Social work

The goals of the social work program are:

  • to prepare students for beginning-level generalist social work practice who are well-equipped with theory and skill and socialized into the profession;
  • to prepare students with a solid foundation for graduate training in social work;
  • to enhance the professional development of social service workers of the region.

Social work practice is licensed in Ohio as in many other states. A social work degree at either the master or baccalaureate level is required to be eligible for a license. Bluffton's baccalaureate social work degree meets the standards for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education.

Social work is concerned with helping people improve their lives through direct and indirect services. Social workers work with individuals, groups, communities and social policy issues to enable people to deal with their problems. Social workers bring to their practice an examined value orientation and a unique knowledge base that focuses on the interaction of person and environment.

Licensed social workers are employed in many types of settings by public and private agencies. Fields of practice include services to children, medical, mental health, services for elderly, criminal justice, schools, recreational and character-building programs, community planning and organization, overseas relief and development, public welfare and others. Roles for B.A.-level social workers include case management, supportive counseling and beginning level program development and administrative roles.

A generalist approach at the baccalaureate level provides skills enabling graduates to take employment in most fields of social work practice or to go on to graduate study. The program seeks competent students who are concerned about people and social problems, who want to help people and desire to work on improving the social environment in which they live. A strong emphasis is placed on understanding issues of human diversity within our society. Cross-cultural and off-campus experiences are strongly encouraged.

Field work is an important feature of social work education. The student engages in one semester of in-agency practicum within a broad choice of settings. This provides opportunity for the student to integrate knowledge with practice and demonstrate skills and competencies learned throughout the curriculum.

Entrance to the upper-level courses requires a written application into the program and a formal interview with program faculty. Transfer students are asked to submit letters of reference. See the Social Work Program Student Manual for further information.
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(64 hours including 10 hours of LAS requirements)
Foundation courses: (18-19 hours)
BIO 105 The Biological World  (4) 
    or   NSC 106 Human Biology Today (3)
ECN 141 Principles of Macroeconomics (3)
    or  PLS 100 Introduction to Political Science (3)
    or   PLS 251 American Political Process (3) 
PSY 110 Introduction to Psychology (3)
SOC 152 Introduction to Sociology (3)
One of the following  Behavioral and Social Science courses: PSY 310, PSY 225PSY 325, PSY 340, PSY 403, PSY 412, SOC 185,
SOC 210, SOC 225, SOC 240, SOC 258, SOC 264, SOC 275, SOC 310, SOC 330, SOC 350, or SOC 365

Required social work courses: (46 hours)
SWK 120 Introduction to Social Work (3)
SWK 141 Understanding Social Welfare (3) 
SWK 240 Interviewing: Theoretical and Skill Based Approaches (3)
PSY 235 Developmental Psychology (3)
SWK 264 Human Behavior and Social Environment (3)
SWK 301 Social Work Practice 1: Micro (3)
SWK 302 Social Work Practice 2: Mezzo (3)
SWK 303 Social Work Practice 3: Macro (3)
SWK 360 Basics of Social Research 1 (3)
SWK 372 Social Welfare Policy and Analysis (3)
SWK 401 Field Work (12)
SWK 404 Field Work Seminar (1)
SWK 405 Social Work Seminar (3)

Optional concentration in Art: (12 hours)
ART 135 Introduction to Art (3)
ART 202 Design 1 (3)
ART 242 Digital Photography 1 (3)
ART 245 Introduction to Computer Graphic Design (3)

The major can begin in the first, sophomore or even in the junior year, although the later beginnings presume substantial prior work on the general education and foundation courses. While breadth in the liberal arts is encouraged, some students may wish to combine the social work major with the peace and conflict studies minorSpanish or other majors or minors depending on particular career interests.

May 2016