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Columbia Campus    
2018-2019 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin 
  Mar 02, 2024
2018-2019 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Social Work, B.S.W.

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The College of Social Work offers a four-year undergraduate program on the Columbia campus leading to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). This BSW program has been fully accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) since 2012.

The Mission of the BSW Program

The mission of the BSW program is to prepare graduates to become competent and ethical generalist practitioners who promote social and economic justice, social well-being, and an appreciation of diversity among vulnerable populations across South Carolina and beyond. This is accomplished through the program’s emphasis on teaching, research, creative activity, and community engagement.

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

Goal 1: The program prepares students to appreciate the importance of human relationships for the provision of competent generalist practices.

  • Learning Outcome 1: Graduates will engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (2.1.10*).

Goal 2: The program prepares students to demonstrate competent generalist practice within the parameters of the profession’s ethics, values, emphasis on the dignity and worth of the person, and respect for diversity and difference.

  • Learning Outcome 2: Graduates will identify as professional social workers and conduct themselves accordingly (2.1.1).
  • Learning Outcome 3: Graduates will apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice (2.1.2).
  • Learning Outcome 4: Graduates will engage diversity and difference in practice (2.1.4).

Goal 3: The program prepares students to apply a person-and-environment framework to interpret practice contexts and relevant research.

  • Learning Outcome 5: Graduates will apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment (2.1.7).
  • Learning Outcome 6: Graduates will engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research (2.1.6).
  • Learning Outcome 7: Graduates will respond to contexts that shape practice (2.1.9).

Goal 4: The program prepares students to understand the conditions that influence human rights, as well as the policies and practices that enhance social and economic justice.

  • Learning Outcome 8: Graduates will engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services (2.1.8).

Goal 5: The program prepares students to use critical thinking in serving and advocating for social and economic justice.

  • Learning Outcome 9: Graduates will apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments (2.1.3).
  • Learning Outcome 10: Graduates will advance human rights and social and economic justice (2.1.5).

*Numbers refer to the CSWE’s 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) Core Competencies

Entrance and Progression Requirements

In order to be admitted to the BSW Program, students must meet all University and college admission requirements. Transfer students must meet all such requirements and have an overall GPA of 2.50 or better. Enrollment in lower division Social Work courses does not guarantee acceptance into the Upper Division of the BSW Program.

Admission to the Upper Division: The admission policy for the BSW degree program applies to every applicant. All applicants must fulfill the general admission requirements of both the University and the College of Social Work. Students must submit a completed College of Social Work BSW Program application by the announced dates published each year. The College of Social Work is committed to diversity in its student body. Admission is limited and competitive.

Minimum requirements for admission include:

  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 2.50 (on a 4.00 scale).
  • Earned minimum grade of C or higher in all required Carolina Core Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication (Writing) — CMW courses.
  • Verified completion of 39 hours of general education courses at the time of application.
  • Verified completion of 54 hours of general education courses at the time of progression to Upper Division.
  • Verified completion of SOWK 201, or equivalency for transfer students.
  • At least three letters of reference submitted by individuals who can attest to the student’s potential for undergraduate study and social work practice.
  • A personal statement that addresses the student’s interests, resiliencies, and community service.

An interview may also be required.

All students are expected to meet with a social work advisor to receive information about and discuss the application process.

All students accepted into the BSW Program are expected to attend the BSW Program Upper Division orientation as well the Field Education orientation.

In addition to USC and College of Social Work policies and procedures, student are expected to abide by the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) Code of Ethics.

Progression Requirements: 

To remain in the BSW Program a student must make satisfactory academic progress toward the degree. A student who fails to make satisfactory progress may be placed on academic probation or removed from the program. 

If the semester, yearly, or institutional grade point average falls below 2.50, the student will be notified in writing.

A student must have a institutional grade point average of at least 2.00 on all work attempted at USC and must have a institutional GPA of 2.50 for all Upper Division social work courses. 

Per USC policy, students  may attempt a social work core course a maximum of two times to fulfill the requirement. A grade of W (withdrawal) will be recognized as an attempt. A student may repeat a maximum of two core courses. In addition, all students in the College of Social Work are subject to the regulations on probation, suspension, and readmission in the section of the USC Undergraduate Bulletin titled “Academic Regulations.”

Attendance Requirements

Students are subject to attendance regulations of the University as described in the University of South Carolina Undergraduate Bulletin. In addition, students are expected to attend all required orientations and advisement sessions so they are prepared for all social work courses, including field education courses. Concerns related to attendance are addressed in BSW course syllabi and the field education manual.


A student who has been suspended or who has withdrawn from the BSW Program and subsequently readmitted will be subject to the current academic standards of the University and the BSW Program.

Credit for Life Experience

In accordance with the mandates of the Council on Social Work Education, no credit is given for life experiences. Students will not receive academic credit for life experience or previous volunteer, service learning activities or assignments, or work experience in social work.

Academic credit will not be granted for life experience or previous work experience, and such experience will not be substituted for any of the courses in the professional foundation areas or the field practicum.

Transfer of Credit

Although the USC Office of Admission may grant students semester hours for transfer credit for completed work in another social work program, the BSW Program will determine whether the course meet the requirements of the BSW degree in the College of Social Work. Any student wishing to transfer credit must submit a course syllabus that includes learning objectives, assignments, and the titles and authors of textbooks to the BSW Program Coordinator. If it appears that the requisite competencies, knowledge, and skills have been acquired, the student will be exempted from the BSW course.

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Social Work, BSW Major Map

Degree Requirements (122 Hours)

See College of Social Work for entrance requirements, progression requirements, and other regulations.

Social Work, BSW Program of Study

  • Carolina Core (34-46 Hours)
  • Other Required CSW Core Courses (0-15 Hours)
  • BSW Major (60 Hours)
  • Electives (1-28 Hours)

A. Basic Degree Requirements for Bachelor in Social Work (BSW)

Carolina Core Requirements

CMW: Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written Component (6 hours)

  • Two approved Carolina Core CMW courses. Students must pass each with a grade of C or above.

ARP: Analytical Reasoning and Problem-Solving (6 Hours)

One of the following options:

SCI: Scientific Literacy (7 Hours)

  • Two approved Carolina Core SCI courses, including at least one with a laboratory selected from Biology (BIOL).

GFL: Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language (0-6 Hours)

  • A score of two or better on the foreign language placement test or equivalent Carolina Core GFL course(s).

GHS: Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (6 hours)

  • Two approved Carolina Core GHS courses, including at least one covering US History

GSS: Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours)

  • Any approved Carolina Core GSS course from Psychology (PSYC) or Sociology (SOCY)

AIU: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 Hours)

  • Any approved Carolina Core AIU course in the fine arts

CMS: Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component (0-3 Hours*)

  • Any approved overlay or stand-alone Carolina Core CMS course

INF: Information Literacy (0-3 hours*)

  • Any approved overlay or stand-alone Carolina Core INF course

VSR: Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility (0-3 hours*)

  • Any approved overlay or stand-alone Carolina Core VSR course


*The combined CMS, INF, and VSR requirements must include at least three hours not being used to satisfy Carolina Core requirements outside those three areas.

Other Required College of Social Work - Core Courses (0-15 Hours)

The following requirements are also program requirements. These requirements may be satisfied as part of the Carolina Core requirements listed above.

  • POLI 201 - American National Government Credits: 3
  • One 200 and above literature course selected from a list of approved courses (see advisor for details)
  • One economics course
  • One philosophy course
  • One cultural awareness course (A wide variety of courses can be considered under the general category of “cultural awareness.” Students are to consult with their advisors for approved courses.)


The BSW degree requires a minimum of 62 semester hours in academic subjects for the Carolina Core and Social Work related courses. Students with fewer than 62 hours in Carolina Core and Social Work Core Related courses must take enough electives to fulfill the 122 hour minimum. No elective courses of a remedial and developmental nature may apply as credit toward the 122 hour minimum.

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