History of the National Catholic School of Social Service

The National Catholic School of Social Service was founded in 1918 under the sponsorship of the National Catholic Welfare Conference to train Catholic women for diocesan social service programs and was officially named when it became a two-year graduate school. An autonomous educational institution until 1923, the school then became affiliated with The Catholic University of America.  The University established its own school of social work to train priests, religious, and lay men in 1934. In 1947, the men’s and women’s schools merged and have continued as the National Catholic School of Social Service of The Catholic University of America ever since.

Education toward the master’s degree was the primary mission of NCSSS at its inception, but additional degree programs have been subsequently established.  The doctoral program, established in 1934, is the third oldest social work doctoral program in the world. An undergraduate degree program was established in 1969 through the university’s School of Arts and Sciences.  Since 1996, NCSSS has collaborated with Metropolitan School of Professional Studies to encourage the non-traditional undergraduate student to pursue social work.

Today the school trains social workers within a framework of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, and is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.  The school has more than 6,800 alumni working throughout the world in many fields, including child welfare, gerontology, family preservation, health and mental health, social policy, social justice and social work education.