Feb 18, 2020  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, B.S.W.

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A major in Social Work provides preparation for beginning level generalist social work practice in many human service fields. Students graduating with this major are immediately eligible to become licensed Social Work professionals who affect change in the feelings, attitudes and behaviors of a client, whether an individual, family, group, organization or community. Social Work is a popular major for students who want hands-on learning experiences in fields like hospitals, mental health centers, elderly care facilities, schools, child welfare or family services, shelters, courts, and many other types of social service agencies. Students completing a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree are also well prepared to enter a graduate program in Social Work, often completing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree with only an additional year of study.

The Avila University Bachelor of Social Work Department has been continually accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1974.

The Avila BSW program will accept social work courses transferred from another BSW program accredited by CSWE, only if they are deemed equivalent to the Avila Social Work major required courses and are below 352 level. In accordance with CSWE Standards, no credit is given for life or work experience. In addition, field placement practice courses are not transferable from non-accredited social work programs.

Mission Statement for the Department of Social Work

The Department of Social Work at Avila University “seeks to provide a values-based education, grounded in the liberal arts, preparing generalist BSW practitioners for effective social work practice and graduate studies, as well as lifelong professional and personal learning integrating knowledge, skills, and values.   Informed in the Catholic tradition and in the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the program is dedicated to the formation of culturally competent social workers as social change agents in a global community who, through ethical practice, are committed to the well-being of self and others, engaged in the pursuit of social and economic justice, empowerment of vulnerable populations, human rights, and the advancement of social work knowledge through research and practice.”


Students may immediately declare a Social Work major and begin taking Social Work classes. There is also a formal application process for final admission to the major. The process is described in the Social Work Department Student Handbook and on the Avila Social Work Department website. Additionally, prior to field experiences in SW 280 , SW 303 , SW 495  or SW 496 , field agencies may require a criminal and/or child abuse background check.

Core Requirements

All students must complete the Avila University Core Curriculum as a part of their degree programs. The Core consists of a minimum of 39 credit hours that meet the requirements listed below. Please go to Core Curriculum  for more information and to view all Core classes.

Core Foundations (9-11 credit hours)

Foundations requirements provide the basic skills essential for effective participation in other classes as well as the professional world.

Core Pillars & Levels (30 credit hours)

Pillars and Levels requirements address the breadth of knowledge expected of a liberal arts education and challenges students to integrate prior knowledge and create new ideas through higher levels of coursework.

Cross-Application Note: All courses that meet a Pillar also meet a Level and may meet a Designation requirement. Some courses taken for major and/or minor requirements may also meet Core requirements.

    Social Justice & Civic Life Pillar 
(6 credit hours required)

Creativity & Culture Pillar
(6 credit hours required)

Belief & Reason Pillar
(6 credit hours required)
Explorations of Nature Pillar 
(6 credit hours required)

24 credit hours required 












6 credit hours required CONTRIBUTE LEVEL




Core Designations

Core Component Designations requirements incorporate assignments and experiences focused on developing and deepening student understanding to prepare students for responsible lifelong contributions to the global community.

CORE Designations

Interdisciplinary Studies (IS)

(9 credit hours)

Global Studies (GS)    

(9 credit hours)     

Community Engagement (CE)    

(3 credit hours) 







Transfer Students

The Core Component Designations requirement for transfer students is determined by the number of credit hours transferred to Avila University. Please see the Transfer Students  page within this catalog.


As noted above, courses can have multiple designations and thus meet multiple requirements at once.

Example: BI 215 - Humans & the Environment (3)  meets all of the following requirements:

  • Belief & Reason Nature Pillar
  • Transform Level
  • Global Studies (GS) Designation
  • Major Requirement

Major Requirements

Criteria for completion of the BSW degree:

Students completing the BSW degree in Social Work must complete all the general degree requirements as stated earlier in this catalog, complete at least 120 semester hours of academic work with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), achieve a minimum grade of “C” in all Social Work Courses (the credit/no credit option is not available in the major), and complete at least 45 semester hours of Social Work courses, including the courses below.

Technology Requirement

Computer competency will be demonstrated by successful completion of the following course with a grade of “C” or higher:


Program Goals and Student Competencies:

Goal 1: To prepare students for graduate studies and as entry level generalist social work practitioners (EP 2.1.1), applying ethical (EP 2.1.2) decision-making (EP 2.1.3) based on social work values, standards, knowledge, skills, and Avila’s Catholic tradition.

  • Competency 2.1.1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  • Competency 2.1.2: Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
  • Competency 2.1.3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.


Goal 2: To prepare practitioners who are grounded in evidence-informed (EP 2.1.3, EP 2.1.6) practice to work with diverse (EP 2.1.4) individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (EP 2.1.10) viewing personal and social issues through global, strengths, and empowerment perspectives (EP 2.1.4, EP 2.1.9), identifying and affecting the bio-psycho-social, spiritual, and cultural functioning (EP 2.1.7) of people and their environments (EP 2.1.9).

  • Competency 2.1.3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  • Competency 2.1.4: Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  • Competency 2.1.6: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  • Competency 2.1.7: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
  • Competency 2.1.9: Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  • Competency 2.1.10: Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.


Goal 3: To prepare students who are committed to influence social policies (EP 2.1.8), deliver effective social services, advance social and economic justice, advocate for human rights (EP 2.1.5), and engage in professional growth and lifelong learning (EP 2.1.1).

  • Competency 2.1.1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  • Competency 2.1.5: Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  • Competency 2.1.8: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.


The Avila University Social Work Department is committed to excellence in social work education and considers ongoing assessment as essential in maintaining this standard. The Social Work Department assesses outcomes by utilizing a multi-modal assessment plan, which includes embedded course assignments and objective measurement activities. The resulting data from these assessment tools generate changes that improve, solidify, and enhance the overall Social Work Department. The current Assessment Plan and Results can be found on the Avila Social Work Department website.

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