Bachelor of Social Work

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Why should I choose Social Work at SHU?

The Baccalaureate Social Work Program at Sacred Heart University has been fully accredited by the council on Social Work Education since 1981, with a commitment to educate undergraduate students for responsible, ethical, and competent entry-level generalist social work practice. Graduates of the program are excellently prepared for:

  • Beginning level professional social work practice in a broad range of social services;
  • Graduate education in social work or related disciplines; and
  • Active, informed citizenship – guided by the principles of social justice, equity, and economic opportunity.

Graduates of the program have been highly successful in their search for employment and in graduate school admissions. Students who are eligible may apply for Advanced Standing in a Master of Social Work program allowing completion of the MSW in one year. MSW programs are also offered online.

Students study Social Welfare Policy and Services, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Work Practice, Human Diversity and Social Justice, Junior and Senior Field Practicum and Seminar, and Research Methods. Students spend three semesters (600 hours) in field agencies as social work interns, learning practice skills under the supervision of professional social workers.

View Degree Requirements

Nondiscrimination Policy

The Baccalaureate Social Work Program conducts all aspects of the educational program without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, ethnic or national origin, class, marital status, family structure, disability, or sexual orientation.


The mission of the social work program is to prepare students for entry level generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. In this, we are guided by the professional ethics and standards of the social work profession and the Judeo-Christian principles of service, respect for human dignity, social and economic justice for the poor and disadvantaged, the vulnerable, and diverse populations. Our mission is consistent with the university’s Catholic Intellectual Tradition of academic excellence through research, social responsibility and service to others.

The Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of the program are established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the professional body that accredits social work programs in the United States. The goals of Sacred Heart’s Baccalaureate Program are established to be in line with all CSWE requirements.

Consistency of Program Mission with the Purpose and Values of the Social Work Profession
The BSW program’s mission reflects the purposes of professional social work education through its primary commitment to prepare students for entry level generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The integration of professional ethics and standards, and the acquisition of knowledge, values and skills promote human and community well-being, respect for human diversity, and equity in social and economic justice. The purpose and values of the social work profession and the Judeo Christian principles of the university are consistent with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in seeking academic excellence through research (scientific inquiry), social responsibility, service, and quest for social and economic justice.  Understanding of the social work profession and its values guide the formulation of the explicit and implicit curriculum of the social work program in the undergraduate education.
What are the program goals?
The overall goal of the BSW program is to prepare students for competent and effective social work practice. As a reflection of the purposes of the profession and social work education, the core competencies* as articulated by the Council on Social Work Education, the mission of the BSW program, the goals of the BSW program are to prepare students: 
  • for competent and effective entry level generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. EPAS 2.1.1, 2.1.3, 2.1.7, 2.1.9, 2.1.10(a)
  • to understand human development, respect for human diversity and the importance of human relationships in a multicultural and global society. EPAS 2.1.4, 2.1.5, 2.1.7, 2.1.9
  • to promote social and economic justice through policy practice skills advocating for policy change. EPAS 2.1.4, 2.1.5, 2.1.8
  • to integrate and apply the knowledge, values, skills, and ethics of the social work profession both professionally and personally. EPAS 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.1.9, 2.1.10(a)-2.1.10(d)
  • to understand the importance of research in evidence based practice and its importance in the delivery of social services. EPAS 2.1.3, 2.1.6, 2.1.9, 2.1.10(b), 2.1.10(d)
  • to provide leadership in service and social responsibility contributing to the community and to the profession. EPAS 2.1.1, 2.1.3, 2.1.6, 2.1.9, 2.1.10(c)
The goals of the Baccalaureate Social Work Program are derived from the Program’s Mission and reflect the purposes of social work education. The goals also attempt to meet the needs of the student body, the surrounding community, the social service delivery system, and the social work profession. The primary purpose of the program is to prepare students for competent and effective entry level generalist social work practice with various systems as reflected in the first goal.  The second goal emphasizes understanding of human diversity with content that is intended to enhance students’ awareness of human diversity issues, their values and orientation to human differences in today’s multicultural and global society. This third goal is consistent with the program’s commitment to promote social justice advocating for policy change for more effective programs and services for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society. The fourth goal is integrated throughout the curriculum with a major emphasis on the full embodiment of professional knowledge, values, and skills, inclusive of the liberal arts perspective in educating students for generalist practice with client systems of various sizes and types. Critical thinking skills, analytical ability and highly developed communication skills are the expectations of the fifth goal emphasizing the importance of utilizing research methods and scientific inquiry to develop and test knowledge and to evaluate one’s use of professional skills in practice, and to give back to the profession adding to the knowledge base. These skills are fundamental to the development of the professional social worker. The sixth goal expects that graduates will contribute to society and the profession by providing leadership skills in the creation of social, economic, and political systems within a global context that provides equity of access to opportunities, services, and resources. 
*Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards 2008 (CSWE)
Educational Policy 2.1 - Core Competencies
Competencies are measurable practice behaviors that are comprised of knowledge, values, and skills. The 10 Core competencies are listed below (EP 2.1.1 – EP 2.1.10(d)
  • EP 2.1.1 – Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  • EP 2.1.2 – Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
  • EP 2.1.3 – Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  • EP 2.1.4 – Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  • EP 2.1.5 – Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  • EP 2.1.6 – Engage in research –informed practice and practice –informed research.
  • EP 2.1.7 – Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
  • EP 2.1.8 – Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
  • EP 2.1.9 – Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  • EP 2.1.10 (a) – (d) – Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.