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Bachelor of Social Work Program Admission Requirements

Students interested in pursuing a social work major should consult with the Social Work Department and declare the major as soon as possible.

Admission Process

There are two steps in the admissions process for Social Work majors:

  1. The first step is to meet the requirements to declare Social Work as a major.
  2. For students already enrolled at Shippensburg University, the second step occurs once you become a Social Work major and is called the professional status process.

A first year student who is applying to the university may request to be a social work major without any previous college level work.

Declaring Social Work as a Major

Ship students who are already in another major or undeclared and transfer students from another college/university need to meet the grade point requirements (GPA) listed below that correspond to the number of credit hours they have earned to be considered for admission.

  • 2.0 Required GPA for 0-30 Credit Hours

  • 2.2 Required GPA for 31-59 Credit Hours

  • 2.3 Required GPA for 60+ Credit Hours

Current Ship transfer students should complete a change of major/minor request online at and meet with the BSW program director or attend a social work orientation meeting to declare social work as a major. Transfer students from other colleges/universities 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 three social work courses and received a B or higher.

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 in Shippen Hall 382 within 60 days of when you become a social work major. The secretary will make a copy and return the originals to you. Please keep a folder of your original clearances because 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.

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 non-paid 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 first 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 (PDF) 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.

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 (SWK 270).

Learn more about the Professional Status process.

Contact the Social Work and Gerontology Department 382 Shippen Hall 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1717 Fax: (717) 477-4051