Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW)

The major in social work allows students to prepare for a profession making a difference in the lives of people and their communities.

Offered by Salisbury University (SU) and administered by UMUC Europe, the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) helps prepare you for entry-level generalist social work practice and advanced graduate education. The BASW is a professional degree accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which is essential for your licensure after graduation.

In a combination of hands-on practice in the community and theoretical study in the classroom, you will learn how to work with individuals, families, and groups. The goal of this comprehensive program is to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for private and public sector entry-level social work practice.

Program Flier: A summary of the program.

What is Social Work?

Social work is a profession with many different opportunities and areas, all with the common goal of helping individuals. Social workers are people who care about the needs of others and want to make a difference. According to the National Association of Social Workers, “Social workers are skilled professionals who work to empower individuals, relieve suffering, and affect social change. They are generalists and specialists who work in a wide variety of settings, but apply common core values, principles, and techniques.” For more information about social work, visit Social Work Helps.

How do I know Social Work is for Me?

Social workers provide a wide range of services to individuals, families, small groups, communities, and organizations. Working from a strengths perspective, social workers are guided by the values of social justice and human rights. Social workers often reach out to people who may be described as oppressed and underserved.

Where you might work: Social workers most commonly work in non-profit or government agencies. The fields of social work practice include, but are not limited to, mental health, child welfare, family work, substance abuse, adult and juvenile justice, school or medical social work, geriatric social work, homelessness and housing, domestic violence, and community organizing/development. Social work jobs may be found in various environments like schools, hospitals, communities, and other voluntary organizations.

Job Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for social workers is expected to grow much faster than average in the next decade. In addition, there are increased opportunities for social workers who are bilingual or want to work in rural, underserved areas.

Your Coursework in Social Work

A degree with a major in social work requires the successful completion of 120 credits of coursework, with 41 credits required for the major, including 8 credits of supervised field instruction.

Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may require you to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. You should consult your academic advisor whenever taking advantage of other options.

What You'll Learn

When you graduate with a major in social work, you should be able to

  • Boast a solid foundation for entry into professional social work practice.
  • Utilize the appropriate knowledge, values, and skills for intervention with individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  • Maintain your professional identity consistent with social work values and ethics.
  • Apply valuable hands-on experience with various client populations, including diverse racial and ethnic groups, and at-risk populations.
  • Evolve a practice style consistent with your personal strengths and capabilities.
  • Possess the ability to work within a human service agency or organization.

Hands-On Practice

Field education is an integral component of the social work curriculum during which you will engage in supervised social work practice. This practice provides you the opportunity to apply your classroom learning in a field setting. All field education courses are graded.

Degree Requirements

Coursework for a major in social work includes the following:

  • Required core courses (12 courses): SOWK 200, 300, 302, 305, 310, 320, 400, 410, 416, 417, 420, and 421
  • Elective courses (1 course): SOWK 350, 450, 455, 460, 465, 470, 475, 480, 481, 482, 483, 484, 486, 487, 490, or 499
  • Supervised hands-on field instruction (2 courses): SOWK 420 and 421
  • Required related courses (4 courses), which may be applied anywhere in the degree: BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 (or BIOL 103), PSYC 100, SOCY 100 (or BEHS 210), and STAT 200

Social Work Electives (1 Course)

(to be chosen from one of the following courses)

  • Social Work with Older People (SOWK 350)
  • Social Work with Families and Children (SOWK 450)
  • Substance Abuse: Issues and Services (SOWK 455)
  • Social Work in Corrections (SOWK 460)
  • Social Work in Health Care (SOWK 465)
  • Social Work in Mental Health (SOWK 470)
  • Social Work with Persons Who Have Disabilities (SOWK 475)
  • Social Work and Disaster Mental Health (SOWK 480)
  • Teen Angst: Understanding Adolescent Health and Mental Health (SOWK 481)
  • Death and Dying and Social Work (SOWK 482)
  • Social Work Practice in Rural Environments (SOWK 483)
  • Social Work and the Law (SOWK 484)
  • Social Work with LGBTQ (SOWK 486)
  • Social Work in the Schools (SOWK 487)
  • Individual Directed Study (SOWK 490)
  • Special Topics (SOWK 499)

General Education Courses (12 Courses)

Group I: English and Literature (2 courses)

Group II: History (2 courses)

  • World History I (3 Credits, HIST 115)
    or World History II (3 Credits, HIST 116)
  • Any HIST course

Group III: Humanities and Social Science (3 courses)

Group IV: Natural Science, Math, and Computer Science (4 courses)

Group V: Health Fitness (1 course)

  • Lifelong Fitness and Wellness (FTWL 106)

How to Get Started

Step 1: Apply for Admission

  • New Students: To apply for the BASW program, submit your application for admission online through UMUC Europe. Select Salisbury Undergraduate and no minor for level of study.
  • Current UMUC students: Contact the local academic advisor to update your degree program.

Step 2: Complete Pre-admission Requirements

Prior to being fully admitted into the BASW program, you will be required to complete the following courses through UMUC:

Register for all courses online through MyUMUC. 

GoArmyEd Students: Register for classes through

Step 3: Contact Your Academic Advisor

Once you have completed the pre-admission requirements and have achieved junior standing with at least 45 completed credit hours, you may apply to the BASW program. It is advised that you speak with an academic advisor to ensure that you have completed all of the requirements before applying for full admission to the BASW program.

Step 4: Apply for Admission to the BASW Program

Each applicant for the BASW program must submit a Salisbury University application and written personal statement.

General Admission Requirements:

  • Achieve junior standing with at least 45 completed credits (preferably closer to 60)
  • Have an overall GPA of 2.5
  • Have an overall GPA of 2.7 in social work courses

For more information on how to apply to the BASW program once you have completed the pre-admission requirements, please visit SU social work admissions.

Salisbury University Policies

  • You are expected to demonstrate professional behavior while completing the BASW and to become a professional social worker
  • You may not repeat any social work class more than once without permission
  • You must earn a grade of C or better in all core courses
  • The required courses may not equal 120 credit hours; therefore, you must register for additional electives to complete 120 credits required for graduation
  • You must have a minimum of 30 credits of upper level (300-499) courses


About our Partner Institution Salisbury University

Salisbury University, a member of the University System of Maryland, is an accredited university of national distinction. In 2014, SU was ranked as one of the ‘Nation’s Best Institutions’ by The Princeton Review and one of the ‘Best Regional Universities in the North’ by U.S. News and World Report. Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this four-year university has over 8,000 students and 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. SU prides itself on being an institution where individual talents are celebrated while big ideas are encouraged and nurtured.