Jul 19, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Social Work

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Department Faculty

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is offered for those who complete the college baccalaureate degree requirements with a major in Social Work.

The social work major is designed to provide students with an introduction to the goals and processes of the social work profession. No minor is available in social work; however, a minor is available in Youth Services, as described below.


Consistent with the mission of the University and requirements of the Council on Social Work Education EPAS (2015), the mission of the Social Work department at SVSU is to promote social welfare and well- being for residents of the Great Lakes Bay Region, the state of Michigan, and beyond through generalist education about evidence-based social work practice and advancement of knowledge about social problems. We seek to educate ethical, effective, and diversity-competent generalist social workers who are prepared to provide interprofessional services that promote human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice to the oppressed peoples and institutions that reside in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Graduates from our program will be prepared for leadership in direct and indirect practices that empower individuals, families, groups and communities.

(Adopted by the faculty May 9, 2016)

Program Goals

With the liberal arts as its foundation, our graduates are prepared to engage in generalist social work practice. Students are prepared for continuing their formal education in social work or another graduate discipline. As such, it is our goal that by completion of the program, students will be prepared to:

  • Engage in evidence-based entry-level generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations within a diverse and multicultural society.
  • Practice according to the principles, values, and ethics that guide the social work profession wihtin an interprofessional context.
  • Influence social policies with the goals of alleviating poverty, oppression, and social injustice as well as advocating for human rights.
  • Identify and assess the bio-psycho-social, spiritual, and cultural functioning of people.
  • Engage in practice from a diversity-positive and culturally-sensitive, particularly with those who differ from one’s own background or culture.
  • Provide the community with professional social work services in a manner that reflects a commitment to the historic mission of social work and addresses issues of social justice.

(Adopted by the faculty July 15, 2016)

No academic credit will be given, in whole or in part, for any professional or other life experience. This applies both to experiences prior to admission to the major as well as life experiences after major admission. Only volunteer work approved by the department will be credited towards partial or complete fulfillment of the 40- credit volunteer component required in SW 215, Introduction to Social Work/Social Welfare. Only field work approved by the department and undertaken as part of SW 483-484, Field Instruction I and II, will be credited for the major.

The Department of Social Work does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, political orientation, sexual orientation or veteran status. This policy applies to students, employees, volunteers, field placement supervisors, faculty members, Community Advisory Committee members and anyone else who may have contact or business with the program on any basis.

Pre-Social Work Curriculum

Students interested in earning a degree in social work should select a “pre-social work major.” Freshmen and sophomores should obtain advising from the Academic Advisement Center for Basic Skills and General Education courses and requirements. Pre-social work majors who have specific professional questions or concerns, or need advising for social work courses and requirements should see the pre-social work advisor.

The Social Work Department sponsors a number of clubs/activities and special events during each year. Pre-social work students are encouraged to participate in order to begin to develop the ethics and values of the profession.

Requirements for Admission to the Social Work Major

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for admission to the Social Work major:

          1)   Completion of 40 college credits,
          2)   Completion of all basic skills courses,
          3)   Minimum GPA of 2.5,
          4)   Completion of SW 215 with a grade of C or better,
          5)   Satisfactory performance completing a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer work in a social service setting

Admission may be limited based on program capacity. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission.

Application Procedures

During the semester in which the eligibility criteria specified above have been met, the student should complete the application found on the department website. The application includes:

          1. Documentation of minimum 2.5 GPA.
          2. Documentation of 40 completed college credits.
          3. Documentation of SVSU Basic Skills completion.
          4. Completion of a writing sample to be scored by the Admission Committee.
          5. Submit at least three (3) letters of reference completed by professional or academic contacts.
             (No personal/character references) References must recommend student for the program.

Students may be admitted to the Social Work major during the Fall and Winter semesters.

Admission Process

Once the completed application is received by the Department, the following process will be used to determine admission to the major:

1) Writing sample will be scored by a committee designated by the Department. The committee will score writing samples on the following criteria:
           • College-level grammar and writing mechanics
           • Understanding of & commitment to profession
           • Adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics
           • Evidence of stability and maturity
2) A designated Social Work faculty will evaluate the student’s eligibility to apply for admission. Ineligible students will be requested to resubmit materials when they meet eligibility requirements.
3) For eligible students, the Admissions Committee will review application materials for completeness and evidence of readiness for admission to the program.
4) In Fall & Winter semester each year, the program Admissions Committee will evaluate eligible applications using the Department’s Admission & Retention criteria. Admissions decisions will be primarily based on student GPA, writing score, reference letters, and other relevant information such as faculty comments on student readiness.
5) Before making final admissions decisions, the admissions committee may request that some students appear for a face to face interview with Department faculty to assist in making admissions decisions. Interviews will be used when application materials and faculty feedback concerning student performance and readiness for admission to a professional program suggest that additional information is needed prior to making an admissions decision.
6) Eligible students may apply for admission to the Social Work major no more than 2 times.

Admission and Retention Criteria

  1. Stability and autonomy: Students will demonstrate the capacity to deal effectively with emotional stress, both in themselves and in relation to others, as demonstrated through a satisfactory evaluation of the volunteer component, a grade of “C” or better in “Introduction to Social Welfare/Social Work,” and performance as a social work major in a variety of courses throughout the student’s career.
  2. Verbal and writing ability: Students will be able and willing to communicate thoughts and feelings effectively, both orally and in writing, as demonstrated in part by passing the English Basic Skills examination or receiving a grade of “C” or better in English composition courses, through satisfactory performance on the writing sample required for admission to the major, and continuous satisfactory achievement of written and oral communication skills throughout the Junior and Senior year.
  3. Identifying and handling conflicting values: Students will be able to function within the context of value conflict, respecting the values of others even when different from their own, as demonstrated by acceptance of others with different backgrounds in their volunteer placement and field placement.
  4. Academic achievement: Student will maintain a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA in all courses, a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA in the interdisciplinary prerequisite courses, including SW 215 and SW 300, and a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA in the professional foundation requirements. Students must have a grade of “C” or better in the interdisciplinary courses, including SW 215 and SW 300 and the professional foundation requirements.
  5. Capacity for continued growth in professional education and commitment to the code of ethics of the social work profession: Students will assume increasing responsibility for their own learning and make use of educational experience oriented toward peer learning. Violations of the canons of ethical responsibility of the social work profession are unacceptable.
  6. Professional choice: Students will show a growing understanding of their chosen field of social work and what is demanded of the professional, and will demonstrate a maturing interest in and commitment to their profession. Should the faculty become concerned about the student’s physical, mental or behavioral ability to perform in the program, the field placement, or in later professional practice, the faculty may request additional information from the student, other faculty/staff, or the field placement supervisor to assess appropriateness for the program..

The faculty reserve the right to remove the status of social work major from any student who does not satisfactorily fulfill the requirements of any of these criteria; however, this procedure will require a hearing for the student and provide all the protection inherent in the rights of due process. The interests of both the student and the profession will be considered in reaching a final decision.

Field Placement Program Admission Criteria

During the Winter Semester prior to entering field placement the following Fall, students must attend several required meetings and apply for admission to the Field Placement Program. Completing required course work and meeting the criteria for admission do not guarantee admission to the Field Placement Program. The following are the Field Placement Program Admission Criteria:

  1. Acceptance into the Social Work Major,
  2. Minimum of 2.5 GPA,
  3. General Education requirements completed before entering the Fall semester,
  4. Demonstrate a plan to complete all of the requirements for University graduation by the end of Winter semester of the field placement year,
  5. Have a plan for completing classes that is reasonable (e.g. no more than 15 credits during Spring/Summer, Fall and Winter semesters).
  6. Declare a minor or dual major to the Registrar,
  7. Declare any certifications, including the Child Welfare Certificate or Juvenile Delinquency Certificate to the Registrar.

Capacity in Social Work placement courses is limited. When application for field placement exceed capacity, priority will be given to students who demonstrate the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated higher academic achievement, especially in Social Work courses,
  2. Demonstrated readiness for the responsibilities associated with field work by: (a) attending regular meetings, (b) submitting required field work documents on time, (c) having a history of good class attendance, (d) turning in assignments in a timely manner, (e) fulfilling other responsibilities in a manner similar to that expected of a professional Social Worker.




      Social WorkYouth Services

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