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. The Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) Program prepares students as beginning-level professional social workers.
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. 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.
BSW Program Mission and Goals
The School's main undergraduate Guide page provides a broader overview of the School and its mission.
Guided by the core values of the social work profession and grounded in the generalist practice framework, the BSW program mission is to provide social work education that will nurture competent, ethical entry-level social work professionals committed to scientific inquiry, evidence-based practice, respect for human diversity, the promotion of human and community well-being, human rights, and social, economic and environmental justice. Read more about the BSW Program Mission and Goals.
Students in social welfare major and BSW program often choose from a variety of certificate programs available. Common certificates include: Afro American Studies, American Indian Studies, Business, Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies, Criminal Justice Certificate, Gender & Women Studies, Global Health, LGBTQ Studies, South Asian Studies and South East Asian Studies, among others.
MSW Advanced Standing
BSW students may be considered for advanced standing if they apply and are accepted to one of the MSW Programs. Advanced standing qualifies a student to exempt out of all, or part, of their generalist year. For more information, please refer to the Prospective Graduate Students page on the School of Social Work website.
Students enter the Bachelor of Social Work program by first declaring the Social Welfare major. Later, if a student applies to and is accepted into the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, their degree program is changed to BSW. In the spring of the junior year, students apply for admission to the BSW program for their senior year.
Students in the BSW program must be in the College of Letters & Sciences. Applicants may be enrolled in another School or College, but must transfer to Letters & Sciences if they are accepted into the BSW program and choose to pursue the degree.
Declaring the Social Welfare Major
See the Social Welfare How to Get In page for information about declaring the Social Welfare major. This must be done prior to applying to the BSW Program.
Admission to the BSW Program
In the spring of the junior year, students who meet the following eligibility criteria apply for admission to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program:
- SOC WORK 205 and SOC WORK 206 completed;
- Declared in the Social Welfare major;
- Statistics completed (or concurrent enrollment)1;
- Second-semester junior status (minimum of 71 credits completed); and
- Minimum of 2.500 cumulative GPA from all colleges attended2.
Admission to the Bachelor of Social Work program is based on assessment of the applicant's background, preparation and experience for practice in the field of social work. Approximately 45 students are admitted to the BSW program each year. Applicants must refer to the School of Social Work BSW Application website to apply, for deadline information, and further application instructions.
Refer to the Statistics and Research list in the Requirements tab for eligible statistics courses.
Only grades from all post-secondary institutions that have transferred credits to UW-Madison are reviewed. The credits earned at UW-Madison and those transferred to UW-Madison will be computed into the minimum 2.500 GPA required for admission using the GPA calculation method found on the back of each institution’s transcript. See admissions instructions for more details about including transcripts.
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 Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
The Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work is a professional school within the College of Letters & Sciences (L&S). The College confers the BSW degree.
Students pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The BSW is a special degree program; it is not considered a major. The BSW degree is not available to students who intend to earn a degree outside the College of Letters & Science.
Bachelor of Social Work Degree Requirements
|Mathematics||Complete the University General Education Requirements for Quantitative Reasoning A (QR-A) and Quantitative Reasoning B (QR-B) coursework. Students complete Quantitative Reasoning B within the requirements of the BSW degree program.|
|Language||Complete either: |
• the fourth unit of one language; or
• the complete the third unit of one language and the second unit of one additional language.
|Breadth in the Degree||Complete: |
• 12 credits of Humanities, including at least 6 credits of Literature breadth; and
• 12 credits of Social Science breadth; and
• 12 credits of Natural Science breadth, which must include one 3+ credit course in Biological Science breadth and one 3+ credit course in Physical Science breadth.
|Ethnic Studies||Complete at least 6 credits of coursework with the Ethnic Studies designation.|
|Liberal Arts and Science Coursework||Complete at least 108 credits.|
|Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework||Complete at least 60 credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level.|
|Major||Gain admission to and complete the Bachelor of Social Work degree program.|
|Total Credits||Complete at least 120 credits.|
|UW-Madison Experience||Complete both: |
• 30 credits in residence, overall; and
• 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
|Quality of Work||• 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison |
• 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison
Requirements for the Program
Complete a minimum of 47 credits, to be attained via the requirements detailed below.
Social Welfare Policy & Services
|SOC WORK 205||Introduction to the Field of Social Work||4|
|SOC WORK 206||Introduction to Social Policy||4|
Social Science Concentration1
Complete two Intermediate or Advanced level courses and at least 6 total credits from one of the following social science concentration areas:
|AFROAMER 303||Blacks, Film, and Society||3|
|AFROAMER/HISTORY 321||Afro-American History Since 1900||3-4|
|AFROAMER/GEN&WS 323||Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History||3|
|AFROAMER/GEN&WS 333||Black Feminisms||3|
|AFROAMER/HISTORY 347||The Caribbean and its Diasporas||3|
|AFROAMER/HISTORY 393||Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-1877||3-4|
|AFROAMER/HIST SCI/MED HIST 523||Race, American Medicine and Public Health||3|
|AFROAMER/ED POL 567||History of African American Education||3|
|AFROAMER 631||Colloquium in Afro-American History||3|
|AFROAMER 671||Selected Topics in Afro-American History||3|
American Indian Studies
|AMER IND/ENVIR ST 306||Indigenous Peoples and the Environment||3|
|AMER IND/ANTHRO 314||Indians of North America||3|
|AMER IND/ENVIR ST/GEOG 345||Managing Nature in Native North America||3|
|AMER IND/GEOG 410||Critical Indigenous Ecological Knowledges||3|
|AMER IND 450||Issues in American Indian Studies||3|
|AMER IND/HISTORY 490||American Indian History||3-4|
|AMER IND/SOC 578||Poverty and Place||3|
|ANTHRO 300||Cultural Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography||3|
|ANTHRO/AMER IND 314||Indians of North America||3|
|ANTHRO 321||The Emergence of Human Culture||3|
|ANTHRO/RELIG ST 343||Anthropology of Religion||3-4|
|ANTHRO 345||Family, Kin and Community in Anthropological Perspective||3|
|ANTHRO 348||Economic Anthropology||3-4|
|ANTHRO 350||Political Anthropology||3-4|
|ANTHRO/GEN&WS 443||Anthropology by Women||3|
|ANTHRO 477||Anthropology, Environment, and Development||3|
|ANTHRO 545||Psychological Anthropology||3|
|ANTHRO/ED POL 570||Anthropology and Education||3|
Asian American Studies
|ASIAN AM/SOC 220||Ethnic Movements in the United States||3-4|
|ASIAN AM 240||Topics in Asian American Studies||3|
|ASIAN AM 441||Hmong American Social Movements in the 20th and 21st Centuries||3|
Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies
|CHICLA/POLI SCI 231||Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies||3-4|
|CHICLA 301||Chicana/o and Latina/o History||3|
|CHICLA/POLI SCI 302||Mexican-American Politics||3-4|
|CHICLA 315||Racial Formation and Whiteness||3|
|CHICLA/CURRIC 321||Chicano/Latino Educational Justice||3|
|CHICLA 330||Topics in Chicano/a Studies||3-4|
|CHICLA/GEN&WS 332||Latinas: Self Identity and Social Change||3|
|CHICLA/HISTORY/LACIS/POLI SCI 355||Labor in the Americas: US & Mexico in Comparative & Historical Perspective||3|
|CHICLA/LEGAL ST/SOC 440||Ethnicity, Race, and Justice||3-4|
|CHICLA/LEGAL ST/SOC 443||Immigration, Crime, and Enforcement||3-4|
|CHICLA/SOC 470||Sociodemographic Analysis of Mexican Migration||3|
|CHICLA 501||Chican@ and Latin@ Social Movements in the U.S.||3|
|CHICLA/COUN PSY 525||Dimensions of Latin@ Mental Health Services||3|
|ECON/FINANCE 300||Introduction to Finance||3|
|ECON 301||Intermediate Microeconomic Theory||4|
|ECON 302||Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory||4|
|ECON/HIST SCI 305||Development of Economic Thought||3-4|
|ECON/A A E/REAL EST/URB R PL 306||The Real Estate Process||3|
|ECON 311||Intermediate Microeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment||3|
|ECON 312||Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment||3|
|ECON/A A E/ENVIR ST 343||Environmental Economics||3-4|
|ECON 355||The Economics of Growing-up and Getting Old||3-4|
|ECON 370||Economics of Poverty and Inequality||3|
|ECON/URB R PL 420||Urban and Regional Economics||3|
|ECON 441||Analytical Public Finance||3-4|
|ECON/POLI SCI 449||Government and Natural Resources||3-4|
|ECON 450||Wages and the Labor Market||3-4|
|ECON 464||International Trade||3-4|
|ECON/HISTORY 466||The American Economy Since 1865||3-4|
|ECON 467||International Industrial Organizations||3-4|
|ECON/A A E/ECON 474||Economic Problems of Developing Areas||3|
|ECON 475||Economics of Growth||3-4|
|ECON 521||Game Theory and Economic Analysis||3-4|
|ECON 522||Law and Economics||3-4|
|ECON/PHILOS 524||Philosophy and Economics||3|
|ECON/A A E/F&W ECOL 531||Natural Resource Economics||3|
|ECON/POP HLTH/PUB AFFR 548||The Economics of Health Care||3-4|
|ECON 623||Population Economics||3-4|
|ECON/SOC 663||Population and Society||3|
|ECON/A A E/ENVIR ST/URB R PL 671||Energy Economics||3|
Gender and Women's Studies
|GEN&WS 320||Special Topics in Gender, Women and Society||3|
|GEN&WS/AFROAMER 323||Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History||3|
|GEN&WS 331||Topics in Gender/Class/Race/Ethnicity (Social Sciences)||3|
|GEN&WS/CHICLA 332||Latinas: Self Identity and Social Change||3|
|GEN&WS/AFROAMER 333||Black Feminisms||3|
|GEN&WS 340||Topics in LGBTQ Sexuality||3|
|GEN&WS 344||Bi/Pan/Asexuality: Community & Representation||3|
|GEN&WS/HISTORY 353||Women and Gender in the U.S. to 1870||3-4|
|GEN&WS/HISTORY 354||Women and Gender in the U.S. Since 1870||3-4|
|GEN&WS/COM ARTS 418||Gender, Sexuality, and the Media||3|
|GEN&WS 420||Women in Cross-Societal Perspective||3|
|GEN&WS/LEGAL ST 422||Women and the Law||3|
|GEN&WS 423||The Female Body in the World: Gender and Contemporary Body Politics in Cross Cultural Perspective||3|
|GEN&WS/LEGAL ST/SOC 425||Crime, Gender and Justice||3|
|GEN&WS/POLI SCI 429||Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective||3-4|
|GEN&WS 441||Contemporary Feminist Theories||3|
|GEN&WS/ANTHRO 443||Anthropology by Women||3|
|GEN&WS 446||Queer of Color Critique||3|
|GEN&WS/POLI SCI 469||Women and Politics||3-4|
|GEN&WS/HISTORY 519||Sexuality, Modernity and Social Change||3|
|GEN&WS/PSYCH 522||Psychology of Women and Gender||3|
|GEN&WS 523||Framing Fatness: Gender, Size, Constructing Health||3|
|GEN&WS 534||Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction: Public Health Perspectives||3|
|GEN&WS/INTL ST 535||Women's Global Health and Human Rights||3|
|GEN&WS 536||Queering Sexuality Education||3|
|GEN&WS/HIST SCI 537||Childbirth in the United States||3|
|GEN&WS 546||Feminist Theories and Masculinities||3|
|GEN&WS 547||Theorizing Intersectionality||3|
|GEN&WS/ED POL 560||Gender and Education||3|
|GEN&WS/SOC 611||Gender, Science and Technology||3|
|POLI SCI/LEGAL ST 217||Law, Politics and Society||3-4|
|POLI SCI/CHICLA 231||Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies||3-4|
|POLI SCI 272||Introduction to Public Policy||3-4|
|POLI SCI/CHICLA 302||Mexican-American Politics||3-4|
|POLI SCI 305||Elections and Voting Behavior||3-4|
|POLI SCI 311||United States Congress||3-4|
|POLI SCI 314||Criminal Law and Justice||3-4|
|POLI SCI 330||Political Economy of Development||3|
|POLI SCI 335||Social Identities||3|
|POLI SCI 338||The Civil-Military Paradox in U.S. Politics and Society||3|
|POLI SCI 343||Theories of International Security||3-4|
|POLI SCI 345||Conflict Resolution||3-4|
|POLI SCI 347||Terrorism||3|
|POLI SCI 348||Analysis of International Relations||3-4|
|POLI SCI 350||International Political Economy||3-4|
|POLI SCI 354||International Institutions and World Order||3-4|
|POLI SCI/CHICLA/HISTORY/LACIS 355||Labor in the Americas: US & Mexico in Comparative & Historical Perspective||3|
|POLI SCI 356||Principles of International Law||3-4|
|POLI SCI 359||American Foreign Policy||3-4|
|POLI SCI 408||The American Presidency||3-4|
|POLI SCI 411||The American Constitution : Powers and Structures of Government||4|
|POLI SCI 412||The American Constitution: Rights and Civil Liberties||4|
|POLI SCI 414||The Supreme Court as a Political Institution||3|
|POLI SCI 416||Community Power and Grass Roots Politics||3|
|POLI SCI 417||The American Judicial System||3-4|
|POLI SCI/PUB AFFR 419||Administrative Law||3-4|
|POLI SCI/GEN&WS 429||Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective||3-4|
|POLI SCI/INTL ST 431||Contentious Politics||3-4|
|POLI SCI/INTL ST 434||The Politics of Human Rights||3-4|
|POLI SCI/INTL ST 439||The Comparative Study of Genocide||3-4|
|POLI SCI/ECON/ENVIR ST/URB R PL 449||Government and Natural Resources||3-4|
|POLI SCI 463||Deception and Politics||4|
|POLI SCI/GEN&WS 469||Women and Politics||3-4|
|POLI SCI 470||The First Amendment||3-4|
|POLI SCI 511||Campaign Finance||3-4|
|POLI SCI 515||Public Opinion||3-4|
|PSYCH 311||Issues in Psychology||3-4|
|PSYCH 401||Psychology, Law, and Social Policy||3|
|PSYCH 403||Psychology of Personality||3|
|PSYCH 405||Abnormal Psychology||3-4|
|PSYCH 413||Language, Mind, and Brain||3|
|PSYCH 414||Cognitive Psychology||3|
|PSYCH 428||Introduction to Cultural Psychology||3-4|
|PSYCH/SOC 453||Human Sexuality||4|
|PSYCH 456||Social Psychology||3-4|
|PSYCH 460||Child Development||3-4|
|PSYCH 464||Adult Development and Aging||3|
|PSYCH 502||Cognitive Development||4|
|PSYCH 503||Social Development||4|
|PSYCH 508||Psychology of Human Emotions: From Biology to Culture||4|
|PSYCH 510||Critical Issues in Child Psychopathology||4|
|PSYCH 513||Hormones, Brain, and Behavior||4|
|PSYCH 521||The Structure of Human Thought: Concepts, Language and Culture||4|
|PSYCH/GEN&WS 522||Psychology of Women and Gender||3|
|PSYCH 525||Cognition in Health and Society||4|
|PSYCH 526||The Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives||4|
|PSYCH 532||Psychological Effects of the Internet||4|
|PSYCH 607||Introduction to Psychotherapy||3|
|SOC 181||Honors Introductory Seminar-The Sociological Enterprise||3-4|
|SOC/C&E SOC 210||Survey of Sociology||3-4|
|SOC/C&E SOC 211||The Sociological Enterprise||3|
|SOC/ASIAN AM 220||Ethnic Movements in the United States||3-4|
|SOC/A A E/C&E SOC 340||Issues in Food Systems||3-4|
|SOC/C&E SOC 341||Labor in Global Food Systems||3|
|SOC 421||Processes of Deviant Behavior||3-4|
|SOC/SOC WORK 422||Social Issues in Aging||3|
|SOC/GEN&WS/LEGAL ST 425||Crime, Gender and Justice||3|
|SOC/CHICLA/LEGAL ST 440||Ethnicity, Race, and Justice||3-4|
|SOC/CHICLA/LEGAL ST 443||Immigration, Crime, and Enforcement||3-4|
|SOC 444||Social Psychology: A Sociological Perspective||3-4|
|SOC 446||Juvenile Delinquency||3-4|
|SOC/PSYCH 453||Human Sexuality||4|
|SOC/CHICLA 470||Sociodemographic Analysis of Mexican Migration||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 475||Classical Sociological Theory||3|
|SOC 476||Contemporary Sociological Theory||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 532||Health Care Issues for Individuals, Families and Society||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 533||Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities||3|
|SOC 535||Talk and Social Interaction||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC/ENVIR ST 540||Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 541||Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice||3|
|SOC 543||Collective Behavior||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 573||Community Organization and Change||3|
|SOC 575||Sociological Perspectives on the Life Course and Aging||3|
|SOC/AMER IND/C&E SOC 578||Poverty and Place||3|
|SOC/GEN&WS 611||Gender, Science and Technology||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC/URB R PL 617||Community Development||3|
|SOC 621||Class, State and Ideology: an Introduction to Marxist Social Science||3|
|SOC 624||Political Sociology||3|
|SOC 626||Social Movements||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 630||Sociology of Developing Societies/Third World||3|
|SOC 632||Sociology of Organizations||3-4|
|SOC 633||Social Stratification||3|
|SOC 640||Sociology of the Family||3|
|SOC/LAW/LEGAL ST 641||Sociology of Law||3-4|
|SOC/URB R PL 645||Modern American Communities||3|
|SOC/ED POL 648||Sociology of Education||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 650||Sociology of Agriculture||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 652||Sociology of Economic Institutions||3|
|SOC/ECON 663||Population and Society||3|
|SOC/HISTORY 670||Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy in America Since 1890||3-4|
|SOC/C&E SOC 676||Applied Demography: Planning and Policy||3|
Human Behavior & The Social Environment
|SOC WORK 457||Human Behavior and the Environment||3|
|SOC WORK 612||Psychopathology in Generalist Social Work Practice||2|
|SOC WORK 640||Diversity, Oppression and Social Justice in Social Work||3|
Social Work Practice sequence5
|SOC WORK 400||Field Practice and Integrative Seminar I 2,5||4|
|SOC WORK 401||Field Practice and Integrative Seminar II 2,5||4|
|SOC WORK 441||Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups||3|
|SOC WORK 442||Generalist Practice with Communities and Organizations||2|
|Complete one course from:||3-4|
|Introduction to Statistical Methods|
or STAT 371
|Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences|
or PSYCH 210
|Basic Statistics for Psychology|
|Statistics for Sociologists I|
|Complete one course from:||3-4|
|Methods of Social Work Research|
or PSYCH 225
|Methods of Sociological Inquiry|
Complete two Intermediate or Advanced level SOC WORK courses and at least 6 total credits of Social Work electives. Not all courses in the list below are offered in each semester or year.
List of Social Work elective courses
|SOC WORK 420||Poverty and Social Welfare||3|
|SOC WORK/SOC 422||Social Issues in Aging||3|
|SOC WORK 453||Substance Use Disorders||3|
|SOC WORK 454||Small Groups in Social Work Practice||3|
|SOC WORK 462||Child Welfare||3|
|SOC WORK 523||Family Violence||3|
|SOC WORK 575||Community Development in Social Welfare||3|
|SOC WORK 578||Homelessness: A Service Learning Course||4|
|SOC WORK 624||Social Work with the Small Group||3|
|SOC WORK 626||Social Work with the Community||3|
|SOC WORK 627||Sex Trafficking and Sex Trading||2|
|SOC WORK/AMER IND 636||Social Work in American Indian Communities: The Indian Child Welfare Act||3|
|SOC WORK 639||Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Individuals and Social Welfare||3|
|SOC WORK 642||Social Work and Adolescents||3|
|SOC WORK 643||Social Work and Delinquency||3|
|SOC WORK 644||Issues in Developmental Disabilities||3|
|SOC WORK 646||Child Abuse and Neglect||2|
|SOC WORK 648||Palliative and End-of-Life Care Social Work Practice||2|
|SOC WORK 656||Family Practice in Foster and Kinship Care||3|
|SOC WORK 659||International Aspects of Social Work||3|
|SOC WORK 661||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 662||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 663||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 664||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 665||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 672||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 673||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 674||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 675||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 676||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 679||Topics in Contemporary Social Welfare||2-3|
|SOC WORK 691||Senior Thesis 3||2|
|SOC WORK 692||Senior Thesis 3||2|
|SOC WORK 699||Directed Study 6||1-3|
Residence and Quality of Work
- 2.000 GPA in all SOC WORK courses and all major courses
- Minimum 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence4
- 15 credits in SOC WORK, taken on campus
Social Science Concentration courses listed are a selected list of eligible courses. Consult with a Social Work advisor for other exceptions or additions to the list.
Students with an interest in a particular area of study may develop a plan of independent work with the assistance of an interested Social Work 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.
Please refer to the Advising and Careers tab for more information on field education placements.
No more than 3 credits of SOC WORK 699 Directed Study may be used toward fulfillment of this requirement.
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.|
- Engage diversity and difference in practice.
- Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice.
- Engage in practice-informed research and research informed practice.
- Engage in policy practice.
- Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
- Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
- Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
- Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
- Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
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.
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|
|Language (if needed)||4||Language (if needed)||4|
|SOC WORK 205||4||SOC WORK 206||4|
|Humanities Breadth||4||Communication B||4|
|Literature Breadth||4||Science Breadth||3|
|SOC WORK 640 (fall-only)2||3||SOC WORK 457 (spring only)||3|
|Social Science Concentration2||3-4||STAT 301, 371, PSYCH 210, or SOC 360 (also meets Quantitative Reasoning B)||3-4|
|Science Breadth||3||SOC WORK elective (Intermediate/Advanced-level)||3-4|
|Electives (Intermediate/Advanced-level)||6||Social Science Concentration2||3-4|
|SOC WORK 400 (fall only)||4||SOC WORK 401 (spring only)||4|
|SOC WORK 441 (fall only)||3||SOC WORK 612 (spring only)3||2|
|SOC WORK 442 (fall only)||2||SOC WORK 650 (spring only)3||3|
|Electives (Intermediate/Advanced-level)||6||SOC WORK elective (Intermediate/Advanced-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.
SOC WORK 640 counts towards the BSW ethnic studies requirement, providing three of the six credits needed.
Sample Three-Year Plan
This Sample Three-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 three-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests.
Three-year plans may vary considerably from student to student, depending on their individual preparation and circumstances. Students interested in graduating in three years should meet with an advisor as early as possible to discuss feasibility, appropriate course sequencing, post-graduation plans (careers, graduate school, etc.), and opportunities they might forgo in pursuit of a three-year graduation plan.
Students planning to graduate within three years from the Bachelor of Social Work program should enter the University with a minimum of 30 advanced standing credits, and have satisfied the following requirements with course credit or via placement examination:
- Communication Part A
- Quantitative Reasoning Part A
- 18 combined credits of Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Science coursework
- 3-4 units of language
Students wishing to apply to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program must do so in spring of Junior year.
|SOC WORK 205||4||SOC WORK 206||4|
|Social Science Concentration course||3-4||Social Science Concentration course||3-4|
|Biological Science Breadth||3||Humanities Breadth||3|
|Literature Breadth||3||Literature Breadth||3|
|Language (if interested in retroactive credit or to reach 4 units)||3||Physical Science Breadth||3|
|STAT 301, 371, PSYCH 210, or SOC 360 (also meets Quantitative Reasoning B)||3||SOC WORK 650 (spring only)2||3|
|SOC WORK 640 (fall only)1||3||SOC WORK 457 (spring only)||3|
|SOC WORK elective (Intermediate/Advanced-level)||3||Humanities Breadth||3|
|Communication B||3||Science Breadth||3|
|Science Breadth (if not taking STAT 301 or 371)||3||Elective (Intermediate/Advanced-level)||3-4|
|SOC WORK 400 (fall only)||4||SOC WORK 401 (spring only)||4|
|SOC WORK 441 (fall only)||3||SOC WORK 612 (spring only)2||2|
|SOC WORK 442 (fall only)||2||Ethnic Studies||3|
|Elective (Intermediate/Advanced-level)||3-4||SOC WORK Elective (Intermediate/Advanced-level)||3-4|
|Total Credits 90|
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.
BSW Ethnic Studies Requirement
The BSW degree program requires six ethnic studies credits. The BSW degree's minimum 47 credits assumes that three credits of the six-credit ethnic studies degree requirement will be met through SOC WORK 640, with the other three credits met as part of the Social Work electives, the Social Science Concentration, or other electives.
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.
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 measurable 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, students 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:
- direct service to older adults and their families; and
- 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.
L&S career resources
Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities. SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.
In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.
Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.
- Set up a career advising appointment
- Enroll in a Career Course - a great idea for first- and second-year students:
- Learn about internships and internship funding
- Activate your Handshake account to apply for jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers recruiting UW-Madison students
- Learn about the impact SuccessWorks has on students' lives
Professors: Lawrence M. Berger, MSW, Ph.D.; Marah H. Curtis, MSW, Ph.D.; Katherine Magnuson, 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.; LB Klein, MSW, Ph.D.; Jooyoung Kong, MSW, Ph.D.; Jessica Pac, Ph.D.; Alejandra Ros Pilarz, Ph.D.; Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo, Ph.D.; Tova Walsh, MSW, Ph.D.; Yang Sao Xiong, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor: Ellen Smith, MSSW
Clinical Associate Professors: Audrey Conn, MSSW, APSW; Alice Egan, MSSW, APSW; Amanda Ngola, MSW, LCSW; Angela Willits, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Assistant Professors: Laura Dresser, MSW, Ph.D.; Lynette Studer, MSSW, Ph.D.
A complete list of all faculty and staff in the school is available on the School of Social Work Directory.
Association of Social Work Boards BSW exam pass rates.
|Year of Exam||UW-Madison Graduates: All Attempts||National: All Attempts|
|Year of Exam||UW-Madison Graduates: First Attempt||National: First Attempt|
Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)
The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:
The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2028.