Social Work (BSW)

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work
Major: Social Work
Program Code: 3765

About This Major . . .

Social Work is a profession dedicated to social and economic justice. Social workers focus primarily on the needs and empowerment of vulnerable, oppressed, at-risk populations, and those living in poverty.  Social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, educational problems, disability, and mental illness.

The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social, economic, and cultural institutions, and of the interaction of all these factors as well as skills in developing relationships,  assessing needs and services while facilitating change. Social workers seek to strengthen relationships among people to promote, restore, maintain, and enhance the well-being of individuals, families, social groups, organizations, and communities (

For more information on what you can do with this major, visit Career Services’ What to Do with a Major? resource.

All CMU baccalaureate graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information literacy. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in utilizing the social work professions 9 core competencies and 31 practice behaviors through a senior-year practicum in a social service agency in our community (Specialized Knowledge).
  2. Demonstrate the ability to use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry and use research evidence to inform practice (Quantitative Fluency).
  3. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and colleagues through professional documentation and oral presentations (Communication Fluency).
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments through distinguishing, appraising, and integrating multiple sources of knowledge; and through analyzing models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation (Critical Thinking).

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Degree Requirements

The following institutional degree requirements apply to all CMU baccalaureate degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • 120 semester hours minimum.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 of the last 60 hours of credit at CMU, with at least 15 semester hours in major discipline courses numbered 300 or higher.
  • 40 upper-division credits (an alternative credit limit applies to the Bachelor of Applied Science degree).
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • No more than six semester hours of independent study courses can be used toward the degree.
  • Non-traditional credit, such as advanced placement, credit by examination, credit for prior learning, cooperative education and internships, cannot exceed 30 semester credit hours for a baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 15 of the 30 credits may be for cooperative education, internships, and practica.
  • Pre-collegiate courses (usually numbered below 100) cannot be used for graduation.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Degree Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and degree requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Certificates” in the catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.

Essential Learning Requirements

(31 semester hours)

See the current catalog for a list of courses that fulfill the requirements below. If a course is an Essential Learning option and a requirement for your major, you must use it to fulfill the major requirement and make a different selection for the Essential Learning requirement.

English 1
ENGL 111English Composition I-GTCO13
ENGL 112English Composition II-GTCO23
Mathematics 1
MATH 110Mathematical Investigations-GTMA13
Select one History course3
Select one Humanities course3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Fine Arts
Select one Fine Arts course3
Natural Sciences 2
Select one Natural Sciences course3
Select one Natural Sciences course with a lab4
Total Semester Credit Hours31

Must receive a grade of “C” or better and must be completed by the time the student has 60 semester hours.


One course must include a lab.

Other Lower Division Requirements

Wellness Requirement
KINE 100Health and Wellness1
Select one Activity course1
Essential Learning Capstone 1
ESSL 290Maverick Milestone3
ESSL 200Essential Speech1
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Essential Learning Capstone must be taken after completion of the Essential Learning English and Mathematics requirements, and when a student has earned between 45 and 75 hours.

Foundation Courses

(12 semester hours, must earn, with no more than two attempts,  a “C” or better in each course.)

PSYC 150General Psychology-GTSS33
PSYC 233Human Growth and Development-GTSS33
Two consecutive classes in the same foreign language6
Total Semester Credit Hours12

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(48 semester hours. To graduate with a major in social work, a student must earn, with no more than two attempts, at least a grade of “C” in each course and maintain a 2.50 cumulative GPA or higher in coursework in this area.)

  • Students majoring in social work must apply to get into the social work program prior to taking any of the social work core courses.  Application requirements include: completion of all Essential Learning requirements, completion of the two foundation courses (maintaining a 2.0 GPA), completion of the two social work introductory courses, completion of 60+ credits (junior standing), and a formal application, essay and faculty evaluation.  If accepted into the social work program, students will take the social work core courses in sequence as part of a cohort system their junior and senior years.
Introductory Classes
SOWK 150Introduction to Social Work3
SOWK 210Social Work for Diverse Populations3
Core Courses
Junior Year
SOWK 311Ethical Issues in Social Work3
SOWK 320Social Work Practices in Mental Health3
SOWK 365Social Work Intervention Methods I3
SOWK 375Social Work Intervention Methods II3
SOWK 387Social Work Research Methods3
Senior Year
SOWK 385Social Work Intervention Methods III3
SOWK 394Social Work Practicum Seminar I1
SOWK 397Social Work Practicum I5
SOWK 460Social Welfare Policy3
SOWK 494Social Work Practicum Seminar II1
SOWK 497Social Work Practicum II5
Total Semester Credit Hours39
Restricted Electives
Select three of the following:9
Child Welfare
Medical Social Work
School Social Work
Legal Aspects of Social Work
Spirituality and Social Work
Gerontology and Social Work
Directed Readings
Total Semester Credit Hours9

General Electives

All college level courses appearing on your final transcript, not listed above that will bring your total semester hours to 120 hours. 23 semester hours.

Select electives23
Total Semester Credit Hours23

Recommended General Electives:

STAT 200Probability and Statistics-GTMA13
CRMJ 201Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CRMJ 311Victimology3
CRMJ 325Juvenile Justice and Delinquency3
CRMJ 330Intimate Partner Violence3
PSYC 330Psychology of Adolescents and Emerging Adulthood3
PSYC 335Psychology of Women3
PSYC 340Abnormal Psychology3
PSYC 410Drugs and Human Behavior3
PSYP 305Suicide Intervention Training1
SOCI 101Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies-GTSS33
SOCO 264Social Problems-GTSS33
SOCO 310Sociology of Religion3
SOCO 316Social Inequality3
SOCO 320Life Course and Aging3
SOCO 325Race and Ethnic Relations3
Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 111 English Composition I-GTCO1 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science 3
Essential Learning - Humanities 3
SOWK 150 Introduction to Social Work 3
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
ENGL 112 English Composition II-GTCO2 3
MATH 110 Mathematical Investigations-GTMA1 (or higher) 3
Essential Learning - History 3
SOWK 210 Social Work for Diverse Populations 3
PSYC 150 General Psychology-GTSS3 3
KINA Activity 1
 Semester Credit Hours16
Second Year
Fall Semester
Essential Learning - Fine Arts 3
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
PSYC 233 Human Growth and Development-GTSS3 3
General Electives (2 courses) 5
 Semester Credit Hours17
Spring Semester
Essential Learning - Natural Science with Lab 4
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
Social Work Restricted Elective 3
ESSL 290 Maverick Milestone 3
ESSL 200 Essential Speech 1
 Semester Credit Hours17
Third Year
Fall Semester
SOWK 311 Ethical Issues in Social Work 3
SOWK 365 Social Work Intervention Methods I 3
General Elective 3
Social Work Restricted Electives (2 courses) 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
SOWK 320 Social Work Practices in Mental Health 3
SOWK 375 Social Work Intervention Methods II 3
SOWK 387 Social Work Research Methods 3
General Electives (2 courses) 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
SOWK 385 Social Work Intervention Methods III 3
SOWK 394 Social Work Practicum Seminar I 1
SOWK 397 Social Work Practicum I 5
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours12
Spring Semester
SOWK 460 Social Welfare Policy 3
SOWK 494 Social Work Practicum Seminar II 1
SOWK 497 Social Work Practicum II 5
General Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours12
 Total Semester Credit Hours120

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. The suggested course sequencing outlines how students could finish degree requirements. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters, while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and altering the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree(s).

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a degree and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If a student’s petition for graduation is denied, it will be her/his responsibility to consult the Registrar’s Office regarding next steps.