California State University, Sacramento

Skip to Main Content

Division of Social Work College of Health & Human Services

Support Page Content

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work

BSW Program Handbook

BSW Field Manual

Apply To Be a McNair Scholar

The Social Work Program

(Accreditied by the Council on Social Work Education)

The overriding goal is to prepare students for entry-level generalist social work practice. The baccalaureate Social Work Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education

The objectives of the Undergraduate Program are based upon the following sections of the CSWE Curriculum Policy Statement:

  • The purpose of undergraduate social work education is to prepare students for generalist social work
  • The Baccalaureate is the first level of the professional education for entry into the profession. The Baccalaureate level social worker should attain a beginning professional level of proficiency in the self-critical and accountable use of this social knowledge and integrate this knowledge with the liberal arts perspective and the professional foundation
  • Students who receive a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited social work program should possess the professional judgment and proficiency to apply, with supervision, the common professional foundation to direct service systems with client systems of various sizes and types.

The curriculum of the Undergraduate Program is based upon these goals and reflects a commitment to impart the ethics and standards of professional practice as well as the skills which are essential for beginning level proficiency in professional practice, in accordance with standards of the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Social Workers, and the considered judgment of the faculty members of the Division of Social Work.

BSW Program Goals

  1. Leadership: Provide leadership in the development and delivery of services responsive to strengths and challenges within the context of human diversity, human rights, oppression and social justice with special attention to BASW practice
  2. Competencies: Prepare ethically-driven, critically thinking, competent beginning professional social workers with a generalist perspective and skills as applied to specific and emerging areas of
  3. Curriculum: Provide curriculum and teaching practices at the forefront of the new and changing knowledge base of the theory and research in social work and related disciplines as well as the changing needs of our diverse client
  4. Global Perspective: Analyze, formulate and influence social policies that develop and promote a global as well as local perspective within the context of the historical emergence of Social Work practice regarding human rights, oppression and social
  5. Accessibility: Structure and offer programs and curricula in a way that provides availability and accessibility (weekend, night classes) that meet the needs of our diverse student body as well as complies with CSWE accreditation

Diversity: Recruit, develop and retain diverse students and faculty who will through multi-level practice contribute special strengths to our programs and profession

The General Plan:

The curriculum plan of the Undergraduate Social Work Program of the Division of Social Work begins with the liberal arts (General Education) completed during the freshman and sophomore years. During the junior year, social work majors commence the professional foundation; and in the senior year, the beginning generalist curriculum is completed.

The Liberal Arts Preparation

Students complete courses as follows to satisfy General Education requirements:

  • Area A Basic Subjects - (9 units)
  • Area B Physical Universe and its Life Forms – including content on human biology and courses on quantitative reasoning - (12 units)
  • Area C Arts and Humanities - (12 units)
  • Area D Individual and Society - (15 units)
  • Area E Undergraduate Personal Development - (3 units)

Social Work students should complete courses in Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Biology, Ethnic Studies, and Women’s Studies.

All students must pass a required Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ), portfolio or ENGL 109 before enrolling in the required upper division Writing Intensive courses. The Writing Intensive courses are specially designed courses that include extensive writing requirements. The Division offers two writing intensive courses as part of our Social Welfare & Human Behavior courses (electives): SW 126 Theories of Criminal Behavior and SW 191 Exploration of Veterans Studies.

Pre-Major for the BASW Program

Students who want to become a pre-major in Social Work should take the courses from the following three G.E. areas, and earn a grade of a “B” or better (“B minus” is not acceptable) and must have at least 2.5 Sac State and Cumulative GPA.

Area B2 Life Forms (at least 3 Units)

Select one of the followings:

  • BIO 1 Biodiversity, Evolution, and Ecology
  • BIO 10 Basic Biological Concept
  • BIO 20 Biology: A Human Perspective
  • ANTH 1 Introduction to Biological Anthropology

Area D1 Foundation in Social and Behavioral Sciences (at least 3 units)

Select at least one of the followings:

  • ECON 1A Introduction to Macroeconomic Analysis
  • ECON 1B Introduction to Microeconomic Analysis
  • PSYC 2 Introductory Psychology
  • SOC 1 Principles of Sociology

Area D2 Major Social Issues of the Contemporary Era (at least 3 units)

Select one of the followings:

  • CRJ 1 Introduction to Criminal Justice and Society
  • GERO 100 Aging Issues in Contemporary America SOC 3 Social Problems
  • SOC 10 Issues in Crime and Social Control

Professional Foundation: Undergraduate

The professional foundation in social work education, in accordance with liberal arts perspective, is built upon knowledge and expertise from a wide variety of fields of scientific study. The academic subjects which prepare students for studies in the theory and practice of social work are contained in content areas within the liberal arts curriculum, defined as General Education content in the California State University system. General Education requirements must be completed by the student prior to enrolling in courses in the field and practice sequence.

Students are also responsible for completing all university graduation requirements, which include Foreign Language, American Institutions, English Composition, Race & Ethnicity in American Society, and a Writing Intensive.


  • Have questions about general education and graduation requirements? Visit the Academic Advising Center for more information.
  • Have questions about the Undergraduate Program? Contact Dr. Sylvester "Jim" Bowie (Undergraduate Director), by email or Meagan Solomon, (Division Advisor)