Virginia Commonwealth University

B.S.W. Program

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B.S.W. ProgramTo prepare for this level of practice, students will learn the history and current development of social welfare programs; methods of influencing social change; professional values and ethics; the particular needs of oppressed populations; theories of human behavior; family, group, community and organizational functioning, an appreciation of research and methods of practice evaluation; and skills for practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Career opportunities

Employment opportunities for graduates with a Bachelor of Social Work are diverse and can include jobs that deal directly with people, as well as jobs in community planning, organizational administration and policy development. Typical areas of employment include the following:

  • Public child welfare.
  • Foster care and adoption services.
  • Social work in hospital settings.
  • Social work in mental health settings.
  • Alcohol and substance abuse treatment centers.
  • Social work with the elderly.
  • Public and semiprivate organizations that deal with minorities and oppressed groups, including:
    • Women’s and children’s shelters.
    • AIDS treatment and prevention centers.
    • Teen-age pregnancy prevention programs.
    • Domestic violence prevention and treatment.
    • Administration and policy development of organizations that provide services to minority and oppressed groups.

Related fields/graduate study

Although graduate social work is not required for entry-level positions, many B.S.W. students choose to earn a master′s degree in social work in order to enhance personal and professional development and career opportunities. At VCU, students can enter full-time or part-time graduate study leading to the Master of Social Work. An advanced-standing M.S.W. program is offered to B.S.W. students who meet select admissions requirements. The Ph.D. is required to teach at colleges and universities, although highly qualified M.S.W.-level social workers can be hired as adjunct professors in many social work programs. Some social work students combine their social work background with new areas of graduate study. Some of these related areas include law, public administration, health organizations administration, psychology, education and counseling.

Goals and objectives of the program

Guided by the principle of promoting social justice, the goals of the B.S.W. program are to:

  1. Provide an integrated curriculum based on the knowledge, skills, ethics and values essential for beginning generalist social work practice.
  2. Offer an educational experience that facilitates the critical analysis of social work knowledge and practice.
  3. Provide classroom and field instruction experiences designed to promote culturally sensitive practice with diverse and oppressed groups.
  4. Provide an environment that encourages lifelong learning and prepares students for professional growth and development.

Program outcomes*

Upon successful completion of the B.S.W. degree, graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate generalist practice interventions that are appropriate for diverse client systems.
  2. Use principles of scientific practice to evaluate their generalist practice interventions.
  3. Use theoretical frameworks to assess individual, interpersonal and interorganizational behaviors in families, groups, organizations and communities.
  4. Use professional values and ethics to guide interventions and professional relationships.
  5. Articulate the role of social work in service delivery systems in the context of its history and mission.
  6. Critique theory and research used to guide generalist practice.
  7. Critique mechanisms for influencing social policies, programs and services.
  8. Demonstrate written and oral communication skills that facilitate effective practice and professional relationships.
  9. Analyze the impact of oppression, and articulate ways to advance social and economic justice based on generalist knowledge and skills.
  10. Demonstrate critical self-reflection and awareness necessary for continued professional growth.

*Revised: Spring 2007.


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