Social Services, Academics | Earlham College
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Social Services

Students majoring in Social Services will gain skills that can be used in multiple careers. Earlham’s Social Services program will prepare ethical, culturally sensitive individuals who can pursue a variety of careers in counseling, social work, human resources and other fields. Throughout the major, students gain a deep understanding of how people and systems affect one another. Students will gain policy skills and knowledge and graduate equipped to make meaningful change in the world no matter which career they choose.

In your first and second years, you will be introduced to the fields of social work, psychology and sociology. You will get an opportunity to conduct a case study on a child, assessing them throughout the semester. You will have a service-learning placement where you work in a facility serving adults with mental illness or cognitive disorders.

In your third and fourth years, you will learn counseling skills and will have a practicum in your senior year at a local agency. In your classes, you will learn ethically-grounded, culturally competent approaches to problem-solving.

You will have flexibility and numerous choices in fulfilling your upper-level competency courses. Students interested in health might take "Racism in Public Health." Students interested in child welfare might take "Foster Care in the U.S." We offer a wide range of courses not available at most colleges, including "Religion & Culture of Hip Hop" and "Cradle & Grave," among others.

Our Faculty

Marya Bower
Professor of Liberal Studies

Sayward Carolin-Salazar
Professional Partner for Social Services

Vince Punzo
Professor of Psychology

Rachael Reavis
Associate Professor of Psychology

Nora Taplin-Kaguru
Assistant Professor of Sociology/Anthropology

Maggie Thomas
Interim Dean of the College; Associate Professor of Experimental Social Psychology and Faculty Director of EPIC Programs

The Major

Complete nine required courses (29-30 credits):

  • SOSV 101 Introduction to Social Work (3 credits)
  • PSYC 115 Introduction to Psychological Perspectives (3 credits) OR
    PSYC 116 Behavior, Health Care and Society (4 credits)
  • SOAN 118 Inequalities, Power and Society (4 credits)
  • PSYC 220 Adult Psychopathology (3-4 credits)
  • PSYC 230 Human Development (3 credits)
  • PSYC 374 Counseling and Psychotherapy) (4 credits)
  • SOAN 345 Social Research Methods (4 credits)
  • SOSV 481 Internship Practicum (3 credits)
  • SOSV 488 Senior Capstone (3 credits)

Complete four competency courses:

  • Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice (one of the following courses):
    • AAAS 230/REL 230 History of African American Religious Experience
    • AAAS 299/REL 299 Religion & Culture of Hip Hop
    • AAAS 305/HIST 305 History of New Orleans
    • AAAS 309/ENG 209/REL 209 Prophetic Black Women
    • AAAS 354 The Black Middle Class
    • EDUC 302 Disability Studies
    • HIST 141 History of California
    • HIST 204/JWST 204/REL 204 The New Promised Land
    • POLS 303/PAGS 303/REL 303 Human Rights in the Muslim World
    • PSYC 344 Psychology of Gender
    • PSYC 362 Cross-Cultural Psychology
    • PSYC 368 Human Sexuality
    • SOAN 355 Social Construction of Aging
    • SOAN 365 Women’s Gender & Sexuality
    • SPAN 346 Hispanic Cultures in the U.S. [topic varies & is taught in Spanish]
  • Advance Human Rights & Social, Economic, & Environmental Justice (one of the following courses):
    • AAAS 330/PAGS 330/REL 330 Mass Incarceration & Moral Vision
    • AAAS 356/HIST 356 (The Civil Rights Movement)
    • ENSU 141 Environment, Society, & Sustainability
    • ENSU 323 Environmental Ethics
    • HIST 351/PAGS 351 Workplace Justice
    • PSYC 356 Psychology of Prejudice
    • SPAN 202 Spanish for Social Justice) [topic varies & is taught in Spanish]
    • WGSS 3XX Sexual Violence & Social Context
  • Engage in Policy Practice (one of the following courses):
    • AAAS 340/PSYC 340 (Racism & Public Health)
    • EDUC 101 Introduction to Public Health
    • ENSU 322/POLS 322 Climate Policy
    • HIST 306/PAGS 306 History of Union Organizing
    • PHIL 363/ENST 363 Bioethics
    • POLS 121 Introduction to American Politics & Policy
    • PSYC 375 Foster Care in the United States
    • SOAN 333/PAGS 333 Medical Anthropology & Global Health
    • SOAN 335 Health, Medicine, & Society
  • Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, & Communities (one of the following courses):
    • MGMT 342 Leadership & Dealing with Difference
    • PAGS 343/MGMT 343 Conflict Resolution
    • PSYC 210 Social Psychology
    • PSYC 363 Developmental Psychopathology
    • PSYC 366 Cradle & Grave
    • PSYC 378 Psychoactive Drugs & Behavior
    • SOAN 140 Urban Sociology
    • SOAN 3XX The Family, Social Welfare, & Society

Complete at least 2 of the competency courses at the 300-level. Competency courses must be taken across at least two departments.

Total requirement: 13 courses (41-46 credits).


The course will introduce students to the many roles social workers play in the U.S. Students will be introduced to social work practice and will discuss issues of diversity, social justice and oppression. They will learn about strengths-based, culturally competent approaches to problem-solving as a social worker.

In conjunction with the Senior Capstone (SOSV 488), students will do an 8-hour per week internship with a local organization. Prerequisites: SOSV 101; senior standing or permission of instructor. Co-requisite is SOSV 488.

SOSV 488 SENIOR CAPSTONE (3 credits)
In this culminating course, students will receive off-site supervision of their internship experience from the instructor. Students will integrate their internship experiences with theory. Students will also learn from one another as they serve in their internship sites. Prerequisites: SOSV 101; senior standing or permission of instructor. Co-requisite is SOSV 481.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.