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 caring, 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 broad institution of social welfare. The term social welfare denotes the dimensions of society concerned with human needs: health, education, economic security, housing, and mental health.

The undergraduate program of the KU School of Social Welfare prepares graduates for beginning generalist social work practice. The program defines generalist practice as maintaining focus on 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 social and economic justice for those disenfranchised on the basis of the attributes listed above.
  • The assumption of a critical perspective regarding different ways of knowing.

Beginning generalist practice uses multilevel methodology, depending on the needs of the client system, and incorporates a knowledge, value, and skill base that is transferable between and among diverse contexts and locations.

The B.S.W. program is offered on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.

Advising

Once a student is admitted to the School of Social Welfare, an academic adviser will be assigned to assist students in the enrollment process and with other academic program requirements. Students consult with their academic adviser before enrollment each semester and have their advising hold removed by the B.S.W. program office.  In addition, a member of the School’s faculty is assigned as a professional/career adviser.  Current students can view their advisers on the myKU portal.

For more information on B.S.W. advising, review the student handbook .

Beginning in the fall semester, (4) semesters are necessary to complete professional social work courses required for the B.S.W. degree.

Transfer Students 

For undergraduates who plan to transfer to KU but currently attend another college, advising is available by phone or email. 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 Programs

Certificate in Child Welfare

The School of Social Welfare’s Certificate in Child Welfare provides seniors in the B.S.W. 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 Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF) 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 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 Student and Scholar 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

Advancement Requirements

For students to advance into 500 and 600 level Social Welfare coursework, they must complete the B.S.W. Advancement Review by June 15 preceding the the fall semester in which they intend to begin 500 level classes.  The Advancement Review includes the following:

  • Completion of a personal essay answering three specific questions.
  • Three letters of reference;  one from a faculty member or instructor; one from a work or volunteer supervisor; one from any one of the previously listed.  Personal or character references are not acceptable.
  • Professional resume.
  • Documented (50) hours of volunteer or paid work in a social service setting.*
  • Earned grade of B or higher in SW 220.
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50.
  • Completion of ENGL 101, ENGL 102, Math 101, SW 220, and at least (36) hours of General Education coursework.
  • Submitted signed electronic copy of School of Social Welfare Technical Standards and NASW Code of Ethics.

*The (20) volunteer hours required for SW 220 will count towards the total (50) volunteer hours. In addition, any volunteer hours in social service agencies completed through experiential learning courses (Service Learning Certificate courses or Alternative Break experiences) at KU or other institutions of higher learning will count as well. Social service agencies are defined as agencies that serve high risk human populations. 

Grade-Point Average

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. At least 30 hours must be taken in residence.
  • 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.

Curriculum

Professional Socialization (6)
SW 220Social Work, Social Welfare and U.S. Society (Must earn a B or higher.)3
SW 623Seminar in Professional Issues3
Students prepare for the responsibilities of social work, involving professional functioning, knowledge and use of professional ethics, values, attitudes, and skills. Students analyze their values critically to develop a unified personal and professional framework. Students develop their professional commitment to a code of ethics and understanding of social work to govern their professional behavior.
Human Behavior and the Social Environment (6)
SW 530Human Behavior in the Social Environment3
SW 532Community and Organizational Dynamics and Human Behavior3
Students acquire a knowledge and understanding of individual, group, community, institutional, and cultural dynamics and behavior. Students become familiar with concepts, theories, and empirical findings that enable them to practice effectively as professional social workers.
Research (6)
SW 540Fundamentals of Social Work Research3
SW 541Social Work Research Seminar3
Students achieve a command of fundamental social work research. A knowledge of the scientific method is acquired and applied to current research. Students learn to apply critical thinking to the professional literature.
Social Work Practice (21)
SW 510Fundamentals of Social Work Practice3
SW 555Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice: Culturally Competent Social Work3
SW 560Study Abroad Topics: _____3
SW 610Social Work Practice Seminar I3
SW 612Social Work Practice Seminar II3
SW 630Topics in Social Work Practice: Antisocial, Aggressive Behavior in Childhood and Early Adolescence1.5
SW 631Topics in Social Work Practice: Intimate Partner Violence1.5
SW 632Topics in Social Work Practice: Substance Abuse and Social Work Practice1.5
SW 633Topics in Social Work Practice: Crisis Intervention1.5
Students acquire knowledge and skills needed for effective social work practice. The accumulated knowledge and understanding of the social work curriculum come together in the practice courses.
Social Policy (6)
SW 620Social Policies and Program Analysis3
SW 621Social Policy Analysis and Advocacy3
Students develop the capacity for critical analysis of social problems, policies, and programs. Students analyze social work practice to understand the effect of policy on direct service. Basic policy analysis skills acquired in the first course are applied in specified areas of practice, applying analytical skills to problems, policies, and programs.
Study Abroad (3)
SW 560Study Abroad Topics: _____3
Students get exposure to international aspects of social welfare in countries such as Costa Rica, South Korea, India, and Ireland. An elective course that meets general education credit hour requirements.

Field Practicum (SW 601)

The field education office works with community agencies throughout Kansas and western Missouri 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 must complete these hours before beginning field placement. Students who are completing these hours may take SW 620, SW 621, and the mini-courses, but they cannot enroll in SW 610, SW 612, or SW 623

 

Liberal Arts Prerequisites for a broad base of understanding

Learn more about the B.S.W. curriculum and liberal arts prerequisites.

COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS
English
Composition
Critical Reading and Writing
Literature (One of the following or any 200-level course or above excluding Children's Literature)
Topics in Reading and Writing: _____
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Introduction to the Drama
Speech Communications
Speaker-Audience Communication
PHIL 149 does NOT count
Exemption - written verification of two semesters of high school speech/debate with grade of B or better
MATHEMATICS
College Algebra
U.S. CULTURAL STUDIES (one of the following)
The Black Experience in the U.S. Since Emancipation
Introduction to American Studies
American Identities
Religion in American Society
American Society
Studies in: _____
History of the United States Through the Civil War
History of the United States After the Civil War
The Supreme Court and Religious Issues in the United States
History of American Women--Colonial Times to 1870
History of American Women--1870 to Present
Contemporary America, 1941-Present
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to U.S. Politics
Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties
Religion in American Society
Social Problems and American Values
WESTERN CIVILIZATION
May not be used for Intercultural Studies Requirement
Western Civilization I
Western Civilization II
INTERCULTURAL STUDIES (one of the following)
Arabic and Islamic Studies
Introduction to West African History
Modern Africa
Modern Africa, Honors
African Studies In: _____
Introduction to African Literature
Introduction to Caribbean Literature
Women in Contemporary African Literature
Islam
Africa's Human Geographies
Introduction to the Languages of Africa
Postcolonial Theatre and Drama
Francophone African Literature
Language and Society in Africa
Global Ethnic and Racial Relations
African Studies in: _____
Language and Culture in Arabic-Speaking Communities
Geography of African Development
Liberation in Southern Africa
Sexuality and Gender in African History
Politics in Africa
The United States in Global Context
General Anthropology
Introductory Linguistics
Introductory Linguistics, Honors
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
The Varieties of Human Experience
The Varieties of Human Experience, Honors
Culture and Health
Culture and Health, Honors
Myth, Legend, and Folk Beliefs in East Asia
Anthropology Through Films
Fundamentals of Cultural Anthropology
The Varieties of Human Experience
Indigenous Traditions of Latin America
People and the Rain Forest
The Anthropology of Gender: Female, Male, and Beyond
Indigenous Development in Latin America
The Social Construction of the Self
Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I
Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I, Honors
Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II
Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II, Honors
Readings in Classical Chinese: _____
Ancient Epic Tales
Ancient Epic Tales, Honors
Gender and Sexuality in Greek Culture
Gender and Sexuality in Roman Culture
Approaches to World Dance
Introduction to Classical East Indian Dance
Dance History: Research and Reconstruction
Introduction to Flamenco Dance Technique
Living Religions of the East
Living Religions of the East, Honors
Introduction to Contemporary China
Myth, Legend, and Folk Beliefs in East Asia
Survey of Japanese Film
Modern Japanese Fiction and Film
Contemporary Japanese Fiction and Film
Modern Chinese Fiction and Film
Contemporary Chinese Fiction and Film
China's Cultural Legacy
The Culture of Play in Japan
The Culture of Play in Japan, Honors
Daily Life in China From the Opium War to 1911
Religion in China
Religion in Japan
Modern Chinese Fiction & Film
China's Cultural Legacy
Asian Film
Contemporary Japanese Film
Buddhists and Buddhism in China
The Structure of Chinese
Modern China
Reform in Contemporary China
Early Modern Japan
Daily Life in China from the Opium War to 1911
Chinese Thought
Government and Politics of East Asia
Eastern Civilizations
Eastern Civilizations
Eastern Civilizations Honors
The Economics of Globalization
World Indigenous Literatures
Global Environmental Literature
Studies in British Literature
Introduction to African Literature
Introduction to Caribbean Literature
The London Review
African Literature: _____
European Culture and Society 1945 to Present
European Civilization in World Context: _____
Islam in Europe
Seminar in European Studies
Survey of Japanese Film
Cinemas of the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay
Asian Film
Contemporary Japanese Film
France and the French
Intermediate French I
Intermediate French I, Honors
Intermediate French I and II
Intermediate French II
Intermediate French II, Honors
Introduction to French Literature
Paris, City of Lights and Legends
French Literature in Translation
Introduction to French Culture Through Film
Survey of French Culture I
Survey of French Culture II
La France d'Aujourd'Hui
French-Speaking World (Outside France)
Francophone African Literature
French Literature of the Middle Ages
French Literature of the Renaissance
Identity, Absolutism, and Power in France, 1589-1715
French Literature of the Eighteenth Century
French Literature of the 19th Century
French Literature of the Twentieth Century
Studies in Film: _____
French Culture Through Film I, Beginnings to 1950
French Culture Through Film II, 1950-Present
World Regional Geography
World Regional Geography, Honors
People, Place, and Society
Principles of Human Geography, Honors
Africa's Human Geographies
East Asia
Geography of African Development
Geography of American Indians
Geography of Latin America
Study Abroad in Greece: Natural Environment and Civilizations
Geology and Culture of Polynesia
Elementary German I
Elementary German II
German Cinema in Context
German Cinema in Context (Honors)
Today's Challenges in German-Speaking Europe
Intermediate German I
Intermediate German II
Introduction to Business German: Deutsch im Berufsalltag
High Intermediate German I
High Intermediate German II
Border Crossings in German Culture
Magic, Monsters and the Occult in German Literature
The Arts in German-Speaking Europe
Berlin in German Culture
World Indigenous Literatures
Global Environmental Literature
Islam and Politics
Introduction to Western Art History
Introduction to Western Art History, Honors
History of Western Art: Ancient Through Medieval
History of Western Art : Ancient Through Medieval, Honors
Introduction to Asian Art
The Visual Arts of East Asia
Introduction to Western Art History
Modern Korean Art and Culture
Art and Culture of Japan
Art and Culture of China
Art and Culture of Korea
Russia, An Introduction
History of East Asia
History of East Asia, Honors
Colonial Latin America, Honors
Latin American Culture and Society
Introduction to West African History
Modern Africa
Modern Africa, Honors
From Mystics to Feminists: Women's History in Europe 1600 to the Present
The Spanish Inquisition
Native American Civilizations and their European Conquerors
The Premodern Middle East
The Modern Middle East
Magic and Superstition in European History
Colonialism and Revolution in the Third World, Honors
Beyond the Iron Curtain: Soviet Perspectives on the Cold War
Europe in Crisis: Empire, Extremism, and War, 1890-1945
Made in China: Chinese Business History
History of Sushi
From Mao to Now: China's Red Revolution
The Samurai
Liberation in Southern Africa
Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union
The Middle East After World War II
Modern China
Beer, Sake, Tea-Beverages in Japan History
Age of Shoguns: Early Modern Japan
Sexuality and Gender in African History
History of Tibet
Contemporary Greater China
Medieval Japan
Biography of a City: _____
European Culture and Society 1945 to Present
European Civilization in World Context: _____
Islam in Europe
Europe Today
Biography of a City: _____
World Indigenous Literatures
Introduction to Italian Literature and Textual Analysis
Studies in Italian Culture: _____
Italian Literature in Translation: _____
19th and 20th Century Short Stories
19th and 20th Century Poetry
Studies in Italian Cinema
19th and 20th Century Novels I
19th and 20th Century Novels II
Living Religions of the West
Understanding the Bible
Understanding the Bible, Honors
Narratives of Jewish Life
The Spanish Inquisition
Jewish Secular Culture
Latin American Culture and Society
Language and Society in Latin America
Language and Society in Latin America, Honors
Indigenous Traditions of Latin America
Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in Latin America
Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in Latin America, Honors
Indigenous Development in Latin America
Indigenous Traditions of Latin America
Introductory Linguistics
Introductory Linguistics, Honors
Introduction to the Languages of Africa
Language and Society in Africa
Language and Culture in Arabic-Speaking Communities
Introduction to Music in World Cultures
Music of Latin America
Music in East Asia
Music in the Andes
Music in Mexico and the Caribbean
Music History I
Masterworks of Music - Study Abroad
Introduction to Music in World Cultures
Music in World Cultures
Chinese Thought
Cosmology and Culture
Intermediate Polish I
Intermediate Polish I, Honors
Intermediate Polish II
Intermediate Polish II, Honors
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Introduction to Comparative Politics Honors
Introduction to International Politics
Introduction to International Politics Honors
Liberation in Southern Africa
Governments and Politics of East Asia
Government and Politics of Southeast Asia
The Politics and Problems of Developing Countries
Politics of the Middle East
Politics in Africa
Islam and Politics
Reform in Contemporary China
Russian Foreign Policy
International Human Rights
Brazilian Culture
Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe
Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe, Honors
Societies and Cultures of Eurasia
Societies and Cultures of Eurasia, Honors
Understanding Central Asia
Siberia: Yesterday and Today
Siberia: Russia's Eastern Frontier
Ethnicity and Nationalism in Eastern Europe
Biography of a City: St. Petersburg
Asian Religions
Jews, Christians, Muslims
Asian Religions, Honors
Jews, Christians, Muslims, Honors
Understanding the Bible
Understanding the Bible, Honors
Myth, Legend, and Folk Belief in East Asia
Islam
The Buddhist Tradition in Asia
Religion in India
Religion in China
Religion in Japan
Religion in Korea
Buddhists and Buddhism in China
Introduction to Russian Culture
Introduction to Russian Culture, Honors
Survey of Russian Literature in Translation
Survey of Russian Literature in Translation, Honors
Introduction to Slavic Folklore
Introduction to Slavic Folklore, Honors
The Peoples and Cultures of Southeastern Europe Through Film
The Peoples and Cultures of Southeastern Europe Through Film, Honors
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe, Honors
South Slavic Literature and Civilization
Comparative Societies
Comparative Societies, Honors
The United States in Global Context
Sociology of the Middle East
Global Ethnic and Racial Relations
Cross-Cultural Sociology
Political Islam
Intermediate Spanish I
Honors Intermediate Spanish I
Intermediate Spanish II
Honors Intermediate Spanish II
Developments in Hispanic Cultures
The Spanish Inquisition
Examining Global Perspectives in Speech-Language-Hearing: ______
Postcolonial Theatre and Drama
From Mystics to Feminists: Women's History in Europe 1600 to the Present
Women in Contemporary African Literature
The Anthropology of Gender: Female, Male, and Beyond
Gender and Sexuality in Greek Culture
Gender and Sexuality in Roman Culture
Topics in Social Welfare: _____
Study Abroad Topics: _____
CHILD & ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT (one of the following)
Introduction to Child Behavior and Development
OR
Child Development
BIOLOGY (one of the following)
Principles of Biology
and Principles of Biology Laboratory
OR
Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology
ECONOMICS
Introductory Economics
POLITICAL SCIENCE
Introduction to U.S. Politics (also meets US Cultural requirement)
PSYCHOLOGY
General Psychology
SOCIOLOGY
Elements of Sociology
 
 
 

Requirements for the Major in Social Work

Preprofessional course (3)
SW 220Social Work, Social Welfare and U.S. Society3
Students must complete SW 220 before entering 500 level classes and must earn a grade of B or higher.
Junior
FallHoursSpringHours
SW 5303SW 5103
SW 5403SW 5323
SW 5553SW 5413
 9 9
Senior
FallHoursSpringHours
SW 6016SW 6016
SW 6103SW 6123
SW 6203SW 6213
Select two of the following:3SW 6233
  
  
  
  
 15 15
Total Hours: 48