the 2015 State of Field Education Survey from the CSWE Council on Field Education. The first publication from this survey was an executive summary released in 2015. The final report provides additional analysis with a focus on field directors.

National Workforce Initiative

In 2015 the Leadership Round table launched a national social work workforce study encompassing all levels and fields of practice. The George Washington University Health Workforce Institute has produced three products:  Profile of the Social Work Workforce  and reports on graduates from 2017 and 2018. Read more about the workforce study here.