Silver School of Social Work, New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Essential Abilities and Attributes for Social Work Students

Students in the New York University Silver School of Social Work are expected to possess the following abilities and attributes at a level appropriate to their year in the program. These physical, cognitive, emotional, and character requirements provide reasonable assurance that students can complete the entire course of study and participate fully in all aspects of social work education and practice. Students are expected to meet these standards in the classroom, in their practicums, and elsewhere. Attention to these standards will be part of evaluations made by faculty members during the student’s course of study. Acquisition of competence as a social worker is a lengthy and complex process that will be undermined by significant limitations of the student’s ability to participate in the full spectrum of the experiences and the requirements of the curriculum.

Motor Abilities

Social work students need to have sufficient motor abilities to attend class and practicum placement with or without technical accommodation. Reasonable accommodation through technology for limitations in motor abilities will be allowed. The Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students with Disabilities should be consulted regarding reasonable accommodations.

Sensory Abilities

Social work students need to have the ability through their senses to participate in classes and practicum placement and to acquire and integrate data through the use of their senses with or without technical accommodation. Reasonable accommodation through technology for limitations in sensory abilities will be allowed. The Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students with Disabilities should be consulted regarding reasonable accommodations.

Communication Skills

Social work students need to communicate effectively with other students, faculty members, staff, clients, and other professionals. Students should be able to express their ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to listen to others. They must have sufficient skills in spoken and written English to understand program content.

Professional Commitment

Social work students need to possess a commitment to the values and ethical standards of professional social work. They are expected to be knowledgeable about and adhere to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.

Knowledge Base of Social Work Practice

Social work students need to recognize the distinctive components of the biopsychosocial perspective of social work practice and social work methodologies. They are expected to use this knowledge in guiding their work with clients and other professionals.

Self-Awareness

Social work students need to know how their values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and past experiences affect their thinking, behavior, and relationships. Students must be willing to examine and change their behavior when it interferes with working with clients and other collaborative professional relationships.

Empathy

Empathy: Social work students need to comprehend another individual’s way of life and values. They must be able to communicate this empathy and support to the client as a basis for a productive professional relationship.

Objectivity

Social work students need to be objective in systematically evaluating clients and their situations. Valuing Diversity: Social work students need to appreciate and value human diversity. They must serve in an appropriate manner all persons in need of assistance, regardless of the person’s age, class, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender and its expression, ability, sexual orientation, and value system.

Interpersonal Skills

Social work students need to demonstrate the interpersonal skills to relate effectively and sensitively to students, faculty members, staff, clients, and other professionals. Leadership: Social work students need to show initiative in making professional contributions in their practice setting.

Self-Care

Social work students need to recognize the signs of stress, develop appropriate means of self-care, and seek supportive resources, if necessary. Professional Behavior: Social work students need to behave professionally by knowing and practicing within the scope of social work, adhering to the Code of Ethics, respecting others, being punctual and dependable, prioritizing responsibilities, and completing assignments on time.


Essential abilities for social work students