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Online Bachelor of Social Work

The online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is designed for adult students looking to gain a foundational understanding of social justice issues and enter the social work practice.

Offered by the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville, this program focuses on the skills and knowledge related to the impact of social work on families, institutions and communities. By emphasizing social justice dynamics, as well as critical analysis, planning and implementation skills, this program educates and empowers you to effectively advocate on behalf of marginalized individuals, become an agent of change and help others live safer, healthier lives.

100% ONLINE COURSES

Complete your degree on your own time through fully online coursework and learning tools.

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120 CREDIT HOURS

Transfer in previous credits and complete core requirements (60 credits) at UofL.

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#1 SOCIAL WORK
PROGRAM IN KY

Kent School is rated the No.1 social work program in Kentucky by US News and World Report.

Online learning video -Bachelor of Social Work

"Social work is about being an agent of change, and so most of the people who come to our program are the people who see things that they feel like need to be changed and want to take an active role in being a part of that."


ARMON PERRY, Ph.D.
PROGRAM DIRECTOR
BACHELOR OF SOCIAL WORK

Accredited by the council on social work edication
Best Grad schools social work 2020
Best Online Programs Bachelors 2019

How Much Will I Pay?

$539 per credit hour
$250 per credit hour active duty rate

Tuition & Aid    

Additional costs may include:

  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • NASW Membership
  • SONIA Practicum Fee

BSW Online Info Session

11/13, 7:00pm-8:00pm - RSVP

Highlights

  • Learn to analyze, plan and enact effective interventions in response to complex social justice issues.
  • Gain real world, hands-on experience through service learning and practicum opportunities.
  • Specialize your social work education with an optional track in Drug and Alcohol Counseling.*
  • Learn on your own time with 100% online classes and 24/7 access to learning tools.
  • Transfer up to 60 hours from a community college and up to 90 hours from a regionally-accredited 4-year college.
  • Take your education even further—your BSW will qualify you to enter the Master of Science in Social Work online program at UofL with Advanced Standing (only 30 credit hours)!

*Special scholarship opportunities are available to Kentucky students enrolling in this track.


Career Opportunities

Social Work graduates are equipped with a critical perspective that allows them to address community issues in a variety of settings including:

  • Public School Systems
  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes
  • Government Agencies
  • Charitable Organizations
  • Non-Profits
  • Police Departments
  • Courts

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for social workers is expected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024, faster than average across industries. The median annual salary for social workers was $46,890 in 2016.

Division Application Deadline Term Start Date
Lower August 1 Fall August
Upper (priority) February 1
Upper (final) May 1

Applicants are encouraged to work on and submit their complete application well in advance of the preferred deadline, as obtaining transcripts, test scores and other materials may take more time. Applications submitted or completed after the preferred deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis for the next available start/term.


Steps to Apply

  1. Complete undergraduate application
    • Apply to the University of Louisville concurrently with your application to Kent School of Social Work
  2. Submit $25 non-refundable application fee
  3. Submit official transcripts from all institutions previously attended

Admission Requirements

Depending on previous college credits earned, you can enter the BSW online program in either Lower Division or Upper Division courses.

Lower Division – 0-44 College Credits Previously Earned

  • Graduation from an accredited high school, GED program or equivalent by petition (e.g. home school education)
  • High school GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Composite ACT score of 20 or higher
  • Completion of pre-college curriculum

Upper Division – 45+ College Credits Previously Earned

Please review the application checklist before submitting your application.

  • Graduation from an accredited high school, GED program or equivalent by petition (e.g. home school education)
  • High school GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Composite ACT score of 20 or higher
  • Completion of pre-college curriculum

Credit Transfer

You may transfer up to 60 hours from a community college and up to 90 hours from a regionally-accredited 4-year college. For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselor at 800.871.8635 or by email at online@louisville.edu.

Applications submitted by U.S. citizens living abroad and international students are not being accepted at this time, except in rare circumstances. Such applicants must have no language barriers, a qualified practicum supervisor and a practicum site within an established UofL Kent School of Social Work partnership.


For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselor at 800.871.8635 or by email at online@louisville.edu.


The online Bachelor of Social Work is a 120 credit hours program comprised of 37 credit hours GenEd (Cardinal Core), 23 credit hours Lower Division General Electives and supporting requirements, and 60 credit hours in core courses.


Cardinal Core Area of Study Hours
Skills Skills Written Communication (WC) 6
Oral Communication (OC) 3
Quantitative Reasoning (QR) 3
Disciplinary Perspectives Arts & Humanities (AH) 6
Social & Behavioral Sciences (SB) 6 (3 hours must be in Historical Perspective-SBH)
Natural Sciences (S, SL) 7 (including 1 hr. lab)
Diversity U.S. Diversity (D1) 3*
Global Diversity (D2) 3*
Total Cardinal Core Credit Hours 37
Lower Division General Electives
(may be a combination of college courses)
10
Supporting Requirements
(complete prior to enrolling in the Upper Division)
13

*Diversity requirements can be met by taking courses in other Cardinal Core categories that also carry the D1 or D2 designation. This requirement, therefore, does not add hours to the total Cardinal Core Program.


Course List Hours
SW 201 ** Introduction to Social Work 3
SW 301 Human Behavior & Social Environment I 3
SW 302 Social Welfare Institutions, Policies & Service 3
SW 303 General Practice I 3
SW 304 General Practice II 3
SW 307 Social Justice Practice 3
SW 319 Human Behavior & Social Environment II 3
SW 322 Issues in Policy & Service Delivery 3
SW 405 General Practice III 3
SW 426 Introduction to Social Work Research 3
SW 470 Practicum I 3
SW 472 Practicum Seminar & Lab I 3
SW 406 General Practice IV 3
SW 471 Practicum II 3
SW 473 Practicum Seminar & Lab II 3
BSW Upper Division Electives * (Please see advisor for approval of courses) 15
TOTAL UPPER DIVISION HOURS 60
TOTAL MINIMUM HOURS TO GRADUATE 120

*Drug and Alcohol Counseling track requires the following electives with a practicum in a substance use treatment setting:

  • SW 361 Special Issues in Alcohol and Drug Counseling
  • SW 362 Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders
  • SW 415 Mental Health
  • SW 460 Motivation and Change

**SW 201 Introduction to Social Work: If you took this course prior to enrollment in the upper division, you must take another 3 credit hour course to fulfill the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation.


Course Descriptions


SW 201 Introduction to Social Work
This course introduces students to the profession of social work, its Code of Ethics, values base and commitment to social justice and working with vulnerable and oppressed groups. Students are exposed to the profession's history as well as current social issues and trends. The course provides an introduction to the roles of the generalist social work practitioner within a theoretical framework that includes systems theory, an ecological perspective, a problem-solving model, and the value of diversity. The course stresses self-awareness in determining suitability for a career in social work.


SW 301 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
Prerequisite: Gen Ed requirements and Admission to BSW program. Focuses on society at large (social movements, social institutions and social structure), larger environments (physical environment, communities, and formal organizations) and small groups.


SW 302 Social Welfare Institutions, Policies and Services
Prerequisite: Gen Ed requirements and admission to BSW program. Explores the historical context and evolution of social welfare policy, and how dominant values and contextual factors shape policy in a broad range of social welfare arenas.


SW 303 Generalist Practice I
Prerequisite: Gen Ed requirements and Admission to the BSW program. Orients students to the helping process and the generalist perspective. Emphasizes systems theory, the ecological model and strengths based perspectives and explores methods of interventions to enhance social functioning.


SW 304 Generalist Practice II
Prerequisite: SW 303. Addresses the development of the knowledge and skills necessary for generalist social work practice with individuals, maintaining the context and relationship with the environment.


SW 307 Social Justice Practice
This undergraduate course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills for social work practice with people who are subject to various forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, and ableism operating at the individual, community and institutional levels of society. Diversity, strengths, and social justice practice are emphasized. Developing greater professional and personal awareness about the impacts of various forms of oppression and social justice responses are addressed.


SW 319 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
Prerequisite: SW 301. Focuses on families, dyads, and the individual person (biological person, psychological person, spiritual person and the lifespan development).


SW 322 Issues in Policy and Service Delivery
Prerequisite: SW 302. Emphasizes the interrelationship between problem conceptualization, policy options, and their impact on social work practice and clients and analyzes these interrelationships in fields of child welfare, health, mental health and aging.


SW 405 Generalist Practice III
Prerequisite: SW 303 and SW 304; SW 470 (or concurrent) and SW 472 (or concurrent). Focuses on mezzo systems. Applications of social work values, knowledge and methods with families and small groups is emphasized.


SW 426 Introduction to Social Work Research
Prerequisite: SW 304. Provides students the foundation knowledge for scientific inquiry, covering all aspects of the research process from problem formulation to writing of the research report.


SW 470 Practicum I
Prerequisite: SW 405 (or concurrent) and SW 472 (or concurrent). Provides an educationally supervised practicum within a human services organization, developing a social work perspective and skills with a range of client systems;: individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities.


SW 472 Practicum Seminar and Lab I
Prerequisite: SW 405 (or concurrent) and SW 470 (or concurrent). Supplements through class discussion, readings, and role play the experiences of the practicum, creating an arena for integration of practice theory and content.


SW 406 Generalist Practice IV
Prerequisite: SW 405; SW 471 (or concurrent) and SW 473 (or concurrent). Engage social work skill development and practice in the application of knowledge, skills, and methods to the macro systems of professional practice including neighborhoods, communities and organizations.


SW 471 Practicum II
Prerequisite: SW 470; SW 406 (or concurrent) and SW 473 (or concurrent). Provides an educationally supervised practicum within a human services organization, developing a social work perspective and skills with a range of client systems: individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities.


SW 473 Practicum Seminar and Lab II
Prerequisite: SW 472; SW 406 (or concurrent) and SW 471 (or concurrent). Supplements through class discussion, readings, role play the experiences of the practicum, creating an arena for integration of practice theory and content.


SW 361 Special Issues in Alcohol and Drug Counseling
Prerequisite: Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work Bachelors. This course includes highly specialized and advanced topics in addiction treatment to prepare students to begin practice in Alcohol and Drug Counselor training. Content will round out and complete a basic course of study for alcohol and drug counselors that was not adequately addressed in substance abuse and motivational interviewing classes. These advanced topics will 1) generally aid students in submitting the application for certification as alcohol and drug counselors, 2) provide students with required case management training for working in a licensed alcohol and other drug treatment facility, and 3) prepare students for working within multidisciplinary teams and gain familiarity with clinical supervision methods utilized in substance abuse treatment programs. 4) Students will become familiar with the use of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) a very common assessment tool widely used in substance abuse treatment settings. The complexity and demonstrated efficacy of specialized treatment for substance abuse disorders is well documented and preparation to work with this problem will be valuable across a range of populations; including, but not limited to individuals treated in traditional and non-traditional treatment settings. Evidence based knowledge is progressively improving the effectiveness of treatment. This course will utilize a convergence of knowledge to prepare students for their role in advancing the treatment of alcohol and other drug dependency.


SW 362 Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders
Prerequisite: Restricted to Kent School of Social Work Bachelors. Examines current issues associated with substance abuse. Prevailing paradigms related to substance abuse are explored and pragmatic intervention strategies for dealing with those abusing substances are presented and applied.


SW 415 Mental Health
This course is designed to familiarize the students with the body of knowledge and the service delivery system known as "mental health." The factors of human experience that promote mental health or serve as a barrier to healthy functioning will be examined.


SW 460 Motivation and Change
The course focus is on theory and evidence based practice methods aimed at engaging resistant people in the process of change: Motivational interviewing (MI) is a client-centered, yet directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation for change. BSW Upper Division Elective.






    • How is the online program different than the campus program?
      The campus program engages with students in a campus setting that takes place on a certain day and time where the student is required to attend class in person. The campus program benefits learners who enjoy interacting with other learners and professors face-to-face. In the online program, students determine the time and place to complete course work and have command over their time. However, many online classes may require two or three synchronous learning sessions per semester where learners are online at the same time or at specific time frames. The online format can be an advantage for caregivers, individuals with family and career obligations, and people who need a flexible schedule in order to pursue their education. Online learning is best suited to the highly motivated student who is willing to take full responsibility for his or her own learning.
    • Do I have to come to the physical campus?
      No, you will not come to campus. You will attend classes in a virtual asynchronous environment where course work will be delivered via web, email, articles, videos, discussion forums, Wikis and/or other collaborative documents. However, you might desire to come to campus to celebrate your graduation, to meet professors face-to-face, or to fellowship with others who were in virtual classes with you.
    • Will I receive assistance in locating a practicum site?
      Yes. Students who plan to enroll in practicum in the fall of their senior year must submit their practicum application by December 15th in their junior year. Students will collaborate with an assigned Field Coordinator to discuss areas of interest and identify several possible placements.
    • How many hours must I complete for the practicum?
      Students are required to complete a minimum of 16 hours a week at the practicum site. This totals 225 hours for the semester and 450 hours for the academic year at the same practicum site.
    • Will I need to complete a background check?
      No. Background checks are not a requirement of the BSW Program. However, some practicum sites might require a background check.
    • Are there any differences between a BSW and BSSW degree?
      BSW stands for Bachelor of Social Work. BSSW is the acronym that stands for the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW). Both degrees are undergraduate degrees designed to educate students for generalist social work practice in areas such as family services, child welfare, public health, substance use, and other areas. Basically, they are the same. The BSSW may be a bit more focused on the practical and research approach to social work, but it is really the institution that designates the label.
    • Can I get credit for my job or volunteer work?
      No, university credit is not credited for job or volunteer experiences. The Bachelor of Social Work Program will evaluate college or university credit hours completed from qualified accredited higher education programs.
    • If open to incoming freshmen – how many hours per week am I expected to study?
      For every one credit hour in which you enroll, you will spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying. For example, using the following formula: 3 credit hours (1 course) = 3 hours in class per week or 6 - 9 hours study time per week.
    • Are there any scholarship opportunities?
      The University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work offers several sources of financial aid available to qualified students, including scholarships, grants, and loans. For further information, please visit the Financial Aid Office website at http://louisville.edu/financialaid/. A few scholarships and stipends are also awarded in the Bachelor of Social Work Program based on donors’ specifications regarding eligibility.
    • For transfer students – how many credits can I transfer into the program?
      General Education transfer credits are often evaluated on a case-by-case basis with a BSW Academic Counselor or via the university’s up-to-date library known as the Transfer Evaluation System (TES) database that reviews transfer equivalencies of educational institutions across the country.
    • Can I attend the BSW online program as a part-time student?
      Yes, BSW offers a part-time program for the lower division and the first year of the upper division. Currently, the senior year of the BSW Program is designed to be full-time due to practicum requirements and co-requisite courses. Please note: the BSW Program is currently working on a part-time curriculum plan for the senior year to be implemented in the future. It is ideal for students who seek to earn their degree without giving up their job or other obligations. The part-time option allows students to complete their coursework within the time that works best for them.