Bachelor of Science in Social Work


The Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) is designed to prepare graduates to be generalist social work practitioners. As compared to social work training in the past, when the student chose a methodology as a major such as casework, group work, community organization or administration, the student today is trained for a different perspective, namely a systems approach. A social work generalist is a person who has knowledge and skills to work in social systems, large and small.

  1. The preparation of students for entry-level generalist professional practice engaging individuals, families, groups and communities with a focus on strengths and empowerment.
  2. The educational preparation of students that encourages ethical behavior consistent with social work values.
  3. The preparation of students who have the abilities and skills to engage in practice with at-risk populations and those identified as oppressed within a diverse society.
  4. The preparation of students who have developed an ongoing commitment to improving social work practice.
  5. The preparation of professional social workers to actively engage in critical thinking and inquiry.
  6. The preparation of students for continued professional graduate education.


The BSSW program at Bowling Green State University educates students to be responsive, competent, and ethical social workers. The program prepares graduates to become generalist practitioners who utilize person-and-environment and strengths-based frameworks to build collaborative relationships that promote social well-being, utilize critical thinking and scientific inquiry, and advocate for social, economic and environmental justice - particularly for those who identify with vulnerable populations. Grounded in a liberal arts education, we are committed to promoting leadership development through character, scholarship, cultural awareness and service to humanity. Our emphasis on teaching, research, service and community engagement seeks to promote positive change and social justice for diverse communities, organizations, groups, families, and individuals.  

Our Philosophy

The BSSW program trains students not only to know about social work but also to be able to do social work. This practical experience is stressed in addition to coursework. Throughout the curriculum, an emphasis is placed upon applying knowledge to situations faced in real life. The program provides a generalist orientation to social work in that it provides knowledge and skills that can be utilized in a wide variety of social settings. A successful graduate of the program gains strong preparation for graduate social work education as well as an appreciation for community involvement and the ability to become employed as an entry-level social work professional.


Once a student is accepted into the major, all advising is provided by social work faculty. Students are required to meet with their faculty mentor/adviser at least once per semester. The faculty mentor-student relationship is a primary method of socialization into the major and the profession. Faculty encourage students to engage in research activities and community experiences that broaden their educational goals and enhance their skills. Faculty also assist students with career goals and applications for graduate study. 


The BSSW curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts and provides a foundation for the more advanced social work coursework. Students need to be aware that courses are sequenced, and that missing a particular course may prevent timely graduation. Although it is not required, students often choose to take courses to complete a minor or specialized area of study.

Transfer Student Degree Plan Guides

Field Education

The mission of the Bachelor of Social Work program is to prepare students for practice as competent social workers. Field education is a central part of this preparation. Field also allows students to demonstrate critical thinking and self-reflection in real practice situations, as well as assist them in developing a professional identity.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the national accrediting body for all Social Work programs in the U.S. CSWE designates field education as the “signature pedagogy” of the profession to emphasize much of the learning to prepare students for practice occurs in the field. Social work considers the field experience as the final “capstone” of education and the pathway to employment as a professional social worker. CSWE has established nine areas of competence to guide  evaluating a student’s readiness for entry-level practice. Students will have all the nine areas addressed in the various courses throughout the Social Work program’s curriculum. The field experience is the time to integrate and demonstrate the knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive/affective abilities students have gained in the classroom into practice.    

During the semester prior to the student’s planned time for entering field, students will apply to the Coordinator of Field requesting a field placement. The student will have an interview with the Coordinator of Field to discuss appropriate agency options to meet the student’s educational needs, and create a plan to satisfy all requirements necessary for the student to begin the internship the following semester. Students will have an opportunity to interview at potential agencies and submit a ranked list of preferences to the Coordinator of Field. However, the Coordinator of Field makes the final decision on placement of students for the field experience. 

The program’s field curriculum consists of a 12-credit Field Instruction course (i.e. agency internship) and a 3-credit Integrative Seminar course. Students take both courses simultaneously after they have finished all other courses in the core curriculum. As a result, the internship and seminar are usually completed in the last semester, before the student graduates. The minimum hours needed to complete the internship is 448. That equates to an average of 32 hours a week, for 14  weeks. The student must pass both the Field Instruction course and the Integrative Seminar course in the same semester in order to graduate. 

During the internship, all students are supervised by a social worker with at least 2 years of experience in the field, referred to as a Field Instructor. The Field Instructor will spend a minimum of 1 hour weekly providing direct supervision to the student. The Field Instructor will formally evaluate the student’s performance, based on the nine competency areas, at the mid-term and final points in the semester. The Field Instructor must rate the student as competent and ready for entry-level practice in order for the student to pass the Field Instruction course. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the baccalaureate, social work students demonstrate competence in such practice behaviors as the following:

  • Engaging, assessing, intervening and evaluating individuals, families, groups, and communities
  • Analyzing the impact of social policy on client well-being and service delivery systems
  • Advocating for human rights and social and economic justice for people impoverished, disenfranchised, or devalued
  • Using professional ethics, critical reasoning, and research

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in October 2011. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and is in good standing.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The Social Work program leads to professional licensure.

More information on professional licensure


Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The Social Work program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment Disclosure.

Updated: 12/04/2023 12:59PM