Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students are provided a range of opportunities to develop a broad knowledge and skills base consistent with the systems and strengths perspectives. They are expected to practice using core social work values and to examine and resolve ethical dilemmas. Classroom and field experiences prepare students to be competent in the use of new technologies and in culturally sensitive, generalist social work practice.
The program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. All students are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Students are required to successfully complete 450 hours of supervised field practicum in agencies approved by the Department of Social Work. Undergraduate students also have the opportunity to work in our Social Work integrative Research Lab (SWiRL), which provides them with the opportunity to engage in research projects and experience mentoring relationships with graduate students and faculty.
Complete information on program requirements is available in the university catalog online. The Student Handbook for Bachelor of Social Work Majors (pdf) is also available online.
Declaring Major In Social Work
Students interested in the social work field usually declare social work as a major when applying to the university; however, declaring social work as a major does not automatically admit the student to the social work program. Students must be admitted to the major before being considered for senior field placement. The Admission to Major application is described on the Admissions page. If you are interested in declaring social work as your major, please contact the Social Work Department to schedule an appointment.
Professional Licensure Disclosure
This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool (https://provost.gmu.edu/licensure) for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.
The BSW program is designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice, which means they can provide social work services in affordable housing programs, advocacy organizations, child care and after-school programs, child welfare services, community service boards, emergency services (homeless services/shelters, domestic violence services/shelters), foster care services, group homes, policy think thanks, residential living facilities, services for people with disabilities, and services for older adults (adult day care, community-based living programs, home health care, nursing facilities).
Our mission is promoting human well-being by ensuring economic and social justice, as well as human rights for all. We work to meet these goals:
- By providing an academically rigorous education that develops social work leaders and practitioners who engage in critical thinking. We seek to develop effective social work leaders, scholars and practitioners who both challenge injustice and institute interventions grounded in theory and science. With a campus located in an area of enormous cultural plurality, we seek to train leaders, practitioners and scholars equipped to serve diverse populations.
- Conducting applied social science research that aims to solve personal and social problems, and investigates systemic inequities in power and unequal access to resources. We seek to identify and develop effective interventions based on scientific theory.
- Engaging in public service that cultivates community partnerships, enhances capacity, and provides technical expertise to human service organizations caring for diverse local, national and global communities.
We build upon a foundation of generalist social work knowledge and skills that emphasizes empowerment, inclusion, and systems transformation.
Core Competencies (Council on Social Work Education, 2015)
- Demonstrate Ethical & Professional Behavior
- Engage Diversity & Difference in Practice
- Advance Human Rights & Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
- Engage in Practice-Informed Research & Research-Informed Practice
- Engage in Policy Practice
- Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, & Communities
- Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, & Communities
- Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, & Communities
- Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, & Communities