Bachelor’s Degree (BSW) in Social Work

The Social Work Program develops students into professionals and community leaders by incorporating the principles of professional ethics into the curriculum. The primary aim of the program is to prepare entry-level professional social work generalists with the knowledge and skills required for practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. Upon graduation, students are prepared to lead and serve D.C.’s urban, multicultural population. The learning experience is facilitated by a close-knit environment, with faculty who serve as both instructors and mentors.

The curriculum emphasizes an appreciation for diversity and the unique lived experience of the residents of the District of Columbia. This emphasis enables students to address issues such as child welfare, mental health, criminal justice, and broader issues of social justice and human rights that effect children, families, and communities. Students learn in the classroom as well as real-world settings, including research opportunities, service learning experiences, social justice initiatives, and other outreach activities. The curriculum features a senior practicum experience that allows students to demonstrate their ability to apply classroom learning to work with the aged, children, adolescents, families, and key populations in urban communities. These populations include African-American families, those in poverty, and other vulnerable populations. Additionally, students learn the foundations of organizational systems such as child and adult protective services, and criminal and juvenile justice systems, substance abuse services, department of probation and parole, family service settings, mental health settings, and foster care services.

Our program comprises five faculty members, each with a varied set of knowledge, skills, and experience that help meet the needs our of our diverse student population.

The program is accredited at the undergraduate level by the Council on Social Work Education.

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Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Social Work Program

Program of Study

Students must complete 120 credit hours to earn the bachelor’s degree in social work, including 51 credits of mandatory professional foundation coursework in the areas below:

  • Critical Thinking in Social Work
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Social Work Practice
  • Social Work Research and Statistics
  • Social Work Field Practicum
  • Specialized practice courses

To view the complete list of Social Work Program requirements, click here.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Please click here to download document.

Expected Educational Outcomes
The Social Work Program prepares its graduates for generalist social work practice at the BSW level through mastery of the Council on Social Work Education’s core competencies listed below. Students are expected to demonstrate entry-level skills in ten core competencies:

  1.  Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly
  2.  Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
  3.  Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  4.  Engage in diversity and difference in practice.
  5.  Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  6.  Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  7.  Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
  8.  Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  10.  Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Social Work Program

The Social Work Association is a student-led organization that is designed to foster professional development and positive change among students. Student participation in professional social work events is encouraged, including advocacy projects that educate others about the profession or provide service to the community. The association plans and executes various community service events throughout the year. Election of organizational officers is held annually.

The National Social Work Honor Society, Phi Alpha, aims to foster closer bonds and promote standards of excellence in scholarship and achievement among social work students. The organization emphasizes humanitarian goals and ideals. At UDC, the Nu Kappa chapter of the National Honor Society for Social Work aims to carry out the mission through excellence in service to school and community. The Nu Kappa chapter inducts eligible members annually.

Apply to Phi Alpha Honor Society


Career Pathways and Prospects

The BSW program prepares students for graduate study or a social work career in areas such as:

  • Child and family services
  • Child protective services
  • Mental health
  • Criminal justice
  • Juvenile justice
  • Gerontology
  • Substance abuse services
  • Public schools

Register with Firebird Jobs to learn about job opportunities in social work

UDC Career Services

Contact info:

Dr. Janet Burton, Program Director
E: jburton@udc.edu | T: 202.274.5719 | F: 202.274.5589