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Social Work

Become an advocate for victims of social and economic injustice and discrimination. Learn to help others improve relationships and resolve problems.

Your helping journey begins now.

Follow Christ’s example in helping others. As a social work major, you’ll learn from professors with experience in the social work profession — professors who are dedicated to mentoring, nurturing and supporting you as you develop academically and professionally. You’ll learn to observe how people interact with their environments and to intervene appropriately and effectively in order to improve relationships and solve problems. Upon graduation, you’ll have real-world internship experience to complement all that you’ve learned. Are you ready to begin your helping journey?

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

Read more about social work student learning outcomes [PDF].

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 major
400 internship hours required
22 credit child welfare endorsement available

Other Learning Formats

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

Adult & Professional Online

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Through a balance of theory and skill development, our social work curriculum provides students with the knowledge and experiences they’ll need to begin their career or graduate studies after graduation. As a social work 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 site supervisor.

Social work students have the option of adding a Child Welfare Endorsement to their degree. This requires two additional classes, SWK 307 Child Welfare and SWK 341 Trauma Informed Child Welfare, as well as an internship in an approved child welfare agency.

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

Once you receive your degree in social work, you’ll be equipped to immediately enter into a variety of careers. You’ll also have the option of continuing your education through graduate school programs. After graduation, you may find yourself working in one of the following settings:

  • Aging Services
  • Child Welfare (Foster Care, Adoption, Child Protective Services)
  • Churches
  • Community Outreach Agencies
  • Criminal Justice Agencies
  • Domestic Violence Programs
  • Elementary & Secondary Schools
  • Family Service Agencies
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Mental Health Services
  • Nursing Homes
  • Residential Treatment Programs
  • Social Services
  • Substance Abuse Programs

At SAU, social work students have many opportunities to apply what they’re learning in class and meet other students who share in their passions.

Action Jackson — This student-led volunteer group pairs local at-risk children and adolescents with college student mentors. Each week, pairs meet to engage in enrichment activities.

The Interfaith Shelter — Students regularly visit this homeless shelter in Jackson, Michigan, to serve food and interact with people in need.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Michigan LEAD — Legislative Education Advocacy Day (LEAD) is a gathering of nearly 1,000 Michigan students in Lansing. SAU students and faculty members spend the day listening to speakers and attending breakout sessions.

Student Social Work Association — This student-run organization seeks to bring awareness of social justice issues to the SAU campus and broader community.

Spring Break Mission Trips — Teams of students spend spring break on mission trips around the country and abroad, engaging with communities and attending to their greatest needs.

At SAU, you’ll find professors who care about you personally. As a social work student, you’ll learn from the following experienced and caring faculty members:

  • Bonnie Holiday, Ph.D., LMSW, ACSW — Professor of Social Work, Social Work Department Chair, Dean of School of Social Sciences
  • Kurt Hoffman, LLMSW, MPA — Associate Professor of Social Work
  • Matthew Winner, LLMSW — Student Success Advisor for the Department of Social Work
  • Sandra Stephenson, LMSW — Director of Internship Education, Assistant Professor of Social Work
  • Jerry Walden, LMSW — Associate Professor of Social Work, BSW Director
  • Emily Dixon, LMSW — Associate Professor of Social Work
  • Nicholas Pollak, LMSW — Assistant Professor of Social Work
  • Stacy Mack, LMSW — Assistant Professor of Social Work

Application to the social work program is required before junior-level practice courses are taken. Freshmen, sophomores and transfer students can declare their intent to major in social work and will be assigned to a social work advisor who will help them prepare for acceptance. Application to the program takes place after completion of SWK 281 Introduction to Social Work. Transfer students who have completed the equivalent of SWK 281 at another accredited program may provisionally take one semester of junior-level courses while they apply to and are accepted into the program. The decision as to whether all requirements are adequately met for admission to the social work major will be made by the social work faculty. 

To be accepted into the major, students must meet the following criteria: 

  • A cumulative college GPA of 2.5 or better. (Conditional acceptance may be granted to students having a GPA lower than 2.5. These students must receive a grade of “B” or better in SWK 281 Introduction to Social Work.)
  • Successful completion of a college writing course with a grade of “C” or better.
  • Successful completion of SWK 281 Introduction to Social Work with a grade of “C+” or better. 
  • Timely submission of application materials. These materials can be obtained from and returned to the program director or designee. 
  • A personal interview with social work faculty. 

Once accepted into the social work program, students must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.