Bachelor of Social Work Program
The School of Social Welfare provides the education and experience necessary for a career in social work. By helping shape students’ capacity for anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and socially-just practice, the School prepares social workers to carry out the unique purposes of the profession — to develop human potential, to promote individual well-being, and to bring about a more just society.
Social work is a major professional discipline in the Social Sciences. The term social welfare denotes organized public or private social services pertaining to human needs: adequate nutrition and safe housing, health and mental health, education, economic security, social participation, dignity, and civil and political rights for disadvantaged people.
The undergraduate program prepares graduates for generalist social work practice. The program defines generalist practice as maintaining focus on practice and advocacy, based on ethical principles, scientific inquiry, and best practices at the interface between systems (i.e., individual, family, groups, organizations, and communities), with particular emphasis on:
- The strengths inherent in these systems.
- The need to understand the role of gender, age, race/ethnicity, class, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, and culture in all phases of the social work process.
- The promotion of human rights and social, racial, economic, and environmental justice for those disenfranchised based on some of the attributes listed above.
- The assumption of an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, socially just, and critical perspective regarding social work practice, policy, and research.
Beginning generalist practice uses multilevel prevention and intervention methods, depending on the needs of the client system, and incorporates knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that are transferable between and among diverse contexts and locations.
The BSW program is offered on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
Once a student is admitted to the School of Social Welfare, an academic adviser called a Success Coach will be assigned to assist students in the enrollment process and with other academic program requirements. Students consult with their Success Coach before enrollment each semester and have their advising hold removed. In addition, a member of the School’s faculty is assigned as a professional/career adviser. Current students can view their advisers on Jayhawk GPS.
For more information on BSW advising, review the student handbook .
For undergraduates who plan to transfer to KU but currently attend another college, advising is available by appointment. The school works closely with counselors from all Kansas colleges.
Degree Progress Report
The Degree Progress Report (DPR) is a computerized advising and degree-audit system, used to assist students and advisers in tracking progress toward completion of general education degree and major requirements. Students should review their DPR each semester and be prepared to review and discuss information contained in the DPR at all advising appointments. The DPR can be accessed through the student's account in the myKU portal under the Advising tab. Although the DPR provides a list of courses taken and grades earned, it is not an official transcript and can be used only for internal advising.
Certificate in Child Welfare
The School of Social Welfare’s Certificate in Child Welfare provides seniors in the BSW program with specialized knowledge and skills to prepare them for a career in the field of child welfare. The certificate offers specialized training in social work practice with children and families who are involved with the child welfare system and provides a child welfare practicum as part of the experience.
Undergraduate Experiential Learning Certificate Programs
The university offers several experiential learning certificate programs that work well with the undergraduate social work major. Students who complete an engaged learning certificate program receive a notation of it on their transcripts. Learn more about KU certificate programs.
Undergraduate Admission to KU
Students are directly admitted to the School of Social Welfare as new freshmen and transfer students. Visit the Office of Admissions for information about admission to KU. Visit the Office of International Support Services for information about international admissions.
Current KU students changing from another major to Social Welfare should complete a Change of School form and must meet the advancement requirements
Undergraduate Advancement Review for the School of Social Welfare
For students to advance into 500 and 600 level Social Welfare coursework, they must complete the BSW Advancement Review prior to beginning 500 level classes. The Advancement Review includes the following:
- 54 hours of General Education requirements or elective hours including:
- Math 101 (College Algebra) or LA&S 108 (Personal Numeracy)
- English 101 (Composition)
- English 102 (Critical Reading and Writing)
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50.
- Earned grade of B or higher in SW 220.
- One reference form from a professor, work supervisor, volunteer supervisor or other professional colleague who are familiar with your work and/or know your potential as a social worker. Reference information will be emailed to the individual for completion.
- Submitted signed electronic copy of School of Social Welfare Standards and Advancement Policies and Procedures, NASW Code of Ethics, and the KU Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
If all the above criteria are met, students are successfully advanced into 500 level coursework.
Note: Students must complete all general education requirements including electives prior to the start of 600 level course work and practicum.
A student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 and a 2.5 in social work required courses. Evaluation of transcripts submitted as part of the application for admission includes computation of grade-point average for all work completed. This admission grade-point average is adjusted to include only courses that transfer to KU. Both transferable credits and all work taken at KU count in the grade-point average when advancement requirements are reviewed.
Bachelor of Social Work Degree Requirements
Primary responsibility for meeting graduation requirements rests with the student.
- A minimum of 120 credit hours of course work, including 12 credit hours of field practicum and field preparation & seminar.
- 51 Social Welfare hours including SW 220.
- 37 hours of general education requirements.
- 32 hours of electives.
- A 2.5 minimum grade-point average for all classroom work.
- A 2.5 minimum grade-point average in required social work courses.
- Successful completion of field practicum.
- Recommendation by the faculty of the school to the chancellor and the Kansas Board of Regents that the degree be granted.
|Code ||Title ||Hours |
|SW 220||Intro to Social Work, Social Welfare and U.S. Society (Must earn a B or higher.)||3|
|SW 510||Introduction to Social Work Practice: Interviewing Skills||1.5|
|SW 512||Skills-Based Policy Advocacy||1.5|
|SW 530||Introduction to Theory for Multi-level Social Work||3|
|SW 534||Introduction to Social Policy and Advocacy||3|
|SW 540||Introduction to Social Work Research||3|
|SW 555||Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Social Work Practice||3|
|Centering on Decolonization in Social Work|
| Intergenerational and Historical Trauma|
|Social Work Across and Among Borders: International SW and SW with Immigrant Populations|
|SW 600||Field Education Seminar||1|
|SW 601||Field Practicum||5|
|SW 610||Multilevel Engagement and Assessment in Social Work Practice||3|
|SW 612||Multilevel Intervention and Evaluation in Social Work Practice||3|
|SW 622||Human Rights, Social, Economic and Environmental Justice||3|
|SW 623||Capstone: Social Work Professional Issues||3|
|Child Welfare - Protecting Children, Strengthening Families|
|Gender and Sexual Diversity|
|Criminal Justice System: Abolish or Reform|
|Responding to Suicide and Self-Harm|
|Grant Writing and Program Development|
|Dismantling White Supremacy|
|Financial Capability and Social Work Practice|
|Gender-based Violence: What It Is and What Social Workers Can Do To Prevent and Respond To It|
The field education office works with community agencies to provide field practicum opportunities for students. Students are placed in these agencies through a collaborative process among the field education office, the student, and the agency. The field education office is responsible for ensuring that all field placements are able to provide the appropriate learning opportunities for students and that qualified field instructors will be available to the student.
Learn more about field education.
Required Hours for Field Practicum
Students with 9 or more remaining elective or general education requirement credit hours in the fall of the senior year may be required complete these hours before beginning field placement. Students who are completing these hours may take SW 622 and the mini-courses, but they cannot enroll in SW 610, SW 612, or SW 623.
Liberal Arts Requirements for a broad base of understanding
Learn more about the BSW curriculum and liberal arts prerequisites.
Requirements for the Major in Social Work
|Code ||Title ||Hours |
|SW 220||Intro to Social Work, Social Welfare and U.S. Society||3|
B.S.W. Sample 4-Year Degree Plan
120 hours are required for the degree.