Female student speaks to class

Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Bachelor of Arts

Request Information


Social Work Degree Program Overview

The field of social work is growing. Purdue University Northwest’s Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited program combines a competency-based curriculum with internship opportunities in the field. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to obtain licensure as a Licensed Bachelor of Social Work (LBSW), apply to graduate school or pursue employment as a generalist social worker.

Department of Behavioral Sciences

Accredited by CSWE, the organization that ensures excellence in social work education, our program positions you for meaningful work in a rewarding field.

PNW graduates have a high success rate and a robust regional network. Our faculty maintains strong relationships with the community, including 40 local agencies that host internships for Social Work majors.

The mission of the program is to prepare competent, professional and ethical generalist social workers who are committed to anti-oppressive social work practice by advocating for social, economic and environmental justice for all vulnerable populations.

Social Work Major Curriculum

You’ll take a balance of general education courses, College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences core courses and social work courses.

Our curriculum is based on the nine competencies identified by the Council on Social Work Education: Ethical and professional behavior; diversity and difference; human rights: social, economic, and environmental justice; research; policy practice; engagement with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities; assessment; intervention; and evaluation.

Begin with introductory level courses in social work, sociology and psychology.

Social Work Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • SWRK 20100 – Introduction To Social Work
  • SOC 10000 – Introductory Sociology
  • PSY 12000 – Elementary Psychology
  • SW 24000 – Social Work Helping Communication With Individuals And Small Groups.

Complete the human behavior and social work practice course sequences.

Social Work Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • SWRK 32100 – Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
  • SWRK 32200 – Human Behavior in the Social Environment II
  • SWRK 36200 – Social Work Practice I
  • SWRK 36300 – Social Work Practice II

Engage in research, learn about social work practice, study social welfare as it pertains to institutions and complete a social work elective of your choice.

Social Work Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • SWRK 30100 – Social Work Research
  • SWRK 36100 – Institutional Social Welfare
  • SWRK 35100 – Junior Practicum
  • SWRK 36700 – Macro Practice
  • SW 36501 – Diversity and Social Justice

Explore group practice and complete two fieldwork experiences in your final year.

Social Work Course of Study

Sample Courses

  • SWRK 46100 – Field Practicum in Social Work I
  • SWRK 46400 – Field Practicum in Social Work II
  • Social Work Elective

Social Work Degree Program Highlights

This is an applied, license-eligible, professional degree program. Faculty share real-world social work experience, model ethical behavior and engage in service alongside their students.

You’ll have of opportunities to learn and engage with the community through practicums, field trips, service learning and student clubs.

PNW Lion Statue with a brick wall in the background Two students pose in commencement regalia in front of the Nils Building

Social Work Degree Program Outcomes

The Social Work program has an outstanding reputation in the community. Each facet of the degree builds the knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that comprise the nine social work competencies. Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to work as a generalist, apply for licensure or pursue graduate study.

Social Work Degree Program Career Paths

Graduates of PNW’s Social Work program go on to pursue:

  • Employment in social services at schools, non-profits, and governmental agencies
  • Graduate school
  • Licensure as an LCSW

Social Work Degree Program Beyond the Classroom

We encourage you to get involved in activities like:

  • Social Work Club
  • Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Workers
  • National Association of Social Workers

See All Student Organizations

Social Work Degree Program Employers

Graduates of this program are employed in organizations and agencies like:

  • Housing Opportunities, Inc.
  • Porter-Starke Services
  • Franciscan Health

Social Work Degree Program Scholarships

In addition to the scholarships available to all PNW applicants, students seeking a social work major may also apply for program-specific scholarship awards, such as:

  • Michael and Geraldine Macenski Behavioral Scholarship

See All CHESS Scholarships

Social Work Degree Program Accreditation

Our Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

CSWE accreditation ensures that our program meets or exceeds peer-reviewed quality standards and has sufficient resources to meet its goals. It also provides reasonable assurance that our graduates are ready to practice in the field.

Form AS4 (B) Assessment Outcomes for 2022-2023

Social Work Degree Program Licensure

Our program fulfills the educational requirements for a license as a bachelor’s degree social worker as required by the State of Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IC 25-23.6-5-1.5). Social work license requirements differ from state-to-state, students should contact their home state’s licensing board for additional information regarding licensure requirements.

Jalyn Smith

The professors in my major not only cared about the students’ academic success, but also about us as individuals. When classes became difficult, they would remind us of all the people we are going to help and the lives we are going to change.

Jalyn A. Smith, Social Work, ’22, Chancellor’s Medallion Recipient

Jenna Turner headshot

The dedicated, experienced professors at PNW have allowed me to understand Social Work on a personal and professional level.  With their guidance, I have been able to create my own path to benefit our local communities.

Jenna E. Turner, Social Work

Kayla Shifley

I was a student at PNW and in the social work program from 2013-2017. I loved my time there, and the biggest factor was the professors that taught me the foundation of my knowledge. Joining the social work club and learning from faculty and peers helped me feel like I was a part of a community that I loved.

Kayla Shifley, MSW, LSW, CCFP

Meet the Faculty

Pamela Saylor

Pamela Saylor, M.S.W.

Clinical Assistant Professor | Director, BASW

Pamela Saylor is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. With a history of program development in social services, she is the founding director of the social work program. Pamela serves on Faculty Senate, the Experiential Learning Committee, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging (DEIJB) Committee.

Robin Miller

Robin Miller, M.S.W.

Director of Practicum Education and Clinical Assistant Professor

Robin Miller is responsible to guide the internship sequence of the social work program in an educationally sound manner, while helping to develop future social workers in their readiness for ethical work.

Shreya Bhandari

Shreya Bhandari, Ph.D., LISW

Professor and MSW Director

Shreya Bhandari is a social work educator, practitioner and researcher. In addition to serving as a faculty member, she also leads the MSW program.

Chun Liu

Chun Liu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Chun Liu is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. He currently teaches Social Work Research and Institutional Social Welfare.

Students stand with Senator David Vinzant from District 3 during LEAD Day.

Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work at PNW

Purdue University Northwest’s social work degree program is designed to provide you with skills that are transferable to different settings, population groups and problem areas.

To see how a bachelor’s degree in social work from PNW opens doors, from nonprofits to health care, take the next step today!

Request Info