Feb 21, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work Major, B.S.

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Social Work is an exciting academic major, preparing students for professional entry-level work in the social and human services. Students in the major engage in the exploration of ways to ameliorate personal, interpersonal, and societal problems and learn skills and techniques in order to create change and make a difference in people’s lives. Social Work is a valuable degree as many employers recognize it as preparing graduates to utilize a variety of tools to work with diverse populations on multiple issues and goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 112 million paid social workers in the U.S., but there is a great need for more. “Employment of social workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services, but will vary by specialty” (Bureau for Labor Statistics, 2014). Bachelor-level social workers are employed in a variety of settings, including schools, prisons, non-profit and for-profit private agencies, and governmental agencies. They work with individuals, families, groups, and communities as intake staff, resource and referral specialists, case workers, case managers, program coordinators, project directors, community organizers, and more.


The BSSW Program has been continuously accredited since 1997 by the Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting body for social work programs in the U.S. Accreditation assures that professional standards are met in curriculum content and delivery. Accredited programs periodically undergo rigorous review by CSWE in order to ensure compliance with educational standards.

Required Prerequisite Courses

The major requires 10 prerequisite General Studies and Social Work courses to set the foundation for coursework in the major. Students must have all prerequisite courses completed prior to entry into the major. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C-” or better. Upon approaching completion of the prerequisites, students may apply to the program (a formal application is required for acceptance into the major, see below).

General Studies and Other Coursework

* Indicates course is a prerequisite and must be taken before entry into the program

Written Communication * (6 credits)

See General Studies requirements  for course list.

Oral Communication * (3 credits)

Quantitative Literacy * (3 credits)

See General Studies requirements  for course list.

Arts and Humanities (6 credits)

See General Studies requirements  for course list.

History (3 credits)

See General Studies requirements  for course list.

Natural and Physical Sciences (6 credits)

Social and Behavioral Sciences * (9 credits)

Note: 3 credits apply to SBS I and 3 credits apply to SBS II.

Global Diversity (0-3 credits)

The Global Diversity requirement may be fulfilled with a course that also fulfills the Arts & Humanities, Historical, or Natural & Physical Sciences requirement. See General Studies requirements  for course list.

Multicultural (0-3 credits)

The Multicultural requirement may be fulfilled with a course that also fulfills the Historical or Arts & Humanities requirement. See Multicultural requirements  for course list.

Total General Studies and Other Prerequisite Courses: 42 credits

Social Work Prerequisites

Required Social Work Courses

Because the BSSW degree is professionally-oriented, students must pass through the curriculum in a sequential manner with lower-level courses preparing them for the work and expectations of upper-level courses. The following Social Work courses are required after students have been accepted into the BSSW Program. Students must adhere to the required coursework.


All Required Coursework for the BSSW degree

General Studies Prerequisites: 42 credits
Social Work Prerequisites: 5 credits
Major courses: 55 credits
Additional (Elective and General Studies) courses: 18 credits

Total: 120 credits

MSU Denver requires that students have at least 120 semester hours to earn a bachelor’s degree. The BSSW degree does not require a minor.

Additional Information

Application to the Major

Students who wish to pursue the BSSW should declare Social Work as their major with the Office of Admissions when they apply to MSU Denver. Admission to the BSSW Program is not guaranteed. To be considered for the major, students must meet the admission criteria and submit a BSSW Program application to the Department of Social Work in order to determine acceptance into the major. When applying to the BSSW Program, students should have the prerequisite liberal arts perspective courses and the introductory social work courses completed or they should be enrolled with the intent to complete them before the program begins. Students must have earned a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.0 in order to be admitted without conditions into the BSSW Program. Students with a cumulative GPA of below a 2.0 should meet with an academic advisor in the Office of Social Work Student Services prior to applying to the BSSW Program and may be conditionally placed on departmental academic probation at the time of acceptance.  Students are accepted into the BSSW Program once a year. Applications are accepted during the Spring semester for a proceeding Fall start. Students will be notified of their acceptance status by email. For complete application instructions and admission process information, please visit the Department of Social Work website at www.msudenver.edu/socialwork.

Advising Appointments

The Department of Social Work’s Office of Social Work Student Services provides academic advising for social work majors from application to the program through graduation. Students who are accepted to the major will be assigned a faculty advisor for professional related advising and general academic support. For more information and to schedule an advising appointment, visit www.msudenver.edu/socialwork.

Transfer Students

Students transferring to Metropolitan State University of Denver must first apply as a transfer student through the Office of Admissions. Once they have been accepted into MSU Denver and have had their transcripts evaluated, they will be advised regarding remaining General Studies and other prerequisite requirements that must be fulfilled. Transfer students are also expected to meet the BSSW Program’s prerequisite requirements.

Social Work Course Transfer Policy

Incoming students who have taken Social Work courses at another college or university may have the coursework reviewed to apply for Social Work credit for the courses. To be considered, coursework must have been completed at a college or university accredited by a regional accreditation body (see MSU Denver website for additional information). In addition, certain coursework must have been completed within a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education to be considered for transfer into the BSSW Program. There is a limit to the number of courses and the types of courses that may transfer in as Social Work credit. To be considered for credit, students must provide documentation that includes the course description, course syllabus, and requirements. For a full description of the transfer requirements and of the process for consideration of credit, please see the Department of Social Work website.

Fully Online Course Delivery Option

Beginning in Fall 2016 the Department of Social Work offers a fully online social work option for students who reside in Colorado.  Students who are interested in a fully online option must indicate that intent on the BSSW Program application and be accepted into that option.  Once accepted, the Office of Social Work Student Services will work closely with those students to ensure enrollment in online social work coursework.  Students accepted into the online option may be required to participate in extracurricular seminars online. 

Sequential Coursework Policy

Prior to entering the program, students are required to take specified prerequisites in the liberal arts and social work. Upon entering the program, students are required to take courses in a specified order. This course sequencing is mandatory and ensures necessary preparation for students to successfully complete courses throughout the program. Please note: Students who fail to follow the required course sequencing may delay their graduation by a year or more. In addition, students who take courses out of order may not receive credit for those courses and may be required to retake those courses.

A Grade of “D” or “F” in a Social Work Course

Students must receive a “C-” or better in each individual social work course. Students earning a grade of less than “C-” must meet with their social work advisor before the start of the next semester and may be on an altered academic plan of completion. Additionally, students whose GPAs fall below the minimum GPA requirements of 2.0 cumulative and 2.67 Social Work will be placed on departmental academic probation. Please see the Department of Social Work website for further information.

Minimum GPA

A student must maintain a 2.0 overall cumulative MSU Denver GPA and a 2.67 Social Work course GPA to remain in good standing in the Social Work Program. Students failing to meet the minimum GPA requirements will be placed on departmental academic probation until they achieve the grades necessary to raise their GPA. Please see the Department of Social Work website for further information.

Program Orientation

All students accepted into the BSSW Program are required to successfully complete an online Program Orientation within a specified timeframe announced at the time of admission. Students who do not successfully complete the online Program Orientation will be dropped from their core Social Work courses and must wait until the following academic year to take the orientation and to begin the BSSW program.

Child Welfare Stipend

Social Workers assume primary roles in providing intake, assessment, case planning, and ongoing services in all areas of child welfare. The child welfare stipend is designed for students interested in pursuing a career as a caseworker or supervisor in child welfare services. Since 1995 the Colorado Department of Human Services has awarded over $1,500,000 in Child Welfare Caseworker stipends to MSU Denver social work majors who have completed the child welfare courses. Students must apply through the Department of Social Work and compete for the Child Welfare Stipend program. The stipend program is an excellent way for students to gain knowledge and experience in this subspecialty and to secure an entry-level position with the Department of Human Services. Stipends in amounts ranging from $8,000-$14,000 are awarded to selected recipients. Recipients are required to complete their professional field experience in a public child welfare agency, and after graduation, they are required to work for one year as paid caseworkers in public child welfare. This work may be deferred one year until after the student has completed an MSW program. Students must abide by this and all other contractual requirements in order to receive funds. Additional information about the Child Welfare Stipend program can be found on the Department of Social Work website.

Required Social Work Professional Foundation Courses for the Child Welfare Stipend

Professional Field Experience

Social Work Field Experience takes place during the fall and spring semesters of the student’s senior year. In order to integrate classroom knowledge with practice and to experience the role and requirements of a professional social worker, the student is placed in an approved social work agency for approximately 16 hours per week for 240 hours a semester (a total of 480 hours over both semesters). The student remains in the same agency for both semesters, progressing from orientation to beginning professional competence. Additional information about field experience, including eligibility, application, and securing a field site, can be found on the Department of Social Work website.

Advanced Standing in Graduate School

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited social work program may apply for advanced standing (where available) in Masters-level social work graduate programs. Depending upon the graduate program, advanced standing students are able to complete their MSW in an accelerated course of study. Students are urged to contact graduate programs for their policies on advanced standing.

Credit for Life Experience

No credit is given for learning gained through life experience and no life experience credit may be used toward the BSSW Major.

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