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Social Work, BSW – Degree Completion

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree completion program offers students small classes, an inclusive and experiential learning environment, and collaboration with peers and expert faculty. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program is designed for students who have completed an associate’s degree or earned at least 48 transferable credits with a minimum 2.2 GPA. All courses are offered in the Harrisburg area with an evening course schedule. The program is ideal for students who need a consistent schedule of evening classes.

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What Will I Learn?

The mission of the Shippensburg University BSW program is to provide comprehensive preparation for competent entry-level social work practice and/or graduate study. This program includes:

  • A curriculum grounded in the generalist approach
  • A special emphasis on the respect for diversity and human rights
  • Involvement and leadership in the practice community from the local to the global level

Elective courses may focus on a particular setting or issue in social work practice.

Upon graduating from the program, following steps to register with the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, and Licensed Professional Counselors, and passing the accompanying Association of Social Work Boards exam, students can earn the Licensed Bachelor of Social Work credential in PA.

Tnika Lewis headshot

Meet Tnika Lewis

“The program has afforded me the opportunity to obtain my degree at a pace that was comfortable. I’ve made lifelong friends in this program, and I value the education I’ve been able to obtain through the cohort,”

How Tnika found success at Ship

Council on Social Work Education logo

Council on Social Work Education - The Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs offered by the Ship’s Social Work and Gerontology Department are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

What are the requirements for this degree?

You must complete a minimum of 120 credits to obtain your BSW, first entering the major at the pre-professional status level. The process to move into professional standing begins when you are enrolled in SWK 270 (Social Work Practice with Individuals).

The Bachelor of Social Work degree completion program is designed for students who have completed an associate’s degree or earned at least 48 transferable credits with a minimum 2.40 GPA.


Students in this program are encouraged to use their elective hours to earn a minor in a related interest area. Options include:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Gerontology
  • Disability studies
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Technical/professional communication 
  • Women's and gender studies
  • Ethnic studies
  • Coaching

Similar degrees include sociology, psychology and criminal justice (offered at SU) and human services or family studies (not offered at SU). However, in order to call yourself a social worker in Pennsylvania, and many other states, you need to have a bachelors or masters degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program. Social work is a profession that provides avenues for licensure starting at the bachelors level.


What Types of Careers Could I Get With This Degree?

Employers in the region regularly recruit and hire our graduates because of our program's excellent reputation. Alumni of our program help others through their careers in these areas and more:

  • Child welfare
  • Health care
  • Programs for older adults
  • Behavioral health
  • Mental health
  • Substance use
  • Educational settings
  • Business and industry
  • Community organizing
  • Public policy
  • Program development

Many students use their degree as a springboard to graduate school for a Master of Social Work program which can lead to additional career opportunities that include providing mental health services or serving as agency administrators.

What Career Outcomes Do Alumni Have With This Degree?

A list of of the top job titles for Social Work alumni
The estimated salary for Social Work alumni

What Kinds of Experiences Could I Have?

Expect personalized educational experiences, dedicated and knowledgeable faculty, small classes and opportunities for collaboration between peers. The degree completion program students have access to the same quality program and enrichment opportunities as students on main campus! A unique benefit of the program is that you will be part of a cohort of the same students throughout the program. Graduates report that this was particularly helpful in their success.

Curriculum in this program:

  • Includes role-playing situations that prepare you for real-world experience
  • Builds toward an intensive field placement (internship)

Outside of the classroom, you can get involved with:

  • Nationally recognized professional organizations
  • Departmental clubs like the Social Work Organization to participate in service opportunities, fundraisers, conferences and other events
  • Phi Alpha, the National Social Work Honor Society (Alpha Lambda is the Shippensburg chapter)
  • Research opportunities

Our department has several unique affiliations that provide great opportunities:

  • Shippensburg Community Resource Coalition (SCRC) - This is a community-university partnership social services agency. Ship is the only institution in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education that operates a social service agency to provide services to the community and learning opportunities for students.
  • Institute for Social Inclusion (INSINC) - INSINC advances and supports activities that promote social inclusion of vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities, people of color, GLBT populations, the elderly, children and youth, women, migrant populations, people in poverty and so on, through research, training, and development of demonstration models. Students benefit from the research and annual conference.


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