Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Kari L. Fletcher


Social Work


Research has suggested there is a gap between how social workers understand social justice and how they incorporate it into practice. Therefore, this review examined studies that targeted change in social work students’ social justice practice behaviors. Ten studies examined the effect of social work education from entry to graduation by collecting pre and post-test program data. The remaining studies examined the effect of a particular course. Finally, 55 social justice competencies from learning outcome reports were reviewed to gain greater understanding of MSW social justice practice behaviors. Findings suggest the majority of accredited schools of social work report students demonstrate mastery of social justice competency. Characteristics of effective social justice learning interventions included the learning environment, use of small group discussions, and instructor-led reflections that promoted sharing of beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions of social justice content. Suggestions for further research on how social justice competency is operationalized and assessed in social work education are discussed.

Included in

Social Work Commons