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Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Social work deals with a variety of conditions that limit people's ability to function. Professional social workers try to help individuals and groups overcome these limitations and become well-adjusted, contributing members of society.

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) requires 120 semester hours of credits. The program is built on a liberal arts foundation plus 34 hours of cognate and international courses. The required courses complement 45 credit hours of professional social work courses, which emphasize CSWE core competencies and foundation practice behaviors. Topics include: social work practice, human behavior in context, values and ethics, social and economic justice, diversity, policy, research, and critical thinking.


Coursework includes the following:

  • Professional development in social work
  • Generalist practice
  • Interviewing in social work
  • Social work field education
  • Human needs in complex societies
  • Social work research
  • Human behavior and the social environment

Career Options

Social workers have careers that service a wide range of needs:

  • Children's centers
  • Hospital social services
  • Juvenile courts
  • Life consultation centers
  • Mental health programs
  • Probation and parole
  • Protective services
  • Senior citizen programs

Why Study Social Work at Grand Valley?

The social work program provides a foundation curriculum in a high-quality learning environment that prepares students for success in the community social work concentration. Graduates:

  • Exhibit a commitment to enhancing social justice, promoting human rights, ensuring the dignity and worth of all individuals, practicing with integrity, upholding ethics, incorporating diversity into their practice, and advancing the profession's reputation and knowledge base.
  • Possess the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to create and/or identify and acquire new information about professional social work practice as such information becomes available throughout their careers.
  • Are competent users of technologies and proficient consumers of training opportunities that support their lifelong professional development.
  • The School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


“The B.S.W. program at GVSU taught me the fundamentals of social work practice. The program gave me the necessary skills in the classroom to effectively serve clients in the field. It was a great experience.”


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