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The profession of social work is a regulated profession at the state level. This means that the title and social work roles are protected. Various levels of licensure, along with scope of practice for each, are codified in the state of Missouri and are available for reference. For additional information, refer to the Missouri Committee for Social Workers here.

The State of Missouri and many other states require a degree from an accredited social work program in order to sit for the social work licensure exam in the state. Obtaining a degree from an accredited social work program and passing the ASWB licensure exam are the first steps toward applying for a social work license in Missouri and other states.

The Social Work program at Missouri Western has met all standards and is approved by CSWE. Missouri Western’s Social Work program prepares students to move directly into employment or, on to graduate school. This means that students who complete this program, can use this degree in many geographic areas, states, with populations or provide services.  The State of Missouri does offer a license for BSWs but most positions do not require it. The State of Kansas, our close neighbor, generally requires a license to work as a Bachelor’s level Social Worker. The BSW degree from Missouri Western will meet the requirement the person will need to sit for the exam to become licensed. Other states may have different requirements for licensure. Information about other states requirement for licensure can be found at

If you have any questions about licensure in Missouri or any other state, please feel free to discuss it with department faculty; who will be happy to assist.

Many hands stacked together

Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work, B.S.W.)

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) prepares students for beginning generalist social work practice.  Students will have multiple applied learning opportunities, including a semester long practicum, to prepare them to work in the field across a variety of social service settings. Students will be challenged to create a generalist skill set which includes, one-on-one, group, and community work, critical thinking, self-awareness, and communication.  These skills are framed by the profession’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of all individuals, importance of relationships, integrity, and competence. The program offers a variety of electives for expanding a student’s knowledge in specific practice areas.

Missouri Western’s Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

The social work program operates under a selective admissions policy. Students are considered "pre-majors" until they meet the minimum requirements to be accepted as a social work major. Admission to the social work program involves the completion of an application packet. Minimum requirements for admission into the social work major include:

  • Completion of the general studies math requirement (MAT111 or MAT111E preferred)
  • Completion of the ENG 108 College Writing and Research general studies requirement
  • Completion of SOC 230 Social Problems, PSC 101 American National Government, and ECO 101 Current Issues in the Economy
  • Completion of BIO 101 Principles of Biology or equivalent
  • ENG 108 College Writing and Research, SWK 250 Introduction to Social Work, SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology and PSY 101 General Psychology with a minimum grade of C in each course
  • Must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.50
  • Must have earned a C or better in all completed SWK prefix classes required for the major
  • Must agree to and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with accepted professional social work practices and the current NASW Code of Ethics (see Social Work Student Handbook)
  • Cannot have exhibited behavior (past or present) that will infringe on their present or future ability to adequately fulfill professional social work responsibilities

Students typically complete the social work admissions process during the fall semester of the junior year when enrolled in SWK 330 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I/SWK 350 Social Work Practice I.  Students must be accepted into the Social Work Program prior to beginning SWK 360 Social Work Practice II unless a student has spoken to the social faculty advisor and plans to submit his/her application concurrently with taking SWK 360 Social Work Practice II.  Admission decisions are based on a student's academic performance, professional, personal and academic conduct, references, and responses to application and interview questions.

The Social Work Program does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, political affiliation, or sexual orientation.

In accordance with Council of Social Work Education standards, MWSU does not grant academic credit, course waivers, or field practicum credit for previous life or work experiences.

Once admitted to the social work program, social work majors are expected to maintain professional and academic standards of conduct. The social work program at Missouri Western reserves the right to place a student on probationary status or remove a student from the major because of violations of these standards (see Social Work Student Handbook).

The Social Work Program's Mission Statement

The mission of the MWSU Social Work Program is to prepare undergraduate students for ethical and effective generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in Northwest Missouri and surrounding areas. Social work graduates will value human dignity, social and economic justice, and human and cultural diversity. They will competently serve individuals from diverse backgrounds including persons who are poor, vulnerable, and oppressed, and living in rural areas. They will work to reduce poverty, oppression, and discrimination by making government and social service agencies more just and responsive to consumer needs. In addition to preparing competent social workers, MWSU's Social Work Program is dedicated to offering its professional expertise and academic resources to support community efforts to enhance human well-being.

General Studies
Major Requirements
SOC 230Social Problems3
SWK 250Introduction to Social Work4
SWK 320Philosophy and Policy in Social Services I3
SWK 330Human Behavior and the Social Environment I3
SWK 340Human Behavior and the Social Environment II3
SWK 350Social Work Practice I4
SWK 360Social Work Practice II3
SWK 415Social Work Practice III4
SWK 420Philosophy and Policy in Social Services II3
SWK 480Practicum in Social Work10
SWK 485Social Work Practicum Seminar2
Applied Learning Research Requirement
GBA 210Business Statistics I3
or MAT 111 Introductory Statistics
or MAT 111E Introductory Statistics
or NUR 314 Quantitative Analysis for Health Care Research
or PSY 300 Introductory Psychological Statistics
CRJ 325Understanding Research in Criminal Justice3
or SOC 460 Methods of Social Research
SWK 470Program Evaluation3
Diversity Requirement
SOC 400Racial and Ethnic Relations3
Select three credit hours from the following:3
Multicultural Education
Human Sexuality
Gender and Politics
Psychology of Gender
Religions of the World
Religions of East Asia and Oceania
Religions of the West
Religions of South Asia and Africa
World of Islam: People, Cultures & Societies
The Family
Sociology of Health, Illness and Medicine
Restricted Electives
Select nine credit hours from the following:9
Interpersonal Conflict Resolution
Introduction to Aging Studies
Selected Topics in Social Work
Mental Health and Social Work
Family and Child Welfare
Substance Use and Disorders
Death And Dying
Bridge to Practicum
Independent Research/Project
Advanced Research Project

NOTE: Students are expected to meet the professional and academic standards of conduct.

Program Graduation Requirements 

  1. Earn a grade of C or higher in all SWK prefix coursework in the major.
  2. Earn an overall GPA of at least 2.5 and a major GPA of at least 2.0.

University Graduation Requirements 

  1. Earn a minimum of 120 credit hours (100 level and higher, maximum of 6 CED credit hours applicable).
  2. Earn a minimum of 30 credit hours in upper-division courses.  Lower-division transfer courses accepted as meeting upper-division departmental course requirements cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.
  3. Earn 30 of the last 45 credit hours at MWSU in institutional coursework (exclusive of credit by examination).
  4. Participate in required departmental and campus wide assessments. 
  5. Fulfill the Missouri Constitution requirement.
  6. Successfully pass the Missouri Higher Education Civics Achievement exam. 
Are you ready to declare this major? Download, sign and submit the form to the Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Social Work Department.
Mapping your degree plan is important. Consult with your academic advisor to create a plan and monitor it regularly.