Social Work

About the Social Work Program

Social workers focus on helping people most at risk due to social and economic injustices and discrimination. Our social work major teaches you how to implement a planned care process to help people improve relationships and resolve problems. We focus on how people and their environments interact, giving our social workers a variety of options for intervention. A bachelor of social work (BSW) prepares you to work with a broad client population in many settings. Our BSW accredited program makes you eligible for admission into advanced master of social work (MSW) programs, preparing you for specialized practice, including individual, family and group psychotherapy.

Spring Arbor University also offers a bachelor of social work degree completion program for those returning to school and a master of social work degree for those wanting a graduate level degree in social work.


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.

Why should you choose SAU’s social work program?

  • Our Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • Our faculty have field experience in social work and create learning experiences that reflect actual agency experiences.
  • Our faculty is dedicated to mentoring, nurturing and supporting students as they develop academically and professionally.
  • Our curriculum focuses on a balance between theory and skill development in small classes that provides ample opportunity for active participation.
  • Our curriculum provides direct experience working in the social work field through a junior level exploratory and senior level internship.
  • We encourage our majors in social work to explore how to integrate their Christian faith with the knowledge and skills that they gain with their bachelor of social work as they prepare for their professional career.

Online Program Requirements

Recommended BSWO Admission Criteria:

  1. A completed application
  2. An ACT composite score of 20 or an SAT of 940 (Critical Reading and Math) and a high school GPA of 2.60 or higher are recommended as minimum criteria. Those below the minimum recommended see catalog for probationary admittance.
  3. If ACT/SAT and high school completion is more than 3 years old satisfactory completion of the writing sample which demonstrates the competency required to function in the program will be accepted.


An ACT composite score of 20 or an SAT of 940 (Critical Reading and Math) and a high school

GPA of 2.60 are recommended as minimum criteria. Applicants whose scores and GPA are below these recommendations may be admitted probationally. Freshmen admitted probationally are guided carefully in course selection and are given individual academic assistance from Academic Student Connections during the freshman year. Certain courses will be required based on individual test scores. Freshman applicants submitting scores from the General Educational Development (GED) test must have an average standard score of 500 for regular admission.


A GPA of at least 2.50 is recommended. Applicants whose GPA is less than 2.50 may be admitted on probation.


Courses and Course Descriptions

The courses for the 43-hour social work major include such subject areas as human behavior in the social environment, racial and cultural minorities, statistics for the behavioral sciences, social welfare policies, and practice with communities and organizations

View the course requirements, layout and course descriptions as well as learn more about the social work program at Spring Arbor University in the social work catalog taken from the undergraduate catalog.

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities

A Bachelor in Social Work will prepare you to work in the following settings:

  • Nursing homes
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Substance abuse programs
  • Mental health/Mental retardation/developmental disabilities services
  • Churches and church related agencies
  • Community action agencies
  • Family service agencies
  • Child welfare
  • Aging services
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Domestic violence programs
  • Homeless shelters
  • Criminal justice agencies
  • Schools (elementary and secondary)

On-Campus Opportunities

On-Campus Opportunities

On campus, there are a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved, apply what they’re learning in the classroom in a practical way, and meet students who have similar passions. Here is a list of just some of the opportunities available that might interest social work students:

  • Interfaith Shelter Ministries – Interfaith Shelter is a homeless shelter located in downtown Jackson. Spring Arbor students spend one day a week serving food and visiting with the people of the shelter. They also lead small group fellowships and organize an annual food and clothing drive. For information about volunteering at Interfaith Shelter, please call 517.789.8735.
  • Spring Break Mission trips – During Spring Break, handful of mission teams gear up and hit the road to minister to and serve people around the country and abroad. For information, contact Steve Newton at
  • Relay for Life (event) – After cancer hit home for SAU students when a beloved chaplain and SAU student were diagnosed with the deadly disease, Spring Arbor students and staff banded together to organize a Relay for Life event on Spring Arbor’s athletic track. This annual event now takes place every spring.
  • Social Work Club – Those students pursuing a major in social work greatly benefit from being a part of this group as the members help each other learn and grow and prepare to take the world by storm before and after graduation. Learn more about the Department of Social Work.

Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

  • Bonnie Holiday
  • Nathan Foster
  • Randy Baxter
  • Kellie Cody
  • Emily Dixon, MSW Director of Field Instruction
  • Dorothea Epple
  • Vanessa Fitzpatrick
  • Kurt Hoffman
  • Bonnie Holiday, SWK Dept. Chair & BSW Director
  • Ama Larsen
  • Pete Lauber, MSW Director
  • Cindy Livingston, BSW Director of Field Instruction
  • Cynthia Reynolds