Journal of Human Rights and Social Work

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 169–178 | Cite as

Creating a Human Rights Culture in a Master’s in Social Work Program

  • Sarah Richards-DesaiEmail author
  • Filomena Critelli
  • Patricia Logan-Greene
  • Elizabeth Borngraber
  • Elyse Heagle


Social workers have been grappling with social, economic, and political issues relating to human rights since the profession’s inception. It is only recently that there has been explicit recognition of human rights as core principles on which work toward social justice rests. Throughout the world, human rights are considered to be a common benchmark of basic achievement for all peoples and nations. Human rights establish a set of well-defined and accessible principles and standards for social work. They can form the basis of a comprehensive approach to social work practice and increase universality of the profession by creating a clear standard of principles to guide practice and theory. An increasing number of scholars and practitioners in the USA have articulated a convincing case regarding the fit between social work values and human rights principles and the ways in which such principles have relevance to every level of social work theory and practice.


Human rights curriculum Student engagement with human rights Student exposure to human rights Master of Social Work student curriculum Human rights education Implicit curriculum 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Approval by the relevant Institutional Review Board was obtained for all study procedures. A consent letter detailing the study and limits of participation, along with directions for study completion and contact information for the investigators, was attached to the beginning of the electronic survey form. Participants in the qualitative interviews were engaged in a consent process and signed consent documents prior to participating in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University at Buffalo School of Social WorkBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.University at Buffalo School of Social WorkAmherstUSA
  3. 3.University at Buffalo School of Social WorkAmherstUSA
  4. 4.University at Buffalo School of Social WorkBuffaloUSA

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