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Social Work (BSW)

Social work students smiling.

When you major in social work at USF, you join a community of compassionate people who advocate for change.

Why Study Social Work?

Social workers help. They empower others and advocate for those in need. They stand up for human rights and social and economic justice.

If you’re looking to make a difference and serve others, a social work major might be right for you.

To become a social worker, you’ll complete an accredited professional degree program and pass a licensure test; USF’s bachelor of social work (BSW) degree will help you fulfill those requirements and prepare for a meaningful career.

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Career Outlook & Success

100%

of USF social work majors are employed or working on their MSW within six months of graduation

22%

expected increase in demand for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors through 2028 (bls.gov)

13%

Predicted employment growth for social and community service managers through 2028 (bls.gov)

Why USF for a Social Work Major?

Focused on your career success, our hands-on, outcomes-driven BSW degree program is based on three areas: knowledge (what you know), skills (what you can do), and values (who you are) — the latter is especially important at USF.

Our social work program is rooted in the liberal arts and guided by the Catholic and Franciscan traditions of faith and reason; you’ll not only learn to think critically and gain professional skills here, but you will also develop your professional identity. You will leave USF a confident and competent social work generalist, prepared to work with diverse communities, honor the importance of human relationships and respect the dignity of everyone you serve.

Success after graduation: For more than 30 years, our BSW degree has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Hands-On Learning

Participate in Real-World Scenarios

Social workers learn by knowing and doing. You will learn and practice professional engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation skills in a safe environment through project-based learning and team activities throughout your course of study.

Complete Fieldwork & Practicum Hours

As part of your BSW degree program, you will gain at least 575 hours of experience through three field practicums. You’ll work directly with individuals, families, groups and organizations under the supervision of practitioners at fieldwork sites such as:

  • Positive Resource Connection
  • Youth Service Bureau (YMCA)
  • Allen County Juvenile Probation
  • Victim Assistance
    Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana
  • Aging and In Home Services
  • Mental Health America
  • Catholic Charities
  • Lutheran Social Services
  • VA Hospital Parkview Hospital
  • Department of Children Services
  • YWCA

Learn While You Serve

Our profession is dedicated to serving others, so it’s fitting that service-learning opportunities are built right into our curriculum: You’ll spend a portion of your practicum hours planning and executing a service or social justice project that benefits individuals and the local community.

A social work student presenting on creating safe places for youth

Our Faculty

Your Social Work professors know the intricacies of the field — and exactly what skills today’s employers want. They are all licensed social workers with expertise in areas such as child welfare, criminal justice, mental health, health care, community development, group facilitation and victims’ assistance.

Campus and Community Involvement

You’ll have countless opportunities to serve others through campus ministries, student groups and service-learning projects, as well as many chances to network with alumni and social work professionals. In fact, you’ll find social work students among the most active at USF!

Our Social Work Club organizes events and efforts like:

  • Chalk it Up: awareness education for Domestic Violence Month
  • Pumpkins for Pumpkins: fundraiser for a Salvation Army Christmas family
  • AIDS Walk: sponsored Walk Around the World to raise funds for children in Africa
  • Out of Darkness Walk: focused on suicide prevention and awareness
  • A Day On, Not a Day Off: On MLK day students help support local non for profits by completing service projects.

Other clubs and activities that might interest you include:

  • Sigma Eta: our chapter of the Phi Alpha International Honor Society, the highest honor you can achieve as a social work major
  • Social Work Student Professional Development Days: seminars about careers, graduate school, and field experiences, led by professional social workers
  • Criminologists in Action (CIA): open to all majors, CIA offers field trips and brings guest speakers to campus
  • Social Justice League: promotes and cultivates a community of inclusion

I felt so welcome as a transfer student! I didn’t think I’d fit in so easily, but I blossomed at USF. There are a lot of activities that purposefully bring people together. I became very involved in the community; I was vice president of the social work club, I did volunteer work and I made great, lifelong friends.

Laura Janssen ’19
Case Manager at Lutheran Social Services

What Can You Do With a BSW Degree?

A social work major will find many rewarding career options after graduation. Possible roles include:

  • Client advocate
  • Child, youth or family case manager
  • Community outreach coordinator
  • Hospice social worker
  • Independent living companion
  • Life care coordinator
  • Medical social worker
  • Juvenile and adult probation officer
  • Program manager
  • Social service director

A social worker can pursue a position in a broad range of settings, including: hospitals, schools, correctional facilities, public health programs, food banks, refugee and immigration programs, senior living centers, hospice care, government agencies, youth and family services, law enforcement, and vocational rehabilitation.

Where You’ll Find Our Graduates

USF social work majors are well-prepared to pass their licensure exam, and they start and build careers with organizations such as:

  • Aging and In Home Services
  • Arizona Children’s Association
  • Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana
  • Children’s Autism Center
  • Community Harvest Food Bank
  • Elevate Indianapolis
  • Family Voices Indiana
  • First Steps
  • Fort Wayne Police Department
  • Lutheran Social Services
  • Otis R. Bowen Center
  • Parkview Hospital
  • Turnstone Center
  • The Villages of Indiana
  • Westview School Corporation

Graduate School and Other Opportunities

Many social work majors choose to continue their education, either directly after graduation or years later. A common next step is a master of social work (MSW), which can lead to a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) designation, as well as open doors for leadership positions. Some choose the academic and research route and pursue a Ph.D. in social work or a related field.

USF students have pursued graduate, professional and doctoral degrees at schools such as:

  • Bethel College
  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne
  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
  • Indiana University South Bend
  • Marywood Graduate School of Social Work (Pennsylvania)
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of St. Thomas
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Southern California

Our BSW degree students who went on to earn graduate degrees have moved into director, executive director, president, and CEO roles at healthcare, community and other organizations.

The professional preparation and support I received at USF were a huge part of my ability to build a career. The class assignments related to real-life situations and the field work gave me direct experience and connections with the professional community.

Kaitlyn Pozorski ’15, MSW
Medical Social Worker, Visiting Nurse and Hospice Home Association

Accreditation

USF’s bachelor of social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

CSWE requires each accredited social work program to create and implement a program assessment plan. USF’s Bachelor of Social Work program completes this plan on an annual basis. Recent summaries of our evaluation results are available:

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Academic Plan

An academic plan is a general blueprint showing how one might complete the degree, semester by semester. Get an idea on what each semester could look like.

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