Highlights, News, and Events

Thinking about majoring in Social Work? Join the Social Work Orientation Meetings
Friday, October 17 from 2-3 pm
Tuesday, November 4 from 3-4:30 pm
Thursday, December 4 from 3:30-4:30 pm
RSVP here. RSVP recommended, but not required.

MSW Info Session
Monday, September 29
6 p.m.
CUB 119

Welcome back! Check out our Summer Newsletter!

Summer Newsletter

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    Contact Information

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


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    Program Requirements

         Students interested in pursuing a social work major should consult with the social work department and declare the major as soon as possible. There are two levels of admission into the major. The first is a pre-professional standing. The second level is a professional standing and will only be granted after students successfully complete a formal admission process.

    Admission Process

         There are two steps in the admissions process for social work majors. The first step is to meet the requirements to declare social work as a major. The second step occurs once you become a social work major and is called the professional status process. 

    Declaring Social Work as a Major

         A first year student who is applying to the University may request to be a social work major without any previous college level work. Internal transfer students (those who are already SU students in another major or undeclared) and external transfer students (from another college/university) need to meet the grade point requirements listed below that correspond to the number of credit hours they have earned to be considered for admission.

    If you have:   You need:
    Credit Hours 0-30 2.2 grade point average
      31-59 2.4 grade point average
      60+ 2.5 grade point average


         Internal transfer students should complete a “Change of Major/Minor” request online at ship.edu and meet with the BSW Program Director or attend a Social Work orientation meeting to declare Social Work as a major. External transfer students will work with the Admissions Office to declare a major but may also contact the BSW Program Director to talk about the major. Students not accepted due to space limitations may reapply to the major during the next semester in which they meet the minimum requirements. They will be reevaluated in relation to the applications received in that semester.    

         Students with a GPA below the required level may petition the BSW Program Director to be admitted into the major if they have taken 3 social work courses and received a B or higher.

    Professional Clearances

         Social work is a profession that requires professionals who have demonstrated consistent ethical and lawful behaviors. In order to maintain professional standards and help students plan for their future careers, all students are required to obtain clearances when they become social work majors and once again when they are enrolled in Preparation for Practicum SWK 388. In addition, most social service agencies require these clearances in order to volunteer and several social work classes require volunteer service. Students who have indications of child abuse or criminal conviction are not prohibited from becoming a social work major, but will need to meet with the BSW Program Director and potentially other faculty members to discuss whether the social work profession is appropriate and how it could affect their social work education and career. These clearances provide protection to the agencies and families with whom students work. If a student knows of an offense that will show on either clearance, it is imperative that they discuss this with their advisor or BSW Program Director early in the educational experience. Because many agencies require clearances, there will likely be job limitations in the field of social work for a person with a criminal or child abuse record.

         Bring the originals of the required clearances to the department secretary (room 382, Shippen Hall) within 60 days of when you turn in your Change of Major form to the BSW Program Director. The secretary will make a copy and return the originals to you. PLEASE KEEP A FOLDER OF YOUR ORIGINAL CLEARANCES - You may be asked to present them to agencies when you volunteer.  It is not the policy of the department to make copies for you from the copies we have on file, so please keep them in a safe, readily accessible location.

    Click here for the links to the required clearances.

    Volunteer Services

         BSW Students must complete at least 40 hours of volunteer experience between the time of becoming a social work major or taking a social work class and the time of applying for professional status in order to be eligible for full professional status. The professional status application will include a place for students to indicate that they have completed 40 hours of volunteer status. 

         Definition of Volunteer Experience:  Volunteer experience is defined as nonpaid work in a human service program or agency and must be completed between the time the student becomes a social work major or takes the 1st social work class and the time of professional status application.* This may include volunteer experiences required for class. Students may not count hours spent with family members or the time it takes to get to and from a volunteer site.  

         *Students who were social work or human service majors prior to transferring to SU may count hours they completed during their time as a human service or social work major at another institution. 

         Procedures:  Please use the BSW Program Volunteer Service Form when completing volunteer hours and turn the form into the department office within 30 days of completing the volunteer hours or the within 30 days of the beginning of the semester if you complete hours over summer or winter break. You should also keep a careful log of your hours and may want to use a table to do so.  The department will contact programs every semester to confirm volunteer hours. Every program may be called or a random sample of programs may be selected for contact.

    Professional Status          

         The next level of admissions is called Professional Status. This process begins the moment you become a social work major, but formal application for professional status occurs when you are enrolled in Social Work Practice with Individuals (SWK270). Professional Status will require a minimum overall quality point average of 2.50. All students who are enrolled in this course should apply for professional status, regardless of GPA and other professional status requirements (unless advised by the course instructor not to do so). The Professional Status process is meant to help students and faculty confirm that the social work profession is a good fit for you.  Successfully completing the professional status process means that you are permitted to continue to the upper level social work courses that lead to the field education experience. 

         Admission procedures are fully described in the social work student handbook and in the Social Work Practice with Individuals course, which is a required course for all students, including transfers. Please click below to download the application and the requirements for the written statement:

    Professional Status Application

    Social Work Curriculum  

    Click on the link to access the BSW Curriculum Planning Checklist

     Required Social Work Courses (55 Credits)
    SWK102 Social Work in Social Welfare 3 crs. 
    SWK150 Human Relations Lab 3 crs.
    SWK250 Assessing Individuals in the Social Environment 3 crs.
    SWK265 Understanding Diversity for Social Work Practice 3 crs.
    SWK270 Social Work Practice with Individuals* 3 crs.
    SWK275 Social Work Skills for Working with Groups 3 crs.
    SWK327 Social Work Skills for Working with Families 3 crs.
    SWK340 Assessing Organizations and Communities in Society 3 crs.
    SWKXXX Special Fields (choose 1 below) 3 crs.
    SWK360 Research Techniques for Social Workers 3 crs.
    SWK370 Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities 3 crs.
    SWK420 Gender Issues for Helping Professionals 3 crs.
    SWK450 Social Welfare Policy and Services 3 crs.
    SWK388 Preparation for Field Practicum 1 crs.
    SWK391 Seminar in Social Work Methods** 6 crs.
    SWK389 & SWK390 Field Work in Social Work** 6 crs.
    Special Fields of Social Work: One of the following courses is required   3 crs
    SWK262 Introduction to Child Welfare Practice
    SWK347 Special Fields of Social Work: Behavioral Health Settings 
    SK348 Special Fields of Social Work: Substance Abuse Settings
    SWK351 Special Fields of Social Work: Aging Settings
    SWK356 Special Fields of Social Work: Intellectual Disabilities Settings
    SWK357 Special Fields of Social Work: Health Care Settings 
    SWK358 Special Fields of Social Work: School Settings 
    SWK359 Special Fields of Social Work: Violence in Interpersonal Relationships
    Allied Fields: Students majoring in social work must take the following courses in allied fields which may also meet general education requirements. 
    PSY101 General Psychology 3 crs.
    BIO150 Human Biology 3 crs.
    SOC101 Introduction to Sociology: Society and Diversity 3 crs.
    PLS100 U.S. Government and Politics 3 crs.
    MAT117 Applied Statistics  3 crs. 

    *Note: While enrolled in this course, students must complete the professional status application process. These procedures and criteria are described in the student handbook

    **Note: Field work in Social Work and the Seminar in Social Work Methods are taken for 15 credit hours with no additional course work during the last semester in the senior year. Students must have earned a C or better in all required Social Work courses before they are eligible for Field Work and Seminar in Social Work Methods.