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Become a Powerful Advocate with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Social workers are the backbone of our communities. They help us cope with our problems, advocate for vulnerable communities, and ensure equity in delivery of services across populations.

If you're seeking a career that delivers meaning, promotes action, and allows you to work with diverse individuals and communities, then consider the Bachelor of Social Work from West Chester University.

Our bachelor's in social work is designed to put theory into practice. In addition to in-depth coursework, you'll participate in three semesters of clinical placements. These hands-on experiences provide opportunities to learn how differences strengthen human interaction and quality of life.

West Chester's in person, four-year BSW degree program was established in 1970. Since then, we have updated and expanded the program as societal needs and norms have evolved. Our comprehensive program, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, will prepare you to support and advocate for communities and individuals.

With your Bachelor of Social Work, you'll be ready to begin your career in a number of roles including case worker, addiction counselor, health educator, or career counselor. Your BSW degree also provides a solid foundation upon which to pursue your Master of Social Work.


How to Become a Social Worker in Pennsylvania

To become a fully licensed social worker (LCSW) in Pennsylvania, you'll need to earn both your undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Once you have your undergraduate degree, you'll complete the following steps for licensure in Pennsylvania:

  1. Complete an accredited MSW or doctorate in social work program.
  2. Apply for authorization to take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination from the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors.
  3. Pass the ASWB master's level exam.
  4. Complete 3,000 supervised hours of postgraduate experience.
  5. Submit your final LCSW application for licensure.

Benefits of Pursuing a Social Work Major at West Chester University

Highly Skilled Faculty

Our Bachelor of Social Work faculty members have an average of 25 years each of practice experience. All full-time instructors hold their DSW or Ph.D., in addition to their MSW. Individually, each has been teaching—and advising—at the collegiate level for fifteen to twenty years. They have remained active social workers throughout their academic careers.

Unmatched Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • Global learning experiences—Outreach opportunities in Mexico, Kenya, and Ghana provide a wide-lens view of social issues around the world.
  • Formal presentation opportunities—Student and faculty attendance and presentations at national and regional conferences enhance classroom and collaborative learning.
  • Leadership opportunities—WCU's Social Work Advisory Board is comprised of community leaders, WCU social work alumni, and active social workers. It assists in soliciting clinical placements for BSW degree students.
  • Diverse clinical placements—Gain invaluable, real-world experience in urban, suburban, and rural settings.

Student Engagement Opportunities

WCU supports student clubs specifically for social work majors, including the Social Work Club, Phi Alpha Honor Society, the Association of Black Social Workers, Super Moms of WCU, and the National Association of Social Workers.

Seamless Admission Process

The Department of Social Work does not require test scores or prerequisites to apply to the Bachelor of Social Work program. Students transferring to WCU from Pennsylvania community colleges may waive some general education requirements of their BSW degree by applying for an Academic Passport.

Affordable and Convenient

To provide flexibility, you can major in social work full- or part-time at our main campus or part-time in the evening at our Center City, Philadelphia location.

Tuition for the BSW program is among the lowest in the region. Scholarships and grants are also available, including the DeBaptiste and the Dean's scholarships, and a 10% tuition discount for students at our Philadelphia location.


What Can You Do with a Bachelor of Social Work?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 7% increase for social worker jobs through 2032.

There are many roles available to social work graduates, such as:

  • Health educator—Work with patients with disabilities who are receiving medical health care.
  • Outreach worker—Connect people with resources that help improve their lives.
  • Research assistant—Assist scientists and other researchers in completing projects about particular subjects.
  • Program specialist—Develop and implement new programs focused on well-being.
  • Case manager—Create care plans for people who live with mental and physical health challenges.
  • Substance abuse counselor—Assist individuals who are dealing with addictions such as alcoholism and eating disorders.

Upon graduating with your bachelor's in social work, you may choose to earn your master's in social work and pursue licensure.

In addition to WCU's MSW program, our alumni have earned master's degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Widener University, Temple University, and Columbia University.

Where are our graduates?


What Will You Study as a Social Work Major?

Our BSW degree program emphasizes self-evaluation, critical thinking, information literacy, and an understanding of the intersection of people and their environments.

We'll prepare you to adhere to ethical standards, advocate for social and economic justice, and promote the strengths and well-being of diverse populations and their communities.

Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Code Title Credits
Academic Foundations
First Year Experience requirement4
English Composition requirement6-7
Mathematics requirement3-4
Interdisciplinary requirement3
Diverse Communities requirement3
Ethics requirement3
Distributed Disciplinary Foundations
Science requirement6-8
Behavioral & Social Science requirement6
Humanities requirement6
Arts requirement3
University Requirements
Writing Emphasis requirement9
SWO 300
Family Systems
SWO 351
Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
SWO 495
Social Work Senior Seminar I
Speaking Emphasis requirement9
SWO 320
Generalist Social Work Practice I
Degree Requirements
Language/Culture requirement6
Six semester hours of language (students may request to take culture cluster courses to meet some or all of this requirement; advisor permission is required).
Capstone requirement1-15
Additional Liberal Arts Foundation Courses
To support the liberal arts foundation and biopsychosocial perspective in social work, these courses are also required of social work majors: HIS, PHI, PSC, PSY, SOC15
Social Work Pre-Candidacy Courses
Must earn a minimum of 2.50 GPA in these courses to be accepted into candidacy:
SWO 200Introduction to Social Welfare3
SWO 220Introduction to Generalist Practice3
SWO 225Race Relations (also meets interdisciplinary requirement)3
SWO 300Family Systems3
Social Work Professional Foundation
Students must maintain a 2.50 GPA in these courses:
SWO 320Generalist Social Work Practice I3
SWO 321Generalist Social Work Practice II3
SWO 332Social Welfare Policies and Services3
SWO 350Human Behavior in Social Environment I3
SWO 351Human Behavior and the Social Environment II3
SWO 375Field Experience I6
SWO 395Junior Seminar3
SWO 431Methods Of Social Inquiry3
SWO 432Advanced Policy Practice3
SWO 450Field Experience II6
SWO 451Field Experience III6
SWO 495Social Work Senior Seminar I3
Capstone Requirement
SWO 496Social Work Senior Seminar II 13
Total Minimum Credits Required120

This course fulfills the Capstone requirement.

In addition, continued matriculation at the professional level of the B.S.W. program requires that all students:

  • Maintain an overall GPA of 2.00 or better in the general education requirements

  • Maintain an average 2.50 GPA in the required liberal arts foundation courses

  • Obtain a 2.50 GPA to graduate from the social work program

  • Adhere to field practice requirements in accordance with the Undergraduate Social Work Field Manual

  • Comply with NASW Code of Ethics and the professional behaviors established by the social work program

The bachelor of social work degree program pairs in-class learning with in-depth clinical placements, like:

  • The Arc of Chester County
  • Chester County Juvenile Probation Department
  • Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Salvation Army
  • Values Into Action
  • VITAS Hospice

Get Started on YourBachelor of Social Work

Social workers help relieve suffering, fight for social justice, improve lives, and strengthen communities. Now that you know how to become a social worker, start with your bachelor's in social work from West Chester University.

Apply Now



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