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 Sandra Rosenbaum 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.
The mission of the UW–Madison Sandra Rosenbaum 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 Sandra Rosenbaum 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 social welfare major offers an overview of current social problems.
BSW students and social welfare majors often choose the following certificate programs: American Indian studies, business, criminal justice, gender and women's studies, global health, LGBTQ+ studies, and religious studies. More details about certificates are available in this Guide.
Students can declare the social welfare major as early as the freshman year as long as they are enrolled in SOC WORK 205 and/or SOC WORK 206. To declare the major, students should make an appointment and meet with one of the social welfare academic advisors at the School of Social Work.
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|| |
* 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 Science (B.S.)
Students pursuing a bachelor of science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.
Bachelor of Science DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
|Mathematics||Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT |
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
|Foreign Language||Complete the third unit of a foreign language |
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
|L&S Breadth|| |
|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 86th credit
|Minimum GPAs||2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison |
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison
Non–L&S Students PURSUING AN L&S MAJOR
Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above. Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non-L&S-degree-seeking candidates:
- Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
- Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
- Music (Bachelor of Music)
- Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)
Requirements for the Major
Complete a minimum of 32 credits, to be attained via the requirements detailed below.
Social Welfare Policy & Services
|SOC WORK 205||4|
|SOC WORK 206||4|
Social Science Concentration
Complete two Intermediate or Advanced level courses from one of the following social science concentration areas:1
American Indian Studies
|AMER IND 306||3|
|AMER IND 314||3|
|AMER IND 345||3|
|AMER IND 353||3|
|AMER IND 444||3|
|AMER IND 450||3|
|AMER IND 490||3-4|
|AMER IND 522||3|
|AMER IND 578||3|
Asian American Studies
|ASIAN AM 220||3-4|
|ASIAN AM 246||4|
|ASIAN AM 276||3-4|
|ASIAN AM 443||3|
Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies
Gender and Women's Studies
|POLI SCI 217||3-4|
|POLI SCI 231||3-4|
|POLI SCI 272||3-4|
|POLI SCI 302||3-4|
|POLI SCI 305||3-4|
|POLI SCI 309||3-4|
|POLI SCI 311||3-4|
|POLI SCI 314||3-4|
|POLI SCI 330||3|
|POLI SCI 335||3|
|POLI SCI 347||3|
|POLI SCI 348||3-4|
|POLI SCI 350||3-4|
|POLI SCI 351||3-4|
|POLI SCI 354||3-4|
|POLI SCI 355||3|
|POLI SCI 356||3-4|
|POLI SCI 359||3-4|
|POLI SCI 408||3-4|
|POLI SCI 410||4|
|POLI SCI 411||4|
|POLI SCI 412||4|
|POLI SCI 414||3|
|POLI SCI 415||3|
|POLI SCI 416||3|
|POLI SCI 417||3-4|
|POLI SCI 421||3-4|
|POLI SCI 422||3|
|POLI SCI 429||3-4|
|POLI SCI 431||3-4|
|POLI SCI 432||3-4|
|POLI SCI 434||3-4|
|POLI SCI 439||3-4|
|POLI SCI 449||3-4|
|POLI SCI 469||3-4|
|POLI SCI 470||3-4|
|POLI SCI 510||3-4|
|POLI SCI 511||3-4|
|POLI SCI 514||3-4|
|POLI SCI 516||3-4|
|POLI SCI 561||3-4|
Human behavior & the social environment
|SOC WORK 457||(junior year, spring semester)||3|
|SOC WORK 640||(junior year, fall semester)||3|
Statistics & Research
|Complete one course from:||3-4|
or STAT 371
or PSYCH 210
or SOC 360
|Complete one course from:||3-4|
SOC WORK 650
or PSYCH 225
or SOC 357
Complete two Intermediate or Advanced level SOC WORK courses. Not all courses in the list below are offered in each semester or year.
SOC WORK 299
SOC WORK 420
SOC WORK 422
SOC WORK 453
SOC WORK 454
SOC WORK 462
SOC WORK 523
SOC WORK 575
SOC WORK 578
SOC WORK 579
SOC WORK 624
SOC WORK 626
SOC WORK 636
SOC WORK 639
SOC WORK 642
SOC WORK 643
SOC WORK 644
SOC WORK 646
SOC WORK 648
SOC WORK 656
SOC WORK 657
SOC WORK 658
SOC WORK 659
SOC WORK 661
SOC WORK 662
SOC WORK 663
SOC WORK 664
SOC WORK 665
SOC WORK 672
SOC WORK 673
SOC WORK 674
SOC WORK 675
SOC WORK 676
SOC WORK 679
SOC WORK 681
SOC WORK 682
SOC WORK 691
SOC WORK 692
SOC WORK 699
Residence and quality of work
- 2.000 GPA in all SOC WORK and all major courses
- 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits taken in residence3
- 15 credits in SOC WORK, taken on the UW–Madison campus
Honors in the Major
Students may apply for admission to Honors in the Major in consultation with the social welfare 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 Major Requirements
To earn Honors in the Major, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:
- Earn a 3.300 University GPA
- Earn a 3.400 GPA for all SOC WORK and all major courses
- Complete SOC WORK 650
- Complete one SOC WORK elective from the elective list related to Senior Honors Thesis research topic
- Complete SOC WORK 579 concurrently with SOC WORK 681
- Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in SOC WORK 681 and SOC WORK 682, for a total of 6 credits, with a grade of B or better
- Present thesis results at a department colloquium.
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 noted course offerings in independent work.
No more than 3 credits of SOC WORK 699 may be used to meet this requirement.
SOC WORK courses designated as Intermediate or Advanced level, PSYCH 225, and SOC 357 count as upper-level in the major.
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.|
- Identify foundational aspects of the US social welfare system and the history of the social work profession.
- Recognize human differences and how social welfare systems interact with these differences to shape opportunities and outcomes for individuals, groups, and communities.
- Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate research with respect to its relevance, quality, and utility for addressing social welfare issues.
- Synthesize and communicate knowledge relevant to social welfare issues.
- Practice self-awareness of one’s values, beliefs, and biases regarding the causes and consequences of social welfare issues.
- Connect awareness of self, systems and social welfare knowledge to promote human dignity and justice.
Sample Four-Year Plan
This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.
Social Welfare majors are encouraged to gain social service experience through volunteer work. See the Social Work advisors or contact the Morgridge Center for Public Service, 263-2432, for information on volunteering.
Students wishing to apply to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program must do so in Spring of Junior year.
|Communication A||3||Ethnic Studies||3-4|
|Quantitative Reasoning A||3-4||Literature Breadth||4|
|Biological Science Breadth||3||Physical Science Breadth||3|
|Foreign Language (if needed)||4||Foreign Language (if needed)||4|
|SOC WORK 205 (can be taken Freshman or Sophomore year)||4||SOC WORK 206 (can be taken Freshman or Sophomore year)||4|
|Humanities Breadth||4||Communication B||4|
|Literature Breadth||4||Science Breadth||3-4|
|SOC WORK 640||3||SOC WORK 457||3|
|STAT 301, STAT 371, PSYCH 210, or SOC 360||3||SOC WORK elective (I/A-level)||3-4|
|Social Science Concentration course2||3-4||Social Science Concentration course2||3-4|
|Electives (I/A-level)||6||I/A COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if B.S.)||3-4|
|SOC WORK elective (I/A-level)||3-4||SOC WORK 650||3|
|Electives (I/A-level)||12||SOC WORK elective (I/A-level)||3-4|
|Total Credits 120|
Note: SOC WORK 100 is a pre-major elective course that can be taken in the first year, if offered; it is not required for the major.
The College encourages students to take INTER-LS 210 in their second year (or anytime); it is recommended but not required.
Take two Intermediate or Advanced level courses from one of the following social science departments: Afro-American Studies, American Indian Studies, Anthropology, Asian American Studies, Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, Economics, Gender and Women's Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology.
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 608-263-3660. Social work faculty members are available for advice about coursework, research, and the social work profession in general.
L&S career resources
SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.
SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career.
Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.
- Set up a career advising appointment
- INTER-LS 210 L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative (1 credit, targeted to first- and second-year students)—for more information, see Inter-LS 210: Career Development, Taking Initiative
- INTER-LS 215 Communicating About Careers (3 credits, fulfills Com B General Education Requirement)
- Learn how we’re transforming career preparation: L&S Career Initiative
Professors: Lawrence M. Berger, MSW, Ph.D.; Marah H. Curtis, MSW, Ph.D.; Betty J. Kramer, MSSW, Ph.D.; Katherine Magnuson, Ph.D.; Daniel R. Meyer, MSW, Ph.D.; Stephanie A. Robert, MSW, Ph.D. (School director); Tracy Schroepfer, MSW, Ph.D., Kristen Slack, A.M., Ph.D.
Associate Professors: Tally Moses, MSW, Ph.D.
Assistant Professors: Lauren Bishop, Ph.D.; Pajarita Charles, MPA, MSW, Ph.D.; Lara Gerassi, MSW, Ph.D.; Jooyoung Kong, MSW, Ph.D.; Jessica Pac, Ph.D.; Alejandra Ros Pilarz, Ph.D.; Tova Walsh, MSW, Ph.D.; Yang Sao Xiong, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate Professors: Audrey Conn, MSSW, APSW; Alice Egan, MSSW, APSW; Ellen Smith, MSSW
Clinical Assistant Professors: Laura Dresser, MSW, Ph.D.; Amanda Ngola, MSW, LCSW; Lynette Studer, MSSW, Ph.D.; Angela Willits, MSW, LCSW
A complete list of all faculty and staff in the school is available on the School of Social Work Directory.