The 40 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Hero Image - The 40 Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Search Colleges
TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

If you have a passion for helping people in need, then you should consider an online bachelor’s in social work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions for social workers are projected to increase by 16% through 2026, which would create nearly 110,000 new jobs. Whether you hope to work in a school, hospice center, youth corrections facility, or domestic abuse center, you’ll be able to pursue a career in social work. Keep reading to learn what it takes to become a social worker and how to find the best bachelor’s in social work program.

Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

The Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs Badge
Download this Badge

We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

The Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

1
University of Georgia
Request Info
Sort By

School List

School List
Rank School Location Apply More Information
4

University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Madison, WI

About this school

The University of Wisconsin–Madison serves learners with world–class academics and research opportunities. Students study on a 936–acre campus with access to 400 programs. The school offers countless hands–on learning opportunities through research, internships, and international programs. Aspirant social workers enroll in the 120–credit bachelor of social work (BSW), which prepares them for work in human services or social welfare. The curriculum includes upper–level study of social policy; human behavior and the environment; and generalist practice with individuals, families, and communities and organizations.

BSW learners often customize their degree with certificates in specialized areas such as criminal justice, gerontology, global health, and LGBT studies. Faculty place students in field units for two semesters of field experience. Units work with various agencies to provide learners with opportunities to observe and participate in day–to–day social work activities. Each agency addresses social issues, including mental health, child welfare, and juvenile and criminal justice. Students must pass a background check prior to entry into field education.

BSW participants engage in extracurricular activities in student organizations such as the Social Work Student Union, Radical Social Work, or Social Work Christian Fellowship. The BSW program admits students in the fall. Admission requires prerequisite social work courses, junior status with a minimum of 71 credits, and a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
82%
5

University of Washington-Seattle Campus 

Seattle, WA

About this school

UW’s bachelor of arts in social welfare trains social workers for generalist practice in serving multicultural populations. Students need significant college credit prior to starting the two–year major.

Distance learners study social welfare practices, cultural diversity and justice, human behavior and social environment, and skills for social welfare practice. A series of courses in the bachelor’s degree in social work explore chemical dependency and poverty. A course on evidence–based practice provides students with knowledge of the empirically–supported interventions they will employ as social workers.

In addition to classroom instruction, students engage in 480 hours of supervised field experience that allows them to apply social work knowledge and skills. A number of community agencies and other organizations partner with the School of Social Work to provide these field opportunities. The school also offers the option to study abroad for a month in Cambodia; students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and UW’s BASW and MSW students engage in peer–to–peer instruction and community service projects in the summer. Admission to the BASW requires a minimum of 65 credits, four prerequisite BASW courses, and a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.

Graduation Rate
81%
6

St Olaf College 

Northfield, MN

About this school

At St. Olaf College, students receive a liberal arts education that embraces faith and values. St. Olaf, an affiliate of the Lutheran Church, enrolls 3,000 students, most of whom live and study on a 300–acre campus located in Northfield, Minnesota. The curriculum offers students a multidisciplinary education with several interdisciplinary majors and concentrations.

St. Olaf offers a bachelor’s of social work that studies social work and social welfare; social worker as a professional; human behavior in the social environment; and working with groups, organizations, and communities. Students use electives to explore a limited number of topics such, including the social realities of South Africa.

During their senior year, students engage in a 400–hour practicum they complete in one full–time block in the fall semester. Learners also opt to study abroad for a semester, working with people from diverse cultures in places like Africa and Latin America. Graduates may sit for the bachelor’s–level Association of Social Work Boards licensure exam. The bachelor’s degree in social work admits students in the junior year. Admission requires prerequisite coursework in psychology, sociology, and biology. The school enrolls transfer students and nontraditional students returning to school.

Graduation Rate
86%
7

Ohio State University-Main Campus 

Columbus, OH

About this school

Ohio State University educates students on six campuses across the state. Most of the school’s 66,000 Buckeyes study on the main campus in Columbus. The College of Social Work administers the 120–credit bachelor of science in social work (BSSW), which prepares learners to work as generalists with individuals, families, and communities.

The curriculum examines social justice and advocacy, human behavior in the social environment, and social work practices. An international track provides learners with an opportunity to study abroad to explore global social welfare challenges and how social work practice works overseas. A Child Welfare Training Program gives learners exposure to a field placement at a child service agency. The BSSW offers specialized minors in areas like child abuse and neglect and substance addiction. All students apply learning during a required 420–hour practicum at one of the state’s 800 social service agencies.

The program’s flexibility enables students to complete the BSSW on the Columbus campus or at OSU’s regional campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, or Newark. The Career Accelerated Plan serves as a notable feature of the bachelor’s in social work; using this option, learners with a minimum 3.0 GPA and extensive experience complete the social work major in three semesters. Transfers make up a significant number of the students in the BSSW. Admission requires pre–major courses with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Graduation Rate
82%
8

New York University 

New York, NY

About this school

New York University is one of the largest private colleges in the nation. NYU enrolls 50,000+ students on its campuses in NYC, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. The school’s 18 schools and colleges administer 400+ programs.

The Silver School of Social Work offers a 128–credit bachelor of science in social work that trains practitioners able to promote social action and social justice, counsel those in need, and connect clients to community services. Students take 64 liberal arts credits before moving onto the major. The 64–credit major examines subjects like social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare programs, and research methodology.

BSSW students participate in field work usually at the graduate level. The 700–hour practicum consists of 100 hours in the junior year and 600 hours in the senior year. Learners cultivate social work competencies during their internship at organizations within the tri–state area. The school partners with more than 600 agencies to offer students the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients. Admission to the bachelor’s degree in social work requires a high school diploma or GED and school transcripts; transfer students need a minimum of 24 credits.

Graduation Rate
83%
9

Skidmore College 

Saratoga Springs, NY

About this school

Skidmore College is located on a scenic 1,000–acre campus in Saratoga Springs, New York. Students learn in classrooms walking distance from downtown Skidmore, which itself resides near the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The school gives learners access to 43 majors in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Those interested in career–specific degrees can enter different fields, such as social work. All learners study in classrooms with an 8–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio.

The 120–credit bachelor of science in social work includes general education in the humanities, social sciences, and natural science. The major requires 10 courses that examine topics such as social work and social welfare, human behavior and the social environment, and social work and at–risk populations. The social work degree requires that students develop a quantitative research proposal that includes a review of literature, research methodology, the practice implications of their proposal, and information about data collection.

During their senior year, learners explore agencies and interview with potential supervisors for their field experience. They work an average of 30–32 hours at an approved human service agency, completing 425 to 450–hours in the spring semester of the final year. To complete the BSSW’s two–course writing requirement, they develop a clinical portfolio that outlines objectives, self–assessments, and reflections of their field work. Admission requires completion of prerequisite social work courses.

Graduation Rate
88%
10

Appalachian State University 

Boone, NC

About this school

Situated in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian State University is one of 17 colleges in the University of North Carolina system. App State offers 150 majors and enrolls 18,000 students who study in classrooms with a 16–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. Learners enjoy an active social life on campus through access to more than 300 clubs and organizations. The bachelor’s of social work trains generalists to serve in human service agencies. They learn how to advocate on behalf of social and economic justice and human rights.

The bachelor’s in social work uses a progressive model that builds on liberal arts and cognate coursework. Learners begin the social work major with foundational courses that include study of the American social welfare system and cultural competence in the helping professions. A professional series of courses includes study of social welfare politics, programs, and issues; social work practice with individuals, families, and groups; and social work research methods. The final part of the curriculum requires students to complete a minimum of 440 hours at a field agency while taking a concurrent capstone course. Admission to the major requires at least 30 credits, prerequisite courses, and a minimum 2.5 GPA. The program admits transfer students who must also complete a series of social work courses.

Graduation Rate
66%
11

Michigan State University 

East Lansing, MI

About this school

Michigan State University remains one of the top research colleges in the world. A large institution that enrolls 50,000, MSU oversees an academic catalog of 200 degrees.

Spartans study in East Lansing on one of the greenest campuses in the U.S. The school gives students access to 275 study–abroad programs in 60 countries and 900 student organizations. Learners seeking to enter careers in social work enroll in the 120–credit bachelor of arts in social work.

Before learners take upper–level BASW coursework, they complete courses covering topics such as human genetics, abnormal psychology, and brain and behavior. The major includes study of human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, and research methods. During the senior year, students engage in a field experience that requires 16 weekly hours at a social service agency.

The BA in social work boasts several other features, including opportunities to study abroad, research opportunities with faculty, and an emphasis on diversity to strengthen families and communities. Students enhance their resumes with specialized certificates that offer coursework and field experiences in areas such as child welfare, global social work, and law and policy. Students usually apply to the program in the spring semester of the sophomore year. Applicants need at least 42 credits and a competitive GPA.

Graduation Rate
79%
12

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Urbana, IL

About this school

The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign cultivates a reputation for academic excellence and research prowess and enrolls 47,000 students from around the globe. Undergraduates choose one of 150 fields of study administered through nine undergraduate divisions.

The 120–credit bachelor of social work trains professionals able to enter the social work field as generalists. After prerequisite courses, learners take upper–level coursework that examines social welfare policies and services, social work practice, diversity identities and issues, and social work research methods. Students use electives to focus on specific areas of interest, such as Hispanics in the U.S., child welfare, and dementia care for older adults.

BSW participants complete a field practicum during which they work with supervisors at an agency. Upon completion of the BSW, graduates pursue a License of Social Work. The degree also provides the foundation for students to continue to an MSW. Admission to the BSW requires a high school diploma or GED and the SAT or ACT for freshmen; transfer students complete prerequisite courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Transfers must also submit proof of a minimum of 50 hours of paid work or volunteer experience at a social service agency.

Graduation Rate
84%
13

Rutgers University-New Brunswick 

New Brunswick, NJ

About this school

Rutgers University serves as a recognized hub of scholarship and academic excellence. The nation’s eighth oldest college, Rutgers is also a large school with 69,000 students and locations in all 21 New Jersey counties. The institution administers 350 programs through 30 schools and colleges. Aspiring social workers receive a comprehensive education and hands–on experience in the bachelor of arts in social work. The curriculum emphasizes research–based instruction, personalized learning, and field experience.

Students complete prerequisite courses in subjects such as psychology, sociology, and applied statistics before they begin the major in the junior year. The upper–level courses include study of social welfare policy and services, groups at risk in contemporary society, and human behavior in the social environment. A course on global health surveys the health of vulnerable populations in low– and middle–income countries; it examines how factors such as biology, behavior, and the environment shape human health and well–being. Electives offer students an opportunity to examine other special topics such as child welfare and human sexuality.

Students participate in two field practicums that require them to work two days a week at a social service agency. Study abroad options in the BA allow students to evaluate social welfare systems in China, Israel, the Yucatan, or Romania. Admission requires prerequisite courses, 60 credits of coursework, and a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.

Graduation Rate
79%
14

University of Central Florida 

Orlando, FL

About this school

One of the largest colleges in the nation, the University of Central Florida enrolls 66,000 students and administers 215 degrees. Students enjoy opportunities on the Orlando campus and at 12 UCF locations in Central Florida, including degrees in psychology and healthcare.

The bachelor of social work enrolls students in their junior year after they complete prerequisite courses. Once enrolled, students study human behavior, social welfare services and policies, and social work practice. The curriculum offers electives in child welfare; aging studies; addictions; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations. Faculty give students 420 hours of supervised field experience at relevant social services agencies. Learners strengthen their skill sets and resumes with a 15–credit certificate in children’s services that includes a field internship. BSW participants engage in extracurricular activities with peers through membership in organizations such as the BSW Student Association and Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society.

Admission requires an associate of arts from a community college (or UCF’s general education program) with a minimum 2.5 GPA, and BSW prerequisite courses in subjects such as biology, psychology, and American national government. The BSW degree admits students in the summer and fall.

Graduation Rate
65%
15

Chatham University 

Pittsburgh, PA

About this school

Chatham University serves learners on two campuses in Pennsylvania. Approximately, 2,000 students enroll in 60 programs and learn in classrooms with a 10–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. Chatham is a leader in sustainability and boasts the world’s first fully–sustainable higher education campus — Eden Hall.

The bachelor of social work prepares practitioners for generalist social work in human services and healthcare. The curriculum provides learners with a liberal arts foundation that gives context to the social work major. The major includes foundational coursework in psychology, sociology, and statistics and research design. Upper–level courses immerse students in study of human behavior in the social environment; social work and social justice; and social work practice working with individuals and families, groups, and communities.

A capstone project helps learners transition from student to professional. The fieldwork component of the social work degree requires 500 hours of hands–on experience in the senior year during which participants work under supervision in diverse settings. They serve victims of rape and domestic violence, as well as those with addictions and mental health challenges. An agreement between Chatham and Community College of Allegheny County allows students to transfer an associate degree into the BSW to complete the third and fourth year. Admission requires a high school diploma and the SAT or ACT for freshmen.

Graduation Rate
59%
16

Florida State University 

Tallahassee, FL

About this school

Students at Florida State University study on a picturesque campus in Tallahassee. FSU, which enrolls 42,000 students, serves as a research–intensive institution and boasts both law and medical schools. Students learn from a faculty roster that includes Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Laureates. The school’s 120–credit bachelor of social work offers both full–time and part–time enrollment. Students begin the program in the junior year and complete a minimum of 50 credits in social work courses.

Learners in the bachelor’s in social work study the social work profession; human behavior and the social environment; social welfare policy and programs; and social work practice with individuals, families, and groups. The 512–hour field placement gives students the opportunity to translate theory into practice under supervision of a social worker at a partnering agency. Learners enhance their skills and credentials by taking additional credits to earn certificates in gerontology or child welfare practice. Students with advanced standing may earn an MSW with one additional year of study. Admission to the BSW requires an associate of arts degree or a minimum of 60 credits in general education, prerequisite courses in subjects such as psychology and sociology, and a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.

Graduation Rate
75%
17

James Madison University 

Harrisonburg, VA

About this school

James Madison University offers 133 programs to 22,000 students who learn in classrooms with a 16–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. Those seeking to enter the social work field acquire requisite skills and competencies through the 120–credit bachelor of social work.

The 50–credit major immerses students in social welfare, skills for generalist social work, and social work research methods. Students learn how to assess clients, plan intervention strategies, and deploy available resources to improve lives. A notable elective acquaints learners with the service delivery challenges of working with teenagers; they examine abuse and neglect, depression and suicide, sexuality issues, and substance abuse.

The semester–long practicum of the bachelor’s in social work requires that students spend four days a week completing a total of at least 472 hours of supervised field practice. JMU’s partner agencies serve residents in urban and rural areas throughout Virginia and DC. Upon completion of the BSW, graduates boast several skills, including problem–solving, crisis intervention, intake and referral, and service provision. Admission requires prerequisite social work courses, a minimum 2.0 GPA, and 20 hours of service–learning.

Graduation Rate
80%
18

San Diego State University 

San Diego, CA

About this school

San Diego State University provides learners with a curriculum rich in rigor, innovative research, and creative endeavors. Students enjoy a campus minutes from downtown, the mountains, and the Pacific ocean. Approximately, 36,000 learners enroll in 195 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The bachelor of science in social work includes a 65–unit major. Learners prep for entry into upper–level courses with a liberal arts curriculum that includes study of psychology, sociology, and public health. The major explores social work practice, cultural pluralism, and social work research methods. Learners opt for a specialization in community corrections by taking three elective courses in criminal justice. A unique environmental social work specialization trains pioneers who pursue environmental justice. They promote equal access to clean water and air and engage in community outreach through an internship with an environmental agency.

All students participate in an international experience that fosters cross–cultural awareness of global health, socio–political, economic, and health challenges faced by the local population. Students network with peers and get involved in the community through groups such as Social Action Committee and Student Association of School Social Workers. To pursue the social work degree, applicants complete 21–24 units of pre–major courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
66%
19

University of South Carolina-Columbia 

Columbia, SC

About this school

One of eight colleges in the University of South Carolina system, USC Columbia enrolls 34,000 students in 300 programs. USC Columbia gives students access to 400 organizations and participates in a significant amount of community service.

The school’s 121–credit bachelor of social work trains generalist practitioners able to promote well–being and social and economic justice among the state’s vulnerable populations. Students take the Carolina Core and foundational courses in social work before entry into the social work major. The 60–credit major examines social policy analysis, human behavior and the social environment, social work and scientific inquiry, and diversity and social justice. Other courses prepare learners to work with individuals and families, conduct group practice interventions, and address the needs of larger organizations and communities.

Students engage in practicums in the third and fourth year. During field work, learners serve clients and engage in organizational activities at a designated agency. Graduate and research assistantships available to Advanced Standing students help pay for the degree. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED, prerequisite courses, and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
72%
20

University of Northern Iowa 

Cedar Falls, IA

About this school

The University of Northern Iowa offers 160 areas of study on its Cedar Falls campus. Students learn in classrooms with a 17–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio and engage in extracurricular activities through 250+ clubs and student organizations. The bachelor of arts in social work prepares learners for generalist practice. The curriculum builds on a liberal arts foundation to prepare social workers to work with individuals and families, groups, and communities.

After students complete pre–major courses in subjects such as psychology, they examine human behavior, human growth and development, social work policy, and the intricacies of the generalist practice. Students take electives that address specific areas such as addictions treatment, social services for older adults, and child welfare policy and practice. Certificates offer social work majors an opportunity to enhance their skills and competencies in substance abuse counseling, child welfare, and conflict resolution.

Students engage in a field experience in an agency while the under supervision of a practicing social worker. The Student Social Work Association gives members a forum to network with peers, help others on campus and in the community, and supplement classroom learning. Up to 65 credits transfer into the degree from two–year colleges. The school offers several scholarships to help BSW students pay for tuition. Admission to the BSW requires a minimum cumulative 2.4 GPA at the college level.

Graduation Rate
66%
21

The University of Alabama 

Tuscaloosa, AL

About this school

Established in 1831, the University of Alabama is the state’s first public college. The school enrolls 38,000 students on a campus in Tuscaloosa. The 110– to 121–credit bachelor’s of social work trains generalist to foster the well–being of individuals, families, and communities. Social work majors complete core curriculum requirements before taking courses in the major.

Upper–level courses include study of social welfare policy and services, human behavior and the social environment, oppression and social justice, and research for social work practice. A series of courses provide learners with the knowledge and competencies necessary to address the specific need of individuals, families, and groups. They acquire 32 hours of field service a week at a community agency while working under the supervision of social workers.

Unique features of the bachelor’s in social work include field internship opportunities in Washington, DC, or at one of 250+ social service agencies; an honors program that emphasizes social and economic justice; and research opportunities with graduate students and faculty. Admission requires at least 54 general education credits with a minimum cumulative 2.25 GPA. The program admits students in the fall and spring.

Graduation Rate
67%
22

Marist College 

Poughkeepsie, NY

About this school

Marist College is a private school recognized as one of the nation’s leading institutions in the arts and sciences. Students learn on a 210–acre campus that overlooks the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie. The school offers 62 programs in classrooms with a 16–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. The 120–credit bachelor of social work trains generalist social work practitioners. Students enter the social work major in the junior year as part of a small cohort. Learners study social services theory and practice, human behavior in the social environment, social work methods, and social work with diverse populations.

During the senior year, learners in the BSW participate in a yearlong field experience to complete a minimum of 400 hours; they spend Mondays and Wednesdays at a community agency applying skills learned in the classroom. Students also engage in experiential learning when they conduct agency assessments, participate in research projects, and work to promote social change in their communities.

Other notable features of the BSW include a social, economic, and environmental justice emphasis and faculty who serve as mentors on research projects. Learners who graduate from Marist with a BSW and a minimum 3.0 GPA receive advanced standing in the MSW and complete it in as few as 12 months. Admission requires a minimum 3.3 GPA and SAT and ACT scores.

Graduation Rate
80%
23

University of North Carolina Wilmington 

Wilmington, NC

About this school

The University of North Carolina Wilmington serves as a well–respected hub for scholarship and research. UNCW enrolls 16,000 students and offers several programs, including a bachelor’s of social work — a program that prepares social workers for generalist practice. Students enter the program as juniors after completing general education requirements.

In the major, learners study human behavior in the social environment, social work practice, diversity for generalist practice, and research methods. While a working relationship lab gives students practice in interviewing and working with clients, a pre–fieldwork seminar acquaints learners with expectations, including a code of conduct and ethical standards.

The fieldwork in the social work degree links the curriculum to real–world practice as students intern at agencies in Wilmington and neighboring communities. They take coursework for part of the week and spend about 16–18 hours each week serving individuals, families, and older adults at schools, hospices, or the Department of Social Services. BSW learners may opt for international travel opportunities, participate in faculty research, and join social work student organizations. Students enroll in the program at Wilmington or at UNCW’s extension site in Jacksonville, which serves military and other residents. Admission to the major requires at least 45 credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
69%
24

Goshen College 

Goshen, IN

About this school

A Christian liberal arts institution located in Indiana, Goshen College enrolls 870 students on a 135–acre campus. The small school offers personalized learning in classrooms with a 10–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. The school gives learners access to 30 clubs and organizations, intramural sports, and ministry opportunities.

The school offers two undergraduate degrees in social work: a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in social work. Both tracks use the same social work curriculum, with the BSSW offering a degree–completion option. They both build on the liberal arts, emphasizing interdisciplinary, intercultural, and integrative learning. Students in the bachelor’s in social work study abnormal psychology and sociology of the family. The 53–credit major delves into human behavior, social welfare policy and programs, and social work practice theory.

One notable course give learners the theoretical knowledge necessary for social work practice, and an accompanying lab cultivates desirable interpersonal and behavioral skills through simulations. Hands–on learning continues during a field experience. Students acquire social work practice skills under the supervision of a mentor at a social service agency. The school notes that 90% of GC social work alumni achieve advanced standing in graduate programs; 100% of GC social work graduates find employed within four months. Admission requires completion of social work coursework with an acceptable GPA.

Graduation Rate
71%
25

Calvin College 

Grand Rapids, MI

About this school

Founded in 1876 as a ministry training school, Calvin College has emerged as a world–class Christian liberal arts institution. The school, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, enrolls 3,800 students in 100 programs. Students learn in classrooms with a 13–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. The bachelor of social work continues the school’s Calvinist Reformed heritage with a curriculum that prepares generalist social workers for Christian service.

Students complete pre–major courses before entry into the social work major. Upper–level courses include study of social research, social welfare policy analysis, and social science statistics. A course on helping interviews develops students’ interpersonal skills through the use of videotaped role–plays; learners understand ethical issues they face in the interview process and cultivate practices consistent with a Christian worldview.

During a 400–hour field practicum, students engage in generalist social work practice at a community agency in Western Michigan, Chicago, or D.C. The bachelor of social work offers an honors program for high–performing students with a 3.5 GPA and above. Honors students complete a research thesis presented to the Calvin community. Admission to the BSW requires at least 35 credits in general education, social work courses, and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
77%
26

California State University-Long Beach 

Long Beach, CA

About this school

One of 23 campuses in the California State University system, CSU–Long Beach serves students on a 322–acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The school enrolls 35,000+ students and boasts a diverse student body. CSU–Long Beach’s extensive catalog includes the bachelor of arts in social work, a degree that prepares entry–level generalists for social work practice.

Students fulfill pre–major coursework requirements before entry into the two–year bachelor of social work major. Upper–level courses include study of generalist social work practice; human behavior and social environment; and the law, courts, and policy practice. One course acquaints learners with the research methods used to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and programs at social work agencies.

Fieldwork serves as an integral part of the degree — with juniors fulfilling an 80–hour practicum requirement at a designated community agency. In the senior year, they continue hands–on learning with the completion of 450 hours of fieldwork and weekly seminars. BASW learners interested in working in child welfare benefit from stipends issued by the CalSWEC Public Child Welfare BASW Program. In exchange, they commit to work at a child welfare agency upon completion of the degree. The BASW offers flexibility with evening or day course sequences. The program admits students in the fall only. Admission requires prerequisite courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
57%
27

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville 

Knoxville, TN

About this school

Founded in 1974, the University of Tennessee–Knoxville is the state’s flagship college. The school administers 900+ programs through 11 colleges. UT Knoxville’s 28,000 students study in classrooms with a 17–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. The school’s location provides students with access to the great outdoors, festivals, and a vibrant music scene.

The bachelor of science in social work prepares generalists for careers in case management and community organizing, among other occupations. Learners study social welfare, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policies and issues, and social work research. A two–part course on child welfare examines policies and programs at the state and federal levels that address the maltreatment of children. Learners in the bachelor of social work integrate theory and practice during 16 hours spent each week at an agency under the guidance of experienced social workers. Some students complete coursework and field education requirements overseas as part of the BSSW study abroad program.

The Bachelors Social Work Organization engages learners with student–led extracurricular activities, including advocacy, community service, and fundraising. The BSSW Honors Program affords students with a minimum 3.5 GPA the opportunity to earn the degree and a master’s in social work in five years. Admission to the BSSW requires prerequisite general education and social work courses with a competitive GPA.

Graduation Rate
66%
28

Cedarville University 

Cedarville, OH

About this school

A Christian college located in Ohio, Cedarville University provides comprehensive programming from a Christian worldview. The school enrolls almost 4,000 students in 130 programs of study. The 400–acre campus resides in a quiet town in the southwest part of the state.

Learners interested in helping the young and old in their communities enroll in the 128–credit bachelor of science in social work. The degree plan includes study of human behavior and the social environment, ethics in the helping profession, and social welfare programs and policy. Learners examine some of the challenges clients face with coursework focused on chemical dependency and working in mental health settings.

They participate in a two–tiered internship that requires 150 hours in the junior year and 450 hours in the senior year. The school provides global experiential learning through field experiences in India, Romania, or Uganda. Learners engage in simulations, team–building, helping the needy, and raising funds for the homeless during their international practicum. Within six months of completing the BSSW, 100% of students find employment or continue their education by attending graduate school. Cedarville notes that 93 percent of the program’s students pass the state’s Licensed Social Worker exam — well above the 70% state average. Those interested in an advanced degree complete the MSW in one year through advanced standing. Admission to the BSSW requires prerequisite courses with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Graduation Rate
72%
29

University of Utah 

Salt Lake City, UT

About this school

The University of Utah is well–recognized as one of the top colleges for student–led startups. A full complement of programs in the arts and sciences provides learners with almost 100 undergraduate majors. Students enjoy an active social life on campus that includes concerts, theatre, exhibits, and film screenings.

The bachelor of social work trains a cadre of social work generalists for child welfare and family services agencies. The BSW requires that students complete most or all the school’s general education requirements before admission to the major. Learners take courses in the 45–credit major in sequence. They study social work and social welfare, social work practice, social and cultural diversity, and human behavior and the social environment. A notable course prepares learners for research activities in developing countries. They learn how to conduct community–based research with the use of participatory monitoring and evaluation techniques. Electives offer insights into challenges some clients face, such as child abuse and mental illness.

All students in the bachelor’s degree in social work engage in fieldwork at one of 150 placement locations. This component requires that students complete 450 hours at a community agency under the supervision of a field instructor. The BSW admits a small cohort of students each year. Admission requires general education and social work courses with a minimum 2.35 GPA.

Graduation Rate
59%
30

University of Arkansas 

Fayetteville, AR

About this school

Home to 27,000 Razorbacks, the University of Arkansas is the largest college in the state. In addition to an active campus life, the school gives students access to spectacular trails and outdoor amenities. U of A offers 210 programs through 10 schools and colleges, and students learn in classrooms with a 19–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio.

The U of A offers a bachelor’s in social work focused on social work practice, social welfare policy, human diversity and social work, and human behavior and social environment.

A series of electives acquaints learners with the challenges that face populations. A course on the elderly includes study of gerontology and available service programs. A child welfare course evaluates the needs of at–risk children with attention placed on their standards of care. A course on juvenile justice focuses on the child and family system and some of the underlying causes that bring youth to the system. Students in the BSW degree engage in 440 hours of field experiences over two semesters, choosing from a variety of placements, including corrections, domestic violence, homeless, and family services. Admission requires completion of pre–professional courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
60%
31

University of Missouri-Columbia 

Columbia, MO

About this school

The University of Missouri–Columbia is the most comprehensive college in the state. Mizzou enrolls 30,000 students in 300 degrees delivered through 19 schools and colleges. Students begin the bachelor of social work by taking prerequisite liberal arts and social work courses. Learners cultivate the traits and competencies needed for success in the helping profession, including problem–solving, case management, crisis intervention, and intake/referral.

Upper–level courses in the social work degree include social welfare and social work, comparative social policy, social and economic justice, and human behavior and the environment. BSW students expand their skill sets with a minor in gerontology designed to acquaint learners with the needs of, and services available to, older adults and their families. A unique minor in financial literacy for helping professionals prepares social workers to help low–income clients avoid predatory lenders and access suitable programs to supplement their income.

A field experience conducted during the third semester of the BSW requires students to spend 400 hours at an assigned agency. Three days a week they engage in a client–focused practice that applies classroom instruction to real–world contexts. BSW graduates enjoy eligibility for advanced standing in many MSW programs across the nation, allowing students to complete the degree in one year. Admission to the BSW requires 55 credits in prerequisite courses and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
71%
32

University of Vermont 

Burlington, VT

About this school

The University of Vermont provides a rigorous education and several opportunities to its students. Seven schools and colleges administer the school’s 100 majors, and 200 clubs and organizations provide a college life rich in extracurricular activities.

Students interested in pursuing a social work career enroll in the 120–credit bachelor’s in social work, a program that offers a small cohort model and extensive field experiences. Faculty utilize an experiential learning model that includes simulated exercises, case studies, and role play. Learners study general education including economics, social science, and the humanities. The BSW degree examines the professional core with study of human needs and social service, issues and policies in social welfare, theories in social work, and racism and contemporary issues.

A notable course on working with refugees focuses on the social construction of refugees, their experiences, and the systems in place to assist them. The field experience requires 450 hours of internship at a public or private social services agency in the senior year. BSW graduates enjoy a 100% employment rate or advancement into graduate school. Admission requires prerequisite general education courses with a minimum 3.7 GPA.

Graduation Rate
76%
33

University of Iowa 

Iowa City, IA

About this school

Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa is the state’s oldest college. The school enrolls 33,000 students on a picturesque campus situated alongside the Iowa River. UI offers several programs, including the bachelor of arts in social work. The degree prepares generalists for social work in child welfare, mental health, corrections, and elderly services.

The 120–credit degree plan dedicates 60 credits to the major. Learners study social justice and social welfare, human behavior in the social environment, and social welfare policy and practice. An interpersonal skills laboratory trains learners with the communication competencies required for success in the helping relationship. Six electives provide an opportunity to pursue areas of interest in social work or in a closely related discipline like psychology, political science, or women’s studies. Learners explore social work specialties and earn additional credentials with certificates in aging and longevity studies and cultural competence. All BASW students acquire real–world skills through supervised field experiences at partnering social welfare organizations.

Students with a minimum 3.3 GPA join the BASW honors program, which affords them the opportunity to engage in social work issues. Admission to the BASW requires prerequisite social work courses and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
70%
34

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus 

Pittsburgh, PA

About this school

The University of Pittsburgh is a large institution comprised of a main campus, four regional satellites, and several centers and institutes. The school enrolls 32,000+ students in classrooms with a 15–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. Sixteen schools and colleges administer a comprehensive suite of programs.

The 120–credit bachelor of arts in social work provides a curriculum for the junior and senior years only. Learners complete general education and other requirements before admission to the social work major. Upper–level coursework includes study of the welfare state, social work with individuals and families, and human behavior and the social environment. During a practicum seminar and lab, students participate in practice ethics, practice presentations and evaluation, and professional growth and development. During the senior year, they dive into 600 hours of field education that integrates classroom knowledge with community work.

The program offers several areas of concentration, including psychology, urban studies, global studies, and gender and sexuality. Learners who would like to pursue social work with older adults serve through Pitt’s aging initiatives and programs. BASW participants interested in social justice and community engagement pursue $3,000 Browne Fellowships for summer work, which helps pay for tuition. The BASW offers flexibility with full–time and part–time enrollment options. Admission requires a minimum of 60 transferable credits or an associate degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
79%
35

George Mason University 

Fairfax, VA

About this school

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research institution. GMU’s 34,000 students come from the United States and 130 countries, and learners enjoy a picturesque wooded campus and access to internships and extracurricular activities in and around the nation’s capital.

The 120–credit bachelor’s of social work requires the completion of the Mason Core before progression to the major. Coursework in the major includes study of social work intervention, building professional social work skills, knowledge–building for helping professionals, and human behavior and the family life. Students apply their classroom knowledge and hone practical competencies during 450 hours of field work at a partnering social services agency. With 15 credits, learners earn a minor in aging studies that gives them specialized knowledge to work with older adults. The BSW provides undergraduates with access to research and mentoring with graduate students and faculty through work conducted at the Social Work Integrative Research Lab.

Graduates of the bachelor’s degree in social work engage in research–informed practice; intervene with individuals, families, and groups; demonstrate ethical and professional behavior; and work to advance human rights and socio–economic justice. Admission requires at least 45 credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.5.

Graduation Rate
66%
36

University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus 

Norman, OK

About this school

The University of Oklahoma–Norman offers its 20,000 learners 170 majors. Students participate in diverse extracurricular activities through 400 clubs, several organizations, and the Sooners’ strong athletics programs.

Students enter the bachelor of arts in social work after completion of prerequisite courses. The two–year major includes study of interviewing skills in generalist practice, generalist practice with individuals and families, human behavior of individuals and families, and social welfare policy analysis. Students in the BSW often add minors in fields like social justice, Native American studies, and women’s and gender studies.

Students hone competencies necessary for effective practice during their field work with individuals, families, and groups. The school places them at one of 300+ affiliated agencies and individuals in the state, including mental health organizations, counseling families, corrections, and those serving children and families. Some students expand their skill base and enhance their resumes with bachelor of social work certificates, including a certificate in public health or a certificate in social work with American Indians. Those interested in working in child welfare receive financial support through the Child Welfare Professional Enhancement Program in exchange for a post–graduation employment commitment. Admission to the BSW requires junior standing and 60 credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.5.

Graduation Rate
66%
37

Texas Christian University 

Fort Worth, TX

About this school

Founded in 1873, Texas Christian University enrolls 10,000 students on a campus in Fort Worth. Students choose from 119 undergraduate areas of study, learning in classrooms with a 13–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio. Horned Frogs access state–of–the–art recreational facilities and participate in extracurricular activities through 225 organizations. The school’s programs include the 124–credit bachelor of social work. Before learners take upper–level courses, they complete foundational courses in sociology, social welfare policy, and professional communication in social work.

The major immerses learners in social work practice, research methods, and human behavior and social environment. Faculty introduce learners to various populations through the study of child welfare, social work with the elderly, work with adolescents, and social work interventions for addictions. The field experience component of the bachelor’s degree in social work requires 480 hours completed over two semesters. During this period, students spend approximately 16 hours a week at a designated site. Some students pursue double majors by blending social work with majors such as psychology, sociology, and religion studies.

The school’s chapter of Phi Alpha, a national Social Work Honor Society, accepts BSW members with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Juniors seeking to enter the BSW with advanced standing complete prerequisite courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Graduation Rate
75%
38

University of South Florida-Main Campus 

Tampa, FL

About this school

The University of South Florida operates three campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota. The school enrolls 50,000 students and offers 180 undergraduate degrees and concentrations through its 14 colleges. The bachelor of social work prepares participants for generalist social work practice. Students develop an understanding of human behavior in various contexts, including how socio–cultural environments affect behaviors and the socio–economic and political factors that affect policies and program implementation.

The curriculum includes study of case management, data management, social work practice, and mental health and healthcare. Fieldwork in the bachelor’s degree in social work requires a total of 460 hours. Students enroll in a concurrent seminar while they complete 32 hours a week over 15 weeks at a hospital, Veterans Administration location, or one of more than 1,000 agencies and programs that serve children and families in Florida. The BSW also accepts work–study proposals for students to complete field requirements at their place of employment. Learners may elect to participate in research activities with faculty and community partners, cultivating evidenced–based practices that serve their clients. Graduates serve as administrators, practitioners, and scholars. Admission requires prerequisite courses with a minimum C grade.

Graduation Rate
57%
39

Meredith College 

Raleigh, NC

About this school

Meredith College was founded as a women’s college. Today the school enrolls 2,000 students, including men in graduate programs. Meredith offers educational programming grounded in the liberal arts and professional preparation. Many students participate in research, study abroad, and community–based learning. They learn in classrooms with a 12–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio and participate in extracurricular activities with 100 organizations.

The school boasts several programs, including a bachelor of social work. Students complete 62 credits in the major by studying social welfare policy, generalist social work practice, human behavior for social work practice, and human diversity and social justice. The field experience of the social work degree requires 430 hours of generalist social work practice at a social agency. The supervised practicum reinforces classroom learning, integrates practice–based knowledge in real–world environments, and cultivates professional competence. Several scholarships provide funding for BSW students interested in pursuing an MSW. Some require competitive GPA scores while others require a commitment to work with special populations. Organizations such as the Social Work Club and Phi Alpha Honor Society offer BSW students networking, professional development, and community service opportunities.

The StrongPoints program at Meredith emphasizes academics, experiential activities, financial literacy, and career exploration. Admission to the BSW major requires at least six credits in social work courses.

Graduation Rate
59%
40

Colorado State University-Fort Collins 

Ft. Collins, CO

About this school

Colorado State University is one of the nation’s top research colleges. Students from diverse backgrounds converge on the school’s campus in Fort Collins. CSU’s catalog includes 76 undergraduate programs delivered in classrooms with an 18–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio.

CSU offers a 120–credit bachelor of social work that prepares entry–level generalists to practice across all levels of the social work system. The curriculum emphasizes the use of evidence–based practice to implement ethical, culturally competent, and economically just interventions. Students begin the degree with a strong liberal arts foundation through the All–University Core Curriculum. Upper–level courses in the bachelor of social work cover generalist practice with different populations, human diversity practice issues, and human behavior in the social environment.

Electives provide learners with the option to focus on the needs of different populations, such as adult offenders; substance abusers; and indigenous women, children, and tribes. BSW participants complete 450 hours of field experience during which they refine their skills as they acquire on–the–job experience. Faculty encourage students to explore other educational opportunities such as a minor in Spanish, ethnic studies, gerontology, or criminal justice. Some students elect to enhance their university experience and professional learning through study abroad options. Admission requires a high school diploma and SAT or ACT scores.

Graduation Rate
63%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Choosing a Bachelor’s in Social Work Program

Because so many different types of organizations and agencies employ graduates of social work degree programs, the core curriculum for bachelor’s in social work programs tends to be broad and general. Degree seekers study social welfare policies, foundations of social justice, and human behavior within the social environment. They may also cover how to translate their services to different clients in classes such as social work practice with groups, organizations, and communities, or social work practice with individuals and families.

To help students tailor their knowledge, a program will often offer several concentrations. Some of the more common ones include school social work, mental health, clinical social work, substance abuse, family support, or elderly support. Most bachelor’s in social work programs require students to participate in a semester–long practicum and in a culminating project to demonstrate their knowledge.

What Will I Learn in a Bachelor’s in Social Work Program?

Social work is a broad field. The following section highlights a few of the courses a social work degree includes, but independent research on prospective schools can help you get a clearer sense of required coursework.

The History of Social Welfare
Students review the history of social welfare in America, emphasizing the creation of specific legislation and policies, the availability of services and programs to marginalized populations, and the political and historical context for why programs and services operate as they do.
Current Issues in Social Work
With an emphasis on individualized social work practice, this course allows students to better learn about the social, political, economic, and historical consequences of social work . Examples include criminal justice, chemical dependency, gerontology, PTSD, and death/grief.

Bachelor’s in Social Work Careers

Graduates from bachelor’s in social work programs find work in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Some social workers prefer direct client contact while others want to address issues from programmatic or administrative standpoints. The careers listed below give prospective students a sense of what careers a social work degree offers.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Whether working for a corrections facility or a social services agency, these professionals evaluate new clients, create rehabilitation plans, provide counseling on substance abuse, testify in court on behalf of their clients, and maintain detailed files.
  • Median Annual Salary: $51,410
  • Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Social and Community Service Managers
Social and community service managers focus on identifying and creating useful programs and services, collecting and analyzing data on program efficacy, delivering outreach programming, and seeking funding through grant proposals.
  • Median Annual Salary: $64,100
  • Projected Growth Rate: 18%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
These professionals work in a variety of settings to provide individual and group therapy services to individuals. In addition to evaluating clients individually, they also create treatment plans, help clients develop skills for success, provide referrals to other professionals, and educate family members.
  • Median Annual Salary: $43,300
  • Projected Growth Rate: 23%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Accreditation for Bachelor’s in Social Work Degrees

Accreditation plays a significant role in validating all postsecondary degrees, and bachelor’s of social work programs are no exception. When considering prospective bachelor’s programs in social work, learners should look for both institutional and programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation is offered in two forms: regional and national. While the U.S. Department of Education recognizes nationally accredited institutions, graduates of these programs may not receive federal financial aid or gain licensure after graduation.

Programmatic accreditation helps identify individual social work degree programs that meet industry standards. The Council on Social Work Education accredits individual programs.

Social Work Professional Organizations

In addition to offering meaningful professional services such as networking events, career counseling, continuing education credits, and access to job boards, professional organizations provide community and support to students and recent graduates alike. Many have local chapters throughout the nation, allowing members to get together for regular events, speaker series, and conferences. Aside from those listed below, social work degree holders should research additional organizations specific to their branch of the field.

Clinical Social Work Association
The CSWA represents the largest group of professional mental health clinicians and provides an active job board, valuable information about clinical practice, and regularly updated details about current legislation.
School Social Work Association of America
The SSWAA offers professional development opportunities, professional liability insurance, legislative advocacy, evidence–based practices and research, member discounts, and membership in local state associations.

Take the next step towards your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

Woman working at desk