Social Work (B.S.W.)
It is the purpose of the Department of Social Work to prepare students for entry-level, generalist practice for service to individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities. This preparation includes an emphasis on personal, spiritual, and professional introspection and growth through a liberal arts foundation and core curriculum of social work values, ethics, knowledge, and skills. This prepares students to: meet the changing need of clients; be advocates for under served populations; promote a global perspective; promote social and economic justice; advance human rights; promote the elimination of poverty; and improve conditions for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, and physical or mental capability. The core curriculum and field education provide students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to assess, plan, intervene, evaluate, and terminate service to diverse populations within the micro, mezzo, and macro systems.
The social work program is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.
Council on Social Work Education
1701 Duke Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314-3457
Phone: + 1.703.683.8080
Fax: + 1.703.683.8099
High School Preparation
High school students who anticipate entering the field of social work should take as many college preparation courses as possible. Courses in the social sciences and those relating to marriage and family and to the problems of society will be helpful, as well as basic computer courses designed to enhance student software application skills. At least two years of foreign language is encouraged.
Application for Admission
To be admitted as a major in the Department of Social Work, students must have:
1. Completed the application form
2. Completed at least 30 hours of course work, including EN 112 Freshman Composition
3. Completed SW 202 Introduction to Social Work, with a minimum grade of C
4. A minimum Social Work GPA of 2.50, and maintain a Social Work GPA of 2.50 throughout their tenure in the program
5. Successfully completed a criminal background check in SW 202 Introduction to Social Work
6. Purchase and maintain a Taskstream Assessment account subscription throughout their tenure in the program.
The application process occurs during SW 202. Applicants must submit an autobiography, a resume, a disposition form, self-evaluation form, an unofficial transcript, professional references, and complete a series of personality tests. Each student is required to complete a professional interview with the Social Work faculty. The interview consists of a review of the required application package; the student responding to nine questions based on social work knowledge, values, and skills; a written and oral critical thinking case scenario exercise related to the profession of social work. Students must also confirm their reading and understanding of the Social Work Admissions Handbook, Social Work Student Handbook, and NASW Code of Ethics as part of the admissions procedure. Students are notified in writing concerning the department’s decision regarding their admission to the Social Work Department. Transfer students who have already completed SW 202 may acquire the application information from the departmental office and are subject to the same admission requirements. Admission to the program is a prerequisite for taking the following courses: RT321, SW 334, SW 350, SW 380, SW 400, SW 420, SW 451, SW 452, SW 453, SW 454, SW 455, and SW 480.
Field Education Practicum and Service Learning
Social Work majors are required to complete field education practicum and service learning projects for the integration of theoretical knowledge, values, and skills acquired in the classroom with practice. Required field education and service learning hours are as follows: SW 202 Introduction to Social Work, students complete 15 hours of service learning; and in SW 454 and 455 Field Instruction and Seminar I and II, students are required to complete 450 hours (225 in each course) of field education in an assigned social service agency, and 30 hours of service learning (15 in each course). Transportation is the student’s responsibility.
Students who qualify to enter the senior field education courses are required to enroll in the course SW 350 Pre-Field Orientation during the spring semester of their junior year. The orientation course includes the completion of the field application package and individual interviews with each potential senior field student to review his or her preparedness for field. Students must show evidence of their completion of all lower division classes and required foundation social work courses in order to be approved for enrollment in the senior field education course SW 454. Students must also successfully complete SW 400 and SW 451 in order to gain admittance to SW 454.
Exit Review Process
The exit examination process for social work seniors includes three major components: the completion of a professional portfolio, an oral interview, and a review of the student’s field practicum performance. An Exit Exam Committee will assess each of these areas to determine the student’s readiness for social work practice. Students must successfully complete each of these stages with a minimum score of 80% in each area to pass the exit exam process.
Portfolio - All Social Work majors are required to develop, maintain, and complete a professional portfolio designed to measure their progress in achieving the program competencies and disposition expectations. The portfolio serves as a key instrument used to assess the student’s progress in their personal character and professional growth within the program. The completed portfolio will be reviewed by members of the Exit Exam Committee comprised of social work faculty and members of the Social Work Advisory group. The portfolio process is outlined in the Portfolio Handbook, and is available to students online.
Oral Interview – Students will present their written Portfolio before an Exit Exam Committee consisting of faculty and Social Work Advisory Board practice professionals. The Committee will assess the student’s progress toward achieving the program competencies based on the quality of the completed portfolio and the student’s interview scores during an oral evaluation.
Field Practicum - The field practicum experience is the signature component in the general curriculum in which a student is able to demonstrate their ability to integrate theory and practice. The Exit Exam Committee will review student field evaluations as a part of assessing the student’s readiness for professional practice.
Students having a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) may find employment in a large assortment of agencies. Some examples are: business sector (i.e. employee assistance programs), child welfare services, correctional facilities, counseling, gerontology, hospitals, law offices, addictions (drug, alcohol) programs, private practice, mental health centers, nursing homes, public health agencies, public welfare agencies, substance abuse, and the school system. Also, employment may be found in public relations with public and private non-profit organizations, administrative areas where relationship skills are valuable, personnel areas, where a knowledge of human relations is essential, and/or research with various organizations.