Apr 20, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
2016-2017 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 for over 40 years.

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 wellbeing 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.

Major Requirements

Criteria for completion of the BSW degree:

Requirement 1.

Completion of all the general degree requirements as stated earlier in this catalog.

Requirement 2.

Completion of at least 120 semester hours of academic work with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale).

Requirement 3.

Achievement of a minimum grade of “C” in all Social Work Courses. Credit/No Credit option is not available in the major.

Requirement 5.

Completion of the following related requirements:

Technology Requirements

Computer competency will be demonstrated by successful completion of SW 397 - Research Methods (3)  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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