social-work

Social work's special contribution rests on an established body of knowledge, values and skills pertinent to understanding human relationships and the interaction between people as individuals, in families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Undergraduates in the School of Social Work receive a liberal arts education in the social and behavioral sciences and their application to human problems that prepares them to be informed citizens involved in human services or social welfare problems and policies. Students take courses in a variety of social sciences to enable them to view social welfare in its broad social, economic, and political contexts.

Social work courses offer a theoretical understanding of social problems and an introduction to practice methods used by social workers. The curriculum covers such areas as aging, family and child welfare, poverty, mental health, developmental disabilities, alcohol and drug abuse, diversity, race and ethnicity, criminal justice, oppression and social, economic and environmental justice, and at-risk populations.

Mission

The mission of the UW–Madison School of Social Work is to enhance human well-being and promote human rights and social and economic justice for people who are disadvantaged to achieve an equitable, healthy, and productive society. The school aims to:

  • Create, advance, strengthen, and integrate interdisciplinary knowledge for students and the profession through research, scholarship, teaching and practice.
  • Educate students to become highly skilled, culturally competent and ethical practitioners who will provide effective leadership for the profession of social work within the State of Wisconsin, nationally, and internationally.
  • Promote change at levels ranging from the individual to national and international policy, including empowering communities and populations that are disadvantaged and developing humane service delivery systems.
  • Create and disseminate knowledge regarding the prevention and amelioration of social problems.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

The School of Social Work offers a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree or a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree with a major in social welfare. The BSW and the social welfare major prepare students for further academic study or for employment in selected human service arenas. The BSW prepares students as beginning-level professional social workers. The social welfare major offers an overview of current social problems.

Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major for social welfare majors and bachelor of social work students prepare undergraduates for research and scholarship in social work. Students interested in completing the requirements for Honors in the Major should consult with and apply for admission to the program with the social work academic advisor. Majors declare their intention to enter the program no later than the end of the spring semester of the junior year. Students must make arrangements with a faculty member to sponsor their research project before being admitted to the honors program.

Requirements for Honors in the Major include the following:

  1. a signed agreement between the student and the faculty research advisor sponsoring the Senior Honors Research Thesis;
  2. completion of the majors' statistics requirement;
  3. completion of SOC WORK 650 Methods of Social Work Research;
  4. completion of one social work elective related to honors thesis research topic;
  5. completion of the Senior Honors Research Thesis (SOC WORK 681 Senior Honors Thesis and SOC WORK 682 Senior Honors Thesis);
  6. completion of SOC WORK 579 Special Topics in Social Work: Faculty Research Seminar in the fall semester of the senior year; 
  7. and, presentation of the thesis results at a department colloquium.

Honors in the Major students are expected to maintain at least a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 and complete the regular major requirements and an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison. Students are encouraged to apply to the Honors in the Major as early as possible, but no later than the spring semester of their junior year.

Honors in the Major Procedures

  • Meet with an academic advisor to discuss Honors in the Major requirements.
  • Determine faculty research advisor (no later than end of the spring semester of junior year). The faculty research advisor for the senior honors thesis should be consulted about the project as early as possible to formulate a topic.
  • Declare entry into Honors in the Major (no later than the end of the spring semester of junior year).
  • Submit signed Faculty Advisor Agreement form to the academic advisor.

Honors in the Major Course Requirements

By the end of the Junior Year complete:
Statistics
STAT 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods3
or STAT 371 Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
SOC/​C&E SOC  360 Statistics for Sociologists I4
PSYCH 210 Basic Statistics for Psychology3
or PSYCH 280 Honors Basic Statistics for Psychology
Social Work
SOC WORK 650 Methods of Social Work Research3
Soc Work Elective (related to thesis topic)
Fall Semester of Senior Year
SOC WORK 579 Special Topics in Social Work1
SOC WORK 681 Senior Honors Thesis3
Spring Semester of Senior Year
SOC WORK 682 Senior Honors Thesis3
Thesis Presentation

Independent Work

Students with an interest in a particular area of study may develop a plan of independent work with the assistance of an interested faculty member. They may obtain information about instructors and their areas of interest from the School of Social Work website. Consent of instructor is required for the following course offerings in independent work:

SOC WORK 681
SOC WORK 682
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis (year-long course)
6
SOC WORK 691
SOC WORK 692
Senior Thesis
and Senior Thesis (year-long course)
4
SOC WORK 699 Directed Study1-3

15 Credit Rule

All students are required to fulfill the L&S requirement of 15 credits of upper-level work in the major taken in residence. Courses that count toward this requirement for Social Work and Social Welfare are:

SOC WORK 650 Methods of Social Work Research3
SOC/​C&E SOC  357 Methods of Sociological Inquiry3-4
PSYCH 225 Research Methods4
SOC WORK 457 Human Behavior and the Environment3
SOC WORK 640 Social Work with Ethnic and Racial Groups3
SOC WORK 441 Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups1-3
SOC WORK 442 Generalist Practice with Communities and Organizations1-2
SOC WORK 612 Psychopathology for Generalist Social Work Practice3
Social work electives designated as I or A.

Certificate Programs

BSW students and social welfare majors often choose the following certificate programs: American Indian studies, business, criminal justice, gender and women's studies, gerontology, global cultures, global health, LGBT studies, and religious studies.

Accreditation

The BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The social welfare major is accredited along with the rest of the College of Letters and Science by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate School

BSW students completing professional foundation courses with a grade of B or better are eligible for advanced standing in the master's program. For more information see the School of Social Work website FAQs on "Admissions: Advanced Standing & Exemptions."

Students enter the School of Social Work for either Social Welfare or Social Work begin by declaring the social welfare major. Later, if a student applies to and is accepted into the bachelor of social work program (see admissions requirements below) the major is changed to social work.

In either their freshman or sophomore  years, students begin their program of study by taking SOC WORK 205 Introduction to the Field of Social Work and SOC WORK 206 Introduction to Social Policy in fall and spring semesters.  When they are enrolled in or have taken SOC WORK 205 and/or SOC WORK 206, students declare the social welfare major. In the spring of the junior year, students apply for admission to the BSW program for their senior year.

Admission to the BSW Program

In the spring of the junior year, students who meet the following eligibility criteria apply for admission to the BSW program:

  • SOC WORK 205 Introduction to the Field of Social Work and SOC WORK 206 Introduction to Social Policy completed;
  • Statistics completed (or concurrent enrollment);
  • Second-semester junior status (minimum of 71 credits completed); and
  • Minimum of 2.5 overall GPA from all colleges attended.

Admission to the bachelor of social work (BSW) program is based on assessment of the applicant's background, preparation and experience for practice in the field of social work. Approximately 30–35 students are admitted to the bachelor of social work program each year. Application for admission includes:

  • A personal statement on reasons for undergraduate studies in social work including any life experiences that have led the student to pursue a social work degree;
  • A summary describing social work or social work-related paid or volunteer experiences, research or community projects, multicultural experiences, and/or work abroad;
  • A letter of recommendation; and
  • An official transcript (s) from each college attended.

After acceptance, the student completes the Social Work Practice course sequence (fall and spring semesters).

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Because the School of Social Work is a professional school within the College of Letters & Science (L&S), the college confers the BSW degree As part of the BSW degree, students also complete the standard requirements of either the bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.).

Complete either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science requirements:

Bachelor of Arts Requirements

Mathematics: Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a and Quantitative Reasoning b coursework.

Foreign Language: Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; or complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language. (A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.)

L&S Breadth:
Humanities:
12 credits;

  • must include 6 credits in literature

Social Sciences: 12 credits
Natural Sciences: 12 credits:

  • must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences
  • must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences

Liberal Arts and Science coursework: 108 credits

Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work: 60 intermediate or advanced credits

Major: Declare and complete at least one (1) major

Total Credits: 120 credits

UW–Madison Experience:
         30 credits in residence, overall
         30 credits in residence after the 90th credit

Minimum GPAs:
         2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
         2.000 in intermediate/advanced liberal arts and science coursework at UW–Madison

Bachelor of Science Requirements

Mathematics: Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced-level MATHCOMP SCISTAT
          Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT

Foreign Language: Complete the third unit of a foreign language. (A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.)

L&S Breadth:

Humanities: 12 credits;

  •  must include 6 credits in literature

Social Sciences: 12 credits

Natural Sciences: 12 credits:
         must include 6 credits in biological science
         must include 6 credits in physical science

Liberal Arts and Science Coursework: 108 credits

Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Work: 60 intermediate or advanced credits

Major: Declare and complete at least one (1) major

Total Credits: 120 credits

UW–Madison Experience:
         30 credits in residence, overall
         30 credits in residence after the 90th credit

Minimum GPAs:
         2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
         2.000 in intermediate/advanced liberal arts and science coursework at UW–Madison

Requirements for the Major:

Social Welfare Policy and Services

Complete the following two courses:
SOC WORK 205 Introduction to the Field of Social Work4
SOC WORK 206 Introduction to Social Policy4

Social Science Concentration

Select two intermediate- or advanced-level courses (I or A) from one of the following social science departments:

Afro-American Studies

AFROAMER 302 Undergraduate Studies in Afro-American History (when topic is appropriate)3
AFROAMER/​HISTORY  321 Afro-American History Since 19003-4
AFROAMER/GEN&WS 323 Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History3
AFROAMER/GEN&WS 333 Black Feminisms3
AFROAMER/​HISTORY  347 The Caribbean and its Diasporas3
AFROAMER/​HISTORY  393 Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-18773-4
AFROAMER/ASIAN AM 443 Mutual Perceptions of Racial Minorities3
AFROAMER/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  523 Race, American Medicine and Public Health3
AFROAMER/​ED POL  567 History of African American Education3
AFROAMER 631 Colloquium in Afro-American History3
AFROAMER 671 Selected Topics in Afro-American History (when topic is appropriate)3
AFROAMER 673 Selected Topics in Afro-American Society (when topic is appropriate)3

American Indian Studies

AMER IND/ANTHRO 314 Indians of North America3
AMER IND/ANTHRO 353 Indians of the Western Great Lakes3
AMER IND/​LSC  444 Native American Environmental Issues and the Media3
AMER IND 450 Issues in American Indian Studies (when topic is appropriate)3
AMER IND/HISTORY 490 American Indian History3-4
AMER IND/HDFS 522 American Indian Families3
AMER IND/SOC 578 Poverty and Place3

Anthropology

ANTHRO 300 Cultural Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography3
ANTHRO/AMER IND 314 Indians of North America3
ANTHRO 321 The Emergence of Human Culture3
ANTHRO 330 Topics in Ethnology (when topic is appropriate)3-4
ANTHRO/RELIG ST 343 Anthropology of Religion3-4
ANTHRO 350 Political Anthropology3-4
ANTHRO/AMER IND 353 Indians of the Western Great Lakes3
ANTHRO 365 Medical Anthropology3
ANTHRO/GEN&WS 443 Anthropology by Women3
ANTHRO 448 Anthropology of Law3
ANTHRO 477 Anthropology, Environment, and Development3
ANTHRO 545 Psychological Anthropology3
ANTHRO/​ED POL  570 Anthropology and Education3

Asian American Studies

ASIAN AM/SOC 220 Ethnic Movements in the United States3-4
ASIAN AM 240 Topics in Asian American Studies (when topic is appropriate)3
ASIAN AM/HISTORY 276 Chinese Migrations since 15003-4
ASIAN AM/AFROAMER 443 Mutual Perceptions of Racial Minorities3

Chican@ and Latin@ Studies

CHICLA/POLI SCI 231 Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies3-4
CHICLA/​GEN&WS/​HISTORY  245 Chicana and Latina History3
CHICLA 301 Chicana/o and Latina/o History3
CHICLA/​POLI SCI  302 Mexican-American Politics3-4
CHICLA 330 Topics in Chicano/a Studies (when topic is appropriate)3-4
CHICLA/GEN&WS 332 Latinas: Self Identity and Social Change3
CHICLA/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  422 Latino History and Politics3
CHICLA/HISTORY 435 Colony, Nation, and Minority: The Puerto Ricans' World3
CHICLA/​SOC  470 Sociodemographic Analysis of Mexican Migration3

Economics

ECON/​FINANCE  300 Introduction to Finance3
ECON 301 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory4
ECON 302 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory4
ECON/​A A E/​REAL EST/​URB R PL  306 The Real Estate Process3
ECON 311 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment3
ECON 312 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment3
ECON/A A E/ENVIR ST 343 Environmental Economics3-4
ECON 364 Survey of International Economics3-4
ECON 390 Contemporary Economic Issues (when topic is appropriate)3
ECON/URB R PL 420 Urban and Regional Economics3
ECON 441 Analytical Public Finance3-4
ECON 448 Human Resources and Economic Growth3-4
ECON/POLI SCI 449 Government and Natural Resources3-4
ECON 450 Wages and the Labor Market3-4
ECON 467 International Industrial Organizations3-4
ECON/A A E/ECON 474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
ECON 475 Economics of Growth3-4
ECON 508 Wealth and Income3
ECON 521 Game Theory and Economic Analysis3-4
ECON 522 Law and Economics3-4
ECON/PHILOS 524 Philosophy and Economics3
ECON/​A A E/​F&W ECOL  531 Natural Resource Economics3
ECON/​POP HLTH/​PUB AFFR  548 The Economics of Health Care3-4
ECON 623 Population Economics3-4
ECON/URB R PL 641 Housing Economics and Policy3
ECON/SOC 663 Population and Society3

Gender and Women's Studies

GEN&WS/SOC 215 Gender and Work in Rural America3
GEN&WS/CHICLA/HISTORY 245 Chicana and Latina History3
GEN&WS 320 Special Topics in Gender, Women and Society (when topic is appropriate)1-3
GEN&WS/AFROAMER 323 Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History3
GEN&WS 331 Topics in Gender/Class/Race/Ethnicity (Social Sciences) (when topic is appropriate)3
GEN&WS/CHICLA 332 Latinas: Self Identity and Social Change3
GEN&WS/AFROAMER 333 Black Feminisms3
GEN&WS 340 Topics in LGBTQ Sexuality (when topic is appropriate)3
GEN&WS 342 Transgender Studies3-4
GEN&WS/HISTORY 353 Women and Gender in the U.S. to 18703-4
GEN&WS/HISTORY 354 Women and Gender in the U.S. Since 18703-4
GEN&WS/​HISTORY  392 Women in History3-4
GEN&WS 420 Women in Cross-Societal Perspective3
GEN&WS 424 Women's International Human Rights3
GEN&WS 426 Women and Grassroots Politics Across the Globe3
GEN&WS 427 Global Feminisms3
GEN&WS/HIST SCI/MED HIST 431 Childbirth in the United States3
GEN&WS 441 Contemporary Feminist Theories3
GEN&WS/ANTHRO 443 Anthropology by Women3
GEN&WS/SOC 477 Feminism and Sociological Theory3
GEN&WS/HISTORY 519 Sexuality, Modernity and Social Change3
GEN&WS/PSYCH 522 Psychology of Women and Gender3
GEN&WS 534 Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction: Public Health Perspectives3
GEN&WS/INTL ST 535 Women's Global Health and Human Rights3
GEN&WS 547 Theorizing Intersectionality3
GEN&WS/​C&E SOC/​SOC  601 Sociology of Work, Family, and Gender3
GEN&WS/​SOC  611 Gender, Science and Technology3

Political Science

POLI SCI 205 Introduction to State Government3-4
POLI SCI 206 Introduction to Political Psychology3-4
POLI SCI 207 Introduction to Afro-American Politics3-4
POLI SCI/​LEGAL ST  217 Law, Politics and Society3-4
POLI SCI/​CHICLA  231 Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies3-4
POLI SCI 272 Introduction to Public Policy3-4
POLI SCI/​CHICLA  302 Mexican-American Politics3-4
POLI SCI 304 The Political Economy of Race in the United States3-4
POLI SCI 305 Elections and Voting Behavior3-4
POLI SCI 308 Public Administration3-4
POLI SCI 309 Civil Liberties in the United States3-4
POLI SCI 311 United States Congress3-4
POLI SCI 314 Criminal Law and Justice3-4
POLI SCI 354 International Institutions and World Order3-4
POLI SCI 348 Analysis of International Relations3-4
POLI SCI 350 International Political Economy3-4
POLI SCI 351 Politics of the World Economy3-4
POLI SCI 353 The Third World in the International System3-4
POLI SCI 356 Principles of International Law3-4
POLI SCI 405 State Government and Public Policy3-4
POLI SCI 408 The American Presidency3-4
POLI SCI 409 American Parties and Politics3-4
POLI SCI 410 Citizenship, Democracy, and Difference4
POLI SCI 411
POLI SCI 412
The American Constitution : Powers and Structures of Government
and The American Constitution: Rights and Civil Liberties
8
POLI SCI 416 Community Power and Grass Roots Politics3
POLI SCI 417 The American Judicial System3-4
POLI SCI/​CHICLA/​HISTORY  422 Latino History and Politics3
POLI SCI/​GEN&WS  429 Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective3-4
POLI SCI/​INTL ST  431 Contentious Politics3-4
POLI SCI 432 Comparative Legal Institutions3-4
POLI SCI/​INTL ST  434 The Politics of Human Rights3-4
POLI SCI/​INTL ST  439 The Comparative Study of Genocide3-4
POLI SCI/​GEN&WS  469 Women and Politics3-4
POLI SCI 470 The First Amendment3-4
POLI SCI 507 Health Policy and Health Politics3-4
POLI SCI 510 Politics of Government Regulation3-4
POLI SCI 514 Interest Group Politics3-4
POLI SCI 515 Public Opinion3-4
POLI SCI 516 Political Communications3-4
POLI SCI 561 Radical Political Theory3-4
POLI SCI 654 Politics of Revolution3-4

Psychology

PSYCH 311 Issues in Psychology1-4
PSYCH/​SOC  350 Human Sexuality4
PSYCH 405 Abnormal Psychology3-4
PSYCH 408 Psychology of Human Emotions3
PSYCH 413 Language, Mind, and Brain3
PSYCH 414 Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH/​SOC  456 Introductory Social Psychology3-4
PSYCH 460 Developmental Psychology3-4
PSYCH 464 Adult Development and Aging3
PSYCH 488 Honors Psychology of Human Emotions3
PSYCH 501 Depth Topic (when topic is appropriate)4
PSYCH 502 Cognitive Development4
PSYCH 503 Social Development4
PSYCH 507 Psychology of Personality3
PSYCH 508 Psychology of Human Emotions: From Biology to Culture4
PSYCH 511 Behavior Pathology: Neuroses3
PSYCH 512 Behavior Pathology-Psychoses3
PSYCH/​GEN&WS  522 Psychology of Women and Gender3
PSYCH 526 The Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives4
PSYCH 528 Introduction to Cultural Psychology3
PSYCH 581 Honors Depth Topic (when the topic is appropriate)4
PSYCH 582 Honors Cognitive Development4
PSYCH 583 Honors Social Development4
PSYCH 586 Honors seminar: The Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives4
PSYCH 607 Introduction to Clinical Psychology3

Sociology

SOC 181 Honors Introductory Seminar-The Sociological Enterprise3-4
SOC/​C&E SOC  210 Survey of Sociology3-4
SOC/​C&E SOC  211 The Sociological Enterprise3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​GEN&WS  215 Gender and Work in Rural America3
SOC/​ASIAN AM  220 Ethnic Movements in the United States3-4
SOC 250 Organizations and Society3-4
SOC/PSYCH 350 Human Sexuality4
SOC/POP HLTH/C&E SOC 380 Contemporary Population Problems for Honors3
SOC 421 Processes of Deviant Behavior3-4
SOC 441 Criminology3-4
SOC 446 Juvenile Delinquency3-4
SOC/​C&E SOC  475 Classical Sociological Theory3
SOC/GEN&WS 477 Feminism and Sociological Theory3
SOC 496 Topics in Sociology (when topic is appropriate)1-3
SOC/​PSYCH  456 Introductory Social Psychology3-4
SOC 531 Sociology of Medicine3
SOC/​C&E SOC  532 Health Care Issues for Individuals, Families and Society3
SOC/​C&E SOC  533 Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities3
SOC 535 Talk and Social Interaction3
SOC/C&E SOC/ENVIR ST 540 Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability3
SOC/C&E SOC 541 Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice3
SOC 543 Collective Behavior3
SOC/​C&E SOC  573 Community Organization and Change3
SOC 575 Sociological Perspectives on the Life Course and Aging3
SOC/AMER IND/C&E SOC 578 Poverty and Place3
SOC/GEN&WS 601 Sociology of Work, Family, and Gender3
SOC/​C&E SOC  610 Knowledge and Society3
SOC/​GEN&WS  611 Gender, Science and Technology3
SOC/C&E SOC/URB R PL 617 Community Development3
SOC 621 Class, State and Ideology: an Introduction to Marxist Social Science3
SOC/​C&E SOC  622 Advanced Topics in Critical Sociology (when topic is appropriate)3
SOC/​C&E SOC  623 Gender, Society, and Politics3
SOC/​C&E SOC  630 Sociology of Developing Societies/Third World3
SOC 632 Sociology of Organizations3-4
SOC 633 Social Stratification3
SOC 640 Sociology of the Family3
SOC/LAW/LEGAL ST 641 Sociology of Law3-4
SOC/URB R PL 645 Modern American Communities3
SOC/ED POL 648 Sociology of Education3
SOC/​C&E SOC  650 Sociology of Agriculture3
SOC/​C&E SOC  655 Microfoundations of Economic Sociology3
SOC/​ECON  663 Population and Society3
SOC/HISTORY 670 Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy in America Since 18903-4
SOC 678 Sociology of Persecution3

Human Behavior & The Social Environment

Complete the following two courses:
SOC WORK 457 Human Behavior and the Environment3
SOC WORK 640 Social Work with Ethnic and Racial Groups3

Social Work Practice sequence

BSW students take two semesters (16 hours per week—256 hours/semester) of field education during their senior year (SOC WORK 400 Field Practice and Integrative Seminar I fall semester, SOC WORK 401 Field Practice and Integrative Seminar II spring semester). SOC WORK 441 Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups, SOC WORK 442 Generalist Practice with Communities and Organizations and SOC WORK 612 Psychopathology in Generalist Social Work Practice are taken concurrently with Field.

A Field Forum is held in spring semester where students learn more about the field program, field units and expectations and opportunities for field placement. The forum provides students with the opportunity to meet the instructors who teach the field units. Following the Field Forum students indicate their field-unit preferences. The director of field education makes final unit placement decisions and field instructors make final agency-placement decisions.

The types of agencies working with the field education program are varied. Field units are organized around a social problem area or a field of practice. Each unit has a range of field placement agencies and settings appropriate to its theme. The emphasis for undergraduate placements is on applying the knowledge and skills of generalist social work practice with systems of all sizes. The focus is on learning and applying analytic and interventive skills within an ethically based, problem-focused approach.

Social work students should be advised that the Wisconsin Caregiver Law requires a Wisconsin background check (Caregiver Check and Wisconsin Criminal History) for all potential field-education students prior to the field placement. More information regarding this process is available at Field Education on the social work website.

Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
SOC WORK 400 (A)5SOC WORK 401 (A)5
SOC WORK 441 (I)3SOC WORK 442 (A)2
 SOC WORK 612 (A) 2
 8 9
Total Credits 17

BSW students are expected to maintain a cumulative 3.0 in the major and a minimum grade of BC in SOC WORK 400 Field Practice and Integrative Seminar I and SOC WORK 401 Field Practice and Integrative Seminar II.

For more information about field units, the agencies they work with, and field course expectations see the Field Education Handbook. Field unit availability may vary from year to year.

Social Work Practice in Community Agencies

This unit provides opportunities to work with human service agencies and community programs. The practice perspective is generalist social work in direct and indirect services to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration and application of key competencies that are met through measureable practice behaviors. Theory and concepts learned in the classroom are integrated with practice opportunities, fostering the implementation of evidenced-informed practice. Participating Agencies: Bridge Lake Point Waunona, Goodman, Vera Court neighborhood centers; Center for Families; Dane County Court Appointed Special Advocates [CASA]; Disability Rights-Wisconsin; Second Harvest Food Bank; UW Medical Foundation; Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin (Briarpatch); YWCA (Girls Inc., House-ability, Third Street programs), Community Care Resources, Center for Families.

Social Work Practice in Community Mental Health Agencies

This unit has been developed for generalist practice year students (BSW and first year MSW students) wanting to learn generalist social work practice in settings providing services to people with serious and persistent mental illness who are eighteen years of age and older. The placement settings include private non-profit mental health agencies, primarily providing comprehensive community support services. Participating Agencies: Most of the placements occur in programs of the Journey Mental Health Center’s Community Support Programs (CSP’s) including: Blacksmith House, Cornerstone, Gateway, Community Treatment Alternatives, Yahara House (day services program) and the Emergency Services Unit. Additional placements occur at: SOAR Case Management Services, Chrysalis, Badger Prairie Health Care Center, Tellurian UCAN’s Transitional Housing Program, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, and Mendota Mental Health Institute’s PACT (Program of Assertive Community Treatment), an outpatient program.

Social Work Practice in County Human Services (Dane Co. or Rural Settings)

This is a county (public) human/social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services with clients, participants and communities. Students are involved in child welfare, child protective services, juvenile delinquency, foster care, institutional reintegration and community social work. Field placement activities include individual and family counseling, child and family assessment, case management, juvenile court services, foster care services, institutional reintegration, group work, neighborhood and community services and overall program planning. Students in this unit may have field placement settings in voluntary community agencies that work collaboratively with the county human services department. Students gain a solid understanding of the place of a county human service agency in the human services/child and family welfare system. Placements provide opportunities to learn, develop and demonstrate competencies through practice behaviors in all or most of the required social work competency areas. Field placements available through this unit are primarily located in Dane and surrounding counties. Depending on resource needs, this unit may include Title IV-E students. Participating Agencies: Division of Children, Youth and Families, Dane County Human Services, in the following specializations: Access and Initial assessment, Ongoing Services, Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Independent Living, Juvenile Delinquency, Institutional Reintegration, Neighborhood Intervention Program, and Joining Forces for Families (community social work). Placements may also be arranged in voluntary community agencies that have collaborative relationships with county human services.

Social Work Practice in Intellectual Disabilities

This unit  has been developed for generalist practice year students who are interested in doing advocacy and promoting inclusive communities, especially with persons differing abilities. Since    the objectives of the 400-level foundation year are primarily to teach and provide experiences in generalist social work practice, you will learn skills and knowledge applicable to a wide variety of social work settings. There is also the opportunity to work with two Madison based programs doing international projects. Through work with individuals, families, groups, and communities there will be a focus on issues related to human rights, access to services, communication challenges, and community acceptance and inclusion. The integrative seminar will utilize group work, faculty, student, and guest presentations, multimedia and experiential activities. Placement agencies include: Family Support and Resource Center, Waisman Center, Options in Community Living, Bridges Birth to Three programs.

Social Work Practice in Juvenile and Criminal Justice

The focus of this unit is direct social work practice in juvenile and adult criminal justice community and institutional settings. The unit focuses on helping students conceptualize client typologies related to social responses and interventions including: pre-sentence decisions, probation and parole supervision, institutional interventions, group homes, juvenile community treatment, policy and planning administration. Interventions related to conceptualization of client subtypes, demography of crime and delinquency and violent crime are some of the major content areas for study. Participating Agencies: RC Correctional Services for Women, Attic Correctional Services, Dane County Deferred Prosecution, Dane County Family Violence Unit, Dane County Juvenile Detention and Court Services, Dane County Victim/Witness Unit, Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Operation Fresh Start, VA Hospital, Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, Madison YWCA, Juvenile Group Homes for male and female delinquent youth, Mendota Mental Health Institute, Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Facility, U.S. Probation Office, Wisconsin Adult Correctional Institutions, Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office.

Social Work Practice with Older Adults

This field unit provides field placements in a variety of agency, community, health care and institutional settings that primarily serve older adults. All of the field placements deal with issues of aging, community, mental health, policy, and institutions. The primary purpose of the field placement is to provide an opportunity for guided practical experience in social work settings so that students may acquire the knowledge, values, and skills essential for professional gerontological social work practice. This field unit provides opportunities for integrating theoretical content and knowledge with the practice experience. The practice perspective of the aging and mental health unit is generalist practice, which includes a problem-focused generalist approach with a special emphasis on:

  1. direct service to older adults and their families; and
  2. resource development and coordination.

Participating Agencies: Agrace Hospice, Alzheimers Association; Attic Angel Place; Badger Prairie Health Care Center; Care Wisconsin; Catholic Charities; Dane County Human Services Guardianship & Protective Placement; East Madison Monona Coalition of the Aging; Fitchburg Senior Center; the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Veterans Administration Hospital; Jewish Social Service; North Eastside Senior Coalition; Retired Senior Volunteer Program; South Madison Coalition; St. Mary’s Adult Day Center; St. Mary’s Care Center; Oak Park Retirement Community; UW Health Geriatrics Clinic.

Social Work Practice in Public and Private Child Welfare

This field unit is a public human/social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services with clients. Students are involved in child welfare and child protective services, juvenile delinquency, foster care and community social work. Placement activities include child protective services initial assessment, family assessment, case planning, individual and family counseling, case management, juvenile court services, foster care services, neighborhood and community services and overall program planning. Students gain a solid understanding of the place of a public social service agency in the human services/child and child welfare system. Placements provide skills in case assessment and planning, case management, counseling, court services, group work and community resource networking.  Participating Agencies: Field Placements locations for the field unit include: County Human Service/Social Service offices in Columbia, Dane, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock and Sauk Counties and include the following specializations: Foster Care, Child Welfare, Child Protective Services, Access, Initial Assessments, and Ongoing Services.

Statistics and Research

Statistics
Select one of the following statistics courses:3
Introduction to Statistical Methods (I) 1
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences (r-N-I) 2
Statistics for Sociologists I (I)
Basic Statistics for Psychology (E)
Research
Select one of the following research courses: 33-4
Methods of Social Work Research (A)
Methods of Sociological Inquiry (I)
Research Methods (I)
Total Credits6-7
1

STAT 301 is recommended by the School of Social Work. This course also fulfills 3 credits of quantitative reasoning B(r), math and natural science (N) toward the Letters & Science breadth requirements. 

2

STAT 371 Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences fulfills 3 credits quantitative reasoning B(r) and natural science (N) toward L&S breadth requirements. 

3

SOC WORK 650 is recommended for BSW students. Double majors in sociology or psychology may take SOC/​C&E SOC  357 or PSYCH 225 for this requirement.

Elective

Complete one intermediate- or advanced-level Social Work course.

Independent Work

Students with an interest in a particular area of study may develop a plan of independent work with the assistance of an interested faculty member. They may obtain information about instructors and their areas of interest from the School of Social Work website. Consent of instructor is required for the following course offerings in independent work: 

SOC WORK 681 Senior Honors Thesis3
SOC WORK 682 Senior Honors Thesis3
SOC WORK 691 Senior Thesis2
SOC WORK 692 Senior Thesis2
SOC WORK 699 Directed Study1-3

15 Credit Rule

All students are required to fulfill the L&S requirement of 15 credits of upper-level work in the major taken in residence. Courses that count toward this requirement for social work and social welfare are:

SOC WORK 650 Methods of Social Work Research3
SOC/​C&E SOC  357 Methods of Sociological Inquiry3-4
PSYCH 225 Research Methods4
SOC WORK 457 Human Behavior and the Environment3
SOC WORK 640 Social Work with Ethnic and Racial Groups3
SOC WORK 441 Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups1-3
SOC WORK 442 Generalist Practice with Communities and Organizations1-2
SOC WORK 612 Psychopathology for Generalist Social Work Practice3
Those social work electives designated as I or A

Certificate Programs

BSW students and social welfare majors often choose the following certificate programs: American Indian studies, business, criminal justice, gender and women's studies, gerontology, global cultures, global health, LGBT studies, and religious studies. More details about certificates are available in this Guide.

Accreditation

The BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The social welfare major is accredited along with the rest of the College of Letters & Science by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate School

BSW students completing professional foundation courses with a grade of B or better are eligible for advanced standing in the master's program. For more information see the School of Social Work website FAQs at Admissions: Advanced Standing & Exemptions.

Honors in the Major

Students may apply for admission to Honors in the Bachelor of Social Work in consultation with the Social Work undergraduate advisor before beginning the Senior Honors Thesis. Students must make arrangements with a faculty member to sponsor their research project before admission will be granted.

Honors in the Bachelor of Social Work Requirements

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Social Welfare students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.400 GPA for all SOC WORK courses, and all courses accepted in the major
  • Complete SOC WORK 650 Methods of Social Work Research
  • Complete one SOC WORK elective related to Senior Honors Thesis research topic
  • Complete SOC WORK 579 Special Topics in Social Work concurrently with SOC WORK 681 Senior Honors Thesis
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in SOC WORK 681 Senior Honors Thesis and SOC WORK 682 Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 credits
  • Present thesis results at a department colloquium.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

At the conclusion of the degree program, BSW students are expected to be able to:

  1. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  2. Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice.
  3. Engage in practice-informed research and research informed practice.
  4. Engage in policy practice.
  5. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  6. Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  7. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  8. Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  9. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.

Advising

Students interested in either the social welfare major or bachelor of social work meet with the social work advisors to discuss degree requirements; career opportunities; complete the major declaration; and confer on student issues and concerns. Advisors are an excellent resource for information about campus and community services. Students should see an advisor at least once each semester to review academic progress. Advising appointments are made through the school's website or by calling 263-3660. Social work faculty members are available for advice about course work, research, and the social work profession in general.

Professors: Lawrence M. Berger, MSW, Ph.D.; Aaron Brower, MSW, Ph.D.; Maria Cancian Ph.D.; Jan Steven Greenberg, MSSW, Ph.D.; Betty J. Kramer,  MSSW, Ph.D.; Katherine Magnuson, Ph.D.; Marsha Mailick, Ph.D.; Daniel R. Meyer, MSW, Ph.D.; Stephanie A. Robert, MSW, Ph.D.; Kristen Shook Slack, A.M., Ph.D.

Associate Professors: Marah A. Curtis, MSW, Ph.D.; Tally Moses, MSW, Ph.D.; Tracy Schroepfer, MSW, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professors: Lauren Bishop-Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.; Alejandra Ros Pilarz, Ph.D.; Tova Walsh, MSW, Ph.D.; Yang Sao Xiong, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor: Ellen Smith, MSSW

Clinical Assistant Professors: Audrey Conn, MSSW, APSW; Amanda Ngola, MSW, LCSW; Angela Willits, MSW, LCSW