Bachelor of Social Work B.S.W.
The social work major at Rhode Island College is for students who want to improve social conditions and change people’s lives. Our courses prepare students to work with a variety of populations and social problems, to alleviate injustice and inequality, and to enhance the quality of life of our clients. Areas of practice include work with children and families, people with substance use disorders and/or mental illness, those experiencing trauma, people who are elderly, people with disabilities and many other, often marginalized, populations. We teach students to work in culturally affirming, antiracist and strengths-based ways with all populations.
The social work major involves experiential learning as a key component. All students complete two semesters of an internship in a social service agency. They complete their field work in the fall and spring semester of their senior year (16 hours per week for 14 weeks). Students may choose to complete some of their internship hours in the summer.
Admission to the major is required in the junior year. To be admitted, students must:
- Enroll in Social Work 326, completing all course prerequisites.
- Apply to the program and include a personal statement and letter(s) of reference during the first semester of the junior year, before enrolling in Social Work 327. If applying to the accelerated B.S.W. to M.S.W. program, a second letter of reference from a B.S.W. faculty member is required.
- Have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 at the college level and a minimum GPA of 2.67 in 300-level social work courses. Maintenance of a GPA of 3.0 is the minimal standard for the B.S.W. to M.S.W.
- Show evidence of personal qualities considered essential to professional social work practice, such as responsiveness and sensitivity in relationships, values compatible with the values of the social work profession, the ability to understand and carry out the ethical obligations of a social worker, commitment to improving social conditions and the ability to function collectively with others. If applying to the accelerated B.S.W. to M.S.W. program, students must demonstrate the ability to do graduate-level work.
Transfer students must also comply with these requirements. Specific information about application procedures may be obtained from assigned faculty advisors, the chair of the B.S.W. department or their designee.
- Students must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 at the college level and a minimum GPA of 2.67 in all 300-level social work courses. No student will be allowed to enter a senior year field placement (Social Work 436) if their GPA falls below these standards.
- Students who receive an F in any required social work course or a C- or less in any two required social work courses will be dismissed from the major. A copy of the Bachelor of Social Work Academic Standing Policy, including appeal procedures, is distributed to students in the department.
The social work major prepares students for social work practice and/or entry into graduate school. Students complete roughly 60 credits including an internship of three semesters in an organization doing social work practice. (Second semester junior year – 80 hours, senior year two semesters – 450 total hours). Students graduate having learned the knowledge, skills and values necessary for work with a variety of populations, including but not limited to the elderly, children and families, people with mental illness, substance use disorders and/or other health challenges, people with disabilities, trauma survivors and those experiencing poverty or homelessness. Students are taught to engage in strengths-based, person-centered, culturally affirming practice with clients.
Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:
- Engage in entry-level social work practice that is informed by the best available evidence.
- Use policy practice skills to create and influence change.
- Apply social work values and ethics to guide their professional practice.
- Understand the effects of culture, oppression and human diversity in a multicultural society.
- Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment to work with individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities.
- Work to achieve human rights and social and economic justice.
Writing in the Discipline
1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?
Writing is an essential skill for social workers. Professional competency depends on one’s ability to effectively communicate to and/or about clients and their needs, communities and their needs, policy priorities that are currently not being met and/or need to be met in different ways, and the ability to promote and advocate for justice.
2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement by your department? Why these courses?
The English Department has three concentrations, each of which has designated its own WID courses:
SWRK 302: Social Work Research Methods 1 In this course students learn how to conduct and write a literature review, an essential skill for producing and/or understanding research.
SWRK 326: Generalist Social Work Practice In this course students learn how to conduct social assessments and produce the accompanying write-up. Additionally, students learn how to take professional notes for client files and work on other forms of professional writing such as referrals and client summaries.
3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?
The range of genres or forms of writing in which students engage and practice in the English major is too extensive to list in its entirety and depends, to a significant extent, on students’ chosen concentrations within the major. Having said this, we offer a few examples of the writing students do in different concentrations below.
Students practice and hone their writing skills through reflective writing, journal writing, note taking, and academic writing. These genres represent the wide range of writing styles that students will be asked to conduct in professional work settings, as well as giving students the opportunity to critically reflect on their thoughts and emotions related to their work and the field.
4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?
Students will participate in courses with teaching practices that include low stakes and high stakes writing assignments, peer feedback, scaffolded assignments, and opportunities for revision incorporating peer and/or instructor feedback for subsequent drafts.
5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?
Upon completion of the Social Work program, Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) graduates should be able to do the following:
- Accurately document professional practice in various practice settings
- Produce thorough and critical research documents
- Create and disseminate written and oral presentations to clients, co-workers, and policy makers
- Engage in critically self-reflective writing for the purpose of professional development