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Social Work BSW

Be The Change

Social Workers are professionals who go out into the world and work with people to assist them in meeting life's challenges. By pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work, you will be prepared with the knowledge, skills, and values for entry-level (generalist) social work practice and for advancement to graduate level study.

Hands-on Experience

At UCM,  this program offers hands-on experience throughout your coursework to build your social work knowledge, values, and skills. As part of your coursework, you will volunteer in an agency, complete assignments where you will apply your knowledge and build your social work skills, and your final semester will be completed in a practicum agency where you will work with clients under supervision.You will also have opportunities to work with community members and on-campus in activities to explore interests and build skills. Faculty are experienced social work practitioners and ensure you have experience before you graduate.

Social Work Program

The Social Work Program at the University of Central Missouri offers a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW). 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.  Most of the required social work courses are taken during the junior and senior years.  A minor is not required with the social work major although students may select a minor, if desired.


Admission to the Social Work Program is required of all students interested in earning a BSW.  Students typically apply for admission and meet with the Admissions Committee during their junior year in the program.  A description of the admissions process can be found in the description of the Social Work Program and the UCM Undergraduate Catalog. 

Why Choose Social Work at UCM?

The Social Work Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and has been continuously accredited since 1986. This is your assurance that the program’s curriculum has been reviewed and is current and up-to-date, meeting the standards of the field’s accrediting body.

This program offers hands-on experience through a minimum of two volunteer experiences outside of classroom/campus activities. During one of your early social work courses, you will be volunteering in an agency for a semester to learn about what social workers do and to gain a greater understanding of the variety of settings where social workers can practice. The second experience is a high-impact learning experience in an agency that specializes in social work. You will assigned to an agency 32+ hours a week during your final semester where you will be working with clients under social work supervision. During this semester you have one other social work course which is focused on ethics and social work practice.

All social work faculty have worked as practitioners in the field. They bring practice experience and wisdom from the field to the classroom.

What will I study?

Social workers are involved in helping people to resolve emotional, social and economic problems and engage in political advocacy. You will learn about social work theory and concepts, assessment, and intervention. You will develop communication skills for working with clients. The interviewing, assessment, and intervention skills you develop will enable you to work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. You will learn about 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. Graduates of our program know how to ethically practice social work at the BSW level. 

How can I get involved outside the classroom?

We value engaging learning experiences that include student involvement and service-learning projects. Many of our courses will provide you opportunities for hands-on learning through projects and requirements. 

The Social Work Program regularly offers several opportunities for involvement and learning outside of the classroom, including:

Project Community Connect in the fall

Pursuit of Happiness Day in the spring

Take Back Your Time Day in the fall

Association of Social Work Students in Warrensburg and in Lee’s Summit

Phi Alpha Honor Society, UCM chapter of national honor society

Social Work Program’s Annual Conference held in March

Social work students can be in the Honors College or involved in undergraduate research and social work faculty serve as mentors for students’ projects. If you are interested in the McNair Scholars program, social work faculty members serve as research and/or program mentors.

UCM Social Work Program Class Locations -- Warrensburg and Lee's Summit

Courses leading to completion of the BSW Degree are available on the main campus and through UCM Lee's Summit.

This degree program is a challenging course of study designed for students interested in pursuing a four-year social work degree. Students, who complete the prerequisites and have an Associate of Arts Degree, enjoy a seamless transition to earn the BSW degree both on campus and at Lee’s Summit. If you have not completed SOWK 2600 Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work or an equivalent course prior to transferring to UCM, the course is offered in Warrensburg fall and spring semesters and online during the summer. 

The social work program courses leading to degree completion in Lee’s Summit require enrollment in the fall, spring, and summer semesters for two years. Classes are held Monday through Thursday nights in Lee's Summit and courses are taught by the same faculty who teach in Warrensburg.

Social Work program classes on the main campus in Warrensburg are typically scheduled Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the day. The social work program classes on campus require enrollment in fall and spring semesters.

If you are transferring to UCM from an area community college, please check the UCM Admissions information on Dual Admission (link to  

For more information about the Social Work Program at either location, please contact Dr. Marlys Peck, Social Work Program Director, 660-543-8227, Wood Building, Room 5.


The principal educational objective of the Social Work program is to prepare students for beginning level generalist social work practice. The Social Work baccalaureate program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). 

What do social workers do?

Social Work Profession

The social work profession works with people to assist them in strengthening and improving their abilities to meet the wide variety of life's challenges. Social workers are involved in helping people to resolve emotional, social, economic, and political problems. Social workers are employed in a wide variety of community agencies and social institutions and provide services to individuals across the lifespan, from birth to death.  BSW graduates find employment in state agencies providing services to children, youth and families; community agencies providing mental health services to children and adults; institutions and agencies providing healthcare; community agencies that provide services to families and children; and agencies and institutions that provide services to aging adults and their family member. Professional social workers practice within the scope of their professional education and competence, guided by the National Association of Social Workers' Code of Ethics. 

Where do Social Workers practice?  

Social workers practice in community agencies and organizations at the BSW level. They work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. There are many fields of practice including poverty and inequality; family and child welfare; health care and health challenges; physical, cognitive, and developmental challenges; mental health, substance use and addiction; older adults; and criminal justice. Social workers may be involved in working with communities around housing issues and environmentalism, they may work with veterans and their families, and some social workers are involved in international social work.  

Some examples include: 

domestic violence shelters

long-term care centers with older adults

substance abuse programs

rape crisis centers

probation and parole

juvenile justice centers


community support programs through mental health centers

job coaching and training programs

community agencies serving individuals with disabilities

working with individuals and families experiencing homelessness 

addressing food insecurity  

child welfare: foster care, adoption, assessment and investigation

adult protective services 

Employment of social workers is projected to grow 19 percent by 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Accreditation and Competencies

The Social Work Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  Accreditation by CSWE is recognition that the program has successfully met national standards guiding baccalaureate social work education. Graduates of accredited programs bring up-to-date knowledge and skills to work with groups, organizations, and communities in addition to individuals and families in any social service agency. 

Graduates from UCM are eligible for licensure at the baccalaureate level in Missouri and in Kansas; graduation from an accredited program is required for social work licensure and/or registration in all states that license/register baccalaureate social workers. Graduates of accredited programs may apply for advanced standing admission to graduate social work programs; if admitted to an advanced standing program, the student can complete the MSW degree in a shorter time period, typically 12 months (although program length may vary). Regular MSW program admission typically requires two years of graduate study. 

2018 BSW Competency Report

logo for Council on Social Work Education

The Council on Social Work Education accredits baccalaureate and master's level social work programs within the United States.

phi alpha logo

Phi Alpha is the National Honor Society for social work.


 Twitter link: @SW_UCM



Dr. Marlys Peck
Social Work Program Director
Wood 5
Tel: 660-543-8227


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