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Social Work (BSW)

Facilitate positive change within individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Gain the values, knowledge and skills needed to help others and build a rewarding career in social work.

The first life you'll change will be your own.

Learn to help others improve relationships and resolve problems — and transform your life and career in the process. As a BSW student at SAU, you’ll explore the philosophical underpinnings of social work, including the values of service, social and economic justice, the inherent dignity of human relationships, and integrity and competence in practice. You’ll learn from experienced instructors who genuinely care about your journey, and you’ll have opportunities to put your knowledge into practice during an immersive internship experience.

The Bachelor of Social Work at SAU is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Read more about social work student learning outcomes.

Our Mission

We are dedicated to preparing competent generalist social workers, dedicated to Christ, sensitive to and appreciative of diversity, committed to social and economic justice, and ready to empower people, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Program Stats

48 credit-hour program
400 internship hours required
2 year program length

Learning Options

The BSW is available to traditional undergraduate, adult and professional and online students. If our adult and professional program isn’t suited to you, consider one of our other learning formats.

Traditional Undergraduate Online
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Ready to take the next step?

Request more information about SAU’s adult and professional BSW.

Request Info

The BSW is offered face-to-face at select learning sites, via our virtual classroom option and online. The BSW is also available to traditional, undergraduate students on our Spring Arbor campus. For more information on cohort start dates and locations, please call 1.866.739.7511.

On-Site Programs

  • 8/15/19
  • 1/28/19

Virtual Classroom Options

This option combines online learning with face-to-face interaction. Study from home, like in an online program, while still engaging with your classmates face-to-face. For more information, please contact your admissions representative.

  • 10/1/20

Licensure

The BSW at SAU prepares students to become licensed social workers in the state of Michigan. Information about licensure can be found in the social work handbook. 

Careers

BSW graduates are qualified to work in a variety of roles in the following key fields:

  • Family and child services
  • Adoption and foster care agencies
  • Domestic violence prevention
  • Substance abuse prevention and treatment
  • Case management with mentally ill or developmentally disabled individuals in mental health agencies
  • Juvenile justice correction
  • Probation casework within a legal setting
  • Residential geriatric facilities
  • Youth/child support
  • Health and wellness agencies
  • Medical social work
  • Refugee programs
  • Community development

As a BSW graduate, you’ll also have the option of continuing your education through graduate school programs. Over 95 percent of program alumni who apply to graduate school programs are accepted. Learn more about the Master of Social Work at SAU and how graduates of SAU’s BSW can earn advanced standing.

More information on social work as a profession is available online. Visit the National Association of Social Workers or the National Association of Christians in Social Work to discover other career possibilities.

Key Courses

Through a balance of theory and skill development, our BSW curriculum provides students with the knowledge and experiences they’ll need to begin their career or graduate studies after graduation. As a BSW student, you’ll be required to take all of the following key courses:

  • SWK 281 Introduction to Social Work (3)
  • SWK 305 Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3)
  • SWK 311 Racial & Cultural Minorities (3)
  • SWK 335 Interviewing (3)
  • SWK 340 Practice with Individuals and Families (3)
  • SWK 352 Research Design (3)
  • SWK 442 Social Welfare Policies (3)
  • SWK 446 Practice with Groups (3)
  • SWK 447 Practice with Communities & Organizations (3)
  • SWK 480 Internship Seminar (2) 

In addition to the courses above, all social work students are required to complete a 400-hour, 10-credit-hour internship in an approved agency with an approved field instructor.

General education requirements vary depending on a student’s chosen BSW delivery format.

Find a complete list of social work courses in the undergraduate catalog.

Faculty

Sarah Bartzen, DSW, LMSW — Assistant Professor of Social Work, Director of Field Education

Kurt Hoffman, LLMSW, MPA — Assistant Professor of Social Work

Bonnie Holiday, Ph.D., LMSW, ACSW — Professor of Social Work, Social Work Department Chair

Janelle Phillips, LLMSW — Academic Advisor for the Department of Social Work, Social Work Instructor

Sandra Stephenson, LMSW — Social Work Field & Student Support Specialist, Social Work Instructor

Jerry Walden, LMSW — Assistant Professor of Social Work, BSW Director

Admission Requirements

Admission to SAU’s adult and professional BSW program takes place in two phases. First, students must gain admission to SAU by submitting the following materials:

  • An online or written application
  • An autobiographical outline
  • A writing sample
  • Official transcripts from each college they’ve attended

Once admitted to SAU, students can apply for admission to the BSW program. Students can submit a formal application to the program after successfully completing the first course (SWK 281). They will be notified of acceptance after successfully completing the second course (WRT 312).

In order to be accepted into the BSW program, students must have previously earned 58 transferable credit hours. The following courses are prerequisites for BSW students:

  • A science course with content on the human body
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • A political science course covering local, state and federal government
  • Introduction to Economics
  • A course on racial and ethnic minorities

These credit hours can be earned through taking classes at SAU, testing (e.g., CLEP, DSST) and transferring credits for approved courses taken at other accredited institutions.

Students applying for admission to the BSW program must take the following steps:

  • Submit references from three individuals
  • Sign a statement to show that you have read the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics and agree to abide by it while engaging in social work activities
  • Submit a written personal statement (completed as an assignment in Module 1)
  • Complete a personal interview with a social work faculty member

If you have questions about the admissions process or want to meet with a program representative, call 800.968.0011.

Tuition & Financial Aid

View current tuition rates and fees for the BSW on our Adult & Professional Tuition & Aid page. Learn more about obtaining financial aid on our Undergraduate Financial Aid page.