Bachelor of Social Work - BSW Degree
Become a Social Worker
Exciting News! We are in the early stages of the accreditation process for a new bachelors in social work degree program (BSW). In February 2018, we were granted Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education's Commission on Accreditation to offer a new bachelor of social work degree that, once accredited, can put you on a path to becoming a social worker.*
Check out the second edition of the Bachelor of Social Work Newsletter to learn more about the program!
We anticipate a positive accreditation review as early as 2020, well before the time our Fall 2018 entering freshman class would be ready to graduate in 2022. Once Initial Accreditation is obtained, graduates of our BSW program will be eligible to become social workers who are prepared to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of others.
The GMercyU Difference
GMercyU’s planned BSW degree will be a practical, hands-on program for those who want to dedicate their lives to helping others. As a student in GMercyU’s social work degree program, you will gain the knowledge and skills needed for generalist social work focused on economic and social justice concerns, ranging from homelessness to community violence, substance abuse, organizational diversity, and child welfare, to name a few.
Offered through the School of Arts and Sciences, the Bachelor's in Social Work degree will provide a holistic approach to addressing the social and economic needs of individuals and communities in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Once you complete your BSW degree at GMercyU and pass your Pennsylvania social work exam, you'll be eligible to apply for licensure through the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Professional Counselors.
Other benefits of choosing our social work program at GMercyU include:
- A BSW program that addresses social problems and social and economic justice issues in keeping with our Catholic identity and the critical concerns of the University’s founders, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
- Co-curricular organizations, such as Best Buddies, Mercy Works, Peer Mentoring, and Sigma Phi Sigma that provide experiential service learning opportunities to BSW students
- Alternative Spring Break and other service learning programs where you can gain practical hands-on experience before you graduate
- More than 60 years of experience preparing Distinctive Mercy Graduates to become leaders in their chosen professions
- Fulfilling and exciting real-world learning opportunities in both suburban and urban locations
- Courses taught by experienced faculty who take the time to mentor and engage their students
- Eligibility for advanced standing in CSWE master’s degree programs, which means you can complete your MSW in just one year
*Gwynedd Mercy University’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program was granted Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Educations’ Commission on Accreditation.
Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. A program that has attained Candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, but has not yet demonstrated full compliance.
Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. Candidacy is typically a three-year process and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain Initial Accreditation. Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.
Social Work Degree Candidacy Requirements
When you begin your BSW degree program you will be in pre-candidacy. To enter Candidacy, you will need to:
- Complete a Social Work Candidacy application
- Complete three designated social work courses with a GPA of 2.67 or better
- Earn a 2.5 overall GPA or better
- Submit criminal background checks required to practice with children and adults
- Complete and sign a Volunteer Service Form verifying that you have performed at least 30 hours of volunteer service in the last 3 years. Volunteer service must be completed at a non-profit agency. Day camp counselor, babysitter, or errand runner are not appropriate volunteer activities.
- Submit a letter of recommendation from a non-family member stating that you have the qualities for success as a social worker
- Submit a 3- to 5-page self-assessment paper describing the qualities that will make you a good social worker
Provided you meet the above requirements, you will be able to enter Candidacy as early as the first semester of your sophomore year in the social work program. More detailed information on the candidacy application process will be provided by your advisor.
In addition to required general education courses, BSW students must complete the following courses in order to earn their bachelors in social work.
|SWK201||Introduction to Social Work|
|SWK202||Human Behavior in the Social Environment|
|SWK203||Difference and Diversity|
|SWK204||Marriage and Family Systems|
|SWK205||Human Behavior and the Social Environment II|
|SWK301||Generalist Social Work Practice|
|SWK302||Counseling and Communication Skills|
|SWK304||Social Work Policy and Administration|
|SWK401||Mental Health Practice|
|SWK402||Social Work Research Methods|
|SWK403||Field Placement I (5 credits)|
|SWK404||Field Seminar I (1 credit)|
|SWK405||Field Placement II (5 credits)|
|SWK406||Field Seminar II (1 credit)|
Social Work Electives (Choose 2)
|SWK306||Death and Dying|
|SWK307||Issues in Gerontology|
|SWK308||Addictions, Dynamics and Interventions|
|SWK408||Advanced Research Methods|
Social Work Prerequisites
|PSY100||Introduction to Psychology|
|SOC100||Introduction to Sociology|
A minimum of 120 credits is required for the bachelors in social work (BSW) degree.
This social work program requires a criminal background check and may require certain immunizations and other clearances in order to participate in field experiences.
See the undergraduate catalog (PDF) for more information and course descriptions.
Once the program receives CSWE accreditation, graduates of GMercyU’s BSW program will have the eligibility for advanced standing in CSWE masters programs, which will take a full year off the time to complete your masters of social work (MSW). You may also choose to pursue a graduate degree in pastoral counseling, school counseling, clinical counseling, and applied behavioral sciences. GMercyU offers an accelerated master of school counseling.
Our Outstanding Faculty
Social Work Careers
Job growth in the field of social work is expected to grow by 12% between 2014- and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is higher than average for all careers. Some social work careers, such as health care social workers and substance abuse counselors, are expected to grow at ever higher rates, making a social work degree an excellent choice if you’re looking for a rewarding career in a growing field.
|Occupational Title||2015 Median Pay||Anticipated Job Growth|
|Health Educators and Community Health Workers||$43,840||13%|
|Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists||$43,190||19%|
|Social and Human Services Assistants||$30,830||11%|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||$39,980||22%|
Possible Careers for Social Work Majors
Family Support Worker
Child Abuse Worker
Social Service liaison
Social Work Assistant
Adult Day Care Worker
Drug Abuse Counselor
Life Skills Instructor
To register a complaint, please contact: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) at https://www.cswe.org/Events-Meetings/APM-Archives/2016-APM/Continuing-Education/Procedures-for-Complaint-and-Grievance-Management.
Social Service Aide
Crisis Intervention Counselor
Social Service Tech
Community Outreach Worker
Rehabilitation Case Worker
Community Action Worker
Juvenile Court Liaison
Halfway House Counselor
Group Home Worker
This is not a complete list and is not meant to limit you. Some careers require advanced education.