School of Social Work

Bachelor’s degree (BSW)

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is a professional program that prepares students for either direct human service professional positions or graduate programs.

Graduates of this program can choose from a wide range of career choices and pathways. BSW-level social workers assist individuals, families, small groups, organizations and communities to resolve problems, deal with relationships and function within their environment.

social worker assists elderly person

Careers in social work

Social workers help people prevent and cope with problems in their everyday lives. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of social workers to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

Program structure

Students are admitted to the BSW program as pre-professional students who have declared social work as their major. Students start by taking liberal arts prerequisite courses.

Once students complete prerequisite courses, they apply for admission to the Professional BSW Program, which includes BSW core courses, electives and a practicum experience.

Earn your degree while working full time

The School of Social Work will launch an online, asynchronous BSW program in Fall 2024. Email if you are interested in completing this degree part-time, online.

MSW advanced standing status

Students who graduate with an MU BSW degree are eligible to apply for advanced standing status in Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. The MU MSW advanced standing program grants a waiver of up to 21 credit hours for an accelerated 39 credit hour MSW degree. Learn more about MSW program options.

Student handbooks

Curriculum requirements

Learn more about prerequisite courses and degree requirements, including a sample semester plan.

Admission and application

Students should declare the “Pre-Social Work” major until accepted into the professional BSW program.


Students are assigned an academic advisor through Health Professions Student Services. You may use the Social Work advising worksheet as a guide, but meeting with your advisor is strongly recommended.

Field education

Through their practicum, undergraduate students get experience at a local agency related to their area of study. Students typically complete the practicum during the third (fall) semester of the professional BSW program.


The School of Social Work has been continually accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1919. Graduation from a CSWE accredited program is required for a social work license at the bachelors and masters level.