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2019-2020 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Social Work - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Community and Public Service section of this catalog.


The Grand Valley State University School of Social Work exists to train competent social workers at the B.S.W. and M.S.W. levels. To that end, we partner actively, consistently and intentionally with constituents to provide rigorous, ethical coursework and field experiences consistent with the 2015 Council on Social Work Education standards. These standards require that social work students at the foundation and advanced levels competently demonstrate the nine CSWE core competencies and their associated dimensions and observable behaviors. The B.S.W. and M.S.W. curricula combine with our ongoing, dynamic assessment process to assure that our graduates are competent, by CSWE standards, and in the contexts in which they practice. Our model is one of comprehensiveness, as we employ the Generalist and Advanced Generalist models. These assure that social workers trained at GVSU are prepared to practice across contexts, within multiple systems simultaneously, and maintain a developmental, inclusive and ecological stance. Our faculty and staff are committed to a learning environment that continuously challenges each of us to uphold the ethics of our profession, promotes diversity of all forms, incites a spirit of inquiry, and an environment of student mentoring and support. To that end, we share accountability for exchange of information and our behaviors as professionals and students; the pages that follow as our guide in this pursuit. Our policies are designed to be in service to our profession and our constituents in an effort to assure a competently trained workforce. The Master of Social Work and the Bachelor of Social Work programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

The School of Social Work B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs do not award academic credit for students' life experiences or previous work experiences.

Students enrolled in the School of Social Work curriculum must be cognizant of the fact that past or future criminal conduct may limit or prevent placement in a field practice agency. Because field practice is a B.S.W. and an M.S.W. curriculum imperative, the social work degree is awarded only after successful completion of all requirements. Furthermore, past or present criminal conduct may render an individual ineligible to secure a state license and the privilege to practice social work.

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. Find out more information at the National website,

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.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Social Work

Master of Social Work

School Social Work Certification

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.