Jul 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work Major, B.S.W.

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Department Information

Department of Social Work
PO Box 70645
Phone: (423) 439-6013
Web address: https://www.etsu.edu/crhs/socialwork/

BSW Major Accredited by: Council on Social Work Education

The Department of Social Work offers an undergraduate curriculum leading to the bachelor of social work (BSW) degree. The program provides a basic knowledge of the social welfare system, the social work profession, and the professional knowledge, values, and skills necessary for entry-level professional social work practice as a generalist. The program also prepares students to pursue graduate study in social work and related professions.

The program builds upon a liberal arts base and encompasses an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing from such fields as psychology, sociology, political science, and human biology.

The program’s overall mission is to prepare students with the competencies that reflect the core values and ethical obligations necessary for generalist practice in the social work profession. The mission of ETSU’s BSW program is consistent with ETSU’s mission and supports the philosophy and purpose of social work in promoting human dignity and community well-being through the promotion of social and economic justice, the prevention of conditions that limit human rights, the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons. The total program functions to provide leadership and instruction that will ensure preparation of a continuous pool of social work graduates who are able to assume professional positions in a variety of social welfare settings, especially in Northeastern Tennessee and the southern Appalachian region.

The faculty believes that the philosophy of social work must be demonstrated as it is taught and, as such, must be incorporated into not only faculty-student relationships but also relationships between the program and the social work practice community. The social work faculty believes that social workers should function in accordance with the profession’s purpose and with adherence to the profession’s ethical canon and therefore programmatically emphasizes acceptance of difference between and among individuals, as well as within and among groups and other larger systems.

The Baccalaureate social work program’s mission, which is consistent with ETSU’s mission, is reflected and implemented in the six broad goals of the program. The BSW program aims to:

  1. provide a sound educational environment that nurtures learning, stimulates self-reflection, encourages open dialogue, and is characterized by honesty, integrity, trust, and respect;
  2. draw on students’ liberal arts foundation to build the knowledge, skills, values, ethics, and professional identity necessary for competent entry-level generalist practice in various contexts and all levels of practice;
  3. ensure a knowledge base in human behavior theories that supports intervention at multiple levels in order to improve the quality of life for all citizens, especially those who are disadvantaged;
  4. prepare students to comprehend current social welfare policies’ history, socio-politico-economic contexts, provisions, and consequences of client systems, as well as to advocate for more effective policies, programs, and services to advance social well-being;
  5. motivate and prepare students for use of research tools to critically evaluate the program and service delivery systems that employ social workers;
  6. prepare students to meet social welfare needs in a culturally competent manner with diverse populations, giving attention to Northeast Tennessee and surrounding areas.


Social work is a professional program of education and training and therefore requires comprehensive academic standards throughout the program. The Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) Program Committee has identified academic performance standards that fall into seven categories: scholastic, professional values and ethics, self-awareness, interpersonal relationship skills, responsibility and professional readiness, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and communication skills, as advanced in the program’s Academic Performance Standards for Admission, Retention, and Graduation which is located on the Social Work department’s webpage under admissions. These academic performance standards with essential behaviors in each category are primary indicators of professional readiness for practice in the field of social work. Students must demonstrate ability to meet these standards in order to be admitted to the program. 

Requirements for submitting an application for admission to the Social Work Program:

  • Completion of, with a “C” or better, “Introduction to Social Work” (SOWK 1010 ), “Professional Values and Ethics” (SOWK 1020 ), and “Cultural Diversity” (SOWK 1030 ). A grade of “C-” does not meet this criterion.
  • A minimum overall grade point average of 2.25 and a 2.5 average in the three required social work courses.
  • Completion of 60 clock hours of face-to-face human service activity, paid or volunteer, in one or more social service agencies.
  • BSW Program Orientation

Students must complete and submit to the BSW Director the following documents that are included in the application packet:

  • An Application Cover Sheet that provides demographic and contact information.
  • A Student Self-Assessment rubric for rating personal and academic aptitude for a career in social work.
  • Documented completion of 60 hours of human service activity on a Human Service Activity form. The activity must be
    • pre-approved by the BSW Program Director AND
    • evaluated by the student’s supervisor at the agency or organization.
  • A Personal Statement essay that addresses the student’s background information, human service experience, social problems of concern, areas of needed professional development, and any additional information that would support the application or should be considered by the Admission Committee.
  • Documentation of attendance at a BSW program orientation.

Criteria for acceptance into the Social Work Program:

  • Completed application packets must be received by the close of business (4:30 p.m.) on the due date. Please check the Social Work Department website under the BSW Program Admissions section for the current deadline dates. If the application deadline does not fall on a day the institution is in session, the application is due the first school day following the deadline date.
  • Satisfactory performance during the 60 hours of human service activity, as indicated by the student’s supervisor on the reference checklist, located on the back of the Human Service Activity form.
  • Positive feedback from social work instructors during the admission process on overall academic performance in completed social work courses.
  • All application materials demonstrate potential and suitability for the social work profession, as defined in the program’s Academic Performance Standards found in the admissions section of the Social Work webpage.

An Academic Performance Review may be scheduled if the student’s application or input from faculty suggests the student’s inability to meet any of the program’s Academic Performance Standards when his or her application is reviewed by the BSW Program Committee.

Only students who have formally applied for admission to the program and been approved are eligible to take SOWK 3310. Transfer students, as well as ETSU students who declare social work as their major, must arrange an interview with the BSW Program Director or designee during their first semester in social work in order to open a file and complete other paperwork.

Continuance and Termination: Continuance in the program requires compliance with admission requirements and suitability standards, as outlined in the program’s Academic Performance Standards and Code of Conduct.

Nondiscrimination: Every aspect of the Social Work program’s organization and implementation is conducted without discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, or political or sexual orientation.


Advising, both academic and professional, is essential in social work education. Therefore, advising of all social work majors is required throughout their period of study. Students must sign up for appointments with their advisors during each pre-registration period to be advised and cleared for registration.

Students with 0-59 earned credits:

Jennie Scott, M.A.

Academic Advisor

College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences

Direct Line: 423-439-7424

Appointments: call 423-439-5051


Students with 60 or more earned credits:

Visit the Department of Social Work advising website. There you will find a listing of the faculty advisors/mentors, which are assigned based on the last name of the student advisee.

Field Instruction-“Social Work Field Experience” SOWK 4451 SOWK 4452 SOWK 4454 , and SOWK 4455  must be taken during the student’s senior year after completion of all required prerequisites and General Education Core courses. An overall grade point average of 2.25 and a 2.50 grade point average in required social work courses are prerequisites to field experience. Also, only students whose written application to major in social work has been approved are eligible for the field experience.

Students are assigned two days per week over the course of two semesters to an agency, where they provide services to consumers under the supervision of a social work field instructor.

BSW Program Competencies

As a result of the BSW experience, graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  4. Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

All social work majors are required to complete the curriculum outlined within the program. All students who enroll in social work courses must comply with course sequencing and course prerequisites. Academic credit for life experience and previous work experience shall not be given in whole or in part, in lieu of the field practicum or any other required social work course.

School Social Work Licensure: Licensure by the Tennessee Department of Education is available to social work majors who successfully complete the requirements for a BSW degree plus the following three courses. Students who are interested in pursuing this license should contact the BSW Program Director or their faculty advisor.

Degree Requirements: 120 credits

General Education 41-42 credits
Major Total Requirement 54 credits
     Major Core    (36 credits)
     Advisor Approved Electives    (6 credits)
     Practicum    (12 credits)
Free Electives 24-25 credits
TOTAL 120 credits

Suggested Four-Year Program of Study: SOWK-BS  

Transfer Requirements: No more than nine (9) credits of transfer work will be accepted as Social Work credit. 

General Education Requirements  

These requirements include earning 41-42 credits in Communication, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavior Sciences, History, Natural Sciences and Mathematics categories.

Major Specific courses listed in General Education Requirements:

Total Requirements for Social Work Major: 54 credits

Note:  Minimum grade requirement of a C or better. A grade of C- or below will not be accepted in the required SOWK courses.

Free Electives: 24-25 credits

No Minor Required

Additional Information

Click here to view Degree and Graduation Requirements  for all ETSU students.

CSCI 1100  or Proficiency Exam: Must be completed to meet Bachelor’s Degree Requirements.

Most minors range from 18-24 credits. Those few minors with more than 24 credits may affect the number of free electives allowed.

Transfer Students

Course Sequencing and Suggested Schedule

The suggested course sequence below for entry to ETSU assumes that SOWK 1010 , PSYC 1310 , SOCI 1020 , MATH 1530 , CSCI 1100  (or Proficiency Exam), and one human biology course (BIOL 1010 /BIOL 1011 , BIOL 1020 /BIOL 1021 , BIOL 1110 /BIOL 1111 , HSCI 2010 /HSCI 2011 ), EDFN 2310 , and PSCI 1120  have been taken prior to ETSU matriculation. Other courses on the ETSU Social Work degree plan that have not been taken at another institution can be used to fill in each semester’s schedule. We will accept nine (9) credits of social work courses to transfer. Transfer credit for Social Work courses are governed by the Tennessee Transfer Pathways or articulation agreements. Requests to receive additional credit for transfer courses in social work must be submitted to the BSW Program Director who, along with other faculty, will determine course equivalency using submitted documentation such as copies of the catalog course description, course syllabus, and the name of the course text. Credit for SOWK courses numbered 2000 and above must be from a program accredited by CSWE.

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