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Social Work, BSW

Rigorous coursework and hands-on learning will transform your passion for social justice into a rewarding career with Seattle University’s Bachelor of Social Work program

About this Program

Rigorous Coursework and Experiential Learning Leading to Rewarding Career

Our social justice informed curriculum prepares you for community-based social work through rigorous coursework and hands-on learning.

Classroom learning is connected to real-world experience through your field practicum. Our graduates report being well prepared for careers in social work and graduate school.

The primary focus of social work is the interaction between the person and the context of their environment. Students who seek a path to help others, improve society and advocate for just social conditions thrive in social work and have many career options.

The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Social Work Degree at a Glance

Learn how this degree from the Department of Social Work will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

Social justice is at the heart of our work.

We are advocates and activists who strive to improve human well-being with a particular focus on those oppressed, vulnerable and living in poverty. Social workers constantly strive to understand the person in the context of their environment and assist and advocate with individuals, families and groups to improve well-being. They also work to engage in community activism and organizing to advance social change while working for structural change to address power inequities and advance policies for economic and social justice.

The Bachelor of Social Work Program prepares students to become competent and effective generalist social workers. We have adopted the following nine competencies in line with the Council for Social Work Education - Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (CSWE EPAS) as our own learning outcomes.

These standards are common to all undergraduate and graduate social work programs. Graduates of Seattle University’s BSW program:

  1. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
  2. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  3. Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
  4. Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
  5. Engage in policy practice.
  6. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
  7. Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  8. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  9. Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

The Social Welfare Minor is 31-33 credits and includes all foundation social work courses, plus 8 credits of social work electives. The foundation courses include Introduction to Social Work, Social Justice, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Human Development and Social Work and U.S. Social Welfare Policy. Elective courses rotate yearly but typically include topics such as social work with children and youth, burnout prevention, interpersonal violence, social work with youth, and other social issues important to social work.

The Social Welfare Minor is a common complement to majors in Psychology, Biology, Nursing, Sociology, Criminal Justice and Humanities for Teaching.

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Prepared to Make a Difference

Students in a Classroom

Social Work for Social Justice

Our focus on social justice, in keeping with the values of the social work profession, strives to provide the knowledge, values and skills to analyze social inequity and oppression in its manifest forms and to seek systemic change as effective advocates for social and economic justice. 

A park with trees and benches in the fall.

Field Practicum: Connecting to Real-World Practice

The field practicum is 450 hours of experience with an agency. Students are matched with an agency during their senior year for real-world work with children, adolescents, adults and families.

Many Career Paths in Social Work

  • Work with communities to build community connections and increase access to resources.
  • Activism and advocacy for community-defined causes and priorities.
  • Research implications of proposed policies on community and individual wellbeing.
  • Promote just policies on the city, state, and national levels.
  • Work with children and families, ensuring they are safe and have the resources needed to thrive at home, school, neighborhoods, and communities.
  • Family preservation caseworker
  • Foster care and adoption caseworker
  • Child Protective Services caseworker
  • Child welfare research
  • Child welfare policy and government
  • Suicide prevention, interpersonal violence, sexual assault and abuse
  • Disaster and emergency services coordination
  • Care crisis responder
  • Domestic violence counselor
  • Sexual assault victim advocate
  • Social work with older adults with a variety of areas of potential focus in diverse settings
  • Social worker in adult day centers, health care settings (hospital, rehabilitation, assisted living/skilled care sites)
  • Hospice social worker
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Assess, treat, and support individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse difficulties in variety of settings. The State of Washington requires additional training to be a Substance Use Disorder professional.
  • Counselor or case manager, providing counseling, psychosocial support, psychoeducation, and resources
  • Focus on children’s emotional, behavioral, and developmental needs to be successful in school and family supports
  • School readiness case manager (I.e., Headstart)
  • After-school program support
  • Family support worker
  • Special education related social worker
  • College-based social worker (i.e., Navigator, Student development)

Hear From Our Alumni

Drew Lindley

Drew Lindley, ‘24

“My experience in the BSW program was exceptional. The faculty were incredibly supportive and were genuinely invested in my success and passion projects. The program’s focus on social justice-oriented practice has strengthened confidence in my professional work and has helped me nurture a deep commitment to humanity."

BSW & Student Exec. Committee Rep. for Social Work

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