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School of Social Work

About the BSW Program

Welcome to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Professional Sequence Program and to the School of Social Work at California State University, Chico!

You are entering an exciting field of study and practice with countless career possibilities. Social Work is unique in its emphasis on social justice and work with the most vulnerable populations. The BSW program, which is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), prepares you for beginning professional generalist social work practice. A generalist approach requires that social workers have a foundation of knowledge and skills to access, analyze, plan, evaluate, and treat clients from diverse backgrounds in various settings and systems. This degree will enable you to work in many different settings such as health care, rehabilitation, criminal justice, schools, government agencies, mental health, child and adult protective services, counseling, and many others. We are proud to have a faculty with extensive experience in many different practice areas. CSU, Chico School of Social Work faculty members are eager to talk with students about their own social work experiences and to offer mentoring and support.

The faculty and staff of the School of Social Work have prepared the Student Handbook for the BSW Program to inform you about the School’s policies, procedures, and information regarding the program. It is important that you become familiar with the contents of the student handbook, as it will give you an overview of what to expect throughout your time in the program. It may save you considerable time and difficulty if you know this information from the beginning.

The School of Social Work is housed within the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and is also under the auspices of the Undergraduate Education. Therefore, the BSW Program is subject to the policies and procedures of those bodies as well as the University. To make yourself aware of those requirements, please become familiar with the most current version of the University Catalog.

As the policies and procedures of the School of Social Work are constantly under review and revision, please stay in close communication with the BSW Program personnel. The School of Social Work website is updated regularly and will give you the most current version of policies and procedures, as well as other valuable information. Your faculty adviser is also an important source of information.

BSW Program Overview

The BSW Professional Sequence Program is offered in two formats: the “traditional” campus-based program and the Distributed Learning format.

Students must apply for admission to the BSW program prior to starting the professional sequence of courses, which are reserved for Social Work majors. SWRK 170, SWRK 200, and SWRK 202 are considered the Social Work Core Courses and prerequisites that must be taken prior to beginning the BSW Professional Sequence Program

BSW Application Timeline: August 1st – September 15th each year

Please visit the BSW Application Information website for complete details!

Prerequisites

Applicants must complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter units) by end of Summer before starting the junior year. The 60 units must include all five of the General Education (GE) requirements including the Golden Four (A1-A4):

  • A1 Oral Communication (Golden Four)
  • A2 Written Communication (Golden Four)
  • A3 Critical Thinking (Golden Four)
  • A4 Quantitative Reasoning (Golden Four)

Applicants must complete or have in-progress the following 5 prerequisites. These courses may be completed at CSU, Chico or the articulated equivalents of these courses may be completed at a community college. These must be completed with a grade minimum of C and must be completed by the end of Summer before starting the applicant's Junior year:

  • BIOL 103 Human Anatomy or BIOL 104 Human Physiology (meets B2 Life Science)
  • ECON 101 Introduction to Economics, or ECON 102 Principles of Macroeconomic Analysis, or ECON 103 Principles of Microeconomic Analysis (ECON 102 meets D2 Societal Institutions; ECON 103 meets D1 Individual & Society)
  • MATH 105 Introduction to Statistics (meets A4 Quantitative Reasoning/Golden 4)
  • PSY 101 Principles of Psychology (meets E Learning for Life)
  • SOCI 100 Introduction to Sociology (meets D1 Individual & Society)

Applicants must complete or plan to complete the following 3 Social Work Core Courses by the end of fall semester of your junior year. These courses must be completed with a grade minimum of C:

  • SWRK 170 Social Welfare Institutions (meets D2 Societal Institutions)
  • SWRK 200 Diversity & Social Justice (meets US Diversity)
  • SWRK 202 Human Behavior Across the Lifespan

NOTE: Please be aware that California community colleges may offer the Social Work Core Courses. Students interested in the SWRK major must contact the BSW Program Director to determine if courses completed outside CSU, Chico meet the prerequisite criteria.

Students who plan to apply to the DL Program should consult with the DL Coordinator and/or DL Advisor to review your current academic standing and courses completed, as well as to discuss an academic plan.

Volunteer Hours

BSW applicants must gain 60 hours of human services experience through the completion of a volunteer or paid position. The volunteer requirement deadline is December 15th each year for that current application period. For complete details, visit Pre-Social Work BSW Volunteer Requirement website.

Note: Completion of SWRK 170 requires documentation of a minimum 10 hours of service learning or volunteer experience. Please contact the course instructor for specifics.

Social Work Major

Total units required for the bachelor’s degree: 120 units
Total course units for the Social Work Major: 60 units

Required Elective

One Social Work elective is required of all social work majors, in consultation with their major advisor.

Social Work Electives: SWRK 320, SWRK 474, SWRK 478, or SWRK 481

BSW Professional Sequence: 37 units

Traditional BSW Program:
Semester I (Spring): 13 units
Semester II (Fall): 12 units
Semester III (Spring): 12 units

Distributed Learning BSW Program:
Semester I (Spring): 10 units
Semester II (Summer): 6 units
Semester III (Fall): 12 units
Semester IV (Spring): 9 units

All courses must be taken in the sequence outlined.
For more details, please see all BSW course plans here. 

Credit for life experience or prior work experience in lieu of course work or the social work practicums is not permitted. Please refer to the BSW Student Handbook for more information regarding the school’s transfer of credit and proficiency exam policies. All social work courses required in the Professional Sequence are restricted to social work major.

In the event you drop, do not receive at least a grade of C, or take an incomplete in a required course, including the Social Work Core, you may be ineligible to progress in the major.

Professional Standards and Disqualification

The social work degree signifies readiness to begin professional work in positions requiring trust and high ethical standards. You are expected to meet the ethical and professional standards set by the profession and the practicum agencies. Should it be determined you do not meet such standards, you can be dropped from the practicum and all co-requisite social work courses and, thus, be prevented from completing the social work major.

The professional standards include the following:

  1. honoring the NASW Code of Ethics of the social work profession;
  2. being found acceptable and receiving at least a minimum satisfactory evaluation by practicum agencies;
  3. passing performance in SWRK 305, SWRK 489A, SWRK 489B;
  4. avoiding behavior that suggests potential harm to clients, colleagues, or themselves

Advising & Support

CSU, Chico utilizes a dual advising system to help students graduate on time! Undergraduate students are provided support through the Academic Advising Programs office as well as a major department advisor. While Academic Advisors help answer questions regarding General Education and Upper Division Pathway course requirements, campus policies and procedures, minors, and general University questions, the major department advisor can help with questions regarding major coursework, internships, and course substitutions.

Pre-admission & Transfer Advising for the BSW Traditional Program:

Pre-admission & Transfer Advising for the BSW Distributed Learning Program:

Major Advising:

Once admitted to the BSW program, students will be assigned a social work major advisor.

BSW Program Contact Information 

BSW Program Contact Information

Vincent Ornelas, MSW, PhD

BSW Director

Celeste A. Jones, MSW, PhD

Distributed Learning Coordinator

Jaime Nelson

Administrative Support Assistant II

Melissa Cheatham

Distributed Learning Advisor