A Major In Social Work

General Information

Degrees and Areas of Concentration
The Social Work program offers courses leading to a bachelor of social work (B.S.W.), a master of social work (M.S.W.), and a minor in social work. The B.S.W. and the M.S.W. programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The programs stress the critical, empirical, and applied aspects of social work, incorporating a liberal arts perspective throughout the curriculum. There is a strong accent on community and agency field work as an integral part of the program. Professional social work education enables students to integrate the knowledge, values, and skills of the profession into competent practice.

Students must apply for admission into the B.S.W. and the M.S.W. programs. After admission, undergraduate social work majors (BSW version) and Master's students (MSW version) should obtain a copy of the Student Handbook. Students in both programs must meet with a social work adviser for advisement each semester, and must set up an appointment with the practicum office and attend a series of pre-practicum orientation sessions one semester prior to enrolling in the practicum.

Undergraduate Studies

Objectives of the BSW Program

The BSW program has the following educational outcomes.  Students who graduate with a BSW will be generalist practitioners who:

  • Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

  • Understand the values and ethics of the social work profession and the relationship between personal beliefs and values, professional values and ethics, and professional social work practice.

  • Utilize critical thinking, capacity building, analytical and communication skills to synthesize and analyze information to inform social work practice.

  • Understand the importance of diversity, difference, power, and privilege in shaping life experiences for diversity competent practice.

  • Possess the knowledge and skills to fight effectively against human oppression, discrimination, and social inequity and to formulate and foster social change initiatives to advance social and economic justice.

  • Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research to evaluate professional practice and /or the professional practice of others.

  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment to guide assessment and intervention.

  • Understand major social and welfare policies and analyze and formulate policies to advocate for social and economic justice.

  • Use leadership skills to respond to the changing context of social work practice.

  • Utilize skills of engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation, including theory and practice skills, across all levels of practice.

General Education Requirements 
Majors must satisfy the university and college general education requirements, although proficiency in a foreign language is recommended but not required.

Courses required for the B.S.W. degree may not be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis except SOC WK 4800 and SOC WK 4850.

Admission Requirements 
Students entering UMSL as freshman and as transfer students should indicate a pre-social work major. Students must apply to the program concurrently with SOC WK 3100. Admission to the program is conditional upon the successful completion of all necessary requirements.

Requirements for Admission to the Social Work program: 
Junior standing 
Submission of:

  • Application for admission to the social work program.
  • Two letters of reference: one from a college or university professor and one other from a work or volunteer experience supervisor.
  • Completion of SOC WK 2000, 2001, and 2200 or their equivalents or completion of an A.A. in Human Services.
  • Satisfactory completion of all courses listed as prerequisites for SOC WK 3100, 3210, and 3510.
  • Applicants may be asked to meet with the social work Admissions Committee.

Bachelor of Social Work 
Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in social work and related-area requirement courses to enter field practicum. Candidates for this degree program must complete the core requirements including the following social work courses: 
SOC WK 2000, Social Work and Social Issues
SOC WK  2001, Social Work and Social Issues Lab
SOC WK 2200, Social Welfare as a Social Institution
SOC WK 3100, Introduction to Strategies for Social Work Practices
SOC WK 3210, Social Issues and Social Policy Development
SOC WK 3410, Research Design in Social Work (or SOC 3230, PSYCH 2219, or CRIMIN 2210)
SOC WK 3510, Human Behavior in the Social Environment 
SOC WK 3700, Diversity and Social Justice
SOC WK4110, Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups 
SOC WK 4300, Social Work Practice with Communities 
SOC WK 4350, Social Work Organizations
SOC WK 4800, and SOC WK 4850, Supervised Field Experience in Social Work I and II
SOC WK 4801 and SOC WK 4851, Integrative Field Experience Seminar I and II

A minimum of 43 hours or a maximum of 50 hours must be taken in social work. A minimum of 30 hours is required in related area departments.

Evaluation of social work transfer credits will be done by a social work adviser on an individual basis.

Related Area Requirements 
The following courses, or their alternatives, are required:

Biology 
One course from the following:

BIOL 1102, Human Biology 
BIOL 1131, Human Physiology and Anatomy I 
BIOL 1141, Human Physiology and Anatomy II 
BIOL 1202, Environmental Biology

ECON 1000, Introduction to the American Economy or ECON 1005, Family Economics and Household Development
POL SCI 1100, Introduction to American Politics 
PSYCH 1003, General Psychology

Sociology: 
SOC 1010, Introduction to Sociology 
SOC 2160, Social Psychology 
SOC 3220, Sociological Statistics (or PSYCH 2201 or CRIMIN 2220 ) 

At least 9 additional hours must be taken in social work, sociology, political science, psychology, women's and gender studies, anthropology, criminology and criminal justice, or economics at the 2000 level or above. Hours taken in social work will apply toward the maximum of 50 hours that may be taken in social work courses. The Social Work program may require students to pass a placement test to enroll in the next level course, provided this test or its equivalent is administered to all students seeking to enroll in that course.

Social work majors must have a grade of C or better and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better in all course work specifically required for the major, with satisfactory grades in practicum.

Note: Anthropology, biological sciences, economics, and Spanish courses are strongly recommended by graduate  schools of social work.

Requirements for the Minor in Social Work 
Candidates must complete the following social work courses: 
SOC WK 2000, Social Work and Social Issues
SOC WK 2200, Social Welfare as a Social Institution 
SOC WK 3100, Introduction to Strategies in Social Work Practice
SOC WK 3210, Social Issues and Social Policy Development
and one additional social work course at the 3000 level or above.

School of Social Work, 121 Bellerive Hall, (314) 516-6385 (phone), or (314) 516-6416 (fax).