Bachelor of Social Work

The requirements for the Bachelor of Social Work degree are designed to give the student an opportunity for integrated, nonrepetitive learning. A total of 122 semester hours is required. These may include credit by examination and a maximum of five one-semester elective courses taken on the pass/fail basis. All students must complete the requirements for the major and must complete at least 60 semester hours in residence at the University. These 60 hours must include at least 24 semester hours in social work. A completed degree program must include at least 46 semester hours of upper-division coursework, of which 24 semester hours must have been taken in residence. No more than 60 semester hours in social work may be counted toward the degree.

Each student must complete a sequence of prescribed work; major requirements, which include the field practicum; and special requirements, which include electives.

Prescribed Work

The prescribed work provides the liberal arts base for the social work curriculum. Interdepartmental courses and credit by examination may be used to meet these requirements. Unless otherwise indicated, a course taken to meet the requirements of one area may not also be used to fulfill the requirements of another area; however, a single course may be used, unless otherwise indicated, to fulfill both an area requirement and a major requirement. No course used to fulfill area or major requirements, other than the field practicum, may be taken on the pass/fail basis.

Core Curriculum

All students must complete the University’s Core Curriculum. A single course may not be counted toward more than one core area, but in some cases a course that is required for the Bachelor of Social Work may also be counted toward the core curriculum; these courses are identified below.

Skills and Experience Flags

In the process of fulfilling the core curriculum and other degree requirements, all students pursuing the Bachelor of Social Work must complete courses that carry flags in the following areas:

  1. Writing: Three courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306 or the equivalent that carry a writing flag; one of these courses must be upper-division. Social Work 323K and 327 count toward this requirement; students must complete the third writing course outside the School of Social Work. Courses used to fulfill the writing requirement may be used to fulfill other requirements.
  2. Cultural diversity in the United States: One flagged course. Social Work 310 and 325 carry the cultural diversity flag.
  3. Ethics and leadership: One flagged course. Social Work 332 and 333 carry the ethics and leadership flag.
  4. Quantitative reasoning: One flagged course. Social Work 318 carries the quantitative reasoning flag.
  5. Global cultures: One flagged course chosen from approved list. Social Work 360K (Ghana Maymester) and Social Work 460K (London Maymester) also satisfy the global cultures flag.
  6. Independent inquiry: One flagged course. Social Work 323K carries the independent inquiry flag.

Foreign Language

In addition to the core curriculum requirements above, undergraduates must earn credit for the second college-level course, or the equivalent, in a foreign language. American Sign Language and Sign Language for Social Workers may be used to fulfill this requirement.

Major Requirements

The Bachelor of Social Work program offers basic courses designed to provide students with concentrated and in-depth educational experience combining social work knowledge and practice skills. No course used to fulfill major requirements, except Social Work 640 and 641, may be taken on the pass/fail basis. Students are advised to complete the core curriculum, the skills and experiences flags, the foreign language requirement, and all lower-division major requirements before taking upper-division courses. In developing their degree plans, students must also pay careful attention to the sequencing of social work courses to ensure that prerequisite requirements are met.

Academic credit cannot be granted for life experience or previous work experience, and such experience cannot be substituted for any of the courses in the professional foundation areas or the field practicum. Students who believe they have the qualifications to receive credit by examination for a social work course other than the practice sequence coursework (Social Work 312, 332, 333, and 334) and the field practicum may submit a written request to the assistant dean for undergraduate programs. The assistant dean will review the request and determine whether or not the student should be permitted to take the examination.

  1. The following courses are required:
    1. Social welfare policy: Social Work 310, 323K.
    2. Research: Social Work 313, 318.
    3. Human behavior: Social Work 325, 327.
    4. Practice: Social Work 312, 332, 333, 334.
    5. Field practicum: Social Work 640, 641, 444.
  2. Students must complete a three-semester-hour introductory course in psychology. Psychology 301 fulfills this requirement and may also be counted toward the social and behavioral science requirement of the core curriculum.
  3. Students must complete a three-semester-hour introductory course in sociology. Sociology 302 fulfills this requirement and may also be counted toward the social and behavioral science requirement of the core curriculum.
  4. Students must complete a three-semester-hour course in human/environmental biology: Biology 301L301M, 309D311C, or the equivalent. Biology 301L and 301M or Biology 311C and 301M may be used together to complete the science and technology part I requirement. If biology coursework is not used for science and technology part I, any of these courses may be used to fulfill the science and technology part II requirement. 
  5. Students must complete three semester hours in economics. Certain economics courses may also be used to fulfill the social and behavioral sciences requirement of the core curriculum.
  6. Students must complete three semester hours in child psychology or child development. Psychology 304 or Human Development and Family Sciences 313 accompanied with HDF 113L may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  7. Students must complete at least nine semester hours of upper-division coursework in the social and behavioral sciences (applied learning and development, anthropology, economics, educational psychology, government, history, kinesiology, psychology, sociology, Social Work 360K topics) in addition to other major requirements. Six of these nine hours may be upper-division social work electives.

Field Sequence Requirements

The social work program requires that students complete 45 clock hours of supervised service learning related to social work to be admitted to the major, to upper-division courses in social work, and to the field practicum. These service learning hours may be used to meet course requirements in Social Work 310 and 312. Students must also complete 480 clock hours of fieldwork as part of the course requirements in Social Work 640 and 641. Students have the opportunity in the field practicum to develop the professional skills needed for entry-level social work positions as generalist practitioners. Adequate laboratory time through the field practicum is built into this professional program to provide students with an opportunity to test their developing skills in a real-life environment. At the same time, faculty members evaluate the student’s professional development within the context of the educational objectives established for the experience. The goals are for the student to learn real-life practice, to develop skills, to relate concepts to skill development, to remain motivated to continue to learn, and to evaluate personal performance.

To enroll in the field practicum, students must meet the following requirements: (1) admission to the major in social work; (2) a University grade point average of at least 2.00; and (3) both a grade point average of at least 2.50 for the following group of courses and a grade of at least C in each course in the group: Social Work 310, 312, 313, 318, 323K, 325, 327, 332, 333, and 334.

Following the student’s admission to the field practicum, his or her work is reviewed periodically by the student, the field faculty, and the agency supervisor. Should the student have trouble meeting the professional or academic requirements of the program, the review process will bring the difficulty to the student’s attention and assist the student in seeking appropriate resolution. The student may make use of counseling and advising services at any time. If difficulties cannot be resolved, the field director may conduct an administrative review, which may result in a decision to terminate the student’s field placement. The student is notified of this decision in writing.

All social work students enrolling in the field practicum are required to show evidence of professional liability insurance coverage paid for the duration of the course. The effective date of the policy must be on or before the first regular class period of the field practicum course for which the student is enrolling. Failure to provide evidence of insurance may result in the student being dropped from the field practicum.

Special Requirements

Elective Requirements and Limitations

In addition to the area and major requirements given above, the student must take elective coursework to complete the 122 semester hours required for the Bachelor of Social Work. No more than five one-semester courses taken on the pass/fail basis, 36 hours in any one field of study other than social work, and 54 hours in social work may be counted toward the 122-hour requirement.

Minimum Scholastic Requirements

  1. The student must fulfill the University-wide graduation requirements and the requirements of the School of Social Work given earlier in this section.
  2. To apply for admission to the social work major, a student must have earned a grade of at least C in each of the following courses: Social Work 310, 312, 313, 318 and 325. The student must also have a University grade point average of at least 2.00 and a grade point average of at least 2.50 in all the courses he or she has completed that are part of the social work major requirements. Additional requirements are given in the section Admission to the Major in Social Work.
  3. Following the student’s admission to the major, the student’s coursework is reviewed periodically by the student and the academic adviser. Students must maintain a University grade point average of at least 2.00; they must also earn a grade of at least C in each course listed as a social work major requirement and must maintain a grade point average of at least 2.50 in these courses. If the student has trouble meeting the professional or academic requirements of the major, the review process delineated in Student Standards for Social Work Education, available at www.utexas.edu/ssw/current/forms/, will bring the difficulty to the student’s attention and assist the student in making appropriate resolution. The student may make use of counseling and advising services at any time.
  4. If the student’s grade point average in social work courses falls below 2.50, the student is placed on academic probation in social work. If the grade point average remains below 2.50 for two consecutive semesters, including the summer session, the student is subject to academic dismissal from the School of Social Work.
  5. All students who seek to reenter the School of Social Work after having been placed on enforced withdrawal or academic dismissal must have the approval of the assistant dean for undergraduate programs.
  6. Any student who has a grade of C or higher in a course may not repeat the course and use the second grade to improve his or her grade point average without special permission of the assistant dean for undergraduate programs. If a student repeats a course, all grades received for the course are included in the grade point average.

Order and Choice of Work

A pre–social work major may fulfill the requirements for application to the major in four or five long-session semesters, depending on the number of hours completed each semester. After admission to the major, students complete a three-semester professional sequence and additional requirements needed for the BSW degree.

Suggested Schedule for Pre–Social Work Majors

First Year
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
RHE 3063A course to be counted towards the mathematics requirement of the core curriculum 3
S W 3103A course to be counted toward the U.S. history requirement of the core curriculum3
PSY 3013A biology course to be counted toward the natural science and technology part I or II requirement of the core curriculum 3
SOC 3023GOV 310L3
UGS 302 or 3033A three-hour course to be counted toward the visual and performing arts requirement of the core curriculum3
 15 15
Second Year
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
E 316L, 316M, 316N, or 316P3S W 3133
GOV 312L3S W 3183
S W 3123A course to be counted toward the U.S. history requirement of the core curriculum3
Foreign language 601D, or an equivalent beginning course; or Sign Language for Social Workers I3-6Foreign language 610D, or an equivalent second sequence course; or Sign Language for Social Workers II3-6
PSY 304 or HDF 3133A course to be counted towards the natural science and technology part I requirement of the core curriculum3
 15-18 15-18
Third Year
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
A course to be counted toward the natural science and technology part I or II requirement of the core curriculum 3A three-hour upper-division elective, if needed, to provide the required forty-six hours of upper-division credit3
A non–social work course that carries a writing flag3S W 3273
An economics course3S W 3343
Three hours of upper-division social and behavioral science coursework3A course that carries a global cultures flag3
S W 3253Three hours of upper-division social and behavioral science coursework3
 15 15
Fourth Year
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
S W 323K3S W 6406
S W 3323S W 6416
S W 3333S W 4444
Three hours of upper-division social and behavioral science coursework3 
Three hours of elective coursework3 
 15 16
Total credit hours: 121-127

First Year

30 semester hours:

  • Rhetoric and Writing 306, Rhetoric and Writing
  • Social Work 310, Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare
  • Psychology 301, Introduction to Psychology
  • Sociology 302, Introduction to the Study of Society
  • Undergraduate Studies 302, First-Year Signature Course or Undergraduate Studies 303, First-Year Signature Course
  • A three-hour course to be counted toward the core curriculum mathematics requirement
  • A three-hour course to be counted toward the American history requirement of the core curriculum
  • A three-hour course to be counted toward the visual and performing arts requirement of the core curriculum
  • A three-hour biology course to be counted toward the natural science and technology part I or II requirement of the core curriculum
  • Government 310L, American Government

Second Year

36 semester hours:

Third Year

30 semester hours:

  • A three-hour course to be counted toward the natural science and technology part I or part II requirement of the core curriculum
  • A three-hour non–social work course that carries a writing flag
  • A three-hour economics course
  • Six hours of upper-division social and behavioral science coursework
  • Social Work 325, Foundations of Social Justice
  • A three-hour upper-division elective, if needed, to provide the required 46 hours of upper-division credit
  • Social Work 327, Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • Social Work 334, Social Work Practice in Organizations and Communities
  • A three-hour global cultures flag course

Fourth Year

31 semester hours:

The student must also complete all other remaining required coursework before the field practicum, including electives needed to provide the total of 122 semester hours required for the degree. No other courses may be taken concurrently with the field practicum courses.