Professional Programs (MSW & BSW) Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Rev. 08/13/2021

Social work is a professional degree and meeting academic performance standards is a necessary, but not sufficient, outcome for ensuring continuation in the School’s degree programs. Students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior and demeanor that reflects adherence to professional standards of social work. As students of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work, you have responsibilities to your campus, school and field placement, as well as the right to expect that both the University and the School will support you in your role as student and insure that standards of conduct ( are honored.

Addendum 10/17/2023: We have added a resource on our Student Resources page detailing processes for reporting issues, which students may find helpful.


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Non-Discrimination Policy

Federal laws prohibit discrimination against students and require that the University have procedures for addressing discrimination complaints. For more information, visit the UW page on Equal Opportunity Compliant Investigations (

Grievance Policy

Both the School of Social Work and the University provide procedures for hearing student complaints or grievances. For information on the School and University’s process, click on the following links:

School of Social Work: Grievance Policy

Office of Student Assistance and Support

Access and Accommodations Policy

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the School of Social Work are committed to providing an accessible, accommodating and supportive teaching and learning environment. The McBurney Disabilities Resource Center provides information about services for which you may be eligible. For more information, please click on the following link:

The School of Social Work’s Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinator, Russ Portier (, 608-263-3616), is also available to provide information and assistance. For more information, please visit our “Information for Students with Disabilities” tab on the Student Resources page.

Sexual Harassment and Other Harassment Policy

UW-Madison prohibits sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. These offenses will not be tolerated on campus and are a violation of Wisconsin law, the student code of conduct, and employee expectations.

Tracy Schroepfer, PhD, is the Sexual Harassment Liaison at the School of Social Work and is available to consult and provide support to School of Social Work Students ( or 608-263-3837).


To report any of these offenses, please contact one of the offices listed below. You may choose to report to a campus office, to law enforcement, to both, or to neither. These offices will provide assistance and information to victims, address the potential for a hostile environment, and will forward the information to be considered for an investigation of and possible disciplinary action against of the alleged perpetrators(s).

Office of Student Assistance and Support

UW-Madison Title IX Coordinator, Lauren Hasselbacher, JD (

University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department

Not Choosing to Report

If you do not wish to file a report with a campus office or law enforcement but would like more information and to ensure your confidentiality, contact an office designated by UW-Madison as a confidential resource. If you are unsure if an office or employee is a confidential resource, you are encouraged to ask for clarification. The following are designated confidential resources:

A complete list of on- and off-campus resources and options available to victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking can at the University Health Services Campus & community resources page.

Anti-Violence Policy

Consistent with University policies, the School will not tolerate intimidating, threatening, aggressive, or violent behavior or other conduct that endangers or attempts to endanger or threaten the property, health or safety of a student and/or interferes or attempts to interfere with a student’s ability to participate in School of Social Work or other University activities. For an immediate threat, call 911. For non-immediate threats, contact the Office of Student Assistance and Support at 608-263-5700.

Students have the right to participate in School governance.

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Participation on School Committees

Students are welcome to become members of School Committees, especially those related to academic and student affairs. For a listing of current school committees please visit our Student Involvement page.

Vote at All-School Meetings

Students have a vote at All-School meetings through their Student Union Representative.

Students have the right to organize in their own interest

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Student Organizations

The following are current student organizations in the School: Student Union, LGBTQ+ Allies, Social Work Christian Fellowship, Students of Social Welfare (for Social Welfare majors), Phi Alpha Social Work Honors Society-Sigma Delta Chapter (for BSW students), Social Workers of Color Student Coalition, and Radical Social Work. For information about each of these groups visit our Student Involvement page.

To start a new group, talk with faculty member, an advisor, or a Student Union leader.

Students have the right to have their academic record kept confidential.

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA governs and protects students’ rights to their individual educational records. For more information, please click on the following link:


Along with rights come responsibilities. Just as students need to be aware of their rights, they also need to be attentive to their responsibilities.

Students are responsible for knowing the requirements of their academic program

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Advising Policies

In the appropriate time frame, students should select courses that meet requirements and monitor their progress toward graduation. Students should consult with an advisor to handle questions and concerns. Students are responsible for scheduling and keeping advising appointments. The Advising Compact outlines the responsibilities students and advisors have to one another in the professional programs.

Graduate School Policies

Students learn the requirements of the Graduate School as they affect their degree. The Graduate School’s academic policies and procedures may be found on their Office of Admissions and Academic Services at this link:

Field Program Policies

Expectations of students in field as well as field program policies are found in the Field Education Handbook, found on the Student Resources page.

Students are responsible for their academic performance and integrity

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Academic Integrity

Academic honesty is based on the premise that each student has the responsibility to:

  • Uphold the highest standards of academic integrity in your own work
  • Refuse to tolerate violations of academic integrity in your University community
  • Foster a high sense of academic integrity and responsibility on the part of the University community
  • Understand and sign the School’s plagiarism document
  • Hold fellow students accountable to this academic code

For more information on University policies and procedures regarding Student Academic Misconduct, please go to this link:

Grades and Grading Policy

Course syllabi outline the grading rubric that will be used to grade coursework. The School of Social Work along with the Field Program and the Graduate School have established minimum grade expectations for MSW students. Minimum grade expectations for BSW students have been set by the School of Social Work along with the Field Program and the College of Letters and Science. Students should carefully review the policies found on the “Grades & Grading tab” on the Student Resources page to become aware of the outcomes of course grades on progress toward graduation.

Satisfactory Progress Criteria

The Graduate School sets minimum standards that all graduate students in the university must meet. The Graduate Guide,, includes the Graduate School’s minimum degree requirements and Satisfactory Progress Criteria chart, as well as the School of Social Work’s degree requirements and Satisfactory Progress Criteria chart.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct, which is not tolerated by the University or the School of Social Work. All social work students are required to read and sign the School’s plagiarism policy. The policy may be found at this link: Plagiarism Policy

Duty to Disclose Policy

All social work students enrolled in field education courses have a continuing duty to update information they disclosed on all background checks required by the UW-Madison School of Social Work. This duty includes any addition or changes to information previously disclosed in these initial required background checks. Please note that the School of Social Work will share background check information with agencies as part of the field placement interview process. The policy may be found at this link: Duty to Disclose

Students are responsible for understanding the requirements of the Social Work profession

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The Social Work Profession

  • Learn the certification and/or licensing requirements for the state in which the student intends to work
  • Gain knowledge about the purpose and benefits of the National Association of Social Work
  • Actively pursue information related to your career goals
  • Be informed about the continuing education requirements of the profession
  • Refer to the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics to guide your practice through the Program and beyond. Each student read and signed this document upon admission to the Social Work Program, but it is not to be forgotten because these are the core beliefs and values of the Social Work Profession
  • Seek assistance for personal issues (e.g., substance abuse, mental health issues, psychosocial stress) that interfere with your classroom and field learning. University Health Services provides counseling for UW-Madison students who are enrolled and pay segregated fees (

Students are responsible for social work professional demeaner and performance in the classroom, in field and in their interactions with agency supervisors, faculty, staff and student colleagues.

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Code of Ethics

All social work students are required to read and sign the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics. It is important that students know and understand the professional conduct expected of them. The NASW Code of Ethics serves to provide students with guidelines to insure they meet the profession’s missions and core values, as well as the ethical standards to which you are to adhere. A copy of the Code students sign may be found below:

BSW Code of Ethics 08-13-2021

MSW Code of Ethics 08-13-2021


Please note that the responsibilities below are intended to serve as general guidelines but are not intended to supplant your instructor’s policies outlined in the course syllabus, which take precedence.

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  • Attend classes, field seminars and field placements
  • Remain for the duration of each class, field seminar and field placement
  • Honor your scheduled hours established with your field supervisor

Late Arrival and Late Assignments

  • Arrive on time for classes, field seminars and field placements
  • Complete assignments and assigned tasks on time


  • Do not use your phone (includes texting), email, and/or visit social media websites (e.g., Facebook) during classes, field seminars and meeting, or during field placement hours
  • For use of technology approved by the McBurney Disability Center, always notify your instructor and field supervisor of this accommodation

Responsiveness to Feedback

  • Remain open to feedback received from student peers, faculty, staff, and field placement colleagues and supervisors
  • Incorporate feedback into assignments, field tasks, behavior and communications

Professional Communication

  • Check your UW-Madison Wisc email and phone messages regularly
  • Respond to your UW-Madison Wisc email and phone messages promptly and respectfully
  • When writing emails, use a salutation, introduce yourself, state your purpose, express thanks and close with your full name and student id when appropriate


Dress appropriately for field placements and related professional activities (e.g., interviews, workshops, meetings).


Be an active and thoughtful participant in classes, field seminars, meetings, and field settings.


Demonstrate respect in academic and professional relationships, including in classroom settings, by using a respectful tone of voice, not interrupting, not talking.


Complete professional tasks proactively and without continuous guidance and/or reminders (e.g., course assignments, field work, and professional interactions with others) in an accurate thorough and timely manner.