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Bachelor of Social Work Degree
The social work program at UCM prepares students to enter a helping profession. Required coursework and the social work field practicum equip students with the knowledge, skills, and values for entry-level (generalist) social work practice and for advancement to graduate-level study.
Social workers engage various size client systems to identify needs or concerns and solutions that improve challenges. Social services are for everyone. Those without problems can benefit from strategies to maintain wellness and to function at an optimal level. Social workers are involved in helping people to resolve emotional, social, and economic problems, and engage in political advocacy. Professional social work education prepares students to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities at all ages of the life span and in various fields of practice. Social work students are expected to follow the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, and to demonstrate the core values of the profession, which include service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.
Social workers are employed in a wide variety of community agencies and social institutions. Child welfare or family services social workers may help single parents find needed resources and strengthen social supports, arrange for homemaker services during a parent's illness, and locate foster homes for abused, abandoned, or neglected children. Mental health social workers provide social rehabilitation, crisis intervention, and training in skills of everyday living for persons with mental or emotional problems. They may work with members of a multidisciplinary team to support optimum functioning within the community. Health care social workers teach patients and their families to cope with serious illnesses and injuries. They often help to facilitate needed services for continuing care or rehabilitation. Gerontology social workers specialize in providing services to elderly individuals and their families to maximize the quality of life through individualized planning and coordination of services. New and different fields of practice continue to emerge and currently include social work with new immigrants, economic social work, military social work, social work and law, and veterinarian social work. Social workers are the largest providers of mental health and the VA is the largest employer of Clinical Social Workers. An MSW degree, two years of supervision and passing the appropriate ASWB exam(s) are required to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Most of the required social work courses are taken during the junior and senior years. Classes are offered during the daytime on campus in Warrensburg and an evening program is offered at the UCM Summit Center in Lee's Summit. Students are assigned to a social work faculty member for advisement to ensure timely progress through the requirements for the degree, to explore the match between the student and the profession, to engage in career planning which may include graduate education, and to answer questions. Students are required to complete forty hours of volunteer work in an agency during the first semester of the junior year, and a 500-hour practicum in the last semester of the program. A formal admissions procedure is required which includes an application accompanied by an autobiographical essay, an updated transcript, three references, and an interview with the admissions committee during the second semester of the junior year. The program requires effective oral and written communication skills, and courses are writing intensive. All courses required in the social work major must be completed with a grade of C or above.
The Social Work Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Graduates of accredited programs are generally more desirable to employers, are eligible to apply for a baccalaureate social work license in Missouri and other states, and they are eligible to apply for advanced standing admission to graduate schools of social work.
Social work students are encouraged to participate in the Association of Social Work Students, which is open to any student interested in the social work profession, and the Phi Alpha Honor Society, UCM's chapter of the national social work honor society.
To Learn More
Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work