Briar Cliff offers new, online social work degree program


Briar Cliff's new online program now allows you to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work from anywhere.

Applications are now being taken for a fully online bachelor of social work degree completion program at Briar Cliff University.

According to Heather Craig-Oldsen, professor and program chair, much thought and exploration went into developing the program – only the second one like it in the country.


ScreenJoin one of only two accredited, fully online Bachelor of Social Work programs in the country.

Craig-Oldsen and Sister Shirley Fineran, OSF, assistant professor of social work and director of field education, had discussed and investigated the various online options for several years now.

“We gave it a lot of thought before we moved forward,” said Craig-Oldsen. “We’ve gone to every workshop we could possibly go to at the national meetings and spoke to people who have taken online classes.”

A BSW is required to become a licensed social worker in Iowa.

“We have encountered people who have a difficult time completing their BSWs. So many people across Iowa, the country and the world don’t have physical access to an on-campus program,” Craig-Oldsen said.

As a result of the new program, she added, many communities will be better served.

“There are people in rural areas who are working in social services and they would like to have a license. We think it will meet the needs of people who want to earn the degree and be eligible for the license but they simply cannot move here,” said Craig-Oldsen.

Briar Cliff’s social work program has been accredited since 1974 by the Council on Social Work Education, which will oversee and ensure the quality of the online program’s content and competencies.

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Tags: Alumni, Academics, Social Work, BCU, Local Media, Admissions