Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare

Main page content

The Social Welfare major is dedicated to preparing competent, ethical, and culturally sensitive social workers with specialized knowledge and skills who are committed to evidence-based practice and to planned social change.

A deep commitment to equity and cultural diversity is brought to the development of the program. The program’s mission gives special attention to the poor and oppressed, including people of different ethnic and racial groups, sexual orientations, physical and mental abilities and women.

The bachelor of arts degree in social welfare is designed for students in the South Puget Sound region who are committed to providing effective social services to populations experiencing social and economic difficulties.

Graduates with a degree in Social Welfare are prepared to accept professional social work positions in a variety of settings. Typical positions for social welfare graduates are those that serve children, families, older persons, individuals with developmental disabilities, persons with severe and persistent mental illness, individuals who abuse alcohol and drugs, and those who are in the criminal justice system, health and long-term care agencies, and public social services. In providing these services in agencies and organizations, graduates are engaged in a wide range of roles, including as caseworkers, family advocates and social services employees at community agencies, mental health centers and chemical dependency settings.

Mission

As members of the University of Washington School of Social Work, we commit ourselves to promoting social and economic justice for poor and oppressed populations and enhancing the quality of life for all.

We strive to maximize human welfare through:

  • education of effective social work leaders, practitioners and educators who will challenge injustice and promote a more humane society, and whose actions will be guided by vision, compassion, knowledge and disciplined discovery, and deep respect for cultural diversity and human strengths;
  • research that engenders understanding of complex social problems, illuminates human capacities for problem-solving, and promotes effective and timely social intervention; and
  • public service that enhances the health, well-being and empowerment of disadvantaged communities and populations at local, national and international levels.

We embrace our position of leadership in the field of social work and join in partnership with others in society committed to solving human problems in the twenty-first century.

Additionally, the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice shares the mission of the University of Washington Tacoma.

The University of Washington Tacoma educates diverse learners and transforms communities by expanding the boundaries of knowledge and discovery.

Finally, the Social Work and Criminal Justice Program commits itself to providing access to social work education to residents of the south Puget Sound region. (Program goal emanating from UW Tacoma's defining characteristics and guiding principles.)

Program Goals

  • To prepare entry-level baccalaureate social workers for generalist practice in a multicultural context rooted in knowledge and skills for understanding and solving complex social problems within the values of professional social work
  • To prepare generalist social workers to become informed and effective leaders able take action against injustice and inequalities
  • To foster a comparative and critical examination of social welfare and social work history, policies, research, and practice interventions in the education of social work practitioners
  • To prepare students for graduate education in social work related fields
  • To provide access to social work education to residents of the south Puget Sound region

Curriculum Objectives

Keeping in mind the goals of the BASW program, graduates of the program are expected to:

  • Apply entry-level social work practice skills to individuals, families, groups, communities, tribes, and organizations.
  • Demonstrate an ethical and just professional use of self and the ability to use supervision and consultation.
  • Practice effectively within agencies and delivery systems and identify, plan and pursue needed agency and system changes aimed at promoting social and economic justice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and commitment to social work values and ethics through effective social work practice.
  • Demonstrate understanding of and appreciation for differences based on gender, ethnicity, race, religious creed, sexual orientation, class and physical and developmental disabilities.
  • Identify the ways in which oppression, colonization, privilege, discrimination, and social and economic disadvantage contributed to complex human welfare problems.
  • Understand the strengths and empowerment perspectives in practice, policy and research in order to promote social and economic justice.
  • Understand and describe the comparative history of social welfare and social work systems in the United States as well as the emergence of social work as a profession.
  • Understand the growing prevalence of economic inequality, the distribution of poverty and societal remedies to resolve these problems.
  • Analyze the impact of social policies on people (both clients and workers), agencies, communities, service systems and nations including American Indian and Alaska Tribal nations.
  • Understand and critically apply theoretical frameworks to understand individual development and behavior across the lifespan and the interactions among individuals and between individuals and social systems (i.e., families, groups, organizations, tribes and communities).
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in social work research methods used to develop and evaluate interventions and social service delivery systems.
  • Understand, use and promote evidence-based methods in generalist social work practice.
  • Use effective oral and written communication skills with a variety of client populations, colleagues and members of the community.

BASW Program Evaluation Competency Benchmarks

All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.

Full or Part-Time

Students may pursue a full-time or part-time program of study. A full-time track allows students to finish all major coursework within a 2 year period. Due to sequencing a part-time track will take 3 or more years to complete. Students should meet with their advisor to determine which option best meets their needs.

Advising

There are three sources of advisement for students in the social welfare major, academic advising, faculty advising and practicum advising. All advising roles offer a different educational focus and are highly invested in student success.

The BASW Academic Advisor can assist you with information on registration, course scheduling, graduation requirements and connect you to various campus resources. Students are encouraged to meet with the BASW Academic Advisor at least once a quarter for course planning and to apply to graduate. If you have any questions regarding your records, registration, or need clarification on BASW Program or University policies, requirements and/or procedures, please consult your advisor. To make an appointment, visit https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/swcj/advising.

Faculty Advisors are best used as mentors when students need assistance with educational and professional career choices or in circumstances when students experience personal difficulties that are affecting their progress in the program. All students are randomly assigned a Faculty Advisor whom they should meet with on a periodic basis. In addition to their assigned faculty advisor, students can turn to any faculty member regarding specific issues. For instance, you may choose to meet with a faculty who is doing research or practice in an area of common interest. Such “informal advising” is common and highly encouraged.

As faculty have a range of teaching, research and community service responsibilities, we encourage you to set up a time to meet with your faculty advisor. To facilitate contact please make a note of their room number, telephone number or email address. If you would like to change to another faculty advisor, contact the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice office for more information.

The Field Coordinator is responsible for the management of field education, advisement and approval of students for practicum placements. The Coordinator also is responsible for liaison and problem-solving with agencies if there are difficulties in the placements, and assignment of grades for the practicum courses.

Field Education

Practicum instruction is an integral component of social work education. Practicum teaching is a partnership between the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice and social service organizations who work together to help students integrate theory and practice. It is conducted in the field by professional social work practitioners selected by community agencies and approved by the faculty of the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice and the School of Social Work.

"Practicum" is an educational/learning experience required for academic credit.

One of the many purposes of Field Education is to provide a “practicum” experience for social work students that prepares them for autonomous professional social work practice/leadership. Field Education is the central pedagogy of social work education and is structured around a classroom experience. The integration of theory and practice is central to social work education and students are required as part of their academic program to have supervised field learning experience/s (practicum/s) where required competencies and practice behaviors are mastered. These learning experiences are under the supervision of a Field Instructor from the agency of placement and a Field Faculty member from the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice.

These learning experiences are not work opportunities or job experience; on the contrary they are supervised educational/learning experiences. Students do not have independent responsibility/decision making authority and must receive their assignments/guidance/plan for learning from the Field Instructor and/or Field Faculty.

Students are required to engage in the development of a Learning Contract with the Field Instructor and Field Faculty member from the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice. The Learning Contract spells out specific learning activities for the academic year. Students and Field Instructors meet weekly at a minimum to discuss learning activities from a social work perspective and to evaluate learning/mastery of the competencies.

Clear expectations are provided to students while they are in placement for their field education learning experience. This learning experience is educational in nature and based on articulated competencies and practice behaviors and is attached to academic credit. It is anticipated/expected students cooperate with the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice/their assigned Field Faculty to ensure at all times they are engaged in a supervised learning/educational experience. This experience is not a job/work nor should it be viewed at any time as taking the place of agency staff or workload mitigation.

BASW Independent Study

Independent study elective courses that offer students the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty in an area of shared scholarship. Employers and graduate schools like to see this experience in your college education because it develops your initiative, responsibility and creativity.

Students must adhere to the Independent Study Contract Guidelines when submitting a contract plan for approval. The student is responsible for approaching faculty with an idea for independent study. All forms must be typed and can be found online at http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/social-work/basw-independent-study.

Course of Study

The required core curriculum must be taken in sequence over a two-year period. The Social Welfare curriculum consists of a 68-credit program comprised of these major areas:

  • Foundation courses
  • Social work practice courses
  • Practicum combined with practicum seminars
  • Social welfare electives

Students will be required to complete 10 credits of social welfare upper-division electives.

Model Program of Study Effective 2016

To help prospective students understand the sequencing of the Social Welfare curriculum, the model program of study shows the typical progression to complete the degree. UW Tacoma requires a total of 180 credits for graduation that includes the credits required for the BASW degree. Information provided in this table gives an overview of the two-year curriculum.

In the freshman and sophomore years, students should fulfill as many of the general education requirements as possible. Those requirements consist of language skills (English composition and world language), reasoning and writing skills, and areas of knowledge. Completion of all general education requirements is not required for admission to the BASW program; however, students with deficiencies must meet with the program advisor to discuss completion of these requirements prior to graduation.

Social Welfare majors who are pursuing the minor in Criminal Justice may not double count TSOCWF 300-400 level courses as approved Social Welfare electives and as electives for the minor in Criminal Justice. The TSOCWF 300-400 level course(s) may satisfy one distribution area or another, but not both.

► Students admitted Autumn 2016 and beyond:

Program of Study PDF

FIRST YEAR

QUARTER

COURSE

CREDITS

Autumn
(12 credits)

TSOCWF 300: Historical Approaches to Social Welfare

5

TSOCWF 301: Professionalism in Social Welfare

2

TSOCWF 402: Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (W)***

5

Winter
(15 credits)

TSOCWF 310: Social Welfare Practice I

5

TSOCWF 320: Social Welfare: Contemporary Approaches

5

SW elective*

5

Spring
(14 credits)

TSOCWF 311: Social Welfare Practice II

3

TSOCWF 404: Cultural Diversity and Social Justice

5

TSOCWF 414: Introduction to Field

1

SW elective*

5

Summer
(12 credits)

General electives*

12

SECOND YEAR

QUARTER

COURSE

CREDITS

Autumn
(12 credits)

TSOCWF 390: Introduction to Social Welfare Research

5

TSOCWF 405: Field Seminar I (W)***

3

TSOCWF 415: Practicum

4

Winter
(13 credits)

TSOCWF 312: Social Welfare Practice III

5

TSOCWF 415: Practicum

3

General elective*

5

Spring
(12 credits)

TSOCWF 406: Field Seminar II (W)***

3

TSOCWF 415: Practicum

4

General elective*

5

TOTAL

90**

NOTE: Statistics is a required course for the BASW program; if a statistics course has not been completed with a 2.0 (or C) grade or better within the last five years, students must take it prior to TSOCWF 390.

* Social Welfare electives and general electives may be taken at times other than those designated above, schedule permitting. Based upon sample plan, enrollment in 12 credits during summer is suggested.

** Total may vary based on the number of college level credits applied toward the degree.

*** W indicates that the course meets the University's Writing Intensive Criteria.

Program of Study PDF

FIRST YEAR

QUARTER

COURSE

CREDITS

Autumn
(13 credits)

TSOCWF 300: Historical Approaches to Social Welfare

5

TSOCWF 310: Social Welfare Practice I

3

TSOCWF 402: Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (W)***

5

Winter
(13 credits)

TSOCWF 311: Social Welfare Practice II

3

TSOCWF 320: Social Welfare: Contemporary Approaches

5

SW elective*

5

Spring
(16 credits)

TSOCWF 312: Social Welfare Practice III

5

TSOCWF 404: Cultural Diversity and Social Justice

5

TSOCWF 414: Introduction to Field

1

SW elective*

5

Summer
(12 credits)

General electives*

12

SECOND YEAR

QUARTER

COURSE

CREDITS

Autumn
(12 credits)

TSOCWF 390: Introduction to Social Welfare Research (W)***

5

TSOCWF 405: Practicum Seminar

3

TSOCWF 415: Practicum

4

Winter
(12 credits)

TSOCWF 405: Practicum Seminar

3

TSOCWF 415: Practicum

4

General elective*

5

Spring
(12 credits)

TSOCWF 405: Practicum Seminar

3

TSOCWF 415: Practicum

4

General elective*

5

TOTAL

90**

NOTE: Statistics is a required course for the BASW program; if a statistics course has not been completed with a 2.0 (or C) grade or better within the last five years, students must take it prior to TSOCWF 390.

* Social Welfare electives and general electives may be taken at times other than those designated above, schedule permitting. Based upon sample plan, enrollment in 12 credits during summer is suggested.

** Total may vary based on the number of college level credits applied toward the degree.

*** W indicates that the course meets the University's Writing Intensive Criteria.