Program Description - Online Bachelor of Social Work Degree | Briar Cliff University

Program Description & FAQs

Briar Cliff’s online BSW degree completion program is an independent, intensive study with the same competencies, practice behaviors and learning objectives as an on-campus program.

How do the online courses work?

Most coursework is offered in a convenient, online format using our cutting-edge online learning platform. Veteran faculty advisors will be with you every step of the way, including weekly, one-on-one mentorship meetings to keep you on track. It all leads up to a local, 450-hour field internship — real, hands-on experience in your own community.

How does the field practicum work?

Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are you really accredited by CSWE? How can I know that for sure?

Check out CSWE's website!

How often do I have to come to your campus?

As great as Sioux City, Iowa, is, you don’t ever need to come to our campus. All your courses can be taken from home/work, and your practicum and field experience can be done in your area. You will work with our Field Director, who will guide you through the process from beginning to end.

If I don't go to campus, how does the program work?

• You'll take all regular coursework using our cutting-edge online learning platform.
• BCU faculty will work directly with you in weekly personal mentoring,  coaching, and assessment online consultations, which you will schedule with your professors for each of your courses.
• You will also recruit local volunteers and mentors to assist you with the social work practice courses.
• You will work with BCU’s Director of Field Education in the planning and completion of a 450-hour field internship — a requirement for graduation from BCU. 

What skills or technology do I need to have?

You will need to be able to competently use technology. Check out our list of recommended devices to see which computers, laptops and tablets Briar Cliff currently recommends and can fully support. Once online, you will access our learning management system (Brightspace) through BCU’s website.

What are online classes like?

Online classes at BCU may or may not be like any other online classes you have experienced. These are courses in the professional field of social work and they are a lot of work, for sure. We recommend students set aside 3-6 hours per week per credit hour for study and completion of assignments.

Will coursework take place at a specific time?

Classes are asynchronous which means that there is not a specific time you need to log in to attend class or be online at the same time as other students. You will have assignments due each week as assigned by your professor. For practice courses you will need to arrange for weekly Skype sessions with your practice course instructors, at a time that will work for both of you.

How do I perform an internship/field eperience from a distance?

Our Field Director will meet with you and your local practicum supervisor via web conferencing. In addition, you will have other assignments to track your progress toward meeting your learning objectives. Don't worry — we'll be here every step of the way! 

Is there a deadline to apply?

There is no official deadline, but we have two start dates a year (fall and spring), and class size is limited. For more information, contact us.

What are your academic prerequisites?

This a degree completion program, which means you must have at least 77 college transfer credits or an associate's degree in social work or human services to qualify for enrollment. The following courses or equivalents are required prior to starting your social work courses:
• SOCY 124 (Introduction to Sociology)
• SOCY 235 (Marriage and Families)
• PSYC 110 (Introduction to Psychology)
• PSYC 280 (Developmental Psychology)
• BIOL 102 or BIOL 151 (General Biology or Human Biology)
• SOCY 140 or SOCY 240 (Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Inequality)
• PSCI 101 or HIST 231 or 232 (U.S History)
• MATH 105 or 111 or 117 or 200 (Statistics or Algebra)
• PHIL 210 or THEO 204 (Ethics)
The social work faculty will certify the general education service component and competencies in information technology (CSCI 100), moral/ethical reasoning (PHIL 210 or THEO 204), oral communication (SPEC 111), writing (WRTG 109), quantitative literacy (math and SWRK 340), reading, and critical thinking (WRTG 159) in this major. To see how your credits stack up, contact an advisor.

How much does the program cost?

Click here to see the cost of tuition and fees, plus financial aid options.

Where can I see the degree plan?

The two-year program is year-round (both fall, spring and summer). View the curriculum →

How long do the regular semesters and summer courses last?

We have summer classes that take ten weeks. Summer classes are a part of the course sequence so you will need to plan accordingly for work/home and financial aid. Fall and spring are the traditional 16 week semester.

Do you have electives?

We do and they are mental health, child welfare and gerentology. They are required electives as part of your course sequence for online students.

How do I know what books I need?

Visit our online book order page, and enter your course name and semester.

I'm on board! When can I start?

We have two start dates a year (fall and spring). All applications must be submitted online. Once you apply, you will be assigned an admissions advisor who can walk you through the rest of the admissions process.

More questions?

Contact an advisor →

Class Format

Online courses

Next Start Dates

» August 2020

Tuition Cost



47 credit hours