Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Cheri Carter, Ph.D, M.S.W., Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Program Director
Ritter Annex 581

Mission Statement

The School of Social Work, which is part of the College of Public Health, is dedicated to societal transformations to eliminate social, political, and economic injustices for poor and oppressed populations, and advance the quality of life for all through the following:

  • Education emphasizing the discovery of knowledge, use of critical inquiry, and professional ethics to guide solution-seeking and action-taking to effect social change among professional social workers in front-line, supervisory, managerial, and other leadership positions.
  • Research and scholarship to advance applied knowledge and generate evidence-based strategies to resolve problems occurring between people and their social environments at local, state, national, and global levels.
  • Public service that aids the dissemination of knowledge and evidence-based strategies through collaborations and partnerships with communities, agencies, and organizations. 


The goals of the School of Social Work are the following:

  • preparation of ethical and competent social work practitioners and leaders who are committed to social and economic justice and to the eradication of barriers to the fullest development of human potential,
  • provision of educational opportunities to a diverse population of students representative of the constituencies served,
  • production of scholarship and research that contributes to the social work knowledge base, and
  • engagement in service-related activities with relevant constituencies. 

B.S.W. Curricular Objectives

By completion of their undergraduate studies, students will be able to

  • apply skills and knowledge of generalist social work practice with systems of all sizes;
  • understand human behavior from holistic and developmental perspectives that encompass dynamic interaction among social, political, cultural, economic, psychological, spiritual, and biological factors;
  • critically select and apply theories and research findings to social work practice;
  • understand and adhere to professional social work values and ethics;
  • assess situations using knowledge about the effects of structural injustices based on race, class, gender, culture, sexual orientation, ability, age, and other forms of oppression;
  • exercise self-awareness and reflection as part of the development of their professional and personal selves;
  • engage in practice that enhances the capabilities of people to transform their lives and communities;
  • communicate effectively verbally, non-verbally and in writing with agencies, advocates, legislatures, policy makers, and people in client status;
  • practice social work with a commitment to social and economic justice and the empowerment of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their own practice;
  • understand the relationship of historic social patterns, values, and institutional arrangements, recognizing their impact on social welfare policy and services and on the social work profession;
  • use supervision and consultation to enhance their professional development and the delivery of services;
  • understand the dynamics of human service organizations and know how to engage in productive organizational change; and
  • understand how global issues affect local practice. 

The B.S.W. Curriculum

The B.S.W. curriculum is organized so that courses scheduled to be taken later in the program assume, and build on, the knowledge and skill foundation provided in the General Education and social work courses taken earlier. For this reason, most social work courses designate successful completion (with a C- or better) of earlier courses as prerequisite to taking later courses. Additionally, the SSW requires that three of the social work courses required in each semester of the senior year--the research course, the seminar in social work practice, and the field practicum--be taken concurrently. This program of study for B.S.W. students has been carefully designed and approved by faculty. It is intended to provide students with a coherent, integrated, and high-quality learning experience. 

Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

University Requirements

  • All students are required to complete the university General Education (GenEd) curriculum.
    (Students who entered prior to fall 2011 should check with their advisor for the appropriate year and program requirements.)
  • All Temple students must take a minimum of two writing-intensive courses at Temple as part of the major. The specific writing-intensive courses required for this major are SSWU 3096 and SSWU 4396.

College Requirement

  • All CPH students, including SSW students, must complete the College Core Course, HRPR 1001.

Clearance Requirements

Please note the Social Work program requires students to complete clinical/field education experiences at facilities both on and off the University campus. These placements will require criminal background checks, Act 33/34 clearances and perhaps a drug screen. Placements may also require the student to maintain personal health insurance. The results of these requirements may limit and potentially eliminate placement options which can, in turn, result in an inability to meet graduation requirements. Additionally, conviction of a misdemeanor, felony, or felonious or illegal act may prevent you from becoming credentialed and/or licensed to practice social work. Please see for more information about state licensure.

School of Social Work Requirements

  • Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 120 semester hours of credit.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 overall and in the major.
  • A grade of C- or higher is required in all courses satisfying GenEd and Social Work major requirements. 

B.S.W. Program Requirements

University and College Courses
HRPR 1001Public Health: The Way We Live, Work and Play3
PSY 1001Introduction to Psychology3
SOC 1176Introduction to Sociology3
KINS 1223Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
or BIOL 1001 Human Biology
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to the Economy
Macroeconomic Principles
Microeconomic Principles
Global Economics Issues
The American Economy
POLS 1101The American Political System3
or POLS 1911 Honors Introduction to American Politics
Select one of the following:3
Social Statistics
Honors Social Statistics
Elements of Statistics
Social Work Specific Elective Course3
Free Electives9
Professional Courses in Social Work
SSWU 1002Communication in Social Work Practice3
SSWU 2003The History and Values of Social Welfare3
SSWU 2004Social Welfare in the United States3
SSWU 3005Helping Processes in Social Work I3
SSWU 3006Helping Processes in Social Work II3
SSWU 3007Human Behavior in the Social Environment3
SSWU 3009Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Communities and Organizations3
SSWU 3011The Social Worker in the Group3
SSWU 3015Lab for Helping Processes in Social Work I1
SSWU 3016Lab for Helping Processes in Social Work II1
SSWU 3096Institutional Racism3
SSWU 4001Seminar in Social Work Practice3
SSWU 4002Seminar in Social Work Practice3
SSWU 4187Social Work Field Practicum I5
SSWU 4287Social Work Field Practicum II5
SSWU 4396Introduction to Social Research3
SSWU 4407Evaluating Programs and Practice in Social Work3
Total Credit Hours85

Field Work Practice

A minimum of 400 hours in supervised field settings is required. Students are overseen by an M.S.W. (or B.S.W. with at least two years of experience). They are directly involved in professional tasks in the agency and in the community. This component of the educational program of study facilitates the integration of classroom learning, particularly in the social work subject areas of human behavior, policy, practice, and research. Students apply what they are learning and receive feedback from both classroom and field instructors on their work. Field work practice consists of 10 credits of the 51 credits of professional social work courses specified above.

Some of the fields of practice in the five-county Philadelphia area in which majors do their field work are these:

  • Aging: including adult service centers as well as assistance in a variety of public and private organizations with treatment and protective functions;
  • Children and Youth: child abuse, foster care and adoption agencies, parenting and support services;
  • Community Organization/Planning: public issues and policies, neighborhood services at settlements, Y's, community centers;
  • Correctional/Justice: probation, parole, prison, community rehabilitation organizations;
  • Developmental Disabilities: community-living arrangements, day programs, other public and private functions;
  • Education: schools and alternative education programs;
  • Family Services: material aid, crisis intervention, ongoing counseling;
  • Health/Hospitals: advising, counseling, direct service with and on behalf of patients; a variety of functions in hospitals and community health centers;
  • Legal: public agencies assisting low-income population in matters relating to law, housing, and discrimination;
  • Mental Health: small and large institutions, community-based units, public and private auspices;
  • Substance Abuse: counseling and other direct service in a variety of settings, both public and private;
  • Violence and Domestic Issues: domestic violence of all kinds, sexual assault, and child abuse, in a wide variety of settings.

Suggested Academic Plan

Bachelor of Social Work

Requirements for New Students starting in the 2017-2018 Academic Year

Note: The symbols (F), (S), (SS1) or (SS2) after the course number indicates that the class is offered ONLY in the semester indicated:

(F) = offered only in fall semester
(S) = offered only in spring semester
(SS1) = offered only in first summer session
(SS2) = offered only in second summer session
Year 1
FallCredit Hours
HRPR 1001Public Health: The Way We Live, Work and Play3
ENG 0802, 0812, or 0902Analytical Reading and Writing [GW]4
GenEd Breadth Course3-4
GenEd Breadth Course3
Free Elective3
 Term Credit Hours16-17
SSWU 1002Communication in Social Work Practice3
GenEd Quantitative Literacy Course [GQ]4
SOC 1176Introduction to Sociology3
GenEd Breadth Course3
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours16
Year 2
SSWU 2003The History and Values of Social Welfare (F, SS1)3
PSY 1001Introduction to Psychology3
IH 0851 or 0951Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life [GY]3
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours12
SSWU 2004Social Welfare in the United States (S, SS2)3
GenEd Breadth Course3
GenEd Breadth Course3
IH 0852 or 0952Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good [GZ]3
Select one of the following:4
Human Anatomy and Physiology I1 
Human Biology 
 Term Credit Hours16
Year 3
SSWU 3005Helping Processes in Social Work I (F, SS1)3
SSWU 3015Lab for Helping Processes in Social Work I (F, SS1)1
SSWU 3007Human Behavior in the Social Environment (F, S, SS1)3
SSWU 3011The Social Worker in the Group3
POLS 1101 or 1911The American Political System3
Free Elective3
 Term Credit Hours16
SSWU 3006Helping Processes in Social Work II (S, SS2)3
SSWU 3016Lab for Helping Processes in Social Work II (S, SS2)1
SSWU 3096Institutional Racism [WI] (F, S, SS1)3
Select one of the following:3
Social Statistics 
Honors Social Statistics 
Elements of Statistics 
Free Elective3
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to the Economy (F) 
Macroeconomic Principles 
Microeconomic Principles 
Global Economics Issues 
The American Economy [GU]2 
 Term Credit Hours16
Year 4
SSWU 3009Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Communities and Organizations (F)3
SSWU 4001Seminar in Social Work Practice (F)3
SSWU 4187Social Work Field Practicum I (F)35
SSWU 4396Introduction to Social Research [WI] (F)3
 Term Credit Hours14
SSWU 4002Seminar in Social Work Practice (S)3
SSWU 4287Social Work Field Practicum II (S)35
SSWU 4407Evaluating Programs and Practice in Social Work3
Social Work Elective3
 Term Credit Hours14
 Total Credit Hours: 120-121

Refer to GenEd Science & Technology for information on a GS Waiver.


ECON 0858 satisfies the University GedEd U.S. Society requirement as well as SSW's Economics requirement.


16 hour/week field practicum requirement.

In order to receive a Bachelor of Social Work degree, a student must complete a minimum of 120 semester hours, which includes the University General Education (GenEd) curriculum and the School of Social Work curriculum. A potential graduate must also hold a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better (having received a C- or better in all social work courses), and meet any additional requirements, such as the Exit Interview.