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Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Become an advocate for the vulnerable.


Become that guiding voice in a dark place, a listening ear and a steady hand, and the first step for many in a path to healing. Step into the multi-faceted, ever-evolving world of social work, where you will have the unique and rewarding job of improving the wellbeing of individuals and whole communities.

Join the largest profession of mental health service providers in the country and become part of a network of students and faculty with a vision for change. Nationally accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE), the William Woods University Social Work Program graduates go into the workforce or go on to graduate school to become skilled clinicians and administrators. Due to CSWE Accreditation and the strength of our program, many of our qualified graduates apply for advanced standing status in graduate schools which reduces the amount of coursework required to earn a Master of Social Work. Our dream is to see you succeed in the work that will not only have an impact on you personally, but on every person you meet.

9 out of 10 of our social work graduates secure employment or attend the graduate school of their choice
50 years of teaching excellence in social work
19% projected increase in jobs for healthcare, mental health and substance abuse social workers from 2016 to 2026

Unlike many other helping fields, social work will allow you to see through the eyes of those you are serving, as well as use critical thinking and action-planning on multi-systemic levels to bring compassion, intervention and justice where it is needed most. Last academic year, William Woods University students collectively provided over 5,500 hours of service to the surrounding Fulton community through the social work field practicum program, gaining hands on experience in addition to the valuable knowledge learned in the classroom and through side-by-side mentorship learning with faculty experts.

Special opportunities

  • Participate in service learning activities through various courses, as well as practice interviewing skills and gain experience in developing intervention and action plans
  • Create a professional portfolio demonstrating your mastery of the 9 core competencies and 60 practice behaviors of social work
  • Conduct research alongside our expert faculty members through the Mentor/Mentee program
  • Attend professional conferences to expand your knowledge and network with professionals in the field
  • Get hands on experience through a two semester-long field practicum during your senior year, gaining 500 hours of direct social work practice in various social service agencies across Missouri under the supervision of a qualified field supervisor
  • Join a group of like-minded individuals and participate in social work activities that serve the Fulton and Central Missouri communities through William Woods University clubs such as Students for Social Work or Phi Alpha, an honors society for Social Work majors
  • Advance your education and pursue a Master of Social Work (MSW) alongside 60 percent of our Social Work Alumni who have traveled the same successful path

Our Social Work degree at work 

Pursue an exciting career as a/an:

  • Domestic violence advocate
  • Child abuse investigator
  • Hospital social worker
  • Children’s division supervisor
  • Therapist/counselor
  • Youth treatment worker
  • Juvenile officer
  • Forensic interviewer
  • School social worker
  • And more

Our alumni have gone on to work in:

  • Medical Social Work
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Adoption
  • Criminal Justice
  • Schools
  • Child Abuse
  • Veterans
  • Domestic Violence
  • Children Residential Programs
  • Juvenile Treatment
  • Elderly

Recent Employers

Our students are highly sought after by distinguished employers across the country, including:

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Other employers of our recent alumni include:

  • Missouri Children’s Division
  • Hermann Area District Hospital
  • Fulton State Hospital
  • Arthur Center Mental Health
  • Missouri Division of Youth Services, Statewide residential treatment programs and State Central Office
  • New Horizons
  • Boone County Group Homes and Family Support
  • Missouri School for the Deaf
  • St. Mary’s Health Center
  • Cooke County Hospital
  • Pine Ridge Native American Reservation
  • Mexico Veterans’ Home
  • Boone County Prosecutor’s Office, Victim Services Unit
  • And more

Perspectives

My degree in social work from William Woods University qualified me for advanced standing at the University of Missouri. As a result, I was able to obtain my master of social work degree in one year and now I'm a licensed therapist. The small classes at William Woods and my nine-month internship gave me the education and experience to be qualified for my first job.

— Stacie Eastwood Smithee, LCSW, Director of Social Services at Mexico Veteran’s Home

Requirements/Curriculum

The Bachelor of Social Work degree at William Woods University consists of 122 distinct credit hours for graduation—including 42 core major credits and 6 credits of required social work electives, as well as 500 hours of social work experience through the Field Practicum requirement requirement.

Courses you may take

PSY 313 - Statistics for the Social Sciences - 3.00

This course focuses on descriptive and inferential statistics in the design, analysis and interpretation of data in psychological research. Students will learn to effectively present data. Practical application is emphasized. Prerequisites: SWK313

SWK 215 - Social Welfare -S - 3.00

This introductory course examines historical and contemporary efforts to address human needs, in American society. Students will participate in open discussions to explore the conservative, liberal and radical political ideologies that underpin social policies today. Discussion topics will include human diversity, religion, poverty, child welfare, criminal justice, health care, mental health, developmental disabilities, housing, homelessness, community development and aging. Students will have the opportunity to learn about and interact with professional social workers, through class activities, guest speakers and job shadowing experiences. Guest speakers will also include multidisciplinary professionals, such as attorneys, educators, law enforcement officers and medical personnel, who partner with social workers in meeting human needs.

SWK 230 - Interaction Skills - 3.00

This course serves as a foundation course for our social work program and is the first in our practice series (practice I). The course focuses on the core communication skills essential to beginning Social Work practice and the problem-solving process. Students are introduced to the generalist practice model and gain experience to basic listening and assessment skills within the context of social work values and knowledge and ethics. The generalist perspective along with exposure to cultural diversity and populations at risk are emphasized throughout the course as well. Students videotape various role play scenarios to gain practice skills engagement, assessment, goal planning, intervention, evaluation and termination.

SWK 312 - Intervention Strategies Indiv/Famil - 3.00

This course provides a framework for the Generalist Model for social work practice with individuals and families. Emphasis is on learning to develop professional relationships that are characterized by mutuality, collaboration, and respect for the client. Content focuses on examination of client strengths and problems in the interactions among individuals and between people and their enviornments as well as social work knowledge, values, and skills that are employed to enhance the well-being of people and to help ameliorate the environmental conditions that affect people adversely. The problem solving methods is also a major component of the course as well as learning the skills for practice with clients from differing social, cultural, racial, religious, spirtual, and class backgrounds.

SWK 313 - Research Methods - 3.00

This course examines the application of basic concepts of research methodology to social work, including problem formulation, design of research, measurement, sampling, and data analysis. It includes the role of research in social work and the interpretation and critical analysis of reseach reports in social work. This course provides the foundation to equip students to be consumers of published research and to engage in building knowledge to enhance practice and service delivery through the use of scientific methods. Emphasis throughout the course is placed on preparing students to identify research findings that assist them in being more effective practitoners as well as producers and consumers of research.

SWK 314 - Group Dynamics & Interventions - 3.00

This course provides a framework for the Generalist Model for social work practice with groups. It is the second in the series of Social Work Practice courses and includes the same focus as Social Work Practice I but applied to groups. Students learn how to enhance the intellectual, emotional, and social development of individuals through group activities. Different techniques and objectives are explored and include groups that focus on: socialization, information exchange, curbing delinquency, recreation, changing socially unacceptable values, and helping to achieve better relations between cultural and racial groups.

SWK 315 - Community & Organizational Developm - 3.00

This course provides a framework for the Generalist Model for social work practice with communities and organizations. It is the third in the series of Social Work Practice courses and includes the same focus as Social Work Practice I and II but applied to communities and organizations. Content focuses on macro practice which is professionally directed intervention designed to bring about planned change in organizations and communities.

SWK 316 - Human Behavior in the Environment I - 3.00

Birth-Adolescence. Human Behavior and the Social Environment I and II are taught in a two part course format and serves as foundation sequence in the Social Work Program. SWK316, Human Behavior and the Social Environment I is a review of the biopsychosocial theories of development from birth to adolescence, while SKW317, Human Behavior in the Social Environment II covers theories of biopsychosocial development of adolescence through end of life. This course sequence is based upon the philosophy that human behavior is shaped by many interacting factors and specific theories from the biological, psychological, social and cultural theory base are presented in order to address the complexity of human functioning. At the same time, human behavior is conceptualized as following a developmental sequence with age-specific characteristics and needs. In order to present this knowledge base, selected theories are applied to each life cycle stage. In each state, special attention is given to the impact of oppression, discrimination, privilege, and the consequences of gender, socioeconomic status and minority group membership. These dimensions are viewed as interactional influences on individual behavior and the person as a member of a small group, community and of the large society and culture. This course uses general systems theory with an ecological focus to provide the organizing base to explore lifespan development.

SWK 317 - Human Behavior in Environment II - 3.00

This course continues the study of human behavior with an emphasis on psychosocial development and ethnic sensitive social work perspectives. Attention is given to the interaction and influences of the psychological and sociocultural dimensions of human behavior. These dimensions are viewed as interactional influences on individual behavior and the person as a member of a small group, community and of the large society and culture. Part II also emphasizes the multicultural component that is significant in social work practice.

SWK 338 - Social Welfare Policy - 3.00

This course focuses on the basic concepts inherent in the development, analysis, and implementation of social welfare policy. Course content includes examination of these concepts from micro, mezzo, and macro perspectives that emphasize the relationship between policy and direct practice. Historical influences, consequences, and current initiatives are reviewed, and various models and considerations for analysis are examined. Students may have the opportunity to observe legislative sessions at the State Capitol.

SWK 450 - Senior Field Practicum I - 4.00

Field Practicum I is a required course that affords senior level students the opportunity to observe and begin practicing social work knowledge, values, ethics and skills. Students are assigned to a social service delivery system under direct supervision from a trained social work Field Educator. The overall objectives are for the student to acquire and demonstrate social work competencies through direct practice experiences. These competencies are set forth by the Council on Social Work and the WWU Social Work Program. The student is required to complete 250 hours in the social service delivery system. The emphasis in Field Practicum I is acclimation to organization structure, clientele, direct practice skills, interventions, documentation, agency and social welfare policies and community resources. Field Practicum I is the first practicum course in a concurrent sequence.

SWK 451 - Senior Field Practicum II - 4.00

Field Practicum II is a required course for senior students and is a continuation of Field Practicum I. The student remains in the same social service delivery system and continues to observe and practice social work knowledge, values, ethics and skills. The overall objectives are for the student to acquire and demonstrate social work competencies as set forth by the Council on Social Work and the WWU Social Work Program. As the student has gained social service delivery experience from Field Practicum I, the student in this course will function with more professional autonomy. The emphasis is on the student consistently demonstrating all social work competencies. The student is required to complete 250 hours in the social service delivery system. Field Practicum II is the capstone course that concludes the sequence of the BSW degree. Prerequisite - SWK450

SWK 452 - Senior Field Seminar - 2.00

Senior Field Seminar is a required course taken in conjunction with SWK 450 during the senior year. The course provides a platform for students to identify social work competencies experienced in the social service delivery system. The emphasis in the Field Practicum I experience is acclimation to organization structure, clientele, direct practice skills, interventions, documentation, agency and social welfare policies and community resources. Students will demonstrate acquisition of these competencies through research, presentations, documentation, processing and problem-solving. Discussion of experiences in the classroom setting allows students to develop and strengthen a sense of professional self. Senior Field Seminar is the first seminar course in a concurrent sequence.

SWK 453 - Senior Capstone Seminar - 2.00

Senior Capstone Seminar is a required course for senior students and is a continuation of Senior Field Seminar I and taken in conjunction with SWK 451 during the senior year. The course provides a platform for students to continue identifying social work competencies experienced in the social service delivery system. An emphasis is placed on more professional autonomy. Through research, presentations, documentation, processing and problem-solving, the student examines competency development in relation to direct practice experiences. Discussion of experiences in the classroom setting allows students to develop and strengthen a sense of professional self. Senior Field Seminar II is the capstone course that concludes the sequence of the BSW degree. Prerequisite: SWK450

Curriculum

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Admissions Information

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