Curriculum Overview

Mission of the Undergraduate Social Work Program

The mission of the undergraduate social work program is to prepare students for beginning social work practice and lifelong learning. To this end, the program teaches the knowledge, values, and skills of generalist social work, with an emphasis on self-evaluation, critical thinking, information literacy, and understanding the intersections of people and their environments. Students apply micro, mezzo, and macro frameworks for assessment and intervention through experiential learning that includes two field placements over the course of three semesters. The program prepares students to adhere to the ethical standards of social work, to advocate for social and economic justice, and to promote the strengths and well-being of diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Students graduate with the core competencies appropriate to entry-level generalist social work as well as the foundation for graduate social work education. 

Generalist Practice

The BSW Program at West Chester University defines generalist practice as practice that is grounded in a liberal arts foundation upon which a generic and integrated social work knowledge base is developed, and informed by social work values. From this grounding, generalist practitioners utilize a professional problem solving process to engage, assess, broker services, advocate, counsel, educate, and organize with and on behalf of clients and client systems. Generalist practitioners work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in a variety of social work and host settings. They view clients and client systems from a strengths perspective in order to recognize, support, and build upon the uniqueness of all groups of people as well as the innate capabilities of all human beings. Finally, generalist practitioners evaluate service outcomes in order to continually improve the provision and quality of services most appropriate to client needs. Generalist social work practice is guided by the NASW Code of Ethics and is committed to improving the well-being of individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations and furthering the goals of human rights and social justice in a global society.

[Informed by the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Director's definition of Generalist Practice as cited in Mizrahi, T.M. & Davis, L.E. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Social Work (20th ed.). Washington, DC: NASW Press; New York: Oxford University Press.]

Objectives and Competencies

Objectives for the Undergraduate Social Work Program are linked to core practice competencies as set forth in the Council on Social Work Education’s 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). The social work curriculum prepares its graduates for generalist practice through mastery of these nine core competencies (listed below). For further information, please refer to the Undergraduate Social Work Department’s Student Handbook/Field Manual. It is our goal that by completion of the program, students will be prepared to:

  • Engage in evidence-based entry-level social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations within a multicultural society (Competencies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Practice according to the principles, values, and ethics that guide the social work profession (Competency 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Influence social policies with the goal of alleviating poverty, oppression, and social injustice as well as advocating for human rights (Competencies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Identify and affect the bio-psycho-social, spiritual, and cultural functioning of people (Competencies 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Evidence practice from a culturally-competent perspective which recognizes, appreciates and applies the knowledge of diverse cultures, particularly those that differ from one’s own (Competency 2, 4)

EPAS Core Competencies (2015)

  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


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