Social Work

Social work is a broad profession that seeks to help people interact more effectively with one another and with the environment. As our society has become increasingly complex, people in both urban and rural settings are experiencing a corresponding increase in problems related to meeting basic human needs such as employment, adequate income, health care, family relationships and mental health. Social work seeks to identify and correct both the individual and social causes of these problems.

Western Michigan University's School of Social Work has been preparing leaders in interpersonal practice and policy, planning and administration for more than 30 years. Our undergraduate program provides a generalist social work education encompassing a broad range of helping skills designed to enhance the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

As a student of WMU's School of Social Work, you will learn to critically examine oppressive and discriminatory social constructs, policies, practices, attitudes and assumptions. You will be expected to advocate for social and economic justice and personal well-being for all people.

WMU's social work programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body for social work education across the country.

Beyond the classroom

As a social work student at WMU, you will complete two consecutive semesters of field education in a human service agency. The field practicum will provide you with opportunities to learn and apply generalist knowledge and entry-level skills in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

You will also be encouraged to join student organizations related to the field, including Eta Eta Sigma, Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society and the Social Welfare Action Alliance.

If you're not already convinced that WMU's School of Social Work is where you belong, consider this added bonus: It is home to the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare. The journal promotes the understanding of social welfare by applying social science knowledge, methodology and technology to problems of social policy, politics, the social ecology and social services. It provides an outstanding book review section as a regular feature of each issue. Since its first printing in 1974, the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare has published articles on such topics as social change, gender, race, homelessness, social welfare history, cultural diversity, international social welfare, and the social dimensions of health and mental health.

After you graduate

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Board of Social Work requires a Bachelor's of Social Work License. A Limited Bachelor's Social Work License is intended for someone with a bachelor's degree in social work to gain experience under a licensed master's degree social worker. A limited license is required if work experience for the full BSW license is completed in Michigan.

As a graduate of WMU's social work program, you will be prepared for an entry- or mid-level career in various settings, including:

  • Adoption agencies
  • Child welfare departments
  • Community mental health agencies
  • Corrections and public safety departments
  • Employment services
  • Family service agencies
  • Foster care agencies
  • Human rights and advocacy organizations
  • International aid and refugee relief organizations
  • Labor unions
  • Local, state and federal governments
  • Public interest groups
  • Schools
  • Senior services

Recent graduates of our program have also launched directly into graduate studies.

Where is this program offered?

  • Kalamazoo