Bachelor of Social Work
Get started on your Journey
The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is designed to prepare students for general practice as a social worker and for acceptance in to graduate school. Graduates of the program are eligible for licensure by examination by the State of Texas and for full membership in the National Association of Social Workers. The BSW program is accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE), which is recognized as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States and its territories.
BSW Program Goal
To prepare professionally trained social workers for generalist practice with diverse populations in a way that fosters culturally competent practice with emphasis on Hispanic/Latin@ families and children.
BSW Degree, Minor and Certificates
The Bachelor of Social Work degree program combines courses in social work policy, practice and the study of human behavior with service-learning opportunities and field education experiences that prepare graduates to work with diverse populations. This program is also offered online to provide students with flexibility.
This minor, offered through the Worden School of Social Service, focuses on a variety of topics including social welfare policy, human behavior and working with diverse populations, among other topics.
This minor is frequently paired with the following majors:
The BSW Dismantling Oppression Certificate (DOC) is an interdisciplinary curriculum deigned to educate students about the issues of diversity and oppression within today’s society. The goal of the certificate is to educate and prepare students with the tools necessary to navigate a dynamic future from a position of knowledge, empathy, and justice. Students will work in the classroom to understand and gain experience with difficult dialogues, issues of race, gender, intersectionality and inclusivity.
Since social workers will work with many clients who have experienced violence in some aspect of their lives, the program offers a Violence Prevention and Intervention (VPI) certificate. This program is designed to educate students about the evolution and cycles of violence in families, systems and broader culture.
The purpose of the VPI certificate is to better prepare students for entry-level positions or for graduate training in the human services fields by acquiring knowledge about basic intervention theories and techniques. Students can complete this certificate while completing their degree. Through a sequence of prescribed courses, students will learn about the effects of trauma and violence as well as ways to prevent and combat those effects.
This interdisciplinary certificate includes courses from social work, psychology, sociology and criminal justice.
Spanish-speaking students can earn a social work degree that emphasizes their dual-language abilities through the Biliterate Certificate Program. Students take specialized Spanish classes and fulfill a portion of their major requirements by taking classes taught in Spanish.
Earn Your MSW in Five Years
The 4+1 social work degree option allows students to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in five years. Students who complete their BSW degree at OLLU, or another CSWE accredited social work program, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher can earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in one year through the Advanced MSW program.
Social Work Practice Through Service
Several service-learning experiences are incorporated into social work courses that allow students to put the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom into practice at local nonprofit agencies. Recent work has been completed at agencies such as the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), Communities in Schools, Grace Place Alzheimer's Activity Center and The Thrive Center.
Field Education is an integral part of the social work program at OLLU. The Worden School has established partnerships with an extensive network of public and private social service agencies to provide students with a wide range of opportunities for internships. Students from all campuses work with the Field Education office to explore available positions and determine which are the best fit for their career goals.
Career Options with a BSW
Many students pursue graduate degrees in social work, education, psychology and law. Sensitivity to cultural and ethnic differences, particularly among Hispanics, is key to the Worden School's mission and commitment to working with vulnerable and at-risk populations.
Social Work Student Organizations
Students studying social work at OLLU have several student organizations available to connect with their classmates outside of the classroom while helping members of the community. Students who meet certain GPA requirements can be inducted into Phi Alpha, the National Social Work Honor Society. Additionally, the Worden Social Work Organization is active on the San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley campuses and among online students.
Students wishing to declare social work as a major can do so with the Registrar's Office. Self-declared students may enroll for a maximum of 18 semester hours of social work courses:
- SOWK 1300
- SOWK 2300
- SOWK 3321
- SOWK 3331
- SOWK 3332 or
- SOWK 3333
Formal admission to the program requires:
- Overall GPA of 2.0 or higher
- Social work GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Signed Worden Student Code of Conduct Form
- Personal Statement
- One faculty letter of recommendation
Applications for formal admission to the BSW Program are processed when students have completed six semester hours of social work courses at the Worden School of Social Service.
For continuation in the program, a student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in social work courses after 12 semester hours in the major and be formally admitted into the program. Records are reviewed at the end of each grading period. Enrollment in field education courses requires successful completion of 27 hours in social work with a 2.5 GPA in major courses and permission of the BSW Program Director.
A 2.5 GPA in the major is also required for graduation. Courses in the major and minor must be taken for a grade. A Pass/Fail grade for social work courses can only be taken for the field education courses. With the exception of the field education courses, "C" grade or better must be earned on all social work courses. A "P" grade must be earned for the field education courses.
A student who fails to maintain a satisfactory performance level will be notified in writing of termination in the major. Readmission must be approved by a faculty panel.