BSW Program Mission

The mission of the social work program is to prepare bachelor-level students to practice generalist social work at the entry level and be prepared for graduate education in social work.

This mission specifically includes helping students to develop:

  • A sense of social responsibility.
  • An appreciation for the significance of the diverse nature of the world. 
  • Knowledge regarding the impact of oppression in the world.
  • An understanding of the key roles that social work values and ethics, knowledge and skills play in practice; and
  • A respect for the changing nature of the social work knowledge base.

This mission translates into a challenging curriculum founded on a liberal arts base that is focused around: (1) generalist social work practice, (2) social welfare policy and planning, (3) human behavior and the social environment, (4) research, and (5) field practicum. Throughout this curriculum, the issues of diversity, culturally competent practice, promotion of social and economic justice, practice with populations at risk, the values and ethics of social work, and the changing knowledge base for social work practice are integrated. Further, students’ preparation for practice in this complex changing world is accomplished through the development and promotion of students’ critical thinking skills to enhance evidence-informed practice.

Program Goals

The goals of the Social Work Program at WSU were developed to reflect the program’s mission and the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These goals are defined and specified through the Program Competencies that students are expected to develop. The competencies are presented after the goals and each competency is followed by specific Practice Behaviors that each student will develop, resulting in a demonstration of the competency.

Goal #1: Students will develop an understanding of the field of social work. 

Goal #2: Students will develop critical thinking skills.

Goal #3: Students will be able to practice social work within the parameters developed in the Social Work Code of Ethics.

Goal #4: Students will develop knowledge needed to assess problems that impact client systems of various sizes.

Goal #5: Students will develop knowledge and skills to practice social work from a generalist perspective.

The accomplishment of these goals will be demonstrated by the achievement of the following competencies:

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

Competency 4: Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.

The BSW program offers a major in Social Work that leads to a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW). Graduates of this program are eligible, upon graduation, to sit for the state social work licensure exam (LSW) and may be eligible for advanced standing at graduate schools of social work across the country.

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected the need for social workers to grow by 13% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. 
  • Our program is ranked among the top 10 most affordable in the nation 
  • A diverse student population with a large number of nontraditional age students 
  • The BSW major can be completed in four years or two years from a community college if attending full-time. 
  • Graduates are eligible upon graduation, to sit for the state licensure exam (LSW) and may be eligible for advanced standing in any graduate social work program in the US. 
  • The generalist focus prepares graduates to work in a variety of settings and populations including children, school social work, healthcare settings, older persons, people living with substance use, and mental health. 

Topics Covered

  • Theories of Human Behavior 
  •  Diversity & Social Justice 
  •  Evidence-based Social Work 
  • Practice with Individuals, Groups, Families, Communities, and Organizations 
  • Introduction to research methods 
  • Social Policies that Impact Daily Life 
  • Integrative Field Practicum 

Program Highlights

  • 480 hours of Senior Practicum 
  • Senior Capstone Project 
  • For the Senior Capstone Project, students prepare an independent research project that may be linked to a program at their senior practicum agency or inspired by personal interest. In either case, students investigate a social issue affecting the population which culminates into a final report and a presentation at the end of the senior year. 

Schedule of Coursework

  • Students entering the BSW major as freshmen begin with Intro to Social Work and the Common Core for a minimum of 12 credits a semester including the BSW pre-requisites in sociology, biology, history, psychology, diversity 
  • Junior Year Course Schedule 
  • Human Behavior and Social Environment I & II 
  • Intro to Research Methods in Social Work 
  • Generalist Practice I & II 
  • Senior Year Course Schedule 
  • Generalist Practice III and IV 
  • Social Welfare Policy 
  • Senior Capstone I & II 
  • Senior Field Practicum I & II 


  • The BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 
  • Graduates demonstrate nine competencies specified by the CSWE including ethical and professional behavior, diversity, advancing human rights, social, economic, and environmental justice, and engagement and assessment of individuals, families, groups, and communities 

Admission Requirements 

  • A student must be accepted into the university 
  • Internal admission into the BSW major in junior year 
  • 60-hour volunteer service in human services prior to junior year 
  • Maintain a minimum GPA OF 2.5 
  • A minimum grade of C or better in all BSW courses and pre-requisites 
  • 95%

    of graduates find
    a job within 3 months

  • 150+

    Community Partners
    offering field internships

  • #1


  • Top 10%

    Best Value 


Admission to in the Social Work major:

Students formally apply for admission into the Social Work program during the end of the 2nd year, with 3rd year transfer students applying when admitted. Prior to submitting their application, students are required to complete 60 hours of human service activity. This experience is designed to give students an opportunity to engage in face-to-face helping activities that will allow the student to determine if s/he is well suited for a career in Social Work. Students should be enrolled in SOCW 0103, SOCW 0204, SOCW 0241, and SOCW 0340.

Requirements for Social Work Majors - 65-69 Credits
Retention in the Social Work program:

To remain in the major, a student will have to receive at least a “C” in all major and foundation courses, retain at least a 2.5 grade point average in all required major and foundation courses, and retain an overall GPA of 2.5. A student who does not meet these standards will not be permitted to enroll in the fourth-year field practicum.

Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  • Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  • Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice
  • Engage in Policy Practice
  • Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
A Social Work student explains her research
Social Work Association (SWA)
The primary purpose of this club is to provide its members with information pertaining to the field of social work.


Social Work Association (SWA)

Westfield State University offered a BSW program that met my needs in a holistic manner.  The group of eclectic, personable professors and variety of classes provides a learning experience like no other.  Thanks to the uniquely designed curriculum and experiences from the Social Work program, I felt well prepared entering the field with the proper tools and skill sets to further my career.

Rose Blomgren LCSW, BSW

Class of 2015

Still have questions?

Dr. Maureen Clark 
BSW Program Director 

Dr. Rose Sullivan 
Department Chair