Social work research presentation

Social Work (BSW)

Our social work program is designed to prepare students for baccalaureate level generalist social work practice with liberal arts foundation and a focus on critical thinking.

Degrees & Offerings
  • BSW
Program Contact
BSW Program Director; Associate Professor of Social Work
Chair, Social Work Department; Associate Professor of Social Work
illustration of Carver Hall

Opportunities are provided for the student to gain social work knowledge, values, ethics, and skills to work with client systems of all types and sizes. An emphasis is placed on an appreciation for human diversity and a strong commitment to social and economic justice. Students are prepared through courses to engage in the social change process through the interface with the regional community.

Social Work Program Locations

Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania offers our Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program at each of our campuses. Find the program option that works for you.

Bloomsburg Campus Lock Haven Campus Mansfield Campus

Social Work Program Goals

  • Provide a rigorous curriculum that integrates social work values and ethics and serves as the foundation for generalist social work practice with clients, client systems and social programs in multicultural environments.
  • Promote civic engagement and a commitment to advocacy to support human rights and social and economic justice.
  • Prepare students with an understanding of human development and behavior in the social environment that focuses on both human diversity variables and the interrelationships of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities for assessment of strengths and needs in practice situations.
  • Provide field education that enhances the student's ability to develop critical thinking and that integrates theory and practice with specific attention to awareness of diversity, research-informed practice, practice-informed research, self-reflection, and life-long learning.
  • Provide opportunities for professional development and continued education in the social work profession or related discipline.

Courses and Curriculum

CU Degree Requirements*

*Please see the CU degree requirements effective Fall 2023. All enrolled students can also review their degree program requirements and track progress to degree completion in Degree Works.

Administered by Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice

Admission to the Major

The department determines who is eligible to enter Social Work based on an admissions procedure. A minimum grade of a C or higher in prerequisite course 133 is required and accepted students must maintain a 2.20 to remain in the major.

Progression in the major. In order to progress within the program, students must earn a grade of C or higher in SOCWORK.221, SOCWORK.240, SOCWORK.250, SOCWORK.297, SOCWORK.334, SOCWORK.450, SOCWORK.452, SOCWORK.453, SOCWORK.497, and SOCWORK.498. Student status in the program will be reviewed prior to enrollment in 497, Social Work Field Education

Dismissal from the major. Because the BSW is a professional degree, the faculty reserve the right to counsel or dismiss any student who does not satisfy the professional and personal standards on performance, conduct/behavior, emotional self-control and self-understanding, and communication skills. See program website for details.

For information about admission criteria and details on the course sequence, see the department. Required courses for this degree program include:

General Education

Any statistics course (minimum 3 credits) from the Social Sciences or Mathematics, or as approved by the BSW Program Director

BIOLOGY.101 Human Biology I also Biology 100 (or any human biology course)

POLISCI.120 United States Government

PSYCH.101 General Psychology

PSYCH.210 Life-Span Psychology

SOC.211 Principles of Sociology

Courses Required Prior to Application for Admission

SOCWORK.133 Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare

Substantive Core Courses, Required

SOCWORK.221 Human Behavior in the Social Environment

SOCWORK.240 Social Work Statistics

SOCWORK.250 Research Methods for Generalist Social Work Practice

SOCWORK.297 Introductory Practice Experience in Social Work

SOCWORK.334 Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families

SOCWORK.450 Social Work Practice with Groups and Groups at Risk

SOCWORK.452 Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities

SOCWORK.453 Social Welfare Policy and Services

SOCWORK.497 Social Work Field Education

SOCWORK.498 Integrative Senior Seminar in Social Work

Elective Courses

SOCWORK.236 Child Welfare (note that this is a prerequisite for those enrolling in CWEB - Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates)

SOCWORK.270 Exploring LGBTQ+ Experiences

SOCWORK.455 Behavioral Health and Generalist Social Work

SOCWORK.456 Social Work and Issues of Aging

*Please see the BL degree requirements for students who were enrolled prior to Fall 2023 and remained in the BL Program.  All enrolled students can also review their degree program requirements and track progress to degree completion in Degree Works.

The curriculum in the social work program includes both a focus on course content and the academic environment. Our program aims to align course work with the evolving changes within our society while supporting the standards of our accrediting organization, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). We accomplish these goals by clearly defining both the explicit and implicit curriculum that exists within our program and then by evaluating the success of each through program evaluation.

The explicit curriculum consists of the program's formal educational structure and includes the courses required and content. The implicit curriculum consists of the educational environment in which the explicit curriculum is offered and learning occurs. Implicit curriculum includes admission policies and procedures, academic advisement, retention and termination policies, student involvement, commitment to culturally competent practices, faculty scholarship and community collaboration.

The program prides itself on giving equal merit to the implicit curriculum as it provides the context within which students are able to achieve professional competence and character as generalist social work practitioners. The program evaluation process for the curriculum can be found on our Program Evaluation link.

Social work is unique among majors in the College of Liberal Arts.  It represents professional and personal preparation to work in a field that demonstrates a caring and concern for others through practice based on knowledge, values, ethics, and skills that define social work.  The faculty has a responsibility to prepare and motivate students to become competent entry-level generalist social work practitioners.  During the admission and retention process students are expected to identify areas of self and academic growth necessary to successfully complete the mission, goals, and objectives of the program.

The goals of the admission and retention process are to have students and faculty identify the values and ethics that are necessary to be considered a generalist social work professional at the undergraduate level.  The faculty has the responsibility for the monitoring of the student’s motivation, commitment, capacity, and limitations for social work practice.  The intent of the monitoring process is to preserve the mission, goals, and objectives of the social work program.

The screening, selection, and retention process is designed with the objective of having students and faculty mutually assess the student’s readiness and commitment to be a social work major.  This process acknowledges the importance of producing graduates who are able to meet the challenges within the profession.  In addition, this process supports the commitment of the student to ongoing self-reflection and professional development.

Screening and Selection Procedures

The following are admission criteria for all students entering the social work program: 

  • Student demonstrates commitment, motivation, and capacity to successfully complete social work program requirements.  This is assessed through successful completion (C or above) of the courses, Introduction to Social Work (SOCWORK 133) in addition to the Program’s application process.
  • Student has a minimum overall 2.0 grade point average.
  • Student has submitted the required written application (available from social work program director) including the written rationale for selecting the social work major.
  • Student has had a formal interview with the social work faculty to discuss personal and professional ethics and values that are the foundation of the social work profession.  This interview will include a review of program policies and procedures outlined in the Student Handbook.

Students accepted into the social work program are notified in writing by the social work program director. 

Students who are not accepted into the social work program may re-apply after interviewing with the program director.

Admission of Transfer Students

Students who transfer from other colleges or from other majors at Bloomsburg may be formally accepted into the social work program by following the Screening and Selection Policy and its procedures. The student transcripts will be evaluated by the social work program director. Preserving the integrity of the program's mission, goals, and objective is of primary importance in assessing the student's transcript. Every effort will be made not to duplicate coursework.

Fulfillment of Social Work Field Education Practicum Credits

All students must fulfill all academic and field education requirements of the Commonwealth University Social Work Program.  Other related fieldwork/internship and or life experiences will not be substituted for the required 400 hours of internship.  

Procedures for Terminating Program Enrollment and Progress Review Process

Accreditation standards mandate that social work programs have policies and practices for “terminating a student’s enrollment…. for reasons of academic and nonacademic performance.  This implies “performance as social work practitioners” (CSWE, 1994).  Handbook of Accreditation Standards and Procedures, 89 & 127.

Commonwealth University Social Work Program prepares students for generalist social work practice.  The faculty is charged with integrating the standards of the profession throughout the program.  Students and the client systems that they serve will benefit from the faculty purposefully teaching and evaluating performance, conduct/behavior, self-awareness, and the communication skills of the students.

The purpose of the Student Progress Review Process (SPRP) is to assist students who have difficulty with the personal/professional integration of the standards of the profession, knowledge and skills of social work, values and ethics as identified in the NASW Code of Ethics.  

Program Professional and Personal Evaluative Standards

The following professional and personal standards and indicators are the bases on which the student is evaluated.

Performance Standards:

  • Plans and organizes work effectively.
  • Consistently turns in assignments complete and on time.
  • Makes arrangements for his/her special needs.
  • Attends class regularly.

Indicators of Concern:

  • Poor organizational skills.
  • Repeated requests for extensions on assignments and exams.
  • Turning in assignments late or incomplete.
  • Multiple absences from class beyond guidelines in class syllabus.
  • Multiple absences from field placement.

Conduct and Behavior Standards

  • Demonstrates ability to work cooperatively with others.
  • Actively participates in class discussion groups/role plays.
  • Shows respect for others’ opinions.
  • Is open to feedback from peers/faculty.
  • Demonstrates a willingness to understand diversity in people regarding race, color, gender, age, creed, ethnic, or national origin, disability, political orientation, sexual orientation, and populations at risk.
  • Conducts him/herself according to the NASW Code of Ethics. (Inclusive of relationships with clients, colleagues, practice instructor, internship director, faculty, and peers)

Indicators of Concern:

  • Appears to create conflict in class, which impedes learning and/or building effective relationships.
  • Uncooperative/unwilling to participate in class activities.
  • Consistently late for class, or leaves class early.
  • Consistently late for field placement.
  • Disrupts class process with inappropriate behavior.
  • Uses derogatory language or demeaning remarks.
  • Appears unwilling/unable to accept feedback.
  • Monopolizes class discussions.
  • Consistently complains about class workload to the point of impeding class process.
  • Unwilling/unable to develop an understanding of people different from oneself.
  • Discriminatory behavior or harassment towards others on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and disability.
  • Physical acting out directed at clients, faculty, staff or fellow students.
  • Unethical professional behavior. (Based on NASW Code of Ethics)
  • Academic misconduct based on university policy.

Emotional Self-Control and Self-Understanding Standards

(Unresolved personal issues that may interfere with the student’s ability to effectively work with client systems.)

  • Appears to be able to handle discussion of uncomfortable topics.
  • Deals appropriately in class with issues, which arouse emotions.
  • Demonstrates an awareness of one’s own personal limits.
  • Understands the effect of one’s behavior on others.

Indicators of Concern:

  • When engaged in self-disclosure, the student appears to be working through unresolved personal issues that interfere with client interaction.
  • Appears unable/unwilling to control emotional reactions.
  • Demonstrated alcohol/drug abuse, and or mental health issues in the class and or field placement.
  • Verbal threats directed at clients, faculty, staff, or students.
  • Demonstrates impaired judgment, decision-making, or problem-solving skills.
  • Consistent failure to demonstrate ability to form effective client/social worker relationship (e.g., shows judgmental attitude).

Communication Skills Standards

  • Written:
    • Shows consistency in written communication.  Written assignments demonstrate: good spelling, appropriate use of punctuation, clear structure, paragraphing, good organization, follows logical sequence.
    • Demonstrates ability to write effectively in records.
    • Shows command of the English language.
    • Abides by University standards.
    •  Demonstrates use of critical thinking skills.
  • Verbal:
    • Is able to clearly articulate ideas, thoughts, concepts, etc.
    • Has the ability to communicate clearly.
    • Has working proficiency of the English language even when English is not the student’s primary language.

Indicators of Concern:

  • Written works are frequently vague, shows difficulty in expressing ideas clearly and concisely.
  • Student has many errors in the area of spelling, punctuation, structure, etc., and does not make effort to show improvement.
  • Plagiarized the work of others.
  •  Appears to have difficulty expressing him/herself when speaking.
  •  Difficulty communicating so that others can hear or understand.
  •  Lacks a working proficiency of the English language when communicating. 

Student Progress Review Process

The program’s Student Progress Review Process (SPRP) is designed to ensure personal and professional behavior congruent with Commonwealth University’s Social Work Program Mission, Goals, and Objectives.  Each semester after mid term grades are distributed faculty meets to discuss any student concerns related to grades and classroom/out of class behavior.  Any student in the program for whom a faculty member has identified professional developmental concerns, the procedures listed below will be followed

  • Conference between the faculty member and the student is held.  The faculty member will notify student of procedures including notice about the presentation of concerns to other faculty and the student’s right to attend, participate, and bring an advocate to the SPRP session or to submit a written response to be considered in the discussion.  After the review of the information by the faculty committee, the student and the student’s advocate may be asked to leave the room during deliberations.  Written minutes which identify the faculty course of action will be completed and recorded.
  •  Recommendations of the faculty will identify the following possible directives:          
  • Written contract, which designates the criteria for needed personal and/or professional change.  Student’s faculty advisor will facilitate this process.
  •  Faculty group will prepare a rationale for dismissal.  A typed mailed copy will be sent to the student within five working days.  The mailing address will be provided by the student or taken from the most current listing available.  The student’s advisor will coordinate this process.
  • Concerns may be unfounded; student will be notified immediately (in writing) of this decision.

Appeal Process

A student can appeal with a written statement to the social work program director within 10 days of the letter of notification from the committee.  The statement must specify reasons for disagreement with the committee’s decision and rationale for considering a different decision.  The committee will then convene within 10 days of receipt of the statement to review the appeal.  The student initiating the appeal will be invited to address the committee with the option of being accompanied by an advocate.  The committee will render, in writing, a follow up decision or continuation of the original decision.  If the student believes the committee’s appeal decision was made in error, a written statement of appeal may be submitted to the department chairperson.  The student may also appeal the department decision with the Dean of Liberal Arts.

This appeal process uses the framework of the University’s grievance procedure as its model.  (Student Non-Academic Grievance Policy PRP 4862)

Welcome to the Commonwealth University Social Work Program. You are entering an exciting field with countless career possibilities. Social work is one of the fastest-growing and diverse professions in the United States. With its dedication to working with and empowering vulnerable, oppressed, or living in poverty, social work is a unique and rewarding profession. 

Student Handbook

The program's curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for generalist practice through the mastery of core competencies, those measurable practice behaviors that are comprised of knowledge, values, and skills. The ten core competencies insure that students will:

  • Demonstrate ethical and responsible behavior. (EPAS; 2.1.1)
  • Engage diversity and difference practice. (EPAS; 2.1.2)
  • Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic and Environmental Justice. (EPAS; 2.1.3)
  • Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research. (EPAS; 2.1.4)
  • Engage in policy practice. (EPAS; 2.1.5)
  • Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. . (EPAS; 2.1.6)
  • Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. (EPAS; 2.1.7)
  • Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. (EPAS; 2.1.8)
  • Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. . (EPAS; 2.1.9)

As of July 2022

The Assessment of Student Outcomes Form is used to assist the COA in the evaluation of the program’s compliance with the accreditation standards below:

  • 4.0.2 The program provides summary data and outcomes for the assessment of each of its competencies, identifying the percentage of students achieving the benchmark.
  • 4.0.4 The program uses Form AS 4 (B) and/or AS4 (M) to report assessment outcomes to its constituents and the public on its website and routinely updates (minimally every 2 years) these postings.

All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.

Bloomsburg Initial - B -  inside a keystone shape

Beyond the Classroom

Field Experiences

Field education is at the heart of social work education and is an important component of our BSW program. We strive to provide you with diverse opportunities in your field placement, so you can integrate meaningful experiences into your lifelong learning process. Paired with the academic learning from various social work courses, the field internship along with the senior integrative seminar assists you to integrate academic classroom learning with real-life agency experiences.


Licensure and Certification

As a Council on Social Work Education accredited program, our BSW graduates are qualified to apply for the LBSW in Pennsylvania. Professional licensure laws and regulations vary from state to state and are subject to change without notice. If you're planning to pursue a professional credential in a state other than PA, it's highly recommended you contact the appropriate state licensing agency to seek guidance and verify requirements. In states that provide licensure for bachelor’s level social workers, a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE accredited program is one of the requirements for licensure. While our program meets this standard, we haven't independently verified licensure requirements in all states. Visit our state authorization page for details.

Clubs and Organizations

Social Work Club — a group of social work majors making change, who travel around the communities of Bloomsburg and Danville to volunteer and provide experience to all our club members. Our mission is to help as many people as possible, and make it possible for all our members to do so by engaging them in the community to practice their skills. We believe in team unity and strength and make it a tradition to build strength through advisement and mentor ship to all new members. Our club is a safe space for learning, motivation, and growth. We value the commitment, hard work, and caring attributes in all our members.

The Husky Difference

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE),
National organization that insures our program is preparing the most skilled social workers possible
College of Distinction
College of Distinction
Bloomsburg has earned national recognition as a College of Distinction, honored for its quality and high-impact practices leading to a personalized education catered to students’ interests.
Job Growth Projected
90,700 new social work jobs are set to be added between 2019-2029 - Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job outlook for social workers is expected to grow at a rate faster than average for all occupations through the year 2022 at a rate of 19%. Students graduating with a BSW have opportunities to work in various areas of practice including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service organizations, hospitals and in government.


Social Work Contacts

Bloomsburg University Employee

Jill Deitrick

  • Secretary, Department of Middle-Level, Secondary, K12 Education and Social Work

Applying to this Program


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