Minor in Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work

Minimum hours required for graduation: 122 hours

Western Michigan University's undergraduate professional program is designed to prepare students for beginning generalist social work practice and to provide preparation for graduate training in social work and related professions. Emphasis is placed on a conceptual framework of systems theory, the ecological model, and a strengths-based approach to problem solving. Generalist social workers are taught to address a range of social issues, to work in a variety of practice settings, and to facilitate positive change that will enhance the social function of individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities.

The Bachelor of Social Work program utilizes the development of knowledge and skills in the areas of human behavior in the social environment, social work practice, research, social policy, diversity, ethics and values. A personalized instructional approach is used to engage students in a learning process that promotes critical thinking and self-reflection. Commitment to educating students to work towards the creation of a more just and humane society by advocating for services and resources for oppressed, vulnerable, and other at-risk populations is a main emphasis of the program.

Students enrolled in the undergraduate social work curriculum are required to complete a major consisting of 35 hours, a guided interdisciplinary minor of 22 to 24 hours, and six hours of research, totaling 63 to 65 hours. As part of the program, students complete a 400-hour internship in a human service agency.

Social work majors can obtain specialty certificates offered by the College of Health and Human Services in conjunction with their social work degree. For further information about certificate programs, please consult with the College of Health and Human Services academic advisor.


The field practicum provides students with opportunities to learn and apply generalist knowledge and beginning level skills in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students in the social work major complete two consecutive semesters of field education (SWRK 4100 and 4110) in a human service agency for a total of 400 internship hours. Field education and the courses taken concurrently, SWRK 4010 and 4020, are open only to students formally admitted to the B.S.W. program. Check out the field education page for more information.


Students interested in a social work major will be admitted into the pre-social work curriculum at the time of admission to WMU. This does not guarantee admission to the social work major. Students who have completed SWRK 2100 Social Work Services and Professional Roles and have a minimum of 30 credit hours may apply to the undergraduate social work major. All applications are submitted to the manager of recruitment and outreach of the School of Social Work.


Deadlines for submitting applications are Sept 1 and March 1 of each year.  All applications are reviewed by a faculty admissions  committee. This is a competitive admissions process.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Minimum overall grade point average of 2.5
  • General and social work related employment
  • Participation in community services, leadership activities, and volunteer experience
  • Written communication skills, personal qualifications, and basic knowledge of the profession as evidenced in the supplemental statement
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