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BSW Social Work

We See Your Future in Social Work
Join us for the hands-on experiences and education you need to launch your future professional career in social work.  
Norfolk State UniversityBachelor of Social work

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Norfolk State University will empower you to address social injustices with an emphasis on cultural diversity, critical thinking and human rights. The bachelor’s degree in social work prepares students to deliver services at the foundational level of generalist social work practice.

As a social worker, you can make key differences in the lives of individuals, families and communities dealing with complex life challenges such as addiction, child abuse, social injustice, chronic illness, discrimination, homelessness, legal issues and mental illness.

Engage in practical social work experience

The bachelor’s degree in social work program at Norfolk State University is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). You will complete the program in two phases: 

  • Pre-social work education
  • Professional social work education

The professional social work phase will begin in your junior year and combines academic coursework and the field practicum.

BSW Social Work Degree at a Glance

  • Total Credit Hours: 120
  • Formats Offered: In Person
  • Fieldwork Experience Locations: 100+

View BSW Social Work plans of study   | Request more information  | Apply now 

Why Study BSW Social Work at NSU? 

Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. At Norfolk State University, our Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work, which includes the bachelor's degree in social work  has a robust history devoted to developing social workers who are advocates, practitioners, and change agents.

Our BSW Social Work degree is focused on helping you become a professional generalist social worker. Through courses and hands-on fieldwork experiences, you will gain a generalist perspective and knowledge to recognize that the target for change may go beyond the individual and also include one or more of the social systems that constitute the individual’s environment. 

Here are some of the benefits of earning your BSW Social Work degree at NSU:

Expand your skill set through a fieldwork practicum

The required field learning program will help you connect the theoretical and conceptual contributions of the classroom with the practice setting. Following completion of the field application, the BSW field director will meet with you to determine the best placement from more than 100 public and private agencies in the Hampton Roads area. Agency placements include gerontology, child welfare, criminal justice, family services, planning councils, physical rehabilitation, schools, shelters, and substance abuse. Learn more by downloading the BSW Student Handbook

Learn from engaging faculty

Connect and collaborate with professors who are experts in a variety of social work areas, including advocacy, child protection, mental health, gerontology, veterans, school social work, grief and loss, policy, financial and forensic social work.

Participate in skill-building activities and organizations

In addition to attending professional conferences and other professional development opportunities, there are many opportunities to get involved and potentially lead social work student organizations. These include community projects and professional events. The organizations include the Whitney Young Social Work Society, the Alpha Delta Mu Honor Society, Honors in Social Work, Active Minds at NSU and the NASW Virginia Chapter.

What Courses Will I Take as a Social Work Student?

You must complete 120 total credit hours to earn your bachelor’s degree in social work at Norfolk State University. The curriculum is designed to prepare you for a life of service and building a just society.

Coursework is offered over four academic years and consists of social work core courses and electives as well as general education core courses to prepare you to become a professional social worker. You will complete a field placement experience during your senior year.

Your BSW courses at Norfolk State University include:

  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Intro to Generalist Practice
  • Social Policy
  • Generalist Practice: Groups, Communities and Organizations

View the full BSW Social Work degree curriculum.  

Where Will My BSW Social Work Take Me?

Earning your BSW Social Work degree at NSU will enable you to practice as a professional social worker.

As a professional social worker, you can find employment in a variety of settings, such as mental health clinics, schools, hospitals, military, private practices and administration, as well as child welfare and human service agencies. 

Career outlook for Social Work majors

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for social workers is expected to increase 12% through 2030, which is faster than average for all occupations. The BSW provides a strong foundation for beginning professional social work positions.

Job titles for professionals with a bachelor’s degree in social work include:

  • Family therapist
  • School counselor
  • Case manager
  • Health educator
  • Youth specialist
  • Mental health assistant
  • Probation officer 
  • Community outreach worker

If your decision is to become a clinical social worker, the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work also offers the required Master of Social Work degree. 

How Do I Get Started in the BSW Social Work Program at NSU?

Initially, students follow the admissions process for NSU undergraduate programs. The Office of Admissions is ready to help you understand these requirements and apply to NSU.
Once the pre-social work education is complete, students apply to the professional social work program.

Financial assistance opportunities

We are committed to providing financial assistance options to prospective and current Norfolk State University students to make an NSU degree more affordable. This includes offering a wide variety of financial aid programs, such as scholarships, grants, student employment opportunities and loans. 

Our Financial Aid page details these options.

Degree Programs Related to Social Work

Accreditation for the NSU Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work

NSU’s School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which accredits programs at the BSW and MSW levels. The council is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.