VCU Bulletins

Social Work, Bachelor of (B.S.W.)

Special requirements

To complete lower-division requirements and begin the professional preparation curriculum of the B.S.W. program, students must:

  1. Complete the following specific courses (38 credits):
    ANTH 103; BIOL 101; BIOZ 101; MATH 131; PHIL from approved list; PSYC 101; PSYC 304; SLWK 201; SLWK 230; SOCY 101; UNIV 111, UNIV 112; and UNIV 200
  2. Complete 16 additional credits from the general education requirements for a total of 54 credits to achieve junior status
  3. Achieve a minimum grade of C in UNIV 112 and UNIV 200
  4. Achieve a minimum grade of B in SLWK 201 and SLWK 230
  5. Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
  6. Apply for admission with academic adviser to begin the professional preparation curriculum of the B. S. W. program.
  7. Agree to abide by the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics as students and emerging professionals

Other program requirements and guidelines:

  1. Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all 300-level social work courses before entering the 400-level courses.
  2. Students must have a minimum grade of C in all required social work courses to graduate.
  3. A student who earns a grade of D or F in any required social work course may repeat the course once. If a grade of D or F is earned in the repeated course, the student will be terminated from the B.S.W. program.
  4. Credit is not given for life experiences.
  5. As a condition for graduation, students must submit in the spring term of a senior year a portfolio of selected assignments.
  6. There are additional policies that affect students’ progression in the professional degree program. Students are responsible for compliance with these policies. They are listed in the B.S.W. Handbook, which is available on the School of Social Work website at

Foreign language requirement: Students who place into or are waived out of the 101 level in a foreign language must complete the 102 level in the same language. Students who place into or are waived out of the 101 and 102 level in a foreign language must complete at least one college-level foreign language course in any language. Credits earned by CLEP do not count toward the fulfillment of this requirement.

The Bachelor of Social Work requires completion of 120 credits, including 46 credits in the major. The curriculum of the baccalaureate program is specifically designed to prepare students for beginning-level generalist social work practice. This practice model requires a broad base of knowledge about individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations and an appreciation of cultural diversity. General education courses provide an essential foundation for the upper-level professional curriculum and are required for admission to junior and senior social work courses.

Degree requirements for Social Work, Bachelor of (B.S.W.)

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  2. Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
  3. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  4. Engage in diversity and difference in practice.
  5. Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  6. Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  7. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social and environment
  8. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  10. Engage, assess, intervene and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
General Education requirements Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
Additional General Education requirements (26 credits)  
Choose one: any ARTH (except ARTH 360), MHIS 243, any RELS, any English literature, any PHIL (except 201, 211, 212, 213, 214, 221, 222), any foreign language at 200 level or above, POLI 341, POLI 342, HIST 305, 307, 308, 309, 336, 337, 338, 365, 366, or any topical or honors course approved by program director 3
Choose one: BIOL 103, BIOL 201, BIOL 217, SOCS 340, PSYC 401, PSYC 406, or PSYC 412 3
Choose one approved PHIL: PHIL 201, 211, 212, 213, 221 or 222 3
Electives from HIST, POLI or ECON 9
Foreign language at the 101 and 102 level (including ASL) 8
Collateral requirements (14-26 credits)  
ANTH 103 Introduction to Anthropology 3
BIOL 101 Biological Concepts* (satisfies University Core natural/physical sciences) 3
BIOZ 101 Biological Concepts Laboratory* (satisfies University Core natural/physical sciences) 1
MATH 131 Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics* (or MATH 141, 151, 200 satisfies approved quantitative literacy)  
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology* (satisfies University Core social/behavioral sciences) 4
PSYC 304 Life Span Development Psychology 3
PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal 3
SOCY 101 General Sociology 3
Select from the following: ENGL 215, PHIL 250 or RELS 108* (satisfies University Core humanities/fine arts)  
Major requirements (46 credits)  
SLWK 201 Introduction to Social Work 3
SLWK 230 Communication in the Helping Process 3
SLWK 311 Social Work and Oppressed Groups 3
SLWK 313 Person in Society I 3
SLWK 330 Person in Society II 3
SLWK 332 Social Work Practice: Fundamentals 3
SLWK 380 Foundations of Social Work Research I 3
SLWK 381 Foundations of Social Work Research II 3
SLWK 393 Junior Field Instruction 3
SLWK 422 Social Welfare Legislation and Services 3
SLWK 431 Person in Society III 3
SLWK 441 Social Work Practice I 3
SLWK 442 Social Work Practice II 3
SLWK 494 Senior Field Instruction I 3
SLWK 495 Senior Field Instruction II 3
SLWK 499 Senior Seminar (capstone) 1
Open electives (13 credits) 13
Total minimum requirement 120

Click here to download a sample outline. [PDF]

Academic policies

Transfer students

Students who transfer to VCU from another institution as social work majors are not required to complete the UNIV 111 and 112 sequence. Instead, these students must transfer three credits in writing and composition course work with a grade of C or better (approved by the program director) in lieu of UNIV 111. Students may also transfer three additional credits in writing and composition course work with a grade of C or better (approved by the program director) in lieu of UNIV 112 or complete UNIV 200 at VCU with a grade of C or better. The remaining three credits from the UNIV 111, 112 and 200 sequence requirement may be completed as general electives. This policy applies only to students who transfer to VCU after their freshman year and may not be used by students who began their studies as freshmen at VCU.

Transfer of credits from other colleges or universities or from other programs at VCU is determined on an individual basis.

Application process

Students eligible to register for upper-level social work courses need to make an appointment with their adviser to review and complete the “Application for Admission to the B.S.W. Professional Preparation Program” form. This form is available from your student success adviser. Although the B.S.W. program can be completed on a part-time basis, it cannot be completed exclusively in the evening because of field practicum requirements and the scheduling of some classes.

Course restrictions

Practice (SLWK 332, 441 and 442) and field education (SLWK 393, 494-495) courses and the senior seminar (SLWK 499) are restricted to social work majors only. Students minoring in social welfare, or other students with permission of program director or course instructor, may take SLWK 311, 313, 330, 380, 381, 422 and 431. In all cases, however, prerequisites must be satisfied.

Field placements require students to spend 14 hours a week in an agency and cannot be completed on nights and weekends.

Honors in social work

Undergraduate social work majors may earn honors in social work by excelling academically and completing a research-based honors thesis under the supervision of faculty mentors. Students apply for honors in social work in the second semester of their junior year (spring or summer). To graduate with honors in social work, students must satisfy all of the following conditions:

Students who meet these requirements and all other graduation requirements of the university will have honors in social work noted on their transcripts. For further information about the application process and detailed instructions for completing the honors thesis, students should contact the B.S.W. program director.



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