The College of Social Work offers a four-year undergraduate program on the Columbia campus leading to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). This BSW program is in the candidacy and accreditation process prescribed by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).
The purpose of the major is to provide an undergraduate Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) major that (1) prepares graduates for ethical, competent, and culturally relevant social work generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations; (2) conveys the foundational knowledge, values, skills, and professional behaviors of generalist social work practitioner; (3) provides opportunities for students to experience leadership in human service organizations and communities by using various perspectives to promote a planned change process; and (4) equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary for developing plans for life-long learning and professional development. The undergraduate major is intended to provide a broad-based liberal arts education that leads to professional social work education. Graduates will be leaders and advocates who work to enhance social and economic well-being of individuals, families, groups, and the community.
Social Work Profession
People choose social work as a professional career because they genuinely desire to enhance social and economic well-being of all people. Examples of people served by social workers are as follows: a homeless family seeking permanent affordable housing, a physically abused child who needs medical care, a pregnant teenager needing counseling, a fragile elderly person with a debilitating illness, a parent who is an alcoholic seeking sobriety, and a working woman needing to buy food for her children. Social workers are employed in diverse communities in public and private agencies and organizations that are related to health, child and family service, mental health, school, and substance abuse settings. Also, social workers are employed as community and organizational planners, policy-makers and researchers who develop programs to address social problems, e.g. poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and domestic violence, communities, and organizations throughout the state, region, nation, and international community.
The Mission of the BSW Program
The mission of the BSW program is to prepare graduates to become competent and ethical generalist practitioners who promote social and economic justice, social well-being, and an appreciation of diversity among vulnerable populations across South Carolina and beyond. This is accomplished through the program’s emphasis on teaching, research, creative activity, and community engagement.
The Goals and Objectives of the BSW Program
Based on the purposes of social work and liberal arts education, the mission of the BSW program, and academic climate, the goals are as follows:
Goal 1 (curriculum): To prepare students for knowledgeable, ethical, competent, and culturally relevant generalist social work practice.
Graduates of the BSW program will be able to:
- Objective 1: Apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional social work practice.
- Objective 2: Understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards and principles, and practice accordingly.
- Objective 3: Practice without discrimination and with respect, knowledge, and skills related to clients’ age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
- Objective 4: Analyze the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and apply strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice.
- Objective 5: Interpret and synthesize the history of the social work profession and its contemporary structures and issues.
- Objective 6: Apply knowledge and skills of a generalist social work perspective to practice with systems of all sizes.
- Objective 7: Use theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to draw conclusions on individual development and behavior across the life span and the interactions among individuals and between individuals and families, groups, organizations, and communities.
- Objective 8: Analyze, formulate, and implement conclusions to influence social policies.
- Objective 9: Evaluate research studies, assess and apply research findings to practice, and evaluate their own foundation practice interventions.
- Objective 10: Use communication skills differentially across client populations, colleagues, and communities.
- Objective 11: Use supervision and consultation appropriate to social work practice.
- Objective 12: Function effectively and efficiently within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems and propose skillful actions for organizational development and sustainability.
Goal 2 (explicit and implicit academic community climate): To provide students with a learner-centered academic climate that fosters excellence in generalist social work practice with individual, families, groups, communities, and organizations.
Graduates of the BSW program will be able to:
- Objective 1: Apply technology and information management strategies;
- Objective 2: Use supervision and consultation throughout the program for learning, professional advancement and personal growth.
- Objective 3: Demonstrate leadership skills and behaviors in the classroom and various program components.
- Objective 4: Partner with administration, faculty, and staff to promote and maintain a learner centered academic climate.
Goal 3 (partnerships with community): To offer students opportunities, through service learning and field education, to become community-engaged leaders and advocates for social and economic justice within culturally diverse communities and organizations.
Graduates of the BSW program will be able to:
- Objective 1: Apply theoretical frameworks to analyze policies and program and influence legislative and policy processes.
- Objective 2: Assess and implement the planned change process in organizations and communities.
Goal 4 (professional development): To provide students with experiences needed for lifelong learning and continuing professional development.
Graduates of the BSW program will able to:
- Objective 1: Produce plans for continuing growth by effectively using supervision and consultation, develop strategies for self-care, and engage in career development and life-long learning.
Entrance and Progression Requirements
In order to be admitted to the College of Social Work-BSW Program, freshmen and transfer students must meet all University and college admission requirements. Transfer students must meet all such requirements and have a GPA of 2.25 or better. Acceptance into the BSW Program with a lower division classification does not guarantee progression into the upper division BSW Major.
All students in the lower division in the BSW program are subject to the following regulations:
- Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.25.
- All incomplete grades posted on the transcript must be removed before progression into the upper division.
- Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all required English courses.
Advanced Placement: Students must adhere to the University requirements for advanced placement in general education courses. Only those general education courses identified by the University can be used for advanced placement through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). University departmental exams may be used for advanced placement if offered by the appropriate department and if the student meets the expected testing level identified by the department.
Upper Division: Progression into upper division social work occurs primarily in the fall semester. Students who complete 45 hours of general education and wish to apply to supper division must submit a completed College of Social Work - BSW Application by the announced due dates published each year. Factors considered in the progression decision include the following:
- good standing with the University and successful completion of the application process.
- minimum of a 2.5 cumulative USC and collegiate summary grade point average in general education and other courses
- a grade of “C” in their English general education course requirements.
- verified completion of 45 hours of general education courses at the time of application.
- verified completion of 60 hours of general education courses at the time of progression to upper division.
- verified completion of SOWK 201 and SOWK 222 .
- meeting with their social work advisors to receive and discuss the pre-application, application packet, personal statement, reference forms, and over-all process.
- completion of a statement of agreement to abide by the professional values and behavioral expectations outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics, USC Carolina Creed, and other documents found in student manuals.
- attendance at the BSW program and field education orientation sessions.
Students must have a completed application for field, provide evidence of completion of remaining lower-division course work, and be admitted to the upper division prior to registering for their first upper division (300 level) social work course.
Progression Requirements: To remain in the undergraduate degree program at the College of Social Work, a student must make satisfactory academic progress toward the degree. A student who fails to make satisfactory progress may be placed on academic probation or removed from the program. . If the semester, yearly, or cumulative grade point average of a student is below 2.50, the student will be notified in writing. A student must have an overall 2.0 average and must complete all social work core courses with an overall grade point average of 2.5. A student may attempt a social work core course a maximum of two times to fulfill the requirement. A grade of W (withdrawal) will be recognized as an attempt. A student may repeat a maximum of two core courses. In addition, all students in the College of Social Work are subject to the regulations on probation, suspension, and readmission in the section of the USC Undergraduate Bulletin titled “Academic Regulations.”
Students enrolled in College of Social Work undergraduate programs are subject to attendance regulations of the University as described in the University of South Carolina Undergraduate Bulletin. In addition, students are expected to attend all orientations, seminars, and internship hours. Make-up time for missed field internship hours will be determined by the field education supervisor, BSW Field Coordinator, BSW Program Director, and Associate Dean. Faculty may require withdrawal of any student who has missed excessive hours in field education or other learning activities.
A student who has been suspended or has withdrawn from the College of Social Work BSW Program and subsequently readmitted will be subject to the current College of Social Work academic standards and available space in courses.
Credit for Life Experience
In accordance with the mandates of the Council on Social Work Education, no credit is given for life experiences. Students will not receive academic credit for life experience or previous volunteer, service learning activities or assignments, or work experience in social work.
Academic credit will not be granted for life experience or previous work experience, and such experience will not be substituted for any of the courses in the professional foundation areas or the field practicum.
Non-Duplication of Core Curriculum Content
The BSW Program Director, Associate Academic Dean, and Undergraduate Committee (if necessary) review any student’s request for consideration of courses felt to be duplicative of required curriculum areas. Only courses taken at other accredited social work programs are considered for transfer of credits. At present, the program does not have a method of waiver exams as a mechanism for “testing out” of required courses in the BSW Program of Study.
Transfer of Credit
As part of the University of South Carolina’s application for admission, students submit official transcripts from all other colleges and universities to the Office of Admission. If a student seeks readmission, he/she submit transcripts from all schools attended since leaving this University. It is the responsibility of the Office of Admission to evaluate all transcripts and grant the student transfer credit as possible for coursework and completed at the other schools.
Although the USC Office of Admission may grant the student semester hours for transfer credit for completed work in another social work program, the BSW Program Director and the Associate Academic Dean and/or a faculty member who teaches the content will determine whether the course and its assignments meet the requirements of the BSW degree at this College. Any student wishing to transfer credit to meet degree requirements must submit a course syllabus that includes learning objectives, assignments, and the titles and authors of textbooks, to the BSW program director for consideration. If it appears that the requisite competencies, knowledge and skills have been acquired, the student will be exempted from the related COSW BSW course.
The same procedure would be followed for classes other than practice courses, field practica, and field seminars, for courses taken in other departments.
Degree Requirements (122 Hours)
See College of Social Work for entrance requirements, progression requirements, and other regulations.
- Carolina Core (34-46 Hours)
- Other Required CSW Core Courses ( 0-15 hours)
- BSW Major (60 Hours)
- Electives (1-28 Hours)