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Locations on 8 IU Campuses

Course Requirements

Overall Degree Requirements

The curriculum for the BSW degree consists of a minimum of 120 credit hours provided through required and elective courses.  Of these 120 credit hours, 42-45 credit hours are devoted to general/supportive liberal arts courses and 52 credit hours to social work courses (see individual campus supplements).  The remaining required credits are earned through elective courses. Students are free to select elective courses of their choice.

The BSW program is offered on five IU campuses: Bloomington, East, Gary, Indianapolis, and South Bend. Students in the BSW program must successfully complete all freshman, sophomore and junior social work courses and achieve senior standing, as defined by the BSW program, before enrolling in the senior year course work.

Credit for Life Experience

Academic credit for life experience and previous work experience is not given in whole or in part toward the social work degree.

General Education Requirements

General education course requirements vary by campus.  Students are expected to meet the general education requirements specific to the campus to which they are applying.

The BSW Program has basic general educational requirements consistent across campuses.  The BSW general education area course requirements are divided into four areas and appear below.  Work with your BSW Academic Advisor to ensure you meet both the campus and BSW general education requirements.

Arts and Humanities (5 courses)
  • English Composition (2 courses)
    • Elementary Composition
    • Professional Writing Skills
  • Modern American History (1 course)
  • A minimum of one course designated as Arts and Humanities courses or an equivalent on the student’s campus.
Biological Sciences (1 course)
  • One course in human biological sciences
Mathematics (1 courses)
  • Mathematics (one course designated as at least a minimum general education requirement on that student's campus)
Supportive Area Requirements (4 courses)

The supportive area requirements link the general requirements with the social work courses.  All BSW students must take the following six specific requirements:

  • American Government
  • Introductory Psychology
  • A 300 level Psychology course
  • Introduction to Sociology
Social Work Required Courses (17 courses)

Course offerings vary by campus – it is essential that you consult your advisor for educational planning to ensure timely completion of the BSW program.

  1. SWK-S 102   Understanding Diversity in a Pluralistic Society (3 cr.)
  2. SWK-S 141   Introduction to Social Work (3 cr.)
  3. SWK-S 221   Human Growth and Development in the Social Environment (2 cr.)
  4. SWK-S 251   History and Analysis of Social Welfare Policy (3 cr.)
  5. SWK-S 322   Small Group Theory and Practice (3 cr.)
  6. SWK-S 331   Generalist Social Work Practice I: Theory and Skills (3 cr.)  
  7. SWK-S 332   Generalist Social Work Practice II: Theory and Skills (3 cr.)
  8. SWK-S 352   Social Welfare Policy and Practice (3 cr.)
  9. SWK-S 371   Social Work Research (3 cr.)
  10. SWK-S 401   Integrative Practicum Seminar I (3 cr.)
  11. SWK-S 402   Integrative Practicum Seminar II (3 cr.)
  12. SWK-S 423   Organizational Theory and Practice (3 cr.)
  13. SWK-S 433   Community Behavior and Practice with a Generalist Perspective (3 cr.)
  14. SWK-S 442   Integrated Practice/Policy Seminar (3 cr.)
  15. SWK-S 472   Social Work Practice Evaluation (3 cr.)
  16. SWK-S 481   Social Work Practicum I (4 cr.)
  17. SWK-S 482   Social Work Practicum II (4 cr.)
Social Work Course Sequencing of Junior and Senior Courses

Both full time and part time options for completion of the junior and senior level required social work courses are available. The course sequencing of required courses is described below.  Please note that terms may vary by campus.  Also, students must complete all 300 level courses before beginning Field Practicum.

Required Social Work Course Descriptions

In the following course listings, the abbreviation “P” refers to prerequisite and “C” indicates corequisite courses.  The number of hours of credit given a course is indicated in parenthesis following the course title.   Many, but not all of the BSW courses, are offered in an online format.  The number of online courses varies by campus.

SWK-S 102    Understanding Diversity in a Pluralistic Society (3 cr.)

This course covers theories and models that enhance understanding of our diverse society.  It provides content about differences and similarities in the experiences, needs, and beliefs of selected minority groups and their relation to the majority group.

  • P or C: Elementary Composition
SWK-S 141    Introduction to Social Work (3 cr.)

This course is an introduction to the profession of social work and the philosophical, societal, and organizational contexts within which professional social work activities are conducted.

  • P or C: Elementary Composition
SWK-S 221    Human Growth and Development in the Social Environment (3 cr.)

This course assists the undergraduate social work student in building a foundation for understanding human behavior and development in diverse contexts across the life course.

  • P: S141 (or permission of instructor)
  • P or C:
    • Introduction to Sociology
    • Elementary Composition
    • Psychology as a Social Science or a Human Biology course
SWK-S 251    History and Analysis of Social Welfare Policy (3 cr.)

This course is designed to provide a historical perspective on the evolution of social welfare policies and programs and allow students to develop beginning policy analysis skills so that students will be able to identify gaps in the service delivery system and inequitable or oppressive aspects of current policy delivery.           

  • P: S141 (or permission of instructor)
  • P or C: Modern American History
SWK-S 322    Small Group Theory and Practice (3 cr.)

The course examines the significance of the small group as both the context and means for social development of individuals and as a vehicle for generalist practice. It includes discussion of the individual as a member of a variety of groups, including the family.

  • P: S221 Human Growth and Development in the Social Environment
SWK-S 331    Generalist Social Work Practice I: Theory and Skills (3 cr.)

This course focuses primarily on the application of basic generalist social work skills that demonstrate an understanding and application of the continuum of social work practice in the helping relationship.

  • P or C:
    • Human Growth and Development in the Social Environment
    • Elementary Composition
SWK-S 332    Generalist Social Work Practice II:  Theory/Skills (3 cr.)

This practice course examines the middle and ending phases of the helping process and related skills.

  • P:
    • S331 Generalist Social Work Practice I: Theory and Skills
    • S251 History and Analysis of Social Welfare Policy
  • P or C:
    • S322 Small Group Theory and Practice
    • S352 Social Welfare Policy and Practice
SWK-S 352    Social Welfare Policy and Practice (3 cr.)

This second course in social welfare policy builds on S251 by exploring in depth the current social welfare delivery system through policy analysis using a variety of frameworks and developing policy practice skills. 

  • P: S251 History and Analysis of Social Welfare Policy
SWK-S 371    Social Work Research (3 cr.)

The general goal of this basic social science research methods course is to introduce and develop skills needed to conceptualize a problem, make use of available literature, design a research strategy, evaluate, organize, and integrate relevant data (both existing and new), derive useful solutions based on knowledge, and communicate those solutions to clients and colleagues.

  • P: Junior standing according to the social work curriculum.
  • P or C: Computer Course
SWK-S 401    Integrative Practicum Seminar I (2 cr.)

This course is designed to facilitate integration of material gained from social work practice and theory courses with the realities of practice in the field as they occur in the student’s practicum placement, S481 Social Work Practicum I. 

  • P: All 300 level social work courses.
  • C: S481 Social Work Practicum I
SWK-S 402    Integrative Practicum Seminar II (3 cr.)

This second semester of practicum seminar provides a continuing forum for the integration of academic learning with agency-based field placement.

  • P: All 300 level social work courses.
    S401 Integrative Field Seminar I and S481 Social Work Practicum I
  • C: S482 Social Work Practicum II
SWK-S 423    Organizational Theory and Practice

This course provides the theoretical and conceptual foundation for understanding organizational functioning and behavior, and introduces the knowledge and skills necessary for generalist social work practice and leadership within an organizational context.

  • P or C:
    • S322 Small Group Theory and Practice
    • Cultural Anthropology
SWK-S 433    Community Behavior and Practice within a Generalist Perspective (3 cr.)

This course provides the theoretical foundation for community functioning and behavior and the knowledge and skills of community interventions designed to mitigate social, political and economic injustice and bring social change.

  • P: All junior-level social work courses. 
  • C:
    • S402 Field Practicum Seminar II
    • S472 Practice Evaluation
    • S482 Social Work Practicum II
SWK-S 442    Integrated Practice/Policy Seminar (3 cr.) - 1 course required

This course focuses the student upon a specific field of social work practice in increased depth, provides further opportunity for synthesis of student learning from previous courses, and seeks to integrate social welfare policies and policy analysis with social work practice.

SWK-S 472    Social Work Practice Evaluation (3 cr.)

This course provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate their own practice and the effectiveness of social service programs within which they work, as well as to become critical consumers of the professional literature to guide their practice.

  • P: All 300 level courses
  • C:
    • S402 Field Practicum Seminar II
    • S433 Community Behavior and Practice within a Generalist Perspective
    • S482 Social Work Practicum II
SWK-S 481    Social Work Practicum I (4 cr.)

Field education provides the opportunity for social work students to demonstrate competency in practice, integrating knowledge, values and skills gained in the professional education curriculum.  The first practicum experience in the Bachelor of Social Work program allows the student to develop and demonstrate beginning practice competency, laying the foundation for the final field experience (S482).  Students spend 15 hours per week for the 16-week semester in the agency and receive weekly supervision from an approved agency-based field instructor. 

  • P: All 300 level courses
  • P or C:
    • 423 Organization Behavior and Practice within a Generalist Perspective
    • 442 Integrative Practice-Policy Seminar
  • C: S401 Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I
SWK-S 482    Social Work Practicum II (4 cr.)

This course is the continuation of S481 agency-based field experience which provides opportunities for students to demonstrate the practice behaviors outlined in the competencies defined by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in preparation for professional practice at the BSW level. The S482 practicum placement continues at the same agency as arranged for S481 with the student increasing the practicum time to 20 hours per week for the 16-week semester, with continued weekly supervision from an approved agency-based field instructor.

  • P:
    • S481 Social Work Practicum I
    • S401 Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I
  • P or C:
    • S433 Community Behavior and Practice within a Generalist Perspective
    • S472 Practice Evaluation
  • C: S402 Integrative Field Practicum Seminar II