Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2018-2019

Social work

School of Social Work

 
Program description

The goals of the profession of social work are to provide services to persons who are vulnerable due to a lack of personal, social and/or institutional resources to meet their emotional, health and economic needs. Social work practice is the application of professional knowledge, skills and values across a range of settings and populations. The focus of practice is on individuals, couples, families, groups and communities. In addition to direct clinical social work practice, social workers are involved in the administration of human service programs, social planning, the development of social policies, research and evaluation, and teaching.

In order to achieve the goals of promoting social justice and enhancing well-being for individuals, families, groups and communities, social workers provide a variety of services primarily in public and nonprofit organizational contexts. Examples of the range of settings in which social workers practice include community centers, public social services, child welfare, residential treatment facilities, schools, community mental health agencies, family and children’s service agencies, psychiatric and acute care hospitals, substance abuse treatment facilities, services for the elderly, court services and adult and juvenile rehabilitation facilities.

Social work practice is designed to enrich quality of life by enabling individuals, groups, communities and organizations to achieve their greatest potential development. The goal of the School of Social Work at VCU is to provide professional education in response to these needs.

Career opportunities

A B.S.W. degree enables our graduates to empower others and effect change in prevalent areas such as: Addiction, substance abuse and behavioral health; Aging; Child welfare; Community development; Corrections/justice; Developmental disabilities; Employment/occupational social work; Family services/group services; Health care services; Homelessness/housing; International social work; Mental health; Public welfare; Rehabilitation; School social work.

When our students enter the field as professionals, they do so equipped with a nuanced understanding of the day-to-day demands of the job and a commitment to meeting the challenges of social work with strength and compassion.  

A bachelor's in social work can prepare students for graduate or professional education in social work, sociology, counseling, psychology, law, medicine, education, college student personnel, higher education administration, planning, and other related fields. Many transferable skills such as analytical, organizational, research, interpersonal, computer, leadership, teamwork, and oral/written communication are associated with the social work degree. Internships, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and/or volunteer experiences are critical to reaching career goals. Research fields of interests and gain the right skills, experiences, and advanced degrees (if necessary).

Change of major requirements
Cumulative minimum 2.5 GPA.  Students may change their major into the lower-divsion Social Work program at any time, bu it will not be approved until they have met with the lower-division advisor.  Email student success advisor at sswinfo@vcu.edu.  Meet advisor to review curriculum requirements.  Submit Change of Major form.  Under "New Primary Program of Study, " select Social Work-Lower Division.

Bachelor-level job titles
  • Child, family, and school social worker
  • Community and social service specialist, all other
  • Community health worker
  • Health educator
  • Healthcare social workers
  • Mental health and substance abuse social worker
  • Patient representative
  • Probation officer and correctional treatment specialist
  • Social and human service assistant
  • Social workers, all other
Professional associations and resources
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 131
Science required
  • 1-2 additional science courses
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.5 to declare/2.0 to graduate
Department name:
School of Social Work
Building/room location:
Academic Learning Commons, Room 3102
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-1030
Email:
sswinfo@vcu.edu

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Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Register to vote in Virginia and explore Richmond, including its museums, parks, festivals, and cultural events!
  • Apply to live in the ASPiRE, Globe, INNOVATE, or LEAD Living & Learning Programs.
  • Get involved with VCU Student Government or one of over 450 clubs and organizations.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Learn about your study abroad options by visiting a study abroad fair and attending a First Advising Session in the Global Education Office.
  • Review the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) website for programs, events, and resources.
  • Join a living-learning program such as VCU Globe.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Explore “What Can I Do With This Major” to learn about employers and job titles in your field.
  • Complete your Handshake profile and opt-in to industry email lists to learn about opportunities.
  • Explore Lynda to gain skills.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Build your LinkedIn profile and explore Career Pathways on VCU Career Services’ website.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Practice independent living skills (such as money management, self-care, time management, and personal responsibility).

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes in your major, and strategies for success in your degree program.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to be sure you have completed the required prerequisites for the social work major.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Request a Peer Mentor in the B.S.W program and reach out to BSWSA to learn how to get involved.
  • Visit the Office of Community Engagement to participate in community service in Richmond.
  • Take service-learning classes or volunteer to address a social issue (ConnectVA & HandsOnRVA).
  • Explore peer leadership opportunities or apply for I-LEAD Connect, Alternative Spring Break
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Participate in a Safe Zone and Building Inclusive Communities training, or one of the dozens of diversity and inclusion events offered every year.
  • Attend Diversity Scholars in Research Week.
  • Get to know other VCU students from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Attend the OMSA Social Justice Conference
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Create a draft of your resume and come to drop-ins at VCU Career Services to have it reviewed.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and career events throughout the year to explore your interests.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Using LinkedIn, connect to at least 10 people. Check out the VCU alumni page in My Network.
  • Consider who could serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your advisor each semester to discuss degree progression and plans for elective coursework.
  • Speak with your academic advisor about pursuing an independent study in social work and research opportunities.
  • Conduct independent undergraduate research.
  • Schedule an appointment with the School of Social Work’s Writing Advisor to enhance your writing skills and review your first papers for your major courses.
  • Visit research librarian Dr. Nita Bryant.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Get involved with one of the School of Social Work's student associations.
  • Attend a Wellness Workshop hosted by the Office of Student Success or the Wellness Resource Center.
  • Attend Rally in the Valley, a state BSW conference, this year and next.
  • Create a community-engaged research project.
  • Attend civic meetings, such as school board, neighborhood associations, city council, or state legislative sessions.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Engage in legislative advocacy by attending Lobby Day.
  • Participate in Richmond Revisited.
  • Participate in Cultural Awareness Day hosted by ABSW.
  • Apply for a Fulbright or other post-graduate international fellowship program through VCU’s National Scholarship Office.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Attend Field Education Orientation and read the Field Education Manual.
  • Complete your first semester of Field Education (field application required).
  • Meet with a career advisor to discuss your career direction and create an action plan.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to your academic advisor, faculty, and/or Career Services about whether graduate school or a job will be the best step for you after graduation.
  • Reach out to your instructors to ask about what experiences you should be seeking out as a student to make yourself more marketable in your future job search.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Speak with your academic advisor about pursuing an Honors in Social Work.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Request a Peer Mentor in the M.S.W. program.
  • Send thank you notes to the faculty, staff, and community partners who helped you during your college experience. Remind them that you will be on the job market soon and ask them to help you connect with potential employers.
  • Consider applying for a year-long service opportunity after graduation like VCU AmeriCorps, Literacy Lab, Peace Corps, Fulbright Student Scholars, Teach for America and City Year.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Build your intercultural competence by engaging with international students on campus by becoming a conversation partner to an international student.
  • Consider becoming a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete two semesters of Field Education.
  • Take on a leadership role in a student organization or club or go deeper in your service opportunities.
  • Visit VCU Career Services to discuss the best ways to market your three semesters of social work internship experience on your resume.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Attend a Discovery Day for the M.S.W. program.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Join the VCU Alumni Association.
  • Have your personal statement or cover letter reviewed, and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2018-2019

Social work

School of Social Work

Concentration(s):
No concentration
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.
  • Explore “What Can I Do With This Major” to learn about employers and job titles in your field.
  • Complete your Handshake profile and opt-in to industry email lists to learn about opportunities.
  • Explore Lynda to gain skills.
  • Build your LinkedIn profile and explore Career Pathways on VCU Career Services’ website.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Practice independent living skills (such as money management, self-care, time management, and personal responsibility).
Experience Year 2
  • Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Using LinkedIn, connect to at least 10 people. Check out the VCU alumni page in My Network.
  • Consider who could serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.
Year 3
  • Attend Field Education Orientation and read the Field Education Manual.
  • Complete your first semester of Field Education (field application required).
  • Meet with a career advisor to discuss your career direction and create an action plan.
  • Talk to your academic advisor, faculty, and/or Career Services about whether graduate school or a job will be the best step for you after graduation.
  • Reach out to your instructors to ask about what experiences you should be seeking out as a student to make yourself more marketable in your future job search.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Speak with your academic advisor about pursuing an Honors in Social Work
  • Complete two semesters of Field Education
  • Take on a leadership role in a student organization or club or go deeper in your service opportunities.
  • Visit VCU Career Services to discuss the best ways to market your three semesters of social work internship experience on your resume
  • Attend a Discovery Day for the M.S.W. program.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Join the VCU Alumni Association
  • Have your personal statement or cover letter reviewed, and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services