Social Work BSW
The Social Work program is a professional degree program with a liberal arts foundation preparing students for generalist social work practice. Through academic course work and field practicums, students master knowledge and skills required for work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social work values and ethics, human behavior in the social environment, diversity and culturally competent practice, social, economic, and environmental justice, social policy, and social research are foundational components of the curriculum. The Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program integrates Franciscan and social work values into a professional identity serving those who are hurting, advocating for social justice and human rights, and providing leadership to communities. The BSW Program prepares students for employment as a generalist social worker, the pursuit of graduate studies in social work, and the advancement of the profession through scholarly endeavors.
The BSW Program offers a four-year, professional degree based on a liberal arts foundation. Curriculum distinctions include course work and field practicum experiences designed to develop generalist social work knowledge, values, and skills.
Students master generalist social work knowledge in the following areas:
- social work values and ethics
- culturally sensitive practice with diverse groups
- advocacy for human rights and social justice
- social policy and services
- social research
- human behavior and social environment theories
- generalist social work practice
Professional Skill Building Courses
One pre-practice and three practice courses teach students how to engage, assess, plan, intervene and evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
Generalist social workers fulfill many roles including advocate, broker, linker, case manager, community organizer, counselor, family home based worker, group facilitator, and program developer. Generalist social workers work in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, abuse prevention programs, community mental health, hospital, hospice, public health, child welfare, probation, law enforcement, schools, vocational rehabilitation, immigration and refugee programs, youth and family services, community food banks, and public policy.
Field Practicum Experience
One service learning (50 hours) and two field practicum placements (475 hours) are required. Field practicum tasks are supervised learning experiences whereby students apply academic learning required for generalist social work practice in a social service agency. Oversight of the field placements is provided by the BSW Program Field Director. In-agency supervision is provided by an approved Field Instructor, who has a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) or MSW (Master of Social Work) degree, at least two years of work experience, and supervision experience with generalist social workers.
Council on Social Work Education Accreditation
The Bachelor of Social Work Program (BSW Program) is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The accreditation enhances our graduates’ employment opportunities, in most states leads to licensure, and allows them to seek advanced standing in most graduate social work programs. The BSW Program was reaffirmed as an accredited program in June 2020 and is scheduled for review during the 2026-2027 academic year.
Prepare its students for competent generalist social work practice through service and leadership with diverse communities, engagement in activities that promote social justice and human rights, and advancement of the profession through scholarly endeavors.
Upon completion of the BSW Program, students will be able to:
- Engage in generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and other professionals within a multicultural, global society
- Practice according to the purpose, values, and ethical standards that guide the social work profession and in accordance with Franciscan values
- Practice from a culturally competent perspective that respects diverse cultures, advocates for the alleviation of poverty, oppression, and injustices related to human rights, and promotes the enhancement of human life
- Apply knowledge of biological, psychological, social, spiritual, and cultural functioning to increase an understanding of person and environment construct
- Develop a scholarly, professional social work identity and practice accordingly
Student Learning Outcomes
The BSW Program provides an outcome-based education in generalist social work practice. In other words, the educational environment teaches students what they must know (knowledge), who they are (values), and what they can do (skills). Upon completion of the BSW Program, students will have mastered the following competencies and practice behaviors.
- Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
- Makes 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 to context
- Uses reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values, integrate Franciscan values, and maintain professionalism in practice situations
- Uses critical thinking and reflection to inform, articulate, and implement professional judgments
- Demonstrates professional demeanor in behavior and appearance
- Demonstrates professional, ethical oral, written, and electronic communication to facilitate practice outcomes
- Uses supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment, behavior, and development
- Creates a professional identity as a generalist social worker consistent with the history, mission, vision, and values of the social work profession
- Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
- Present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences
- Apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies
- Apply an understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels
- Analyze the relationship between a culture’s structures and values which oppress, marginalize, alienate or create privilege and power
- Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
- Apply understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and local, national, and global system levels
- Engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice
- Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
- Use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research by formulating questions leading to scholarly research
- Apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings
- Apply research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery
- Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
- 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 and access to social services
- Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice
- Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies
- Use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies
- Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies
- Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the 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
- Select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies
- Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- 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 diverse clients and constituencies
- Facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals
- Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- 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 the evaluation of outcomes
- Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes
- Apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels
The BSW degree leads to opportunities to obtain a professional social work license. The type of license and requirements to secure a license varies from state to state. Information about licensure is available through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) office in the state of your interest. The online resource called The Social Work Guide provides information about each state’s social work licensing.
The Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree requires 120 credit hours:
- 51 credit hours of social work courses
- 33-36 credit hours of general education courses
- 33-36 credit hours in elective courses
Program of Study
- Social work courses, 48 credit hours: SOCW 125, SOCW 192, SOCW 210, SOCW 220, SOCW 250, SOCW 281, SOCW 299, SOCW 348, SOCW 352, SOCW 377, SOCW 384, SOCW 406, SOCW 471, SOCW 488, SOCW 492
- Psychology courses, 6 credit hours: PSYC 121, PSYC 325
- General education courses are selected from a list of approved of classes.
- Electives are chosen by students and not directed by the BSW Program.
- Students are encouraged to seek a minor in an area of their interest. Minors from outside the social work discipline may include, but not be limited to, business, criminal justice, communication, diversity, health, psychology, sociology, or theology.
Social work is a rewarding career. Students considering social work as a career must carefully evaluate their commitment to empowering oppressed and diverse people, participating in social ministries, and caring for others who are hurting. Students applying for admission to the BSW Program must commit themselves to the profession’s ethical principles and actively participate in challenging experiences related to skill development, values clarification, and work with diverse populations.
The BSW is a professional degree and with it comes specific knowledge, values, and skills that equip the BSW graduate to provide quality services. In the interest of serving diverse and at-risk vulnerable populations, it is essential that all students who are admitted to the BSW Program are qualified, motivated, capable, and committed to the goals of the profession. These standards maintain both the integrity and credibility of the BSW program and degree.
Admission to the BSW Program is the first step in committing to a professional career in social work. The admission process is a collaboration through which each student and faculty members carefully assess the student’s “fit” with the social work profession.
Students who are fully or provisionally admitted to the Social Work Program must:
- Successfully complete the following courses:
- SOCW 125 Intro to Social Work and Social Welfare
- SOCW 220 Social Work Ethics
- SOCW 250 Interpersonal Skills
- ENGL 101 Rhetoric & Composition OR ENGL 103 College Writing
- COMM 121 Fundamentals of Public Speaking
- Maintain a 2.5 GPA in social work courses and a 2.0 in a cumulative GPA. All social work course grades must be a “C” or better.
- Have no criminal convictions. Depending on the conviction, students may petition for a waiver. Each case is evaluated on an individual basis.
- Demonstrate compliance with the program’s Academic and Professional Dispositions Policy and Procedures (available in the BSW Student Handbook).
Progression & Graduation Requirements
After students are admitted to the BSW Program and in order to graduate with a BSW degree, the following criteria must be met.
- Full admission to the program is maintained.
- All Student Development Plans must be completed in a timely manner and prior to graduation.
- A 2.5 GPA in social work courses and a 2.0 in a cumulative GPA are maintained.
- A “C” or better in all social work courses is earned.
- Criminal conviction(s) may impact requirements necessary for graduation as well as licensure.
- The Academic and Professional Dispositions are practiced. For additional information about the dispositions, please see the BSW Student Handbook.