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Social work is a profession devoted to helping people solving problems and issues in their lives. The social worker is guided by a professional code of ethics on assisting people to achieve an effective level of psychosocial functioning and effecting social change to improve the well being of everyone. Social work is founded on the principles of service; social and economic justice; personal dignity and worth; the importance of human relationships; integrity; and competence.

If you are interested in helping others and making your concern for people a career, social work may be the profession for you. Social workers are involved in addressing some of society's most pressing issues such as poverty; abuse and neglect; mental illness; and juvenile crime – to name just a few. The profession can be very rewarding to those who like to make a difference.

Dr. Valerie Bryan

Interim Program Director
USA offers the Bachelor of Social Work program, which prepares students for the entry level practice of social work. Bachelor's level social workers are usually on the front line in social welfare agencies, dealing with a wide range of social problems. The bachelor's degree in social work prepares students for membership in professional organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers, and to sit for the state licensing examination.

The Social Work Program at the University of South Alabama is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Please feel free to examine the social work web page which contains information about program requirements; admission to the major; and the faculty.

Ms. Laurie Haas,
Social Work Field Instruction Coordinator

Congratulations to the Social Work Student Award winners for 2011!

Ms. Kim Pettway


Dr. Michael R. Daley
Professor of Social Work
Overview of the Program
The BSW program at USA utilizes a generalist method of practice. The program defines its generalist method as:

Generalist practice in social work is multi-system, involving the promotion of human well-being though work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. This method is based on a problem solving framework and is multi-theory in that it bases the practice approach on an analysis of problems and situations, thus basing interventions on the problem(s). Generalist practice stems from a strong base of social work, knowledge, values, ethics, and skills. It is based on a person-in environment perspective and is sensitive to diversity, the community, and issues of social and economic justice.

The BSW program's mission is:


The program mission for Social Work at the University of South Alabama is to prepare competent, effective entry level social work professionals to address the social welfare needs of the Gulf Coast and Southwest Alabama regions. The program has a strong commitment to provide professional leadership to the region in terms of social work education, service to the community and in scholarly endeavors. In order to be attuned to the community context of social work in this region, the program is committed to promoting well being though the exploration of both urban and rural community practice, the foundations of the social work profession, the person-in-environment perspective, liberal arts preparation, diversity, poverty, social and economic justice, and a strong value base for practice.

Social work has developed goals based on its mission and they are:

  • Program graduates will be prepared for competent, entry level generalist professional social work with diverse groups and populations-at-risk in both urban and rural communities, and who are effective in enhancing human well-being.
  • Program graduates will be able to employ critical thinking skills and research knowledge in order to ethically evaluate policy and practice, and advocate for change in organizations and communities, and add to social work knowledge.
  • Program graduates will be capable of integrating social work knowledge, values and skills into entry level ethical social work practice with systems of all sizes with an emphasis on the needs of the Gulf Coast and Southwest Alabama.
  • Program graduates will have the demonstrated capacity to identify with the profession and take an active role in professional leadership.
  • The program faculty will be active in service to the broader Mobile and Southwest Alabama community and social work profession and contribute to the knowledge base of the profession, particularly in relation to regional issues.

If you have questions about the social work program please feel free to contact the Interim Program Director at or (251)414-8041.

Social Work Admission Policy and Procedures
The social work program has developed a policy and procedures for admission to the major that are consistent with the goals and objectives of the BSW program. The policies and procedures insure that students have a liberal arts base, demonstrate a beginning knowledge of social work and identification with the profession, have content in diversity, populations-at-risk, and social and economic justice, and can demonstrate effective communication skills prior to entry into the professional foundation. BSW program admission policies and procedures are as follows:

Admission Policy

Students who want to major in social work are admitted to the pre-professional social work major and remain in the pre-professional major until they meet requirements to be admitted into the social work major. The policy is applicable to all students: new freshmen, transfer students, and students changing their major. In order to be admitted into the social work major, students must meet the following criteria:
  • Have a 2.60 overall GPA in courses taken at USA.
  • Have completed SW 200, SW 212, and SW 214 with a grade of C or better.
  • Have completed either the BLY 101/102 or BLY 121/122 sequence or BLY 101 or 121 and a second laboratory science with a C or better in both courses and labs.
  • Have completed EH 101 and EH 102 with a grade of C or better.
  • Have completed the Math requirement.
  • Have completed the Statistics requirement.
  • Have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  • Meet all requirements specified by the program for demonstrating behavior consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics.

Students who are considering pursuing a major in social work should consult with a social work advisor at the earliest opportunity. There may be factors in a student's past that could affect the ability to obtain a professional social work license. Examples of factors that may need to be discussed with the advisor might include conviction of a felony or misdemeanor, or the revocation or surrender of another professional license.

Admission Procedures for Entrance into Social Work Major

Once the student has completed the specified requirements the student must make application for admission to the social work major. Students are encouraged to consult with their social work advisor prior to submitting this application. Here are the Curriculum Requirements in PDF form.

The student's application for admission to the major will be reviewed by the BSW program faculty and a determination will be made on whether or not the student will be admitted to the major. Following this determination the student will be notified in writing concerning the faculty decision.

Once admitted to the major, the Social Work program will administratively change the student's major from the pre-social work major to the social work major. The student will need to meet with an advisor to sign a form indicating his/her understanding and acceptance of the criteria for continuing as a social work major. Those criteria include:

  • Maintain a 2.50 grade point average in social work courses.
  • Maintain an overall 2.60 grade point average at USA.
  • Demonstrate acceptable professional conduct, personal integrity and emotional stability requisite for effective social work practice.
  • Demonstrate identification with the profession of social work
  • Demonstrate behavior consistent with Code of Ethics for the National Association of Social Workers.

Students who have not been admitted to the major may not enroll in SW 302, SW310, SW 401, SW 402, SW 412, or SW 414.


FRESHMAN and SOPHOMORE YEARS – Pre-professional Social Work

Written Composition
EH 101 English Composition I (min gr. C)
EH 102 English Composition II (min gr. C)

Natural Sciences & Math
MA 110 or higher
BLY 101 and lab (4 cr. hrs.)
Lab Science (4 cr. hrs.)
ST 210 Stat Reasoning & App

History/Social & Behavioral Sciences (no more than 6 hrs. in one discipline)
History elective* (HY 101, 102, 135, or 136)
SY 109 Intro to Sociology
PSY 120 Intro to Psychology
ECO 216 Macroeconomics OR AN 100 Intro to Cultural AN OR 2nd HY to complete sequence

Humanities and Fine Arts (no more than 6 hrs. in one discipline)
Fine Arts Elective (ARH 100, ARH 103, ARH 123, ARS 101, DRA 110, MUL 101)
Literature elective* (EH 215, 216, 225, 226, 235, or 236)
2nd Lit to complete sequence OR Humanities/FA/Literature elective if HY seq completed
Humanities/FA/ elective

Additional Major, College, & USA requirements
CA 110 Public Speaking
Foreign Language I
Foreign Language II
CIS 150 Intro to Comp Applications or passing score on CPE
CAS 100 New Student Seminar (freshmen only)
SW 200 Intro to Social Work (min gr. C)
SW 212 Intro to Social Welfare (min gr. C)
SW 214 Soc Wrk Skills & Fld Exp (min gr. C)

Total Credits:  67 for freshman, 65 for transfer students      

*Must have one history elective and one literature elective.  In addition, you must choose a second history or literature to complete a two-part sequence.  (Part I & II of same subject.) 
Only 64 hours can be transferred into USA from a Community or Junior College.

Social Work Major

Junior Year: 1st semester
SW 201 HB & SE I
SY 381 Soc Research Meth I 
SW 301 Social Welfare Policy 
SW Field of Practice Elective

Junior Year: 2nd semester
SW 302 HB & SE II
SY 382 Soc Res Meth II
SW 401 Gen. Pract I   
SW 310 Comm. Context
SY 220 Marriage & Fam

Senior Year: 1st semester
SW 402 Generalist Practice II
SY 445 Maj/Min Relations (W)  

Senior Year: 2nd semester
SW 412 Field Instr (12 cr)
SW 414 Senior Semin. (W)          
Electives (if needed) to reach 128 hours


Social Work as a Second Bachelor's Degree
Students who already have an undergraduate degree and wish to pursue the Bachelor of Social Work as a second degree must meet the following requirements:
  • Meet the general education requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Meet the general education requirements specific to Social Work including:
    • Biology
    • Statistics
    • Diversity
    • Ethics
    Complete the following courses in the major:
    • SW 200
    • SW 212
    • SW 214
    • SW 201
    • SW 301
    • SW 302
    • SW 310
    • SW 401
    • SW 402
    • SW 412
    • SW 414
    • SW Elective
    • SY 220
    • SW 381 & 382
    • SY 445
    Total: 56 Semester Credit Hours

Program Policies and Procedures:

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The University of South Alabama Social Work Program BSW Student Handbook

Field Instruction Manual

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2013

Social Work Associations:

National Association of Social Workers
Council on Social Work Education
Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners
Rural Social Work Caucus

University of South Alabama
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