Undergraduate Social Work
The Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) degree prepares students for generalist social work practice in an entry-level social work position, the first professional level recognized by the National Association of Social Workers. Graduates are eligible to sit for the professional licensure exam in Kentucky and other states at the baccalaureate level (LSW license in Kentucky). The BSSW Program provides the essential foundation of knowledge, values, and skills for professional social work practice, which is subsequently strengthened by professional experience, agency in-service training, and/or graduate social work education.
The BSSW degree is a 120-credit hour undergraduate degree. All BSSW majors complete Spalding University's foundation curriculum requirements (University Studies), which encompass 49 credit hours of coursework in Communications, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Religious Studies, and Social Sciences. Transfer students who have completed an Associate’s degree may be eligible for block transfer of those credits (see below for details).
Students also complete at least 18 elective credit hours. Electives in social work and related fields such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, political science, and environmental studies are highly recommended. Spalding University offers a variety of 18-credit-hour minors, and elective credits can be used to meet those requirements.
The social work curriculum is comprised of 53 credit hours of coursework, which includes one 3-credit hour social work elective. Students typically complete these courses over four semesters starting in their junior year. The senior year includes a two-semester field practicum.
BSSW Program Admission Requirements
Some social work courses are open to non-majors (as part of a minor or as electives). However, formal admission to the School of Social Work is required before students can proceed to advanced social work practice courses and complete the degree. Students typically apply for admission to the BSSW Program during the first semester of their junior year while they are enrolled in SW 208: Cornerstone. Required forms and guidelines are provided during the course and the instructor orients students to the BSSW Program and its admission process.
A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.50 (and if applicable, a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 in social work courses) is required for admission. Students with a GPA below these thresholds may be considered in the context of extenuating circumstances that are explained in the application essay and interview with a member of the Admissions Committee.
The BSSW Admissions Committee is comprised of four full-time and/or adjunct undergraduate social work faculty. Committee members consider the total profile of a prospective student. They review the following materials to inform their decisions:
- Application form
- Signed agreement to abide by the NASW Code of Ethics and the School of Social Work Code of Conduct.
- Two recommendation forms completed by supervisors of volunteer experience or work, and/or faculty outside of School of Social Work. (These must be received by the School of Social Work prior to action by the BSSW Admission Committee.)
- A brief essay discussing the applicant’s reasons for choosing a social work major.
- An interview with a member of the BSSW Admissions Committee.
Transfer of Credits
The BSSW Program welcomes students who transfer to Spalding University. Transfer students can bring in up to 90 credit hours from another accredited institution; articulation agreements prevent duplication of content. Transfer students with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree may be considered to have completed the baccalaureate University Studies requirements if they meet conditions specified by Spalding University including completion of at least 30 unduplicated University Studies credit hours and at least one course in each of the following areas: Humanities/Fine Arts, Social/Behavioral Sciences; and Natural Sciences/Mathematics. The fulfillment of the University Studies requirements under this policy is not a waiver of the 120 earned credit hour graduation requirement. Evaluation of transcripts for University Studies transfer credit will be performed by the Director of University Studies in consultation with discipline chairs.
Core social work courses must be completed at Spalding University or another CSWE-accredited BSSW program, and transfer students must complete at least one-half of the credits for their major (and if applicable, their minor) at Spalding University. Please note that Spalding University School of Social Work grants no academic credit for life or work experience.
Student learning is assessed through a variety of measures, including self-assessment by the student. Typical techniques include both small and large system role plays, critical analysis of case situations and ethical dilemmas, written narratives, videotaped skill demonstrations, research papers, and examinations. In their senior year, BSSW students are in a field practicum enabling them to integrate theory and practice in a supervised learning environment. In practicum, assessment is a mutually supportive process between the Agency Field Instructor, the Faculty Field Liaison, and the student.
BSSW students complete a field practicum during their senior year in one of the region's many social service agencies under the supervision of an approved Agency Field Instructor. The School of Social Work's Director of Field matches students with agencies whose experiences and resources best meet the learning needs of the individual student. A Faculty Field Liaison facilitates a concurrent seminar course to ensure that students integrate practical experience with classroom learning.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students are required to earn no less than a C in any practice course. Failure to do so requires repeating the course. Academic progress is reviewed at the end of each six-week session. During the first semester of the junior year, students earning a C or lower in any course are advised of their academic risk and offered academic supports for improving their GPA.
To maintain satisfactory academic progress in the BSSW Program, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.50 with a social work GPA of no less than 2.75. Beginning at the end of the third six-week session of BSSW courses (or 10 credit hours of graded BSSW coursework, whichever is greater), students dropping below either GPA threshold will be placed on academic probation with the BSSW Program for two consecutive six-week sessions. During this time, students will be required to create, agree to, and maintain an academic success plan with their faculty advisor.
Students earning the required GPA at the completion of the academic probation period are removed from probation but are required to participate in success meetings with their faculty advisor twice per six-week session for no more than two additional sessions or until degree completion, whichever comes first. If a student fails to earn the minimum GPA following an initial academic probation, the academic probation is extended for one additional six-week session during which their academic success plan will be administered in partnership with the BSSW Program Director. Failure to meet the required academic standard after the extended probation (i.e., after a total of three six-week sessions) will result in dismissal from the BSSW Program.
Once admitted to the BSSW Program, students will have three years to earn their BSSW degree. Students who fail to do so will be required to re-apply for admission to the program and complete the degree program based on the requirements at the time of re-admission.
Public Child Welfare Certification Program
Spalding University is one of eleven universities in Kentucky that participate in a consortium designed to prepare BSSW graduates for child protection positions with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The goal of this program is to fill the ranks of child welfare workers with the most competent and well-trained workers who can provide high quality services immediately upon employment. The Cabinet has partnered with the universities to offer BSSW juniors and seniors the social work academic program in conjunction with the Cabinet’s child welfare training curriculum prior to graduation.
Full-time students entering the junior year may apply for the program. Accepted participants receive a grant to apply toward tuition, as well as an individual stipend for up to four semesters. Participants take two child welfare elective courses as part of their undergraduate curriculum. The first course focuses on the nature of child abuse and neglect. In the second course, students learn and demonstrate social work interventions to protect vulnerable children. PCWCP participants complete the BSSW field practicum with the Cabinet in a child protection placement. Additional special activities, child welfare training sessions, and retreats are incorporated into the experience. Upon successful completion of the BSSW degree and PCWCP requirements, the participant is obligated to apply for and accept employment with the Cabinet in a child welfare position for a period of at least two years.
Ongoing statewide and national research demonstrate the impact of Kentucky’s PCWCP Program in enhancing the quality of services provided to families and children at risk and significantly increasing the number of professionally-trained social workers committing themselves to a career in child welfare.
BSSW with a Minor in Health Science
This minor requires 18 credit hours in combination with courses required for the BSSW degree. Requirements for the minor include:
- SW 230 Interdisciplinary Social Change
- HS 300 Survey of Health Professions
- HS 301 Medical Terminology
- HS 320 Physical Health and Wellness
- HS 325 Psychosocial Health and Wellness
- HS 410 Healthcare Leadership
Minor in Addiction Studies
This minor is open to all undergraduate students. It requires 18 credit hours, consisting of the following:
Required Courses (12 credit hours)
- SW 330: Right, Wrong, and It Depends: Applied Ethics for Helping Professionals (3 credit hours)
- SW 410 Trauma and Addiction (3 credit hours)
- SW 420: Addictions in Society (3 credit hours)
- SW 435/535: Counseling and Addictions (3 credit hours)
Addiction Studies Electives (6 credit hours, chosen from the list below)
- SW 385: Social Justice Perspectives on HIV and AIDS (3 credit hours)
- SW 400: Spirituality and Recovery (3 credit hours)
- SW 405: Psychopharmacology
- SW 430: Co-Occurring Disorders in Addiction (3 credit hours)
- SW 440/540: Systems in Addiction (3 credit hours)
- SW 460: Addiction in Context (3 credit hours)
- Any addiction-related continuing education courses offered by the School of Social Work for academic (elective) credit (typically 1 credit hour per course)
Minor in Social Work
This minor is open to undergraduates pursuing majors other than social work. It requires 18 credit hours, consisting of the following:
- SW 204: Introduction to Social (Justice) Work: Supporting Growth and Change in Any Setting (3 credit hours)
- SW 230 Interdisciplinary Social Change (3 credit hours)
- SW 310: Oppression and Privilege (3 credit hours)
- SW 346: Womb to Tomb: Exploring the Human Experience from Birth to Death (3 credit hours)
- SW 341: Microskills for Professional Helpers: Social Work Practice with Individuals (3 credit hours)
- Social Work Elective (3 credit hours)
Bachelor of Science in Social Work
Bachelor of Science in Social Work: Minor in Addiction Studies
Bachelor of Science in Social Work: Minor in Health Science
Double Major: Bachelor of Science in Social Work/Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Addiction Studies Minor
Social Work Minor