The City University of New York is a network of public institutions of higher learning located in the five boroughs of New York City. With nearly 500,000 students, it ranks third-largest among college systems in the United States as of 2011. While the system as a whole includes 11 senior colleges out of a network of 23 institutions, only five of schools offer degrees in social work. These include Hunter, York and Lehman Colleges, the College of Staten Island and Medgar Evers College.

Hunter College

Manhattan's Upper East Side is home to Hunter College, CUNY's largest institution, founded in 1870 by social reformer Thomas Hunter to provide teacher training for women. The Hunter College School of Social Work broke ground on the Lois V. and Samuel J. Silberman School of Social Work in East Harlem in November 2009. The school offers a master's degree, post-master's program and doctorate in social work, all including fieldwork in New York City agencies. All programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

CUNY York College

Located in Jamaica, Queens, CUNY York College was established in 1966 and was the first college created as part of the CUNY system. Its baccalaureate in social work is offered through the Social Sciences division of its Health and Behavioral Sciences programs. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the undergraduate degree readies students to enter professional practice with a generalist education or to further their education in graduate school, and includes supervised field work in New York City agencies in addition to classroom study.

Lehman College

The Bronx's Lehman College got its start in 1931 as a campus of Hunter College and became independent in 1968. The school is named for former New York Gov. and U.S. Sen. Herbert Lehman. Its Department of Social Work offers a bachelor of arts in social work or a master's of social work, both fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. At the undergraduate level, the program prepares professional generalists for entry-level professional positions. At the master's degree level, the program offers an advanced generalist degree suitable for professional practice and leadership positions.

College of Staten Island

Founded in 1976 when Richmond College merged with Staten Island Community College, the College of Staten Island's Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work grants a bachelor of arts degree in social work. The degree is designed to prepare professional generalists to enter the work force in fields serving diverse populations including children, families, persons with disabilities, the elderly and incarcerated individuals. The degree also is designed to prepare students for graduate study in the field.

Medgar Evers College

Established in Brooklyn in 1969, Medger Evers College was named for the famed civil rights activist and leader. Its School of Liberal Arts and Eduction grants a bachelor of science in social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and designed to prepare generalists for entry into professional service. Within the program, which builds on a liberal arts foundation, three areas of special focus include child welfare, gerontology and substance abuse. In addition to entry-level professional positions, the baccalaureate serves as preparation for graduate study in the field.