Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


Although extensively researched over the last twenty years, financial literacy is yet to make its way into mainstream social work curricula. This is puzzling because social workers, in general, work with a clientele that consists predominantly of poor and low-income populations. The profession of social work has the unique opportunity to equip its members with tools to educate and assist clients around topics of personal finance and financial insecurity. Using a purposive sampling method, this study explored the need for a financial literacy course as part of the social work curriculum among 102 undergraduate and graduate students in a large, urban university in the western region of the United States. More specifically, this study compared financial literacy to four known social work elective courses: child welfare, gerontology, addiction / substance use, and family violence. Descriptive statistics revealed that, overall, financial literacy is the second most attractive area, behind child welfare and ahead of addiction or substance use, family violence, and gerontology. This study concludes by discussing the implications of its finding for research, practice and social work education.

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