If you’re passionate about making a difference in the world by helping others and affecting social change, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at the University of St. Francis will prepare you to do just that! You can develop skills that will help people and make a huge impact on their lives.
Many students report one of the most interesting aspects of our program is interacting and learning from a diverse student body and faculty. In addition, the required classes for the BSW program are small, which ensures lively discussions and hands-on experiences in and outside of the classroom. Faculty and students get to know each other well and provide a supportive environment for learning. Each year there are numerous opportunities for students to get involved in faculty research and to explore the wide range of opportunities within the social work field.
(Be sure to check out USF’s recent accolades as a leading social work program—and profile—on Newsweek HERE!)
Social Work Program Mission
The mission of the BSW program is derived from the mission of the University of St. Francis and the purposes of the social work profession. The mission of the BSW program is to prepare students to become generalist social workers who are committed to social and economic justice in serving alongside individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities through education, service and leadership. BSW students are provided a strong liberal arts, social science knowledge and values of Catholic intellectual tradition and charity along with professional social work knowledge, skills and values. This foundation prepares graduates to alleviate poverty, oppression and discrimination, to enhance the quality of life for all who are vulnerable and in need and to improve social, economic and political justice in a multicultural social context.
“My experience in the BSW program at University of St. Francis has been an incredible journey. It has not only been beneficial to gain more knowledge about the field of social work, but also a journey to my own self-discovery. The program is small enough to form relationships with your professors which is beneficial as they are considerate of their student’s needs throughout the program. The program itself is challenging at times; however, the experience and knowledge I have gained has made me more confident in my studies as well as my future career. It’s a beneficial learning experience that I would recommend to anyone considering social work!”
The University of St. Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (cswe.org).
What Can You Do With This Degree?
The BSW program prepares students to become generalist social workers who commit to increase socio-economic justice and improve the well-being of at-risk individuals, families, groups and communities through education, service and leadership. BSW program graduates are prepared to alleviate suffering from personal disruptions, economic difficulties, and discrimination. You will learn techniques and to access support systems that enhance the quality of life for your clients in many different contexts.
USF’s graduates are successful in securing entry level social work positions upon graduation and being accepted for admission to MSW programs, including the MSW program at USF.
Learn more about our faculty and what they are doing in the classroom by watching these videos, or reading the latest USF Social Work Department Newsletter!
Grow Through Real-World Experience
As part of the BSW program, students are required to enroll in a field seminar course during their senior year. This course includes an integrative seminar class and a field internship at a community social service agency. Internships are designed to practice the knowledge and skills that comprise the professional base of social work practice, in which students are exposed to the full range of social work practice. USF partners with more than 75 social service organizations to provide students with hands-on experience. The Social Work Department’s field education director works individually with students in order to facilitate internships based on learning needs and interests.
Minor in Social Work
Students in other degree programs like Education and Nursing, to name just two, can also minor in Social Work.
Educationally directed field practicum is an essential part of undergraduate and graduate level social work programs, which prepare students for beginning generalist and advanced generalist professional social work practice. The national accrediting agency for social work education, The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), views the field practicum as the signature pedagogy and an integral component of the social work curriculum. According to the CSWE, the field practicum engages the student in supervised direct service activities, providing practical experience in all foundation and advanced practice areas. The overall objective of the practicum is to produce a professionally reflecting, self-evaluating, knowledgeable, and developing social worker.
The curriculum of our BSW field education year is conceptualized from a generalist practice perspective with a primary goal to prepare students to become competent and effective generalist social work practitioners. To this end, our program elaborates on the definition of generalist social work practice defined by the BPD (The Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors).
Generalist social work practice is a holistic approach that provides the practitioner with the knowledge, ethical values, and skills necessary to engage in a planned change process in order to improve the quality of life in individuals, families, groups, communities and to promote socio-economic justice for the at-risk populations.
At the end of this program, students will be competent in the following:
- Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
- Engage diversity and difference in practice
- Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice
- Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
- Engage in policy practice
- Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
- Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
- Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
- Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
BSW students are required to complete a 480-hour internship in their senior year of the undergraduate program at an approved social service organization. This practicum exposes students to working with clients at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels using the Generalist Practice Helping Process.
Internships are offered in two modalities:
- Two-Semester: Begins in fall, continues through spring semester
- Block: Complete all internship hours over the summer semester, May-early August