The College of Social Work was founded in 1955 by a religious society of Catholic Christian women, known as The Daughters of the Heart of Mary, whose charism is to readily respond to felt needs of the people according to the signs of the times. 

In the years following the independence of India, the founders discerned that the nation’s struggle for development would be served not so much by material relief as by sensitive social concern and insightful committed action. Accordingly the College was born to realize their dream. The Institute of Social Service Trust managed the College till 1978. Since 1978, the Nirmala Niketan Institute has become the parent body of the College.

The Institute awarded its own Diploma in Social Work, till 1965. The University of Bombay affiliated the course as PG Diploma since 1965 and then got it converted to the M.S.W. course in 1969 under the Faculty of Arts. Realizing the need to respond to professional interventions at different levels, the College also started its university recognized three year B.S.W. course in 1971. The courses are revised periodically in order to ensure that the educational content of the courses are relevant to the social reality of contemporary life.

The Government of Maharashtra recognized the College as a Catholic Christian Minority Institution in the year 1995.

The University recognized the College for registration of students for Ph.D. degree in Social Work from the year 1997.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) constituted by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, awarded the College the FIVE STAR status for its academic excellence in 2001. On 31st March 2007, the same body, after further inspection and appraisal re-accredited the College of Social Work at the A+ level with an Institutional Score of 93 per cent.

College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan is reaccredited (Third Cycle) by the National Accreditation and Assessment Cell (NAAC) with A Grade (3.53 CGPA out of 4) in May 2015.