Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
Social work is a dynamic profession designed for people who want to help others and make the world a better place.
BSW program at Shippensburg helps students develop social work knowledge, skills and values that build on the general education curriculum to prepare them to help people. The core curriculum begins in the classroom where role-playing and simulations prepare students for real-world experiences in their work in human service agencies. Coursework builds toward an intensive field placement or internship. Students integrate what they have learned in the classroom with practice and experience to prepare for entry-level careers in social work. The Social Work and Gerontology Department offers personalized educational experiences to our students, as well as the dedication of an excellent faculty. The program is fully accredited by the
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
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.
Learn more about careers in social work at
BSW Degree Requirements
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
- 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 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".
Pre-Professional and Professional Standing
Completion of a BSW degree at Shippensburg University is a two-step process. Students 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). Applications consist of a cover sheet, an essay and reporting of grades for social work courses. All of this information is then reviewed by a three person committee including faculty and program advisory council members. Students may be granted full or conditional professional status. Students with conditional status must meet the requirements for full professional status before entering their final semester of the BSW program when they complete their field practicum experience.
Whether students plan to enter the field right away or use their undergrad degree in social work as a springboard to other things, the social work program at Ship has multiple paths to choose from.
Studying at Ship
Students will experience small class sizes, an intimate learning environment, and multiple opportunities for collaboration between their peers. Ship’s campus is 40 minutes from the state capital and a short drive from Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC.
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.
Applications to the social work undergraduate program at Shippensburg University are accepted on a rolling basis. Because admission is competitive, we encourage students to apply early to secure their place for the following year. Full guidelines, including program requirements, fees and deadlines, can be found on the
Admissions website. The Admissions Office can also arrange a
tour of the campus at your convenience.