This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The Bachelor of Social Work requires completion of 120 credits, including 46 credits in the major. The curriculum of the baccalaureate program is specifically designed to prepare students for beginning-level generalist social work practice. This practice model requires a broad base of knowledge about individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations and an appreciation of cultural diversity. General education courses provide an essential foundation for the upper-level professional curriculum and are required for admission to junior and senior social work courses.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
  2. Engage diversity and difference in practice
  3. Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice
  4. Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  5. Engage in policy practice
  6. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  7. Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  8. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  9. Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

Academic policies

Transfer students

Students who transfer to VCU from another institution as social work majors are not required to complete the UNIV 111 and UNIV 112 sequence. Instead, these students must transfer three credits in writing and composition course work with a grade of C or better (approved by the program director) in lieu of UNIV 111. Students may also transfer three additional credits in writing and composition course work with a grade of C or better (approved by the program director) in lieu of UNIV 112 or complete UNIV 200 at VCU with a grade of C or better. The remaining three credits from the UNIV 111UNIV 112 and UNIV 200 sequence requirement may be completed as general electives. This policy applies only to students who transfer to VCU after their freshman year and may not be used by students who began their studies as freshmen at VCU.

Transfer of credits from other colleges or universities or from other programs at VCU is determined on an individual basis.

Application process

Students eligible to register for upper-level social work courses need to make an appointment with their adviser to review and complete the “Application for Admission to the B.S.W. Professional Preparation Program” form. This form is available from your student success adviser. Although the B.S.W. program can be completed on a part-time basis, it cannot be completed exclusively in the evening because of field practicum requirements and the scheduling of some classes.

Course restrictions

Practice (SLWK 332SLWK 441 and SLWK 442) and field education (SLWK 393SLWK 494-SLWK 495) courses and the senior seminar (SLWK 499) are restricted to social work majors only. Students minoring in social welfare, or other students with permission of program director or course instructor, may take the following:

Course Title Hours
SLWK 311Social Work and Oppressed Groups3
SLWK 313Person in Society I3
SLWK 330Person in Society II3
SLWK 380Foundations of Social Work Research I3
SLWK 381Foundations of Social Work Research II3
SLWK 422Social Welfare Legislation and Services3
SLWK 431Person in Society III3

In all cases, however, prerequisites must be satisfied.

Field placements require students to spend 14 hours a week in an agency and cannot be completed on nights and weekends.

Honors in social work

Undergraduate social work majors may earn honors in social work by excelling academically and completing a research-based honors thesis under the supervision of faculty mentors. Students apply for honors in social work in the second semester of their junior year (spring or summer). To graduate with honors in social work, students must satisfy all of the following conditions:

  • Earn a 3.5 cumulative grade point average.
  • Earn a grade of A in SLWK 380 and SLWK 381 and a minimum grad of B in all other social work courses.
  • Complete six to nine credits of independent study (SLWK 492) with a minimum grade of B to propose and implement a research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
  • Present and successfully defend in writing and orally the findings from the research project in the form of an honors thesis to a committee of three faculty members (one of whom is the student’s mentor).

Students who meet these requirements and all other graduation requirements of the university will have honors in social work noted on their transcripts. For further information about the application process and detailed instructions for completing the honors thesis, students should contact the B.S.W. program director.