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FAQs, Bachelor of Social Work

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the social work (BSW) degree at Widener.

If you have additional questions, please contact us by phone or e-mail (see Contact information on left) or schedule a visit.

What can I do as a social worker?

What can’t you do? Social workers are agents of change. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), social workers help people overcome social and health problems, such as poverty, mental illness, child abuse and neglect, emotional instability, illness, economic uncertainty, domestic violence, homelessness, and drug abuse. They work directly with individuals, couples, families, and groups to identify and overcome these problems. Some social workers also work with communities, organizations, and/or systems to improve services and/or administrate social and health programs. Social workers apply their professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most effective use of their own abilities. When adequate services do not exist in a community, social workers promote the development of new services and programs.

Where do social workers practice?

Social workers are found in many settings, including private practice, mental health, health, schools, community agencies, public welfare, agency administration, legislative services, and policy and planning. This approach is unique among the helping professions because it focuses on people’s problems in the context of their social environment. Social workers believe that people are influenced by the strengths and weaknesses of those around themin their families, communities, workplaces, and organizations.

Can bachelor’s level social workers get licensed in Pennsylvania?

Yes. Act 179 of 2014 allows for social workers holding a BSW degree from an accredited social work program to choose to pursue LBSW licensure. SB 807 was approved by Governor Tom Corbett and became Act 179 of 2014. As stated in the bill's memo, written by the bill's Primary Sponsor, Charles McIlhinney, “Social workers with master’s degrees already have a voluntary license in place, but we need to acknowledge that there are thousands of BSWs who have no mechanism for licensure in place. It is time that Pennsylvania join the 36 other states that credential social workers at the bachelor level.”

I am a student at a two-year college. I am thinking about transferring to Widener for my BSW.  How do I do this?

The Widener BSW Program prides itself on being very transfer-student friendly. We have numerous “articulation agreements” with a myriad of two-year colleges in the Philadelphia region to help you with a seamless transfer. See the Widener Admissions page for further information.

Some of our community college partners include:

  • Delaware County Community College
  • Community College of Philadelphia
  • Harcum College
  • Camden County College
  • Rowan College at Burlington County

Why do I have to take so many non-social work classes in my first year at Widener?

General education is the foundation for a social work degree. You must take courses in math or science, social science, and humanities to provide a broad beginning for your professional social work education in your undergraduate years. This also allows you to take a wide variety of electives, including social work electives, based upon your interests.

Is there enough flexibility in the social work major for me to study abroad?

Yes, many BSW students choose to study abroad in their undergraduate years. We suggest that you study abroad as a sophomore prior to your junior- and senior-year professional social work courses. 

Where will I complete my field placement?

You will work closely during your junior year with the Center for Social Work Education’s field education faculty to secure a field placement that fits well for you. The agencies we work with serve a multitude of diverse populations, cultural backgrounds, and socioeconomic classes in areas, including healthcare, child welfare, extended care facilities, and community advocacy agencies. BSW students have interned in schools, healthcare organizations, mental health centers, homeless shelters, mentoring agencies, and probations departments.

What can I expect to do during a field placement?

During your last year of undergraduate studies, you will gain rich learning experiences as you are immersed in a full-time field placement within a local social services agency. Through the field experience, you can gain great hands-on experience, which may include:

  • Assessing client and community needs
  • Obtaining social histories
  • Empowering clients, communities, and systems of all sizes
  • Contacting and using community resources
  • Offering individual, group, and family counseling under the supervision of a clinician
  • Conducting interviews with individuals, families, and stakeholders
  • Implementing intervention plans
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of interventions
  • Keeping concise and accurate records
  • Collaborating with colleagues
  • Managing client caseloads
  • Conducting crisis interventions

I am a non-traditional student thinking of returning to get my BSW. Does your program provide evening or online courses?

The Widener BSW program is a traditional undergraduate day program. We currently do not have BSW evening or online courses.