The Helen Bader School of Social Welfare offers programs to educate students about social policies and programs, and to train them for beginning level practice in a variety of professional roles in social work and criminal justice. Its location in metropolitan Milwaukee gives students numerous opportunities to gain practical experience in social, health, educational, or criminal justice agencies.

Undergraduate majors in both social work and criminal justice & criminology lead to the Bachelor of Science degree, and are designed to prepare students for available entry-level positions in their respective fields. These programs also provide excellent preparation for graduate work.

The School also offers graduate programs at the master's degree level in both criminal justice and social work.

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice & Criminology, Social Work

Master of Science Criminal Justice & Criminology

Master of Social Work

Doctor of Philosophy Social Welfare

Departments and Programs

Graduate Admission Requirements

Each graduate program has admission requirements in addition to the general Graduate School admission requirements. Refer to Graduate Admissions and Cost for the graduate school’s admission requirements, and to the specific program for the program’s admission requirements.

Undergraduate Admission


Freshmen entering UWM who indicate an interest in criminal justice & criminology or social work are admitted directly into the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, and are designated criminal justice & criminology or social work majors.

Admission to the University does not guarantee enrollment in the social work major; a separate application will be required to advance in the major.

Transfer Students

Transfer students who transfer from outside UWM to criminal justice & criminology or social work become criminal justice & criminology or social work intended majors upon admission regardless of the number of credits they transfer. They can apply for admission to the major when they have at least junior standing and have completed one full-time semester or the equivalent at UWM. 

Second Bachelor's Degree Students

Second bachelor's degree students applying to the University who already hold one bachelor's degree and who wish to pursue a second degree in either criminal justice & criminology or social work are directly admitted and social work majors must submit a separate application to advance in the major. They must complete at least 30 credits at UWM beyond the credits that counted toward the first degree, and must satisfy the same degree and curriculum requirements as students working towards a first degree in the same major.

Special students in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and University special students are permitted to register in any undergraduate course offered by the School, provided they meet the stated prerequisites or are admitted to the course by the instructor.

Requirements for Employment, Licensing, or Professional Organizations

Effective October 1, 1998, changes in Chapters 48 (Children's Code) and 50 (Uniform Licensure) of the Wisconsin State Statutes make it a requirement for selected organizations to perform rigorous background checks of persons who provide care for vulnerable adults and children or who have access to people who receive such care.

The results of these background checks are intended to help employers and government officials in making employment and licensing decisions. The law affects anyone who is employed as a caregiver or who has access to clients within caregiving organizations, including students. The organizations required to perform these background checks are those that are regulated by the State Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS).

The law means that if you are going to train (including a field or clinical placement) or work in an agency providing care to vulnerable adults or children, and that agency is regulated by DHFS, a background check will be required of you. A background check may be required even if you do not have direct caregiving responsibilities to clients. Depending on the circumstances, a student may be disqualified from field placement in certain agencies as a result of this law. Students are responsible for obtaining the information necessary for them to become knowledgeable about these requirements and plan their studies accordingly.

Graduate Policies and Regulations

The Graduate School policies and regulations can be found at Graduate School Policies. Please refer to the specific program for program policies and regulations.

Undergraduate Policies and Regulations

Academic Regulations

For information on actions on unsatisfactory grades and honors for scholarship, see Academic Policies.

Semester Course Load

Registration for more than 18 credits in a given semester requires the advisor's permission. For students in the School's majors, this permission will be given upon advice of the appropriate program chair.

Change in Requirements

If curriculum requirements are changed after the student has been formally accepted in the major, the student is free to remain with the former requirements or to follow the new ones.


Tina Freiburger

Lisa Berger
Associate Dean

Dimitri Topitzes
Chair, Social Work Department

Amy Kirby
Coordinator, Graduate Social Work Program

Matt Steigerwald
Coordinator, Undergraduate Social Work Program

Danielle Romain Dagenhardt
Chair, Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology

Alyssa Sheeran
Coordinator, Graduate Criminal Justice & Criminology Program