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2020-2021 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Bachelor of Social Work

Grand Valley State University's Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) is offered through the School of Social Work and prepares students for professional practice by laying the foundation for them to assume roles in society's institutions, organizations, and communities.

The program emphasizes human behavior, the interface between people and their social environment and institutions, and client strengths. Generalist social workers are concerned with societal conditions in their efforts to improve the quality of life and social and economic justice.

The mission of the B.S.W. program is to prepare generalist social workers who enhance and promote well-being and advocate for social, economic and environmental justice of the citizens, organizations and communities of West Michigan, the state, the nation, and the world; and to further the goals of the university and of the social work profession in this region and beyond. West Michigan's unique setting consists of diverse cultural communities as well as urban and rural settings, creating significant potential for skilled social work professionals to make a profound impact on our community.

The B.S.W. program's goals are derived directly from its mission statement and are designed to meet the social service needs of its program locations and beyond. Program goals are as follows:

  • To provide a generalist social work curriculum in a quality learning environment that prepares B.S.W. graduates for entry level social work practice that promotes social, and economic justice and endeavors to address poverty and other social problems within organizational, individual, and community contexts within, but not limited to, West Michigan and the State of Michigan.
  • To prepare generalist social workers who exhibit a professional commitment to enhancing social justice, promoting human rights, ensuring the dignity and worth of all individuals, practicing social work with integrity, upholding the NASW Code of Ethics, incorporating diversity into their practice, and advancing the profession's reputation and knowledge base.
  • To prepare students for continued professional development opportunities throughout their careers, including graduate education.
  • To contribute to the development of social work scholarship and human rights advocacy by supporting the engagement of students, faculty and staff in local, regional, statewide, national and international organizations focused improving the quality of life for all persons.

The B.S.W. program starts in the fall semester and the SSW admits students one time per year.

Accreditation

The Bachelor of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Accreditor's Website: https://cswe.org.

Organizations

Bachelor of Social Work Student Organization (BSWSO)

This organization is committed to providing both volunteer opportunities and social activities for all social work students.

The organizations goals include the following:

  • Enrichment of professional identity
  • Advocacy for B.S.W. students
  • Becoming a viable source for GVSU
  • Increase positive recognition of GVSU in the surrounding area
  • Enhancement of organizational skills through participation in group process
  • Encouragement of awareness of the various social issues that impact our profession and communities

National Honor Society for Social Work Students

  • Phi Alpha Honor Society is a national social work academic honor society that is dedicated to high standards of scholarship and distinctive achievements within social work. The purposes of Phi Alpha Honor Society are to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals.
  • Phi Alpha Chi Epsilon, the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) chapter, offers membership to B.S.W. and M.S.W. students to be inducted based on your academic achievement and credit hours spent within the social work program. Find out more information at the National website, http://phialpha.org/.

Admission

The B.S.W. degree requires successful completion of 120 semester hours of college credits. The program is built on a liberal arts foundation plus 34 hours of cognate and international courses. These required courses augment, complement, and supplement the 45 credit hours of professional social work courses, which include emphases on social work values and ethics, social and economic justice, diversity, and populations at risk in the human behavior and social environment, social welfare policy and services, generalist social work practice, social work research, and field education practice sequences.

The Bachelor of Social Work degree program is a secondary admission program, which only admits students one time per year. An eligible applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or above.
  • Have all admission prerequisite coursework successfully completed or in progress at the time of application.
  • Earn a C or better in all admission prerequisite coursework (excluding general education requirements and MTH 110).
  • Adhere to the SSW course repeat policy which states that a student may not repeat a required course more than once.

The B.S.W. program starts in the Fall semester and the SSW admits students one time per year.

At the time of graduation, all students must have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and a 3.0 GPA in their social work major courses.

Prerequisite Courses

All admission prerequisite courses must be completed with a C or better and the cumulative grade point average for these course must a 2.5 or above. These courses may be repeated no more than once.

* BIO 104 is the recommended Life Science choice for social work majors. Students must also demonstrate a MTH 110 proficiency and have completed their general education Foundations (excluding Mathematical Sciences); these requirements do not require C or better.

Required Courses

For the Major

The student must earn an overall G.P.A. of 3.0 in social work courses and not have repeated a course more than once. Also included are six credits from the list of social work electives, as well as three credits from the list of international program courses.

Prior to Second Year of Social Work Program

The following required courses must be completed by the student before starting field education:

Prior to Graduation

The following courses must be completed prior to graduating with their B.S.W.:

  • Interprofessional practice elective (3 credits)
  • Social work electives (6 credits)
  • International relations elective (3 credits)

Course Lists

Social Problems/Social Inequality

Requires three credits:

Culture and Environment Course

Requires three credits. Must be completed prior to entering field education.

*Courses cannot be used to satisfy both the culture and environment and social work elective requirements.

Interprofessional Practice

Requires three credits. Must be completed prior to entering field education.

Social Work Electives

Requires six credits from the following:

International Relations Program

Requires three credits. Students are not restricted to this list and can ask the B.S.W. director to consider additional courses.

Elective Courses

Following are recommended electives. Students are not restricted to this list and can ask the B.S.W. director to consider additional courses.

Transfer Students

A student planning to transfer to GVSU from another college or university should work closely with their local academic advisor. As a transfer student, be sure to carefully review your GVSU transcript evaluation upon admission to the university. To be considered for the Social Work program, a student must be admitted to GVSU and have declared social work as a major prior to application. Transfer students are able to declare Social Work as their major at transfer orientation.

An eligible applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (including transfer credits).
  • Have all admission prerequisite coursework successfully completed or in-progress at the time of application.
  • Earn a C or better in all admission prerequisite coursework (excluding general education requirements and MTH 110).
  • Adhere to the SSW course repeat policy which states that a student may not repeat a required course more than once.
  • Successfully complete SW 300 within their first year of the B.S.W. program, as most transfer institutions do not offer an equivalent.
  • Demonstrate MTH 110 proficiency via MTH Placement test, ACT or SAT scores, or through successfully completion of a MTH 110 equivalent.

The B.S.W. program starts in the fall semester and the SSW admits students one time per year.

Given extenuating circumstances, the director of the Bachelor of Social Work program reserves the right to work with students on a case by case basis when making admission decisions.

Once admitted into the School of Social Work, all transfer students must satisfy all university and major requirements prior to graduation.

Suggested Order of Coursework for Social Work Major

Following is a sample curriculum guide. It may not be applicable for every student and is not a replacement for meetings with an academic advisor.

Year One

Fall Semester (15 credits):

Winter Semester (15 credits):

Year Two

Fall Semester (15 credits):

  • Social Problems/Social Inequality elective (3 credits)
  • International relations program course (3 credits)
  • General education course Art OR Philosophy and Literature OR History (3 credits)
  • General education U.S. Diversity (3 credits)
  • PLS 102 - American Government and Politics (3 credits)

Winter Semester (15 credits):

Year Three

Fall Semester (15 credits):

Winter Semester (15 credits):

Year Four

Fall Semester (15 credits):

Winter Semester (15 credits):

Social Work Program Description

Click here for the program description.



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