NCSSS faculty and students show their school pride.

It’s been a banner year for the University’s National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS), which is rated favorably on not one, not two, but five college rankings.

The rankings include the Social Work Degree Guide’s Top 25 Christian Colleges for a Social Work Degree Program 2015 in which NCSSS was rated the #1 Catholic college and the #2 Christian college nationwide.

NCSSS also was ranked fourth out of the top 20 best online master’s in social work programs by BestColleges.com, 25th out of the top 50 master’s programs by College Choice, 47th out of 50 graduate school programs by US News & World Report, and 16th out of 31 social work and social welfare graduate programs by Princeton Review's Gourman Report of Graduate Programs.

“This huge success is because of the teaching, scholarship, and service of our faculty who come from the top schools of social work in the country,” says William Rainford, dean of NCSSS. “Their research is published in the most prestigious journals and impacts society’s biggest problems — poverty, domestic violence, and recovery from trauma and addiction among others.”

The Social Work Degree Guide based its ranking on five factors: average tuition, return on investment, student-to-faculty ratio, accreditation, and religious coursework. The guide emphasizes small class sizes as one the greatest strengths of social work programs.

According to the guide, NCSSS students have “an unparalleled learning experience.” NCSSS is highlighted for its student-to-faculty ratio of 7–1. All of the school’s programs require students to participate in credited field work in their areas of interest. Students are paired with a faculty member who serves as their field work and curriculum advisor.

US News & World Report recognized NCSSS for its balance between social welfare policy, human behavior, ethics, and hands-on experience in clinical settings.
Four years ago NCSSS was ranked #52 by US News. “I told [University] President [John] Garvey when I was hired four years ago that NCSSS was going to break into the top 50 and we have,” Rainford says.

As part of its ranking process, US News looks at faculty activities and fellowships, and surveys deans and directors of social work programs. “Our faculty is well known among social work schools so I assume that’s why we moved up in the US News rankings.”

The dean notes that NCSSS will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018. “It’s my goal over the next four years as the school enters its second century to move it into the top 25 schools in the nation as ranked by US News.”