Social Work BSW

About this program

The mission of the Social Work program is to integrate the values, knowledge and skills inherent to social work into an academic program that will enable multi-culturally competent bachelor's level students to engage in generalist social work practices that will meet the needs of the increasingly diverse Twin Cities communities.

This program will prepare students for generalist social work practice with client systems of various sizes and types with special emphasis on Native Americans and communities of color. This program will build on a Liberal Arts base and will provide a curriculum foundation that contains the profession's values, knowledge and skills.

Program accreditation

The Social Work program has been accredited since 1997 under the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Currently the program is going through reaffirmation under the new CSWE 2015 Educational Policy Accreditation Standards (EPAS).

Student outcomes

CSWE Competencies:

  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
  • Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  • Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
  • Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
  • Engage in policy practice.
  • Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
  • Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
  • Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
  • Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes:

Last completed on 2016-17

All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes.  Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.

Social Work Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes: 2016-17 (PDF)

Enrolling in this program

Program eligibility requirements

In order to pursue the Bachelor of Social Work, the student must first be admitted to Metropolitan State.

In addition, the student needs to submit an application form to the Social Work program: 

Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to, and have work or volunteer experience serving communities of color and/or Native American communities. Applicants must complete all of the prerequisite coursework and have at least 60 semester credits of general education.

The following are the Social Work program prerequisites with a minimum of three credits in each of the following:

  • Introduction to Social Work
  • U.S.A. Government
  • Human Biology or Biology of Women
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Psychology
  • Introduction to Sociology of Introduction to Human Services from a community college
  • Statistics
  • Racial/Ethnic Awareness (content is about people of color and/or Native Americans in the U.S.)
  • Field Experience (3 or 4 credits course 120 to 160 hours)

Current students: Declare your program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further requirements your chosen program may have, you declare your major or declare a minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Social Work BSW now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Social Work BSW

More ways to earn your degree: Metropolitan State offers the flexibility you need to finish your degree. Through programs at our partner institutions, you can find a path to getting your Social Work BSW that works best for you.

About your enrollment options

Program requirements

The Social Work degree requires a minimum of 120 credits with the completion of all 48 Social Work required credits. 

  • Core Courses: 32 credits in core curriculum required courses;
  • Field Courses: 16-19 credits of field practicum, including:
    • five credits in a community learning center serving people of color or Native Americans;
    • five credits in a mainstream social work setting and
    • six to nine credits in a field practice seminar;

In addition, students must have eight upper division credits (300 level and up from Metropolitan State) from liberal studies or a different discipline than Social Work.

Student licensure

The Social Work program at Metropolitan State University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) therefore the students can apply for License in Social Work (LSW), the baccalaureate level licensing.

Students will be able to take exam the last semester before graduation. For more information about licensing procedure please check with the Board of Social Work- Minnesota.

Course requirements

Requirements (120 credits)

Practice (12 credits)

SOWK 321 Social Work Practice I

4 credits

This course examines frameworks for social work practice, social work values and ethics, ethnic competence in multicultural contexts and the professional relationship skills required for effective beginning social work practice. The stages of the problem solving process are examined in detail with emphasis on working at all levels of client systems: individuals and families; groups; and communities and organizations. An understanding of theories of culture and of multicultural interventions is emphasized. Prerequisite: Admission to social work major.

Full course description for Social Work Practice I

SOWK 333 Human Behavior in the Social Environment

4 credits

The course emphasizes ecological and theoretical perspectives for social work practice with culturally diverse populations and includes the study of human behavior and development throughout the lifespan. Students deepen their understanding of human diversity by examining ethnocentrism and racism, gender roles and sexism, and sexual identity and sexual orientation. Students apply the ecological model to better understand how social structures influence persons from diverse populations. The impact of systems of oppression, the intersectionality of oppressions and their impact on individuals, families, and communities is explored. Social work practice and policy implications are considered and applied from the biopsychosocial perspective.

Full course description for Human Behavior in the Social Environment

SOWK 522 Social Work Practice II

4 credits

This course emphasizes the theories and skills necessary for social workers to practice effectively at the community and governmental levels and professional ethics and legal responsibilities in individual and family work. Using a case study approach, students apply change and comparative analysis theories in multicultural community projects and in the state legislature. Students also critique psychosocial assessments and interventions of simulated case studies using social work ethics and legal responsibilities as a guide.

Full course description for Social Work Practice II

Racial and ethnic analysis (8 credits)

SOWK 341 Comparative Racial/Ethnic Analysis I

4 credits

This is the first of two classes on racial/ethnic analysis that is critical to practice as a culturally competent social worker. This class provides a framework to understand concepts of race, ethnicity, stigma, privilege and discrimination, an appreciation of the influence of social structures on the experience of communities of color in the United States, and an understanding of racial/ethnic communities in the urban Twin Cities. In addition, students will learn theory and practice effective group work using Intergroup Contact Theory.

Full course description for Comparative Racial/Ethnic Analysis I

SOWK 542 Comparative Racial/Ethnic Analysis II

4 credits

This is the second of two classes on racial/ethnic analysis that is critical to practice as a culturally competent social worker. The class continues the work of SOWK 341 and emphasizes an understanding of self in relationship to the concepts of race, ethnicity, stigma, privilege and discrimination. The Eight Cross Cultural Curative Factors Model is learned and applied to individual social work practice.

Full course description for Comparative Racial/Ethnic Analysis II

Social policy (4 credits)

SOWK 360 Social Welfare History and Policy

4 credits

Students acquire a critical understanding of the historic development of social welfare policy within the social work profession. They analyze social welfare policy, paying special attention to implications for communities of color and the role of social work professionals. Students learn the historic roots of social welfare policy and the social work profession and address the European dominance and the gendered development of the profession. They learn two approaches for analyzing social welfare policies and then learn to apply one to an issue that especially concerns communities of color. Students also explore a range of approaches to affect policy change, stressing the historic role of women and people of color as change agents. Prerequisite: Admission to social work major.

Full course description for Social Welfare History and Policy

Research (8 credits)

SOWK 351 Social Research

2-4 credits

The social work program research curriculum emphasizes applying research findings to social work interventions, assessing the effectiveness of programs and policies, and assessing one's own practice at all levels. Special attention is paid to students' developing competence in comparative racial/ethnic analysis and in gender and class awareness. Social Research is the first of a two-course research sequence in the Social Work program curriculum and is taken at the end of the first year of the program. Students learn a range of social research theories and methods and then have the opportunity to apply them to social work practice. They apply research findings to a real-world situation either by implementing a single system research design or by conducting a program or policy evaluation. Prerequisite: Admission to social work major.

Full course description for Social Research

Field experiences (10 credits)

SOWK 391 Community Learning Center Practicum

2-5 credits

Social work majors are immersed in one of the Twin Cities communities of color in the second semester of their program. They spend 20 hours weekly in a community learning center. In this experience, students engage in supervised direct-practice activities with organizations, communities, groups, families and individuals. They apply comparative racial/ethnic analysis theories and critique the usefulness of academic theory to practice in a community of color.

Full course description for Community Learning Center Practicum

SOWK 591 Social Work Senior Practicum

2-5 credits

Social work majors are involved in supervised social work practice in the Twin Cities for 20 hours weekly during the last semester of their senior year. Faculty assign students to an agency or setting based on students needs and interests, and the capacity of the agency or setting to meet those needs. Students practice social work in at least two of the following categories: individuals, families, groups, organizations or communities. Master's-prepared community social workers supervise the students' practica. Students are expected to contribute their knowledge of social work practice with people of color, acquired through their junior year social work curriculum to enrich the agency or setting and its services. Prerequisites: Completion of all major requirements.

Full course description for Social Work Senior Practicum

SOWK 592 Multicultural Child Welfare Senior Practicum

1-5 credits

Senior social work majors who are admitted to the Multicultural Child Welfare Project are placed for their senior practicum at Ramsey County Community Human Services for an extensive child welfare experience. Students are involved in supervised social work practice in this setting for 20 hours weekly during the last semester of their senior year. Students will have the opportunity to practice social work in at least two of the following categories: individuals, families, groups, organizations or communities. The scope of the environmental experience is from family preservation and child protection to foster care and adoption. A master's-prepared social worker will supervise the students' practica. Students are expected to contribute their knowledge of social work practice with people of color, acquired through their junior year social work curriculum to enrich the agency or setting and its services. Prerequisites: Completion of all major requirements.

Full course description for Multicultural Child Welfare Senior Practicum

Field seminar (6-9 credits)

SOWK 381 Community Learning Center Seminar

1-3 credits

Faculty facilitate the learning of small groups of students assigned to the community learning center field practicum. The field seminar offers students opportunities to integrate social work knowledge, skills and values within a culturally specific context. The seminar is largely experiential and focuses on helping students apply social work theories to real-world settings. Within this group process, students develop a learning contract for the field practicum; share knowledge and experiences in the field practicum; and discuss issues and topics in social work identified within the field setting. Students are expected to share thoughts and feelings on adjusting to a professional role; and they are expected to share their awareness of human diversity as it relates to the social work profession.

Full course description for Community Learning Center Seminar

SOWK 584 Multicultural Child Welfare Field Seminar

1-3 credits

This course is designed to facilitate student learning through small student groups assigned to a special multicultural child welfare learning center. The Multicultural Field Seminar offers students the opportunities to explore and discuss the various facets of public child welfare, while integrating social work knowledge, theories and skills through a multicultural framework. This seminar discusses real clients, with real life changing needs. Students will be required to apply their cultural competency and critical thinking skills in processing client experiences at the micro, meso and macro levels. Students are further expected to develop learning contracts that guide their own development in the field practicum; work together on a group project; share knowledge and process experiences, and continually discuss their adjustment in the field practicum. Prerequisites: Senior status in the Social Work program

Full course description for Multicultural Child Welfare Field Seminar