School of Social Sciences

Community Oriented.

Justice forward.

Through the post-graduation efforts of our alumni, Avila’s School of Social Sciences has established a reputation for excellence in the Kansas City region and beyond. Learn how a Social Work or Criminology & Social Justice degree from Avila will give you the opportunity to have a rewarding and satisfying job helping others improve their lives, their families, and their communities!  

Group of young adults, including social work majors, volunteering at a food pantry

Department of Social Work

Students graduating with an Avila Social Work degree are immediately eligible to become licensed Social Work professionals who affect change in the feelings, attitudes and behaviors of a client, whether an individual, family, group, organization or community.

Department of Social Work Home Page >>

Statue of lady justice is representative of criminology and justice studies.

Department of Criminology & Justice Studies

The Criminology & Justice Studies major at Avila University encompasses the scientific study of crime, the criminal justice system, crime prevention, offenders, and victims of crime. 

Department of Criminology & Justice Studies Home Page >>

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Criminology

“I have always been passionate about helping kids, which was what drove to the social work major. When I saw the Avila Social Work program, I knew it was perfect for me.”

Kori Witherspoon / ’15, BSW


Debra Olson-Morrison, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, RPT-S , Chair, School of Social Sciences; Program Director & Assistant Professor, Social Work
E: debra.olson-morrison

Why are the Social Sciences Important?

Without braggadocio, the social sciences improve institutions and the systems that impact lives each and every day. Social work, criminology, and social justice studies help us understand political parties, polarization, social networks, and the workings of government agencies. The social sciences challenge the status quo and the prevailing understandings to better evaluate and improve our world. Equally impactful, social science majors develop a better understanding of how to effectively engage agencies and systems for the betterment of our society.

No one asks the question, “why are the natural sciences important?” We recognize the importance of investigating, exploring, and understanding the physical world to improve lives. The COVID-19 vaccine is a perfect case in point. However, the actual prevention of disease, the adoption of new and improved systems, including the management of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination requires an understanding of political institutions, public health systems, and policy. That’s where the importance of the social sciences comes into play. How we successfully influence policy, hold the government accountable, and improve our social systems is at the heart of social sciences majors.

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