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Curriculum, Bachelor of Social Work

BSW Program Director

Dr. Brent Satterly

"As a faculty member, I am thrilled to be a part of a community of scholars and teachers who provide a standard of excellence in higher education in social work. My teaching philosophy encompasses an experiential learning approach beyond didactic methodologies to maximize student development."

The bachelor of social work (BSW) curriculum is designed to promote critical thinking, an appreciation of diversity, a commitment to high ethical standards, and an understanding of both the art and science of social work practice.

Students take a mix of specific courses in the behavioral and social sciences and complete 480 hours of supervised fieldwork education in a variety of social service agency settings. 

In addition, the social work core curriculum involves service learning. This is a teaching approach that requires students to step out of the classroom and into a community where they will experience social work firsthand. This method is incorporated in BSW classes beginning in the freshman year. 

Sample Courses

View a selection of courses students may take as a BSW major.

SW 107 Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare

This introductory course provides students with a general understanding of the field of social work, its value base, and unique contribution to individuals, families, groups, and the community. It also provides students with an understanding of the history, purpose, and function of the social welfare system. A major focus of the course is to examine the broad application of social work practice in a variety of settings. Students are also involved in a service-learning project as one of the key assignments. 

SW 330 Human Behavior and Cultural Diversity I

This is the first half of a two-semester course sequence covering the major traditional and nontraditional theoretical perspectives for understanding human behavior and cultural diversity in the social environment. During the first semester, students examine theoretical perspectives, including the multidimensional development of the self within the context of family, group, community, and organizations. This is a writing-enriched and service-learning course.

SW 350 Social Work Research Methods I

This course is the first of a two-semester research sequence. This course focuses on general research methods and their application to social work. The course introduces students to the scientific method; culturally competent research; protection of human subjects; surveys; experimental, quasi-experimental, and qualitative research designs; evidenced-based research; measurement; sampling; questionnaire construction; and qualitative data collection methods. Specifically, the course prepares students to (1) design social work research related to needs assessments, program evaluations, and practice evaluations; (2) appreciate and understand the benefits of evidence-based practice; and (3) develop the ability to critically evaluate and consume social work research.

SW 229 Families At Risk

This course focuses on the dynamics of challenges families face to include, child mistreatment, substance abuse, domestic violence, trauma, homelessness, and elder abuse. It also looks at environmental factors influencing families to include poverty, racism, and oppression. Students look at social policy and its impact on "at risk" families. Students explore evidence-based, and strength-based treatment modalities to look at ways to help individuals and families overcome challenges and build resiliency.

SW 335 Grief and Loss

This course focuses on understanding losses and appropriate interventions for clients who endure loss across the lifecycle, including death as well as other losses such as chronic illness. Topics covered are losses across the lifespan, loss of a child, loss of an adolescent, parental loss, spousal/partner loss, and loss of an adult child, loss in later life, disenfranchised loss (domestic partners, gay and lesbian partners), the dying patient, and end-of-life issues. A service-learning experience will provide an opportunity to gain practical skills as students will come into contact with dying persons, their families, and the staff who care for this population.


For more information about courses and requirements for the BSW degree, please refer to the Center for Social Work Education section in our course catalog.