Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Social Work

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

College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Social Work


The mission of the Bachelor of Social Work Program at A-State is to educate generalist practitioners who will work to enhance intellectual growth, and to enrich lives through social justice and service specifically with rural populations. It employs a problem-solving process and relies on critical thinking.

Bachelors level social workers work with a variety of clients in many settings. The skills learned in the curriculum include interviewing skills, assessment skills, and intervention skills. The BSW qualifies the student to sit for the state exam at the Licensed Social Worker level. The state licensing law outlines the level of practice at this level. This is referred to as the Generalist Practice level.

Generalist practitioners work within an organizational structure in which they use appropriate supervision and assume a wide range of professional roles (DuBois & Miley, 1996). These roles include broker, enabler/counselor, mediator, educator, evaluator, case manager/coordinator and advocate/activist (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 1999). Empowerment oriented social workers focus on clients’ strengths and adaptive skills as well as clients’ competencies and potential. They work collaboratively with their clients.

Empowerment joins personal power and political power so as to increase an individual’s ability to control his or her destiny and “...to alter systems, redistribute resources, open up opportunity structures, and reorganize society” (Hartman, 1990; Lee, 1994 cited in DuBois & Miley, 1999, p. 28).


The deadline to apply to the BSW program is the second Friday of February. 

  • Prerequisites

    Admission Criteria

    After admission to the University, any student may declare social work as a major. Admission to the BSW Program is competitive. To be admitted to the BSW Program, students must meet the requirements of the program that are in effect at the time they seek admission.

    Current Admission Criteria

    • Must have completed a minimum of 45 semester hours of course work at a college/university.
    • Have an overall GPA of 2.75 at the time of application. Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 overall and a 2.75 in the major. Overall GPA is defined as all coursework that is being used to satisfy requirements for the BSW degree regardless of the institution from which the credits were earned.
    • Must have completed the following courses:
      • ENGLISH I
      • ENGLISH II
  • Admission Process

    Deadline for application is the second Monday of February.

    • Candidates for the BSW Program must be formally admitted to Arkansas State University.
    • Candidates with one outstanding pre-requisite must meet with the Pre-Social Work Advisor to discuss proceeding with the application and scheduling of the outstanding pre-requisite.
    • Transfer students should request an advising appointment prior to applying.
    • Students must review the BSW Program Handbook and all program policies prior to submitting the application. These materials can be found on the department’s homepage.  BSW Program Admission Instructions and Forms
    • Submit all application forms including a current copy of your academic transcripts to the Social Work Department:

    Arkansas State University
    Department of Social Work
    P.O. Box 2460
    State University, AR 72467

    • Eligibility for application will be verified by the Social Work Department’s Pre-Social Work Advisor.
    • This is a competitive admissions process. Applications will be reviewed and scored by the BSW Admissions Committee who submit recommendations for admission to the faculty for approval.
    • All applicants are notified in writing of the admissions decision by the Program Director by the end of March.
    • All newly admitted students must attend the Orientation Meeting. Notice of the date of the orientation is provided in your acceptance letter. 
  • Goals, Objectives, & Core Values

    Goals & Objectives

    The BSW Program at A-State has four goals. Each of these goals consists of guiding principles for curriculum development and support program activities.

    Goal 1: To prepare graduates for practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

    Objective 1: Apply critical thinking skills within the context of generalist social work practice.

    Objective 2: Demonstrate the professional use of self.

    Objective 3: Apply the knowledge and skills of a generalist social work practice with systems of all sizes (individual, family, group, organization, and community).

    Objective 4: Apply the knowledge of biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual factors that affect the individual development and behavior, and use theoretical frameworks to understand the interactions between individuals as well as between individuals and various social systems.

    Objective 5: Use communication skills differentially with a variety of client populations, colleagues, and members of the community.

    Goal 2: Graduates will apply knowledge pertaining to the contexts of social work practice, the changing nature of those contexts, the behavior of organizations, the dynamics of change, and develop the skills necessary to become change agents.

    Objective 1: Understand and interpret the history of the social work profession as well as its contemporary structures and issues.

    Objective 2: Formulate, influence, and analyze the impact of social policies on client systems, workers, agencies, and communities.

    Objective 3: Function within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems and seek organizational change when necessary.

    Objective 4: Understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards and principles, and practice accordingly.

    Objective 5: Apply planned changed process in or among social work practice levels.

    Goal 3: To infuse throughout the curriculum the values and ethics that guide professional social workers in their practice.

    Objective 1: Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and the strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice.

    Objective 2: Practice within the value and ethics of the social work profession and with an understanding of and respect for the positive value of multiple dimensions of diversity, including age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

    Objective 3: Evaluate research studies and apply research findings to practice, and under supervision, to evaluate their own practice interventions and those of other relevant systems.

    Goal 4: Graduates of the BSW Program will understand their responsibility to continue their
    professional development.

    Objective 1: Demonstrate the ability to plan for and implement appropriate lifelong professional development activities including maintaining appropriate professional credentials.

    Objective 2: Demonstrate an ability to assess and incorporate new knowledge and skills for competent generalist practice.

    Objective 3: Use supervision and consultation appropriate to generalist practice.

    Core Values

    The core values embraced by the ASU Social Work Department are the shared values of the social work profession throughout history; and are the foundation of this program and social work’s unique
    purpose and perspective. These six values are:

    1. Service
    2. Social justice
    3. Dignity and worth of the person
    1. Importance of human relationships
    2. Integrity
    3. Competence
  • Financial Aid

    Eligibility Criteria

    In order to receive financial aid, you must:

    • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
    • Have a valid Social Security Number
    • Be registered with the Selective Service, if required
    • Be enrolled at least half time in a degree program
    • Not be in default of any federal funds
    • Make satisfactory academic progress

    Application Procedure

    Step 1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    For the each academic year, the FAFSA can be filed on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov, or via paper copy from the ASU Financial Aid and Scholarships office or from your Guidance Office.

    Priority filing deadline is February 15th

    Online applications can be signed electronically through the use of a PIN given by the federal processor, or by printing the final signature page and mailing it to the processor. Those who have not received, or wish to recover a lost PIN can do so by visiting www.pin.ed.gov.

    Step 2. ASU Data Form

    All students who wish to receive federal student aid must fill out an ASU data form and return it to the Financial Aid & Scholarships office at ASU. Data forms are available in Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, online through http://finaid.astate.edu, and are mailed upon receiving FAFSA results.


    The verification process affects 1/3 of all federal aid applicants and is based upon random selection. Those who are selected for verification must provide signed copies of student tax records, parent tax records (if applicable), accompanied by an ASU verification form. Verification forms are available on line at www.astate.edu or from the ASU Financial Aid & Scholarships Office and are mailed upon being selected for verification.

    Step 3. Award Letter

    Upon completion of the necessary paperwork, an award letter will be constructed and sent to the

    student. The purpose of the award letter is to outline the types of aid individual students are eligible for and to allow for acceptance or denial of each aid type. Award letters, unless marked “No Signature Required”, must be signed and returned to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office in order to receive federal aid.

    First Time Borrowers

    First time borrowers must sign a master promissory note (MPN). Directions for the MPN will be sent to the student following the return of their award letter.  Funds will not be disbursed without a signed MPN.  Loan funds for first time borrowers, in their first enrollment period, are delayed for 30-days from their first class date.

    Disbursement of Funds

    All funds awarded by Financial Aid & Scholarships are placed directly into the students account. Student accounts can be monitored at www.astate.edu through the Web for Students link. Payment information, as well as access aid balance can be viewed from this secure site.  If excess aid is awarded, the amount of excess aid will be available through direct deposit or in the form of a check mailed to the students billing address.

    For further information please contact:

    Financial Aid/ Scholarships Office:
    P.O. Box 1620
    State University, AR 72467-1620
    (870) 972-2310
    Website: http://finaid.astate.edu

  • Curriculum

    Curriculum Overview

    The social work curriculum is based on the liberal arts and consists of content area on social work values and ethics, diversity, social and economic justice, populations-at-risk, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policies and services, social work practice, research and field experience. The baccalaureate curriculum meets the standards of the Council on Social Work Education.

    Students graduating with a bachelor’s degree must successfully complete 124 credit hours.

    General Education: 43 hours

    A total of 43 hours of general education courses are required.

    Course Types
    Credit Hours
    Communication 6
    Mathematics 3
    Critical Thinking 3
    Understanding Global Issues 3
    Arts & Humanities 9
    Social Sciences
    POSC 2103: Intro to U. S. Government
    PSY 2013: Intro to Psychology
    SOC 2213: Principles of Sociology
    Sciences 8
    Health and Wellness 2

    Social Work Requirements: 49 hours

    Credit Hours
    PSY 4533: Psychology of the Abnormal 3
    SOC 2223: Social Problems 3
    SOC 3381: Social Statistical Methods Lab 3
    SOC 3383: Social Statistical Methods 3
    SOC 4293: Methods of Social Research 3
    SW 2203: Introduction to Social Work 3
    SW 3253: Social Work Practice I 3
    SW 3303: Human Behavior and Social Environment I 3
    SW 3333: Human Behavior and Social Environment II 3
    SW 3363: Cultural Diversity 3
    SW 4263: Social Work Practice II 3
    SW 4273: Field Experience I 3
    SW 4283: Field Experience Seminar 3
    SW 4296: Field Experience II 6
    SW 4303: Social Work Practice III 3
    SW 4213: Social Welfare Policy 3


    Upper Level Social Work Electives

    Twelve hours of upper division Social Work electives are required.

    Free Electives

    Free electives are any courses that are not included in the Gen Ed (43 hours), social work major (49 hours), or the 12 hours of upper division social work elective courses. A minimum of 20 credit hours of free electives are required to complete the 124 hours to graduate.

    The University requires that students complete 45 credit hours at the junior/senior level (courses numbered 3000 and 4000). This requirement is met within the Social Work curriculum. Students should meet with their adviser to select the required electives that best suit personal interests and career goals. micro or macro economics are recommended for students planning on pursuing graduate study in Social Work.

    Suggested Degree Plan

    Social work student degree plans vary, but some principles apply that make the suggested plan useful as a guide. Some courses must be taken before others (e.g., Intro to Social Work before Practice I), and some courses must be taken at the same time as others (e.g., Field Experience II, Field Experience Seminar, and Social Work Practice III). All courses are not offered every semester. Consult the Undergraduate Bulletin for course descriptions and semesters in which courses will be offered. Do not attempt to take social work courses out of sequence.

    Students may desire to take summer courses to lighten their load during regular semesters or to make up deficiencies in course requirements. Degree plans should be developed with assistance from an advisor.

    This page includes one suggested sequence in which requirements for the BSW degree may be met in four years. Refer to the Undergraduate Bulletin regarding developmental courses for students with specified ACT scores.

Accredited by CSWE

CSWE LogoThe Bachelor of Social Work degree is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States. Completion of this program prepares students for beginning generalist social work practice.