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Bachelor of Social Work

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Bachelor of Social Work Degree Requirements

Primary responsibility for meeting graduation requirements rests with the student.

  • A minimum of 124 credit hours of course work, including 10 credit hours of field practicum. At least 24 of the last 30 hours must be taken in residence.
  • A 2.5 minimum grade-point average for all classroom work.
  • A 2.5 minimum grade-point average in required social work courses.
  • Successful completion of field practicum.
  • Recommendation by the faculty of the school to the chancellor and the Kansas Board of Regents that the degree be granted.


  • Professional Socialization (SW 220, SW 623). Students prepare for the responsibilities of social work, involving professional functioning, knowledge and use of professional ethics, values, attitudes, and skills. Students analyze their values critically to develop a unified personal and professional framework. Students develop their professional commitment to a code of ethics and understanding of social work to govern their professional behavior.
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment (SW 530, SW 532). Students acquire a knowledge and understanding of individual, group, community, institutional, and cultural dynamics and behavior. Students become familiar with concepts, theories, and empirical findings that enable them to practice effectively as professional social workers.
  • Research (SW 540, SW 541). Students achieve a command of fundamental social work research. A knowledge of the scientific method is acquired and applied to current research. Students learn to apply critical thinking to the professional literature.
  • Social Work Practice (SW 510, SW 555, SW 560, SW 610, SW 612, SW 630, SW 631, SW 632, SW 633). Students acquire knowledge and skills needed for effective social work practice. The accumulated knowledge and understanding of the social work curriculum come together in the practice courses.
  • Social Policy (SW 620, SW 621). Students develop the capacity for critical analysis of social problems, policies, and programs. Students analyze social work practice to understand the effect of policy on direct service. Basic policy analysis skills acquired in the first course are applied in specified areas of practice, applying analytical skills to problems, policies, and programs.
  • Study Abroad (SW 560). Students get exposure to international aspects of social welfare in countries such as Costa Rica, South Korea, India, and Ireland. An elective course that meets general education credit hour requirements.

Field Practicum (SW 601)

The field education office works with community agencies throughout Kansas and western Missouri to provide field practicum opportunities for students. Students are placed in these agencies through a collaborative process among the field education office, the student, and the agency. The field education office is responsible for ensuring that all field placements are able to provide the appropriate learning opportunities for students and that qualified field instructors will be available to the student. The field education office arranges all placements.

Field placements are mainly in the Kansas City and Topeka areas, with a limited number of settings in Lawrence, Leavenworth, and other Kansas and Missouri communities. Students are responsible for transportation to the assigned field practicum. Most agencies also require a student to have transportation available for agency assignments.

B.S.W. students have one practicum placement during the senior year, concurrent with enrollment in the practice courses. Senior B.S.W. students attend classes 2 days a week and field practicum 2 days a week throughout fall and spring semesters. Seniors spend a minimum of 480 clock hours in practicum. Practicum is a 10-credit-hour, year-long course graded on an S/U basis. A satisfactory (S) grade is a requirement for the B.S.W. degree. At the end of the first semester, a grade of P is given for satisfactory progress toward completion of the course. No credit is given for partial completion (fewer than 10 credit hours) of practicum.

An orientation is held in the fall, before the beginning of classes, for all students entering a field practicum and the field liaisons who represent the school. Students are responsible for the material in the handbook. The Field Education Handbook is available on the school’s website. Upon request, a printed copy may be obtained through the University Bookstore for a fee.

Every student in practicum has both a field instructor and a field liaison. The field instructor is a B.S.W. or M.S.W. graduate with 2 or more years of social work experience and is typically an employee in the practicum agency where the student is assigned. The field instructor is responsible for providing supervision, overseeing the student’s learning opportunities, and planning practicum assignments. The field liaison is employed by the School of Social Welfare to work with field instructors and students in each agency, to help integrate practicum with class instruction, to evaluate student performance, and to assist if difficulties arise.

Because of the necessity for continuity in client service and learning, the maximum time for a break between semesters in practicum is 3 weeks, regardless of time allowable according to the university calendar.

Information about agencies currently involved in field education is available on the School of Social Welfare website.

Required Hours for Field Practicum

Students with 9 or more remaining elective or general education requirement credit hours in the fall of the senior year must complete these hours before beginning field placement. Students who are completing these hours may take SW 620, SW 621, and the mini-courses, but they cannot enroll in SW 610, SW 612, or SW 623.

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Edwards Campus B.S.W. Program

The Bachelor of Social Work degree also is offered on the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Call the social work undergraduate adviser at 913-288-7304.

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KCKCC B.S.W. Program

The B.S.W. curriculum is available at Kansas City Kansas Community College. The KCKCC curriculum is designed as a 2+2 degree-completion program. Associate of Arts degree holders interested in completing their undergraduate degrees take all of the necessary course work at KCKCC and receive a KU degree. For more information, contact the on-site program coordinator, Maxine Elmore, at 913-288-7304 to make an appointment.

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Liberal Arts Prerequisites
for a broad base of understanding

General area Subject Course requirements
Communication skills English ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 and
any ENGL 200 or above literature course (except Literature for Children)
  Language facility (Communication studies, linguistics, foreign language) COMS 130 or exemption (not COMS 150) 1 of the following: COMS _____ (communications theory); or LING _____; or Foreign language second course
Mathematics   MATH 101
Students must complete mathematics requirements before admission to the B.S.W. program. 
U.S. cultural studies
American social structures
(Survey of U.S. history or political science, e.g.
History of the U.S. through the Civil War)
1 course, for example: HIST 128, HIST 129, POLS 110, POLS 310, SOC 330
  American value systems
(How American religious/ethical systems reflect the nation’s values, e.g. Social Problems and American Values) 1 course, for example: SOC 160, SOC 330, PHIL 160, REL 171, REL 585
Western civilization
  Transfer students: Not all Western civilization courses transfer as Western civilization HWC 204 and
HWC 205
Intercultural studies
Studies in civilization
(A non-Western civilization’s history, religion, and culture, e.g. Introduction to Africa) 1 non-Western civilization course, for example: AAAS 103, ECIV 104
  Comparative studies
(Similarities, differences, and interaction between societies, e.g. Cultural Anthropology) 1 of the following courses: ANTH 108, ANTH 308, ANTH 160, ANTH 382, HIST 120, POLS 150, POLS 170
Child and adolescent development   1 of the following courses: ABSC 160, PSYC 333  
Bio-psycho-social studies   BIOL 101 and BIOL 102
(1 course and natural science lab)
(1 course)
Political science
(1 course)
    PSYC 104
SOC 104
Electives (usually 18 or more hours) As needed to complete 124 hours  

Students may minor in a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences discipline by successfully completing 18 hours in that discipline, as required by CLAS. Consult a CLAS adviser for more information. It is possible to complete a double major in 4 years with careful planning.

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Requirements for the Major in Social Work

Social work Year Course requirements
Social work Preprofessional course SW 220 The School of Social Welfare requires students to take SW 220 before entering senior-level classes.
  Junior year:


SW 530

SW 555

SW 540

    Spring: SW 510 SW 541 SW 532
  Senior year:


SW 610

2 courses of SW 630/SW 631/SW 632/SW 633

SW 620

    Spring: SW 612 SW 621 SW 623
    Fall and Spring: Practicum: SW 601
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