Social Work

Why Study Social Work

Social work is a dynamic profession designed for people who want to help others and make the world a better place. Whether you plan to enter the field right away or use your undergraduate degree in social work as a springboard to other things, the social work program at Ship has multiple paths to choose from.

Why Study Social Work at Ship

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Shippensburg University helps you develop social work knowledge, skills and values that build on the general education curriculum. The core curriculum begins in the classroom where role-playing and simulations prepare you for real-world experiences in your work in human service agencies. Coursework builds toward an intensive field placement or internship. Our students integrate what they have learned in the classroom with practice and experience to prepare for entry-level careers in social work.

At Shippensburg University, you will enter the major at the pre-professional status level. Admission into the professional status level is limited to students who have displayed both the academic aptitude and the interpersonal qualities necessary for success in a social work career immediately upon graduation. The application process to move into professional standing begins when the student is enrolled in SWK270 (Social Work Practice with Individuals). To learn more about the application process contact the department.

The Social Work and Gerontology Department offers personalized educational experiences to our students, as well as the dedication of an excellent faculty. You will experience small class sizes, an intimate learning environment, and multiple opportunities for collaboration between your peers.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

Employers in the region regularly recruit and hire our graduates because of our program’s excellent reputation. Graduates are highly likely to begin working in their chosen field immediately after graduation. According to Bureau of Labor statistics, the employment rate for social workers “is expected to grow by 25 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.” Social workers are employed in child welfare, health care settings, and programs for older citizens, behavioral health, corrections, schools, business and industry, substance abuse, domestic violence, and intellectual and developmental disabilities, to name some of the many options available.

The salary range for social workers in PA is $27,000 - $45,000. Learn more about careers in social work at BEASOCIALWORKER.ORG.

All BSW students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours:

  • General Education Courses: All undergraduate students are required to complete the university's general education program, which provides a variety of liberal arts courses that are the foundation for the Social Work curriculum.
  • Social Work Core Courses: A complete course listing and descriptions are located on the BSW website.
  • Optional Minor: Students are also encouraged to use their elective hours to earn a minor in a related interest area (e.g., foreign language, gerontology, disability studies, psychology, sociology, women’s and gender studies, ethnic studies, coaching) to name a few of the options.
  • Field Practicum and Seminar: In the senior year, students participate in a field practicum/internship and an integrative seminar. Students spend 4 days a week in a human service agency under the supervision of a professional social worker. This capstone experience brings together all the course work and provides students with an opportunity to practice what they have learned in a supervised setting before obtaining a job in the "real world".  


The BSW program at Shippensburg University is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Students Groups

In addition to volunteer and service learning opportunities that are part of coursework, the Social Work and Gerontology Department has a variety of groups, activities, and resources that enhance the quality of life in the department for students and faculty alike. Students are encouraged to participate in nationally recognized professional organizations and departmental clubs like the Social Work Organization (SWO) and the Social Work Research Club. SWO participates in a variety of service opportunities, fundraisers, conferences, and other events, including the Children's Fair, Earth Day, Inclusive Basketball, Inclusive Party, and several events with the Women's Center on campus. Students can follow SWO on Facebook at SWO - SU Social Work Organization.  

Social Work and Gerontology
382 Shippen Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1717
Department Website