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Social Welfare (BA/BS) and Social Work (BSW)
The School of Social Work offers two majors: social welfare and social work. These majors prepare the student for further academic study or for employment in selected human service arenas.
The undergraduate curriculum provides an education in the social and behavioral sciences and their application to human problems. Majors in social welfare and social work receive a liberal arts education that prepares them to be informed citizens involved in human services or social welfare problems and policies.
Curriculum and Major Requirements
Please see the L&S Undergraduate Catalog for curriculum and major requirements details.
Check out the Social Science Concentration in the Undergraduate Catalog to view the approved Social Science Concentration Courses for Social Welfare majors and BSW students.
Please also review the School of Social Work's MSW & BSW Student Rights and Responsibilities.
About the Majors
Social Welfare Major
The social welfare major offers an overview of pressing, current social problems. Majors take courses in a variety of social sciences to enable them to view social welfare in its broad social, economic, and political contexts.
Undergraduate Requirements At-A-Glance (jpg)
All undergraduate students in good standing are eligible to enter the Social Welfare major. Sophomores should be enrolled in or have taken SW 205 and/or SW 206 to declare the major, see the L&S Undergraduate Catalog.
The Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) Program prepares students as beginning-level professional social workers. The curriculum objectives of the program are found below in the section on Professional Foundation Objectives. Typically, there are approximately 30-35 students in the program who meet the eligibility criteria below. To be admitted to the BSW Program:
- have completed Social Work 205 & 206
- have completed or concurrent enrollment in an approved statistics class
- be second-semester juniors (71 credits completed at the time of application)
- have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA from all colleges attended
- BSW students complete a year-long social work internship as part of the program. Visit our Field Education for BSW Students site for information about Field Units and Field Education.
BSW Generalist Practice Competencies
At the conclusion of the BSW Program we expect students have achieved the following competencies through practice behaviors learned in classroom and field experiences; all of which are derived from social work knowledge, values and skills.
- Demonstrate Ethical and Professional BehaviorSocial workers understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant laws and regulations that may
impact practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Social workers understand frameworks of ethical decision-making and how to apply principles of critical thinking to those frameworks in practice, research, and policy arenas. Social workers recognize personal values and the distinction between personal and professional values. They also understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions influence their professional judgment and behavior. Social workers understand the profession’s history, its mission, and the roles and responsibilities of the profession. Social Workers also understand the role of other professions when engaged in inter-professional teams. Social workers recognize the importance of life-long learning and are committed to continually updating their skills to ensure they are relevant and effective. Social workers also understand emerging forms of technology and the ethical use of
technology in social work practice.
- make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate
- use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations
- demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and oral, written, and electronic communication
- use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes; and
- use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgement and behavior
- use supervision and consultation
- Engage Diversity and Difference in PracticeSocial workers understand how diversity and difference characterize and shape the human experience and are critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including but not limited to age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status,
political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status. Social workers understand that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well
as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers also understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values, including social, economic, political, and cultural exclusions, may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create privilege and power.
- apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels
- present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences; and
- apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies
- Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice Social workers understand that every person regardless of position in society has fundamental human rights such as freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education. Social workers understand the global interconnections of oppression and human rights violations, and are knowledgeable about theories of human need and social justice and strategies to promote social and economic justice and human rights. Social workers understand strategies designed to eliminate oppressive structural barriers to ensure that social goods, rights, and responsibilities are distributed equitably and that civil, political, environmental, economic, social, and cultural human rights are protected.
- apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels; and
- engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice
- Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice.Social workers understand quantitative and qualitative research methods and their respective roles in advancing a science of social work and in evaluating their practice. Social workers know the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and culturally informed and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Social workers understand that evidence that informs practice derives from multi-disciplinary sources and multiple ways of knowing. They also understand the processes for translating research findings into effective practice.
- use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry
- use research evidence to inform practice
- Engage in Policy PracticeSocial workers understand that human rights and social justice, as well as social welfare and services, are mediated by policy and its implementation at the federal, state, and local levels. Social workers understand the history and current structures of social policies
and services, the role of policy in service delivery, and the role of practice in policy development. Social workers understand their role in policy development and implementation within their practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and they actively engage in policy practice to effect change within those settings. Social workers recognize and understand the historical, social, cultural, economic, organizational, environmental, and global influences that affect social policy. They are also knowledgeable about policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation.
- identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services
- assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of access to social services; and
- apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice
- Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and CommunitiesSocial workers understand that engagement is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers value the importance of human relationships. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge to facilitate engagement with clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand strategies to engage diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness. Social workers understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions may impact their ability to effectively engage with diverse clients and constituencies. Social workers value principles of relationship-building and inter-professional collaboration to facilitate engagement with clients, constituencies, and other professionals as appropriate.
- apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies; and
- use empathy reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies
- apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in analysis of assessment data from clients and constituencies
- develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies; and
- select appropriate intervention strategies based on assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies
- critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies
- apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies
- use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes
- negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of clients and constituencies; and
- facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals
- select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes
- apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in evaluation of outcomes
- critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes; and
- apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels