BSW in Social Work

Degree Program Description

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program is a professional program that prepares students for immediate entry into direct human service professional positions, graduate-level education, and life-long learning. BSW-level social workers assist individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities to effectively resolve problems, deal with their relationships, and function optimally within their environment.  Graduates are employed in many different settings, including nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, home care agencies, family service agencies, children and youth services, aging services, residential treatment programs, domestic violence shelters, criminal justice agencies, schools, and legal services agencies.

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Major Program Requirements

Required Entry-Level Courses:  Specific liberal arts requirements for graduation are listed below (* denotes a prerequisite course to the BSW professional program that must be completed before beginning social work core courses).

Students must complete all university requirements, including general education, in addition to the degree requirements below.

Degree Core Requirements

English Composition (grades must be in the "C" range or higher)
ENGLSH 1000Exposition and Argumentation *3
Writing intensive classes 19
Humanities (grades must be in the “C” range or higher)
COMMUN 1200Public Speaking3
Select one of the following:3
General Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Ethics
Logic and Reasoning
Additional humanities 23
Science and Math Reasoning Proficiency (grades must be in the "C" range or higher)
BIO_SC 1010General Principles and Concepts of Biology (with a minimum grade in the C range)3
or BIO_SC 1500 Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory
BIO_SC 1020General Biology Laboratory2
Lab Science AND Physical or Mathematical Science9
Approved for social work students: (Grades must be in the "C" range or higher)
Social Statistics ((Required for all BSW Professional Program Students))
Introduction to Applied Statistics
College Algebra (grades must be in the "C" range or higher)
MATH 1100College Algebra *,33
Social science (grades must be in the "C" range or higher)
Economics (micro or macroeconomics) *3
Anthropology (student’s choice) (Recommend ANTHRO 1300, ANTHRO 1350, ANTHRO 2030) *3
History *3
Political Science *3
*One course from either history or political science must meet the state government requirement; may be satisfied by
American Government
State Government
Survey of American History to 1865
Survey of American History Since 1865
American History
Twentieth Century America
History of Missouri
Age of Jefferson
U.S. Society Between the Wars 1918-1945
Our Times: United States Since 1945
Behavioral science (grades must be in the “C” range or higher)
SOCIOL 1000Introduction to Sociology *3
or RU_SOC 1000 Rural Sociology
PSYCH 1000General Psychology *3
SOCIOL 3310Social Psychology3
or PSYCH 2310 Social Psychology
SOC_WK 3320Understanding Personality in a Social Context3
or PSYCH 2320 Introduction to Personality
Exploration of Power, Privilege, & Oppression (6 hours) 4
SOC_WK 2000WExploration in Social and Economic Justice - Writing Intensive3
Choose one additional course from the list of approved options on website.3
Electives to reach 120 credits 56
Social work requirements (Students must maintain a 2.5 overall cumulative and obtain no more than two (2) grades of "C+" in required foundation courses to graduate with a BSW Degree)
SOC_WK 2220WHuman Behavior and the Environment - Writing Intensive3
SOC_WK 4710Social Justice and Social Policy3
SOC_WK 4711Social Justice and Social Policy II3
SOC_WK 4720Variations in Human Behavior3
SOC_WK 4730Introduction to Social Work Practice3
SOC_WK 4740Introduction to Community and Organizational Processes4
SOC_WK 4750Interaction Skills Workshop3
SOC_WK 4760Theory and Practice of Social Group Work3
SOC_WK 4770Strategies of Direct Practice3
SOC_WK 4951WResearch for Social Work Practice - Writing Intensive3
SOC_WK 4952WResearch Methods for Social Work - Writing Intensive3
SOC_WK 4970Senior Professional Seminar3
SOC_WK 4971Undergraduate Field Practicum6
Social work elective (4000-level) in a field of practice3
Total Credits120

Capstone Requirements   

All students accepted into the professional BSW program must take SOC_WK 4971 Undergraduate Field PracticumUndergraduate Field Practicum and SOC_WK 4970 Senior Professional SeminarSenior Professional Seminar to complete their capstone requirement. Please note:  As a student, if you have acquired any criminal background history which includes misdemeanors or felony charges your choices of placements may be affected.  In an effort to assist you we strongly encourage you to make an appointment with the Director of the Undergraduate Program to assist in facilitating options for your completion of educational requirements.                                                

Basic Skills Credit Limitations

No more than 4 credits may be taken from “skills” courses to count toward the required 120 credits. More skill classes may be taken, but will be in excess of the 120 credits. Examples of skills courses are applied art and music performance classes, computer skills, self-defense and first aid.

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Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.

First Year
ENGLSH 1000*3MATH 1100*3
BIO_SC 1010*3SOCIOL 1000*3
BIO_SC 10202ANTHRO 1300, 1350, or 2030 (Preferred. May take other Anthropology course.)*3
PSYCH 1000*3COMMUN 1200*3
SOC_WK 1110 (Elective)1SOC_WK 1115 (Elective)3
History (Constitution)*3 
 15 15
Second Year
SOC_WK 2220W3Philosophy (any)*3
ECONOM 1014 or 1015*3SOCIOL 3310 or PSYCH 23103
SOC_WK 2000W (Required PPO)3Humanities (upper level)3
Power Privilege & Oppression3SOC_WK 33203
Elective3Political Science3
 15 15
Third Year
SOC_WK 47503SOC_WK 47203
SOC_WK 47303SOC_WK 43104
SOC_WK 47404SOC_WK 47603
Field of Practice Elective3SOC_WK 4951W3
SOC_WK 47103SOC_WK 47113
 16 16
Fourth Year
SOC_WK 4952W3Power Privilege & Oppression3
SOC_WK 49716Elective3
SOC_WK 49703Elective3
SOC_WK 4770W3Elective3
 15 14
Total Credits: 121

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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