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School of Social Work

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VCU is a top 50 public research university, and our faculty are conducting high-impact, community-engaged  research focused on helping organizations and systems become more equitable and better prepared to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities.

At the School of Social Work, our research is well aligned with the strategic priorities of Virginia Commonwealth University and is focused on enriching the human experience, achieving a just and equitable society, and optimizing health.


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One of only 71 universities designated as both “Community Engaged” and with “Very High Research Activity” *


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$1 million+ in external sponsored programs **

Our research vision

To build socially just communities by working together to increase knowledge that shapes innovative solutions and to generate new knowledge and conduct engaged research that strengthens individuals, families, communities and systems.

Making connections

Multidisciplinary research collaborations at VCU involve departments and schools throughout the university and engage local, state, national and international partners around the world. Many of our research projects, which are funded by federal, state, local and foundation sources, involve individuals and organizations across Richmond, the U.S. and the world.

By partnering with a wide range of collaborators and field sites, our faculty members find that they begin to think in different ways and gain new perspectives on their work.

How we shape the future of our field

Our school's faculty engage in high-impact research that is focused on optimizing health, well-being and social justice across the life span for a variety of populations. Research topics cover a broad spectrum that includes child well-being, mental health and substance use, neurobiology, health and behavioral health services and treatments, and international populations.

Whether they are creating new knowledge, evaluating practice or studying the impact of policy, our faculty members ask critical questions to address the most important social justice issues of our time.

Our faculty are a diverse body of educators and researchers working to dismantle inequitable systems, empower individuals and communities, and promote caring solutions to practical, pressing issues in our society.”

Beth Angell (she/her), Ph.D., dean and professor

Contact us

For questions about VCU School of Social Work’s research, please contact Jaime Petrasek, director of research administration, at

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