Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Ram Cnaan

Third Advisor

Peter Szto


Religion has been a universal dynamic which has unified, divided, and motivated human beings from the beginning of time. The profession of social work was birthed from the momentum produced from the impact of religion on society in the United States, propelling volunteers to pursue societal change and to better humanity. Transforming historical trends in the political, psychological, and theological realms moved the profession of social work from the auspice of the religious to the secular and from the volunteer to the professional. Social work education developed out of religious motivation and soon divided into baccalaureate and masters level education with a very clear secular tone. In response, a historic Bible college in the evangelical Christian tradition pursues “Bible Social Work” and is the first school of its kind to gain baccalaureate social work accreditation. This study explores the motivation of students and alumni to choose a social work education that combines both Bible and social work. This study also explores the nature of difference between current social work students and alumni in their spiritual development. Findings, limitations, and areas for further study are discussed. The implications for this study seek to influence social work education to validate religious conviction as a legitimate strength and motivating factor in the pursuit of a social work education.

Included in

Social Work Commons