Social Work Major Course Descriptions
The social work major consists of 54 semester hours - 48 hours in social work and 6 hours in advisor consent electives. Consistent with the program’s emphasis on a liberal arts foundation, during the freshman and sophomore years, students will typically take courses in English, speech, political science, economics, biology, sociology, psychology, statistics, western civilization, and the humanities. These courses will also fulfill Colonnade (general education) requirements.
The BSW program requires that some courses be completed before admission to the program. For complete application procedures and guidelines, visit the BSW Admissions page.
The following courses are prerequisites for the Social Work Major:
- SWRK 101 (Must earn a "C" or better)
- ENG 100
- Statistics (MATH 183, SOCL 300, SWRK 344 (summer only); or Statistics in another discipline at WKU; or can take STA 220 from KCTCS)
- PSY or PSYS 100/220
- PS 110
- SOCL 100 or AGRI 108
- ECON 150, ECON 202, or ECON 203
- BIOL 113, BIOL 120 or BIOL 131
All prerequisites must be completed before starting the Major; with the following exceptions:
Statistics can be completed in the first semester of the Major
PSY or PSYS 100/220 OR SOCL 100/AGRI 108 must be completed before starting the Major the other can be completed in the first semester of the Major
PS 110 OR ECON 150/202/203 must be completed before starting the Major; the other can be completed in the first semester of the Major
The BSW program offers several courses, some of which can be taken as electives. Expand the area below to view all of the required courses.
Foundations of Human Services
Starting with the basic principles, concepts and a historical perspective, the course will examine problems addressed by diverse social service programs and explore their activities.
Social Work Practice for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Prerequisite: SWRK 101 and restricted to social work majors and minors. Explores how students' personal identity and experiences shape views of social, economic, and environmental justice issues affecting marginalized populations. Focuses on building upon this understanding to begin to develop cultural competence in preparation for social work practice with vulnerable client systems.
Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Prerequisites: None. The social, natural, and behavioral sciences are used to examine human behavior across the life span, especially as influenced by ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. Colonnade K-SY
Social Work Research Methods
Prerequisites: SWRK 378 and 379. An introduction to concepts, research design, and program evaluation in social work research. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills in utilizing research information in social work practice.
Prerequisites: None. This course introduces students to the fundamental aspects of case management (service coordination), including common case management roles, processes, responsibilities, and employment challenges. Major content areas include: case management roles (including advocate, broker, resource coordinator), the roles and responsibilities of the multidisciplinary team (including nurses, social worker, physicians, and other disciplines), case management with special populations (forensic, geriatric, children, diverse populations), and the responsibilities of a case manager working in health care and mental health settings. Students will be introduced to the employment challenges of case management (types of programs that hire case managers, workforce retention issues, expectations of case manager, and job satisfaction). Students will develop familiarity with how case managers and clients interface with individual, group and family systems. Students will develop knowledge of case management ethics and explore common ethical dilemmas and boundaries issues that confront case managers.
Social Work Practice I
Prerequisites:SWRK 330, restricted to social work majors. Corequisite: OR SWRK 330. Emphasizes development of knowledge, values, and skills necessary for effective interventions with individuals and families. Course content will be examined from an ecological social systems perspective that emphasizes empowerment and cultural competency.
Social Work Practice II
Prerequisites: SWRK 330 and SWRK 375. The second of three practice classes that equip students with theory and skills for effective generalist social work practice with groups.
Introduction to Social Work Communication Skills
Prerequisites: SWRK 330 and SWRK 375. Study and practice of interviewing individuals, families, and groups. The skill of relationship building as it relates to both micro and macro practice of social work is emphasized.
Social Work Practice III
Prerequisites: SWRK 378 and SWRK 379. The third of three practice classes that equip students with theory and skills for effective generalist social work practice with organizations and communities.
Social Welfare Policy and Issues
Prerequisites: SWRK 345 and SWRK 381. An understanding of the historical perspectives of social welfare policies as they affect current policy issues. Includes examination of the processes of policy formulation. Models of policy analysis assist students in identifying, and their impact on citizens representing a diversity of backgrounds.
Social Work Field Practicum I
Prerequisites: SWRK 378, 379, field director approval and senior standing. Corequisite: SWRK 481. Social Work practice experience in a social agency.
Social Work Field Seminar I
Prerequisites: SWRK 378, 379, and admission to the field internship, and senior standing. Corequisites: SWRK 480. Integration of the knowledge, skills, values, and experiences gained in the internship.
Social Work Field Practicum II
Prerequisites: SWRK 480/481. Corequisite: SWRK 483. Continued social work practice experience in a social service agency.
Social Work Field Seminar II
Prerequisites: SWRK 480/481. Corequisites: SWRK 482. Integrates the knowledge, skills, values, and experiences gained during the second semester of the internship.
In addition to the required courses, two SWRK electives and two advisor consent electives (typically at the 300-and 400-level) must be completed. These electives must be approved by the advisor. Please see the list of all courses for SWRK-elective options.
Mental Health and Social Policy
Diversity and Social Welfare
Social Work and Women in Society
Services for Older Americans
Services for Juvenile Offenders
Ethical Issues in Social Work
Services to Children
Military Social Work
Child Maltreatment Intervention
Selected Topics in Social Work
Independent Direct Study
The following rotation describes the classes that entering social work majors must take during each of their four semesters in the major. The sequence includes the core required courses as well as twelve hours of electives within the major. Students are encouraged to work with their advisor to select these electives.
First Year Course Sequence
- SWRK 301: Social Work Practice for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- SWRK 330: Human Behavior in the Social Environment
- SWRK 375: Social Work Practice I
- SWRK 357: Case Management
- SWRK 378: Social Work Practice II
- SWRK 379: Introduction to Social Work Communication Skills
Second Year Course Sequence
- SWRK 345: Social Work Research Methods
- SWRK 381: Social Work Practice III
- SWRK 480 & 481: Social Work Field Practicum and Seminar I
- SWRK 395: Social Welfare Policy & Issues
- SWRK 482 & 483: Social Work Field Practicum and Seminar II
Note. The sequence of SWRK courses must be taken in the order presented. Students receiving a grade of “D” or lower in any course used for the social work major will be required to repeat the course, and may not be able to proceed in the Major until the course is passed. Because the courses must be completed in sequence and are only offered in the semesters listed, this may mean that a student must sit out of some of the required courses for a semester. This could potentially delay a student completing the Major by an academic year.
Life or Work Experience
Consistent with the expectations of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation's (COA) Handbook of Accreditation Standards and Procedures (2015, p. 15), the WKU BSW program does not grant academic credit for life or work experience.
- Honors Students
- SWSU (Social Work Student Union)
- Phi Alpha Honor Society
- Study Abroad & Global Learning
Becoming a Social Work Major at WKU!
BSW Program Options
Other Important Links
- WKU Social Work Alumni Survey
- WKU Admissions
- WKU Academic & Career Development Center (Student Advising)
- WKU Tuition Rates
- Social Work Library Resources
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