Social Work Major - Undergraduate Degree Program | Briar Cliff University

Social Work Program

Degree Type: Bachelor of Arts — Program Overview

It's one thing to study social problems. Doing something about them? That takes guts, smarts, and a willingness to be a tireless advocate for those without a voice. But if you have what it takes, choosing a career in social work will be one of the most fulfilling choices you'll ever make!

Social Work

Join our tradition of excellence.


Our program, which has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1974, will equip you with the skills to carry out what the profession is all about: helping people.

Get an education with impact.

As a social work major at BCU, you'll embark on mission trips to some of the world’s most impoverished places. You'll spearhead local relief efforts as part of our student-led Social Work Club. During your senior year, you'll be placed in a professionally supervised field internship at an area social agency — real experience, with real impact.

Prepare for career success.

The major in social work prepares you at the undergraduate level for entry-level positions in social work and for graduate social work education. By the time you graduate, you'll be able to:

  1. Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly;
  2. Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice;
  3. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments;
  4. Engage diversity and difference in practice;
  5. Advance human rights and social and economic justice;
  6. Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research;
  7. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment;
  8. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services;
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice; and
  10. Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Introduce yourself →  Schedule a visit →


Social Work Program Courses

BIOL 102 - Human Biology

An introduction to human structure and function. Topics include the scientific method, cell structure and function, and human inheritance, as well as other selected systems. Three lectures. Read more »

BIOL 102L - Human Biology Laboratory

An optional laboratory for those students desiring some practical exercises dealing with the topics in lecture. One laboratory per week. Read more »

CORE 100 - Franciscan Life

CORE 100 introduces incoming students to the cultural and historical foundations of Briar Cliff University through an exploration of the Franciscan tradition. The course will also serve to familiarize students with the academic infrastructure of the University and to acculturate them to the expectations, skills, and demands of life as a university student. Read more »

CSCI 100 - Introduction to Computers

An introduction to common computer applications. All sessions will be held in one of the university's computer labs. Students will become proficient with Windows, Word for Windows (word processor), Excel for Windows (spreadsheet), and use of the Internet. Read more »

LIBA 410 - Global Society

An interdisciplinary study of contemporary global realities focusing on the increasingly interdependent economic, ecological, political, social, technological, religious, cultural and peace relationships that are developing within the human community. Read more »

PSCI 101 - American Government

This course covers the basic elements of politics and government at the national level in the United States. It examines the structures, processes, behaviors, institutions, and policies of the American system with a relative emphasis on conflicting theories of power. By the end of the semester, students should have a solid understanding of how the system operates in addition to a comprehension of some of the key issues that face the country today. Read more »

PSYC 110 - Introduction to Psychology

This course is an introduction to fundamental psychological concepts which are derived from applying the scientific method to the study of behavior. Examples of selected topics include: personality development, abnormal behavior and therapy, physiology, motivation and emotions, human development, learning and memory, and social behavior. This course emphasizes theories and theorists as well as relevant applications to everyday living. An introduction to APA style of writing is included. Read more »

PSYC 280 - Developmental Psychology

This course focuses on the development of an individual from conception to death. Psychological/physiological growth is studied in terms of cognitive, psychosocial, moral, psychosexual, and thanotological developmental stage theories. A minimum of one behavioral observation and a journal research report written in APA style will be required. Prerequisite: PSYC 110 • Fall, Spring Read more »

SOCY 124 - Principles of Sociology

Introduction to the field of sociology and its theories, concepts and research methods. Main topics are culture, the family, socialization, deviance, social stratification, race relations, gender, and economic and political globalization. Read more »

SOCY 235 - Sociology of Marriages and Families

Study of the family as a basic institution of society with emphasis on its internal structure and dynamics, its functions for the individual and society, and its relationship to other social institutions. Read more »

SOCY 240 - Racial, Ethnic and Gender Inequality

Analysis of the interaction of minorities with dominant populations; explanations of how minorities are created and maintained; characteristics of racial, ethnic and gender relations in the United States and other societies. Read more »

SOCY 340 - Social Science Research Methods

Principles of problem formulation, design, measurement, sampling, data collection and analysis; ethical considerations for research on human subjects. Students are given the opportunity to design or carry out a research project. Prerequisite: SOCY 124 or instructor's consent Read more »

SOCY 341 - Statistical Analysis

A research methods course involving the collection, manipulation, analysis and reporting of social science data using computer software (SPSS). Students will process original or secondary data and prepare reports for public presentation. Prerequisite: SOCY 340 or instructor's consent. Read more »

SWRK 01 IS - Introduction to Field Work

Orientation to field work including a beginning understanding of the community social service network, visiting selected agencies, becoming familiar with agency expectations, interviewing and finalizing field placement. Prerequisite: SWRK 230, 320, 370, and 370L Read more »

SWRK 14 IS - Community Organization

This required senior IS presents theories and concepts essential to understanding community organization as a social work practice intertwined with practical experiential learning with community professionals. Includes study of history of organizing in the U.S. and examination of strategies and skills used in working with communities and organizations to promote self- determination, self-sufficiency, empowerment and social justice. Read more »

SWRK 230 - History and General Method of Social Work

History of social work and introduction to the general method of social work with emphasis on diversity and populations-at-risk. Directed volunteer experience in one agency (three to four hours a week). This is the first required course in the social work sequence. Read more »

SWRK 320 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment

The course provides content about theories and knowledge of human biological, psychological and social development, and about the range of social systems in which individuals live (families, groups, organizations, institutions and communities). Content includes examining the impact of social and economic forces on individuals and social systems as well as values and ethical issues related to bio-pyscho-social theories. Human diversity issues are infused throughout the course Prerequisite:SOCY 124, BIOL 102/BIOL 111, SWRK 230, PSYC 110 and 280 Read more »

SWRK 360 - Social Issues and Policy

Analysis of current social policy at all levels within the context of historical and contemporary factors and principles of social and economic justice. Includes the study of political and organizational processes used to influence and formulate policy and the delivery of social services. Prerequisite:SWRK 230 Read more »

SWRK 370 - Social Work Practice I

The course will direct the student in the use of the general method of social work practice as a framework for practice with client systems of varied sizes. Emphasis will be placed on individuals interacting with other systems in their environment. The course and lab include practice of interviewing skills. Prerequisite: SWRK 230 and 320 Read more »

SWRK 370L - Social Work Practice I Lab

This required lab is offered concurrently with Practice I. Students practice interviewing skills with supervision and feedback essential for integration of the knowledge foundation developed in SWRK 370. Concurrent with SWRK 370 Read more »

SWRK 375 - Social Work Practice II

Within the framework of the general method of social work and interacting with other systems, particular attention is focused on mezzo practice and theory. The class itself is a group lab experience. Prerequisite: SWRK 230, 320, 370, and 370L Read more »

SWRK 380 - Social Work Practice III

The general method of social work practice is applied to working with community and organizations as these interact with smaller systems. Read more »

SWRK 443 - Field Work

Field placement in a local agency with professional supervision supplemented by weekly scheduled online conferences, collateral readings, and written evaluations. Read more »

SWRK 444 - Field Work Seminar

Required seminar for all students concurrently enrolled in their field experience (SWRK 443). For online students, required weekly online consultations will take place. Read more »

THEO 204 - Christian Morality

The Christian life is a response to God's saving act and the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. This course investigates the basic concepts and approaches to moral decision making and considers selected questions and issues that pose moral dilemmas in contemporary society. Spring offering for honors students. Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

 Spanish or another foreign language is expected of all social work majors.

 For additional requirements and curriculum information, download the latest University academic catalog.

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