Undergraduate Major

Social Work (BSW)

Pursue a major that emphasizes community-based learning and close mentorship as you develop the skills to make a lasting impact as a trained social worker.

Social Work Teaching

Program Overview

In our bachelor of social work (BSW) program, you’ll experience an education rooted in social justice, real-world experience, and civic engagement that will prepare you to be a leader in the social work field.

The mission of our program is to prepare culturally competent generalist social workers who are:

  • Dedicated to the attainment of social and economic justice for the betterment of poor, vulnerable, and oppressed individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  • Demonstrate care and compassion for clients from diverse backgrounds.
  • Hold an unwavering belief in client strengths, client empowerment, and the importance of the helping relationship.
  • Utilize self-reflection and critical thinking in creating purposeful interventions informed by theory and evidence.

The Center for Social Work Education is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Options

View the Loading... for information on program requirements.


The BSW program goals flow from the mission:

  • To prepare generalist social workers who can effectively deliver culturally competent, strengths-based social work services to individuals, families, and groups from diverse client populations
  • To create a nurturing and supportive learning environment that inspires students to be advocates for social change and a more just and equitable society
  • To have faculty and students actively involved in community partnerships and civic engagement activities that promotes the well-being of disadvantaged populations and communities
  • To have faculty and students participate in the development and dissemination of knowledge for the profession


The BSW program mission and goals are also based upon the following themes:

  • Agency-based generalist practice with diverse populations
  • Social justice
  • Community partnerships and civic engagements
  • Working with vulnerable and disadvantaged populations
  • Contributing to the knowledge base of the profession 


At Widener’s Center for Social Work Education, we are constantly striving to improve. This requires assessing how we’re doing—both with our students and our community. We use this information—exit surveys, student focus groups, designated benchmark assignments, and alumni interviews—to assess how to continuously improve student learning outcomes and professional development. This involves curricular analysis and improvement, innovative and experiential pedagogy, and competency-based education.
All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes.

Pursue an accelerated BSW/MSW path and earn a master's degree faster than you imagined.

This option allows eligible BSW students to complete some MSW courses during their undergraduate studies that are counted toward their BSW degree. This 5-year BSW/MSW advanced standing option requires 32 credits instead of the traditional 41 credits, shortening the amount of time and money you spend. 

Students apply for this unique program in the fall of their junior year. View the Loading... for more information. If, in their senior year, BSW students apply and gain acceptance to the MSW program at Widener, the graduate course credits are subsequently transferred to the MSW program.

Keep exploring:

The BSW program offers the following dual degree options:






All students enrolled in these programs must consult with their advisors in social work and the corresponding program for accurate academic advisement in both programs.

This innovative and unique program is designed for students interested in developing a career in public child welfare. Students apply to the CWEB program in their junior year for a senior-year field placement. Accepted students are placed in a public child welfare agency.

The State of Pennsylvania will pay senior-year tuition and a stipend for participating students. Because of the state's investment, the program requires that, upon graduation, students work for at least one year in a public child welfare agency.

Our program identifies field education as one of the most important parts of a social work education. In field placements, students have the opportunity to apply classroom learning in an agency setting. This learning takes place under the direction and supervision of a trained field instructor who is employed by the agency and skilled in working with students.

To maintain a quality field education program in an ever-changing social service environment, our program adheres to three basic principles: 

  • Integrated model: Our faculty and field instructors work hand-in-hand to support students so they can practice in the field agency what they learn in the classroom. The practice faculty members serve as liaisons to the students’ field instructors.
  • Individualized placement process: Students meet individually with a field director to plan a placement to meet their learning needs. Both the generalist and the clinical field placements are developed collaboratively with students’ work experiences, interests, location, and practice goals in mind.
  • Support for continued growth of field instructors: Our agency field instructors are supported throughout the field year by the faculty field liaisons and through continuing education and training provided to them free of charge.


During the senior year fall and spring semesters, students spend two full days each week in a field agency for a total of 420 hours. Students meet individually with a field director in the spring semester of the junior year to determine an appropriate field placement. Each field experience is personalized and compatible with the student's work experiences, interests, location, and goals.

Students are required to meet with their field instructors individually on a weekly basis for supervision. A social work faculty member serves as the liaison between the student and the field placement. Students also take a social work practice class each semester with the same faculty member, and a field discussion is integrated into the class.

Students may elect to take a social work minor with a total of 21 credits required. You can find the Loading... in the academic catalog.

Students may elect to take the social work major with the school counselor certification track. This is accomplished by using the free electives to complete the requirements for the school counselor certification, including the general education requirements.

View the academic catalog for Loading...

Admissions Requirements

Four-year students are formally considered for admission to the BSW program in the fall semester of their junior year.

To be considered for admission to the BSW program, a four-year student must have:

  • Completed at least 45 credit hours
  • Completed SW 107
  • Enrolled in SW 321 and SW 331
  • Achieved a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Earned no lower than a grade of a “C” in any social work course
  • Demonstrated competency in oral and written expression of the English language
  • Demonstrated personal characteristics consistent with potential for professional social work practice

The student must complete an application, which includes a personal statement, and be accepted by the BSW Admissions Committee.

View all Loading... in the academic catalog.

Transfer students are formally considered for admission to the BSW program in the fall semester of their junior year. To be considered for admission to the BSW program, a transfer student must have:

  • A Widener University Transfer Equivalency Report, which should be discussed with the BSW program director
  • Enrolled in appropriate social work courses according to the academic plan established upon entering the university.
  • Achieved a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Earned no lower than a grade of a “C” in any social work course.
  • Demonstrated competency in oral and written expression of the English language.
  • Demonstrated personal characteristics consistent with potential for professional social work practice.
  • Met with the BSW program director for a formal interview.

The student must complete an application, which includes a personal statement, and be accepted by the BSW Admissions Committee.

View all Loading... in the academic catalog.

Program Highlights

You'll experience the power of courses taught by social work leaders.

Social Work Class

Small Class Sizes

In the Center for Social Work Education, we take your education personally. Our program's small, interactive classes will deepen your learning. With an average of 13-18 students per class, your professors will get to know your strengths and struggles and will provide one-on-one support to maximize your growth and development as a social worker.

Social Work Teaching

Community-Based Service Learning

Your education will extend beyond the classroom and into the community with service learning opportunities. You'll partner with local agencies and community organizers to engage in community-based work and research that will strengthen your understanding of how to best provide services to disadvantaged individuals, families, organizations, and communities while contributing to the knowledge base of the profession.

Social work mentorship

Experienced Faculty

Learn from professors whose leadership, thinking, and research are shaping the social work field. Each of our expert faculty members boast diverse professional backgrounds allowing them to bring a range of social work practices, research, and community service experiences into the classroom.

Social Work Field Study

Field Education

You'll gain hands-on learning during your field placement experience senior year. Our field education director will work with you to match you with a local social services agency so you can be immersed in a professional environment and apply the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom in the agency setting.

Clubs & Organizations

Social Work majors have the opportunity to join various clubs and organizations across and outside of campus to expand their network, including the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Club, the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW), and many more.

Study Abroad

Experience international learning opportunities in one of our many study abroad programs. Whether you prefer to study abroad for a full semester or enroll in a short-term trip, our Global Engagement Office can connect you to almost any place in the world.


Meet professors who make you the priority.

Margo M. Campbell
Director of PhD Program

"I strive to create an engaging, dynamic, and responsive learning environment. By encouraging self-reflection and co-created learning spaces, I aim for students to finish the course with confidence in the material, a sense of leadership in their own learning, and an understanding of the link between their work and social justice."

Brent A. Satterly

"My approach to teaching is best described as embracing an existentialist and social reconstructivist perspective, emphasizing respect for what each student brings to the classroom and students’ responsibility for their own learning. In my teaching at Widener, these methods have resulted in positive outcomes as measured by student course evaluations and verbal feedback."

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

When you graduate, you won't just start your career. You'll continue the work you've been doing all along.

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Parenting skills trainer
  • Crisis intervention counselor
  • Advocate for community development

Industries to Work In

  • Child welfare
  • Gerontology
  • Criminal justice & corrections
  • Military & veterans
  • Health care

Field Placement Options

  • Widener Partnership Charter School
  • George C. Hill Correctional Facility
  • Compassus Hospice and Palliative Care

Recent Employers

  • Crozer-Chester Medical Center
  • Elwyn Institute
  • Mazzoni Center
  • Family & Community Service of Delaware County

Pride Perspectives

Hear from our students about their experience in the social work program.

Hannah Berard stands on top of a mountain and signs "I love you"

Widener has helped me take my academics and what I’ve learned in classes and apply it not just in the Chester community, but to the whole world in general.

Hannah Berard

Hannah's Story

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