Social Work and Criminal Justice

The Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice at Olivet provides students with the preparation they need to be an influence for Christ in their communities, states, countries and the world. At Olivet, students learn and experience how to address issues with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and systems. They gain the knowledge they need to serve and succeed in their careers.

Police officer as a guest speaker in a class

About the Degree

For Olivet students, the distinguishing difference of an education in social work or criminal justice is the integration of faith. Both programs discuss and explore how personal faith influences professional practice. The historical and traditional influence of biblical and religious principles is considered and discussed relative to service, establishment and adjudication of law, and with respect to diversity.

What I appreciated most about Olivet is the one-on-one from professors. I was very well-prepared to transition into my Master’s program.
Detail photo of Burke Administration Building
Smiling female student
Group of students conversing in front of Birchard Gymnasium


Areas of Study Within the Department

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Recognized Excellence

Olivet’s programs follow the standards set by professional organizations for both social work and criminal justice: Council of Social Work Education (CSWE); National Association of Social Workers (NASW); and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). CSWE has reaffirmed the program’s accreditation through 2024.

Students sitting in the Quad

Practical Experience

As they gain knowledge, students have many opportunities to use what they learn and practice their skills. Each year, Olivet students invest more than 20,000 clock hours serving with various agencies. They have the opportunity to prepare and present their research projects at national conferences, such as the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW).

Opportunities Abound

Social Work and Criminal Justice majors can take advantage of learning experiences outside the classroom such as Advocacy Day in Springfield, the Roaring Tigers ROTC program, social justice club and ride-alongs with local law enforcement.


Chair, Social Work & Criminal Justice Department

Hillary Cole

Hillary Cole is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, department chair and a professor for Olivet social work and criminal justice. She is passionate about helping social work students learn to understand and appreciate, effectively asses, and appropriately incorporate client spirituality into their every-day practice.

Social Work & Criminal Justice Faculty

Headshot of Shelly Stroud

I continually witness the change & transformation of our students as they mature here.

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