Social work is distinguished by a tradition of concern for people and their interactions with society. Social work professionals are community problem solvers who intervene in organizational settings, communities, social service agencies, groups, individuals, and families with goals of enhancing well-being and promoting social and economic justice. Most social workers are employed in fields such as child welfare and family services, mental health, medical social work, school social work, corrections, community organization, or advocacy.

The Social Work curriculum focuses on the practical application of social work principles, policies, and practices within human rights and social justice perspectives. Students acquire a professional social work foundation transferable to different settings, population groups, and problem areas. Attention is devoted to understanding the social welfare system in the U.S., and working with individuals, families, and communities to affect desired change. At the global level, human rights and economic, environmental and social needs are explored through international travel courses. Several practical experiences are required. Students work with an agency participant throughout their sophomore year, and then as seniors, participate in a social work agency internship. International placements may be available. The curriculum also includes a strong liberal arts base in social science research and statistics, arts, humanities, social science, and natural sciences.

CSU students are admitted to the School of Social Work (SSW) when they declare Social Work as a major. Two professional organizations, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE) guide social work practice and education. The NASW develops the Code of Ethics for practicing social workers. The CSWE accredits bachelor's and master's social work educational programs in the United States. The BSW program is accredited by CSWE.

Learning Outcomes

Graduating seniors will have demonstrated:

  • Skills in conceptualizing and applying knowledge of social welfare policy and services, a systems perspective, theory, community resources, and community policy-making processes and practices.
  • Knowledge and mastery of the foundation competencies as required by the CSWE for accreditation of the BSW degree.
  • An understanding of the social work code of ethics including mastery of skills in maintaining client confidentiality, establishing professional boundaries, and resolving ethical dilemmas that are presented in case situations.

Potential Occupations

Social Work graduates are employed in a variety of settings including welfare agencies, schools, hospitals, clinics, institutions, community centers, public health, corrections, and group homes. Entry-level job opportunities are plentiful. Graduates should be willing to work with people of all ages and in a multitude of circumstances and settings. Opportunities to work with older adults are especially prevalent. Internships are required. Graduates of the BSW program are eligible to apply for advanced standing in graduate programs.

Some examples of career opportunities include, but are not limited to: child welfare worker, adolescent group home counselor, crisis counselor, child protection worker, adult protection worker, geriatric social worker, case manager, nursing home administrator, medical social service counselor, community outreach coordinator, youth program counselor, home health worker, occupational social services worker, foster parent consultant, probation officer, client advocate, victim-witness program counselor, program manager, substance abuse counselor, domestic violence counselor, adoption worker, or international development.

Progression in the Major

Progression in the Major is guided by standards required by both NASW and CSWE to ensure compliance with accreditation standards, and that students meet nationally recognized ethical requirements for their profession.

The NASW Code of Ethics requires that social workers act ethically in their work with clients. It also requires that social workers take action when their colleagues are not acting competently or ethically. The CSWE requires that social work programs describe the procedures for informing students of the program’s criteria for evaluating students’ academic and professional performance and that the program have policies and procedures for terminating students’ enrollment in the social work program for reasons of academic and professional performance. 

To meet the requirements of these professional governing bodies, the School of Social Work (SSW) has developed a Progression in the Major procedure. Progression in the Major is a time in a student’s academic career when faculty and students can review each student’s fitness for the profession of social work. Prior to enrolling in the 300 level practice courses (SOWK 340, SOWK 341, SOWK 343), students must apply for Progression in the Major. Approval of the Progression in the Major application is a prerequisite for enrollment in SOWK 340. Generally students who have 60 or more credits must apply for progression in order to graduate in the following four semesters. The application for Progression in the Major will be distributed in SOWK 286A and SOWK 286B.

As a professional program, academic performance and fitness to proceed in the SSW program requires a minimum grade point average, completion of required course work, and behaviors appropriate to the performance of social work. Problems in student performance may be addressed with the student at any time in the student’s academic career in the SSW.

Student Expectations for Progression:

  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.500 in SOWK course work; a grade of C or better in all SOWK coursework; 2.000 in overall university course work; 2.000 in All University Core Curriculum (AUCC) course work.
  • Demonstrate conduct that complies with the CSU Student Code of Conduct.
  • Demonstrate conduct that adheres to the NASW Code of Ethics and social work values in interactions with faculty, peers, the community, organizations and clients.
  • Remain free of criminal convictions while enrolled in the SSW and CSU.
  • Refrain from substance use that interferes with the performance of responsibilities to clients and agencies and/or interferes with classroom performance.
  • Demonstrate behavior that prioritizes the welfare of those to whom the student has a responsibility such as clients and coworkers.
  • Refrain from any behaviors that cause harm to clients, including romantic or sexual relationships.
  • Demonstrate respect for all persons and appreciation for race, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
  • Demonstrate sound judgment, both in work with clients and in regard to oneself, such as seeking professional help for physical and emotional problems that interfere with professional functioning.
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity in work with client systems and in the classroom.

Review Process

Concerns regarding a student’s application for progression will be reported to the director of the BSW program. Concerns may be identified during the Progression in the Major application review process or at any time before or after progression. Progression applications will be reviewed by the director of the BSW program. Concerns regarding any of the foregoing student expectations will be addressed by the BSW director directly with the student and the student’s advisor. Major concerns regarding the student’s ability to proceed in the program will be reviewed by the director of the BSW program with the administrative team of the SSW, including but not limited to the director of the SSW. A meeting will then be scheduled for review of the concerns with the student, faculty member(s) involved, the director of the BSW program and the director of SSW. Review of concerns may result in one or more of the following resolutions, through the director of SSW:

  • Dismissal or resolution of the expressed concerns.
  • A probationary period which includes a remediation contract with the student to address concerns that will be monitored by the BSW program director or designated faculty.
  • Dismissal of the student from the Social Work major.
  • A report to the CSU Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, in the event the concerns include possible violations of the Student Conduct Code.

Students may appeal these decisions using established university and SSW procedures.

Practicum and Internship

Students directly apply classroom knowledge, skills, and social work values through a six-credit supervised practicum, SOWK 286A and SOWK 286B, in the sophomore year. In this practicum, students are matched with community agencies which require background checks before placement.

In the senior year, students fulfill a 10-credit field placement in a social work agency or program in a community setting. Field placement agencies generally require background checks also, Examples of available field placements include child and public welfare programs; hospitals, homeless and women’s shelters, rehabilitation and mental health agencies, schools, adolescent residential care, geriatric centers, and correction programs. For a complete list of field placements, students may visit the Field Education page on the SSW website. In their field placement and under supervision, students have the opportunity to demonstrate the required CSWE competencies.

Effective Fall 2018

A grade of C (2.000) or above is required in each SOWK course required for the major; a 2.500 overall GPA in all SOWK courses is required for the major.

Freshman
AUCCCredits
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2)1A3
HDFS 101Individual and Family Development (GT-SS3)3C3
PSY 100General Psychology (GT-SS3)3C3
SOWK 120Academic and Career Success 1
SOWK 150Introduction to Social Work 3
Select one course from the following: 3-4
Human Origins and Variation (GT-SC2)3A 
Humans and Other Animals (GT-SC2)3A 
Principles of Animal Biology (GT-SC2)3A 
Attributes of Living Systems (GT-SC1)3A 
Select one course from the following: 3
General Sociology (GT-SS3)3C 
Social Problems (GT-SS3)3C 
Select one course from the following: 3
American Government and Politics (GT-SS1)3C 
State and Local Government and Politics (GT-SS1)3C 
Mathematics11B3
Electives 6
 Total Credits 32
Sophomore
 
SOWK 286APracticum I 3
SOWK 286BPracticum II 3
Select one course from the following: 3
Quantitative Sociological Analysis  
General Statistics  
Introduction to Statistical Methods  
Health/Wellness Course (See list below)3 2-3
Arts and Humanities3B6
Biological and Physical Sciences23A3-4
Global and Cultural Awareness3E3
Historical Perspectives3D3
Electives 3-4
 Total Credits 30
Junior
 
SOWK 300Research in Applied Professions 3
SOWK 330Dismantling Privilege and Oppression 3
SOWK 333Human Behavior in the Social Environment 3
SOWK 340Generalist Practice-Individuals and Families 3
SOWK 341Generalist Practice-Small Groups 3
SOWK 343Generalist Practice-Organizations 3
Select one course from the following: 3
Writing Arguments (GT-CO3)2 
Writing in the Disciplines: Social Sciences (GT-CO3)2 
Economic, Environmental, and Social Justice Course (See list below)3 3
Electives 6
 Total Credits 30
Senior
 
SOWK 400Generalist Practice-Communities4B3
SOWK 410Social Welfare - Policy, Issues, and Advocacy4A3
SOWK 488Field Placement 10
SOWK 492Seminar4C3
Upper-Division Social and Behavioral Sciences (See list below)3 6
Elective4 3
 Total Credits 28
 Program Total Credits: 120

Economic, Environmental, and Social Justice Course List

Code Title AUCC Credits
AGRI 270/IE 270 World Interdependence-Population and Food (GT-SS3) 3E 3
ANTH 100 Introductory Cultural Anthropology (GT-SS3) 3C 3
ANTH 200 Cultures and the Global System (GT-SS3) 3E 3
ANTH 235 Indigenous Peoples of North America 3
ANTH 310 Peoples and Cultures of Africa 3
ANTH 312 Modern Indian Culture and Society 3
ANTH 314 Southeast Asian Cultures and Societies 3
ANTH 319 Latin American Peasantries 3
ANTH 335 Language and Culture 3
ANTH 338 Gender and Anthropology 3
AREC 202 Agricultural and Resource Economics (GT-SS1) 3C 3
AREC 240/ECON 240 Issues in Environmental Economics (GT-SS1) 3C 3
E 142 Reading Without Borders (GT–AH2) 3E 3
ECON 101 Economics of Social Issues (GT-SS1) 3C 3
ECON 211 Gender in the Economy (GT-SS1) 3E 3
ECON 212 Racial Inequality and Discrimination (GT-SS1) 3C 3
ECON 310 Poverty and the Welfare State 3
ETST 100 Introduction to Ethnic Studies (GT-SS3) 3E 3
ETST 201 Introduction to Queer Studies 3
ETST 205 Ethnicity and the Media (GT-SS3) 3E 3
ETST 234/E 234 Introduction to Native American Literature 3
ETST 239/E 239 Introduction to Chicano Literature 3
ETST 240 Native American Cultural Experience (GT-AH2) 3B 3
ETST 250/HIST 250 African American History (GT-HI1) 3D 3
ETST 252/HIST 252 Asian American History (GT-HI1) 3D 3
ETST 253 Chicanx History and Culture (GT-HI1) 3E 3
ETST 254 La Chicana in Society 3
ETST 255/HIST 255 Native American History (GT-HI1) 3D 3
ETST 256 Border Crossings: People/Politics/Culture (GT-SS3) 3E 3
ETST 300 Queer Studies and Women of Color 3
ETST 310 African-American Studies 3
ETST 320 Ethnicity and Film: Asian-American Experience 3
ETST 324 Asian-Pacific Americans and the Law 3
ETST 330 African American Resistance and Self-Creation 3
ETST 332 Contemporary Chicanx Issues 3
ETST 352/SOWK 352 Indigenous Women, Children, and Tribes 3
ETST 354 Black Cinema and Media 3
ETST 364/HIST 364 Asian American Social Movements, 1945-Present 3
ETST 365 Global Environmental Justice Movements 3
ETST 370 Caribbean Identities 3
ETST 371 The Modern Caribbean 3
ETST 377 African Americans in Sports 3
ETST 382/LGEN 382 Italian Ethnic Identity, Culture, and Gender 3
ETST 404 Race Formation in the United States 3
ETST 405 Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in the U.S. 3
ETST 410 African American Periods and Personalities 3
ETST 411 Black Feminism(s) 3
ETST 412 Africa and African Diaspora 3
ETST 413 Queer Creative Expressions 3
ETST 414/ANTH 414 Development in Indian Country 3
ETST 422/E 422 African-American Literature 3
ETST 425 Indigenous Film and Video 3
ETST 430 Latina/o Creative Expression 3
ETST 432 Latinx Routes to Empowerment 3
ETST 438/E 438 Native American Literature 3
ETST 444/SOC 444 Federal Indian Law and Policy 3
ETST 454/SPCM 454 Chicanx Film and Video 3
GES 101 Foundations of Environmental Sustainability 3
GES 192 Global Environmental Sustainability Seminar 3
GES 450 Global Sustainability and Health 3
HIST 115 The Islamic World: Late Antiquity to 1500 3D 3
HIST 120 Asian Civilizations I (GT-HI1) 3D 3
HIST 121 Asian Civilizations II (GT-HI1) 3D 3
HORT 171/SOCR 171 Environmental Issues in Agriculture (GT-SS3) 3E 3
IE 179 Globalization: Exploring Our Global Village (GT-SS3) 3E 3
NR 130 Global Environmental Systems (GT-SC2) 3A 3
POLS 131 Current World Problems (GT-SS1) 3E 3
POLS 309 Urban Politics 3
POLS 331 Politics and Society Along Mexican Border 3
POLS 361 U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy 3
POLS 405 Race and Ethnicity in U.S. Politics 3
POLS 409 Urban and Regional Politics 3
POLS 413 U.S. Civil Rights and Liberties 3
POLS 442 Environmental Politics in Developing World 3
POLS 443 Comparative Social Movements 3
POLS 444 Comparative African Politics 3
POLS 445 Comparative Asian Politics 3
POLS 446 Politics of South America 3
POLS 447 Politics in Mexico, Central America, Caribbean 3
POLS 448 Comparative Racial/Ethnic Politics 3
POLS 449 Middle East Politics 3
POLS 463 Urban Policy and Management 3
SOC 205 Contemporary Race-Ethnic Relations (GT-SS3) 3E 3
SOC 220 Global Environmental Issues (GT-SS3) 3E 3
SOC 322 Introduction to Environmental Justice 3
SOC 344 Health, Medicine, and Society 3
WS 200 Introduction to Women's Studies 3C 3
WS 269 Women of Color in the United States 3
WS 270 Feminist Theory 3

Health/Wellness Course List 

Code Title AUCC Credits
ERHS 220 Environmental Health 3
ERHS 430 Human Disease and the Environment 3
FSHN 125 Food and Nutrition in Health 2
FSHN 150 Survey of Human Nutrition 3
HES 145 Health and Wellness 3
HES 345 Population Health and Disease Prevention 3
MIP 101 Introduction to Human Disease (GT-SC2) 3A 3
MIP 149 The Microbial World 3
PHIL 130 Bioethics and Society 2
PSY 328 Psychology of Human Sexuality 3

Upper-Division Social and Behavioral Sciences Course List (Select 6 credits with approval of advisor)

Code Title AUCC Credits
ANTH 3XX or ANTH 4XX
ECON 3XX or ECON 4XX
ETST 300 Queer Studies and Women of Color 3
ETST 310 African-American Studies 3
ETST 324 Asian-Pacific Americans and the Law 3
ETST 330 African American Resistance and Self-Creation 3
ETST 332 Contemporary Chicanx Issues 3
ETST 352/SOWK 352 Indigenous Women, Children, and Tribes 3
ETST 364/HIST 364 Asian American Social Movements, 1945-Present 3
ETST 365 Global Environmental Justice Movements 3
ETST 370 Caribbean Identities 3
ETST 371 The Modern Caribbean 3
ETST 404 Race Formation in the United States 3
ETST 405 Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in the U.S. 3
ETST 410 African American Periods and Personalities 3
ETST 411 Black Feminism(s) 3
ETST 412 Africa and African Diaspora 3
ETST 414/ANTH 414 Development in Indian Country 3
ETST 432 Latinx Routes to Empowerment 3
ETST 444/SOC 444 Federal Indian Law and Policy 3
HDFS 3XX or HDFS 4XX
HIST 3XX or HIST 4XX
POLS 3XX or POLS 4XX
PSY 3XX or PSY 4XX
SOC 3XX or SOC 4XX

Distinctive Requirements for Degree Program:
A grade of C (2.000) or above is required in each SOWK course required for the major; a 2.500 overall GPA in all SOWK courses is required for the major. MATH 101 recommended.

Freshman
Semester 1CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2)X 1A3
HDFS 101Individual and Family Development (GT-SS3)  3C3
PSY 100General Psychology (GT-SS3) X3C3
SOWK 120Academic and Career Success   1
MathematicsX 1B3
Elective   3
 Total Credits   16
Semester 2CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOWK 150Introduction to Social Work X 3
Select one course from the following: X3A3-4
Human Origins and Variation (GT-SC2)  3A 
Humans and Other Animals (GT-SC2)  3A 
Principles of Animal Biology (GT-SC2)  3A 
Attributes of Living Systems (GT-SC1)  3A 
Select one course from the following:X  3
General Sociology (GT-SS3)  3C 
Social Problems (GT-SS3)  3C 
Select one course from the following: X 3
American Government and Politics (GT-SS1)  3C 
State and Local Government and Politics (GT-SS1)  3C 
Elective   3
CO 150, PSY 100, and SOC 100 or SOC 105 must be completed by the end of Semester 2.X   
 Total Credits   16
Sophomore
Semester 3CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOWK 286APracticum IX  3
Arts and Humanities X3B3
Biological and Physical Sciences X3A3-4
Global and Cultural Awareness X3E3
Historical Perspectives X3D3
 Total Credits   15
Semester 4CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOWK 286BPracticum IIX  3
Select one course from the following:X  3
Quantitative Sociological Analysis    
General Statistics    
Introduction to Statistical Methods    
Health/Wellness (See Department List on Major Requirements Tab):   2-3
Arts and Humanities X3B3
Electives   3-4
Progression to Major is strongly recommended by the end of Semester 4. X  
 Total Credits   15
Junior
Semester 5CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOWK 300Research in Applied Professions X 3
SOWK 330Dismantling Privilege and OppressionX  3
SOWK 333Human Behavior in the Social EnvironmentX  3
SOWK 340Generalist Practice-Individuals and FamiliesX  3
Select one course from the following:   3
Writing Arguments (GT-CO3)  2 
Writing in the Disciplines: Social Sciences (GT-CO3)  2 
Progression to Major must be completed by the end of Semester 5.X   
SOWK 150, SOWK 286A, and SOWK 333, must be completed by the end of Semester 5.X   
 Total Credits   15
Semester 6CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOWK 341Generalist Practice-Small GroupsX  3
SOWK 343Generalist Practice-OrganizationsX  3
Economic, Environmental, and Social Justice (See Department List on Major Requirements Tab) X 3
Electives   6
SOWK 286B, SOWK 330 must be completed by the end of Semester 6. X   
 Total Credits   15
Senior
Semester 7CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOWK 400Generalist Practice-CommunitiesX 4B3
SOWK 410Social Welfare - Policy, Issues, and AdvocacyX 4A3
Upper-Division Social and Behavioral Sciences (See Department List on Major Requirements Tab)X  6
Elective   3
SOWK 300 must be completed by the end of Semester 7.X   
 Total Credits   15
Semester 8CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOWK 488Field PlacementX  10
SOWK 492SeminarX 4C3
The benchmark courses for the 8th semester are the remaining courses in the entire program of study.X   
 Total Credits   13
 Program Total Credits:   120