Jul 19, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2020 - 2021 
Undergraduate Catalog 2020 - 2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, B.S.W.

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School of Social Work

Rhodes Tower 1417
(216) 687-4560
Web-page: https://class.csuohio.edu/social-work/social-work
Email: Dr. Christopher Mallett, BSW Program Coordinator


A practical and important program that prepares individuals for the professional practice of social work. Social work is the study of organized means of providing basic support services for vulnerable individuals and groups and allows the person to be licensed as a professional (LSW) in the state of Ohio. Social work professionals work across hundreds of agencies, helping others address the myriad of challenges and problems they may encounter - for example, mental health, substance use, geriatric care, poverty, juvenile justice, schools, veterans, and many more.

What careers can this major prepare you for?

As noted, licensed social workers perform hundreds of different roles helping others in our community. Some of these include: child, family and school social workers; medical social workers; mental health and substance abuse social workers; military social workers; community social workers; and social work administrators, researchers, planners, and policymakers.

What skills are developed within this major?

Skills developed within this major include: assessment and clinical intervention skills; policy analysis skills; mental health and substance abuse training; advocacy; and community organizing.


The undergraduate Social Work Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Student Groups

Students in the BSW program are eligible for student membership in the National Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers. Graduates of the Program are eligible for full professional membership in both organizations. Students achieving a 3.75 in their social work courses are eligible for membership in Phi Alpha, the social work honor society.

Social Work Licensure

Students graduating from the Program are eligible to take the Ohio Social Work Licensure Examination (LSW). Only students graduating from a fully accredited undergraduate program in social work are eligible to take the Ohio Social Work Licensure Examination. The LSW is required to practice social work in most health and human services organizations and agencies. Some public agencies do not presently require the licensure. Individuals who refer to themselves as social workers must hold the LSW and/or LISW.

Felony History

Students interested in the social work major should be aware that having a prior felony conviction or prior sanctions for unprofessional conduct may impact future potential for obtaining field placements, social work employment, and licensure. All applicants to social work licensure are required by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board to report all misdemeanor and felony convictions with the exception of minor traffic violations (DUI/OVI charges are not considered traffic violations and must be reported as criminal convictions) for licensure. For the licensure application, all charges and or convictions require a “yes” answer to the question, “Have you been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor other than a minor traffic violation?” even if the original charge and conviction is an expunged status. Falsification could result in delayed placement and other action, including Student Conduct Code charges up to and including dismissal from the program.

Admission to Major

Application to the social work major is submitted to the BSW Program Coordinator, who conducts orientation sessions to do the following: provide information about the social work profession, its history, fields of practice, current trends and social issues, the mission of the school; and the admission and curricula requirements for majors. The prerequisites for entering the School of Social Work core curriculum for the major require students to:

  • Have a cumulative 2.2 GPA and have completed the following courses: SWK 200 - Introduction to Social Work PSC 111 - American Government , and one course in Human Biology. The following courses in Human Biology at Cleveland State University will meet the School of Social Work and the Commission on Accreditation requirements: BIO 100 BIO 102 BIO 106 , as well as SOC 101  and PSY 101 . The School of Social Work will consider human biology courses from other colleges and universities that fulfill the above requirement.
  • Submit one letter of reference from a teacher/professor, employer, religious leader, social worker, or a health or human services professional. The letter of reference should be written on official letterhead, and the writer should clearly identify her/his relationship to the applicant.
  • Submit a completed college checklist from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS).

Hours Required for Degree

Minimum hours required for the degree: 120

Minimum Hours Required for the Major: A student must satisfactorily complete 49 credit hours in core Social Work courses. This does not include the University/College’s General Education/Liberal Arts requirements.

Major-Field Requirements

1. GPA Requirements for the Major

A Social Work major must maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA in the Social Work core curriculum and a 2.2 cumulative GPA overall in the university. During the first two years at Cleveland State University, students are encouraged to focus on completing their general education/liberal arts requirements. Transfer students may bring these requirements with them. The social work professional foundation curriculum builds vertically and horizontally on the liberal arts/general education foundation.

The practice sequence courses are restricted to social work majors. All social work majors are required to complete the prescribed curriculum. No course credit is granted by the School of Social Work for life or work experience. Additionally, no transfer credit is granted from an institution that does not have an accredited Social Work Program.


*Students must have completed or be taking concurrently the following Social Work courses prior to SWK 350 SWK 200 , SWK 201 , SWK 300 , SWK 302 , SWK 303 , and SWK 304 .

**All the above requirements must be taken prior to SWK 385 , with the exception of SWK 305 , which can be taken concurrently.

The completion of a major in Social Work depends upon successful completion of two semesters of student practicum in a professional health or human services agency or organization.

Students are required to obtain a grade of “C” or better in SWK 350 - Basic Generalist Practice , SWK 385 - Interventions I , SWK 485 - Interventions II , SWK 395 - Field Seminar I , and SWK 495 - Field Seminar II . Students receiving less than a “C” in the aforementioned courses may not proceed in the major without an assessment by the School of Social Work Admissions and Continuance Committee.

Honors Program/University Scholars Requirements

The School of Social Work’s undergraduate BSW Program has three alternatives for social work majors in the Honors Program or the University Scholars Program. Each of these alternatives would be designed to fulfill the eight credit hours of the Honors Program or University Scholars Program standards. These eight credit hours can be completed within one of these three alternatives, or via a combination of these alternatives. For example, a student may take SWK 300  and SWK 304  as Honors Courses, and also perform a two-hour Readings Paper (SWK 396 ); or take SWK 494 , SWK 493 , and SWK 304 ; and so forth.

1. BSW Course Contracting

This alternative would have the student complete the designated courses within the major, though the course work itself would be modified to meet the more rigorous Honors/Scholars expectations. BSW Program Courses designated: 

2. Independent Study

This alternative would be an individualized student plan working with the BSW Program Director. This plan would be a self-directed readings and/or research project tailored to the student’s area of interest. The Director would be the faculty instructor for all independent study courses; no assignment to other faculty or instructors would occur. This could take place during one or more semesters during the junior and/or senior year. Credit hours would be commensurate with breadth and depth of the project. These credit hours would be taken as additional elective hours within the major.

3. Elective Courses

Within the Social Work major a number of graduate-level elective courses are available and cross-listed in the undergraduate schedule. These graduate level courses are available to a limited number of undergraduate students. The higher graduate level expectations of these courses would meet the standards for the Honors and University Scholars Programs. The student would sign up for these cross-listed courses as an undergraduate. If the student later entered the MSW Program, he or she would not be granted permission to take the course a 2nd time for MSW credit (all courses here are electives within the MSW Program). The courses would be listed separately as an “HON” course, so that the transcripts represent this accordingly.

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