Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
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2019-2020

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 submit a change of major form to be admitted into the lower-divsion Social Work program at any time, but 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, 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
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Attorney
  • Counselor
  • Government Agency Administrator
  • Higher Education Administrator
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

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Participate in a Safe Zone training, or one of the dozens of diversity and inclusion events offered every year.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • 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
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Consider becoming a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Complete two semesters of Field Education.
  • Discuss how to market 3 semesters of social work internship experience on your resume with VCU Career Services.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Attend a Discovery Day for the M.S.W. program.
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

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 to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Participate in a Safe Zone training, or one of the dozens of diversity and inclusion events offered every year.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
Year 3
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • 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
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Consider becoming a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Complete two semesters of Field Education.
  • Discuss how to market 3 semesters of social work internship experience on your resume with VCU Career Services.
  • Attend a Discovery Day for the M.S.W. program.
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.