Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Degree

Bachelor of Social Work

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Study Human Behavior and Help Improve the Well-Being of Others

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Grand Canyon University teaches you the skills to help improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities while working with diverse groups of people in a variety of settings. Created by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the diverse set of courses are designed to increase the understanding of human behavior. 

Pursue Your BSW Degree From GCU

In GCU’s Bachelor of Social Work, you can explore how the response of individuals to differing variables plays a major role in a social worker’s approach to practice. As you go through the program, you will have the opportunity to develop skills in cultural competency and advocacy while allowing you the chance to gain a deeper self-awareness through the lens of a Christian worldview

With online programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level, GCU’s mission is to provide a quality education while giving you the flexibility you need to get ahead in today’s complex world. As an online BSW student at GCU, you have access to our digital learning platform, knowledgeable faculty members, networking opportunities with peers in the program, the online library and more. 

While the majority of courses in this program can be completed online, there are two courses that require in-person, supervised field experiences in a professional setting. 

The Bachelor of Social Work at GCU is also available as an on-campus degree for those who prefer a more traditional college experience. You will attend classes at GCU’s Phoenix campus and have access to campus events, academic and career services, learning resources, spiritual life and much more. 

Bachelor of Social Work Degree Coursework

In the BSW degree online and on-campus courses, you will be taught how to examine human behavior in the social environment by critically analyzing biopsychosocial development from conception through late adulthood using an integrative, multidimensional perspective. Classes offer opportunities to learn, practice and reflect on skills throughout the entire intake, assessment, treatment, evaluation and termination process. The coursework is designed to help graduates make an impact on families and individuals.

This undergraduate social work degree program will teach you the following core competencies in the social work field:

  • How diversity, advocacy and social justice exist in social work practice
  • Ethical professional behavior as it relates to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) code of ethics
  • Scientific inquiry and the research process in social work
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Complexities of leadership and management in social work
  • The social work helping process
  • Case management

The Bachelor of Social Work program culminates in a capstone project that integrates previous learning and provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. As a student in GCU’s on-campus or online Bachelor of Social Work degree, you will take insight from your academic and field experiences to construct a final project and presentation highlighting your knowledge of assessment, application of theory, practice skills, ethics and cultural sensitivity.

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53,800

Estimated number of new jobs for social workers from 2022 to 20321

Career Paths for Bachelor of Social Work Degree Holders

This program can prepare graduates to become a social worker. You may also choose to further your education and obtain your Master of Social Work. Graduates may go on to work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Integrated healthcare facilities
  • Private practices
  • Residential facilities
  • Schools
  • Child welfare agencies
  • Community service agencies
  • Policy or program development 

Additionally, social workers can expect faster than average job growth in their field over the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 53,800 new jobs are expected to open for social workers from 2022 to 2032.1

CSWE Accreditation 

This BSW online program adheres to the social work standards and competencies established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). GCU’s Bachelor of Social Work program is not yet accredited but is in Candidacy status with the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.

Bachelor of Social Work Degree Program FAQs

If you are interested in pursuing a BSW degree, we invite you to learn more by reading through our answers to these commonly asked questions.

A social work degree is useful for those who want to make it their life’s work to help people overcome difficult challenges in their life, such as poverty, addiction, unemployment, disability, abuse and mental illness. A social work degree focuses on training and cooperating with people of various backgrounds that can help them change their environments and improve their quality of life. Armed with this training, social workers guide their clients through creating positive changes and habits in their lives through the development of new and improved skills. 

Social work degree programs are designed to be demanding to help prepare you for the mental and emotional rigors of a career in this field. If you hope to become a social worker who has an impact on the diverse lives of those you serve, earning a degree in social work can help you position yourself to potentially reach your career goals.

To be a social worker, you typically need to hold a degree in social work from an accredited college or university program.2 The undergraduate degree is the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). Graduate degrees include the Master of Social Work (MSW) and a Doctorate (DSW) or PhD in Social Work. A BSW degree may qualify you for some non-licensed social work positions. An MSW is required to become a licensed clinical social worker or for those looking to hold management or leadership positions. A DSW is designed for those looking to conduct research or teach at the university level.

With a Bachelor of Social Work, you have the opportunity to position yourself for entry-level jobs in areas such as child and family services, mental health, substance abuse, healthcare and correctional treatment. To become a licensed clinical social worker, or to position yourself for a potential program management or leadership position in social work, you will need to earn a Master of Social Work.2

Earning a social work degree at any level can provide a unique education due to the social work profession having its own body of knowledge, values and code of ethics. One unique feature of a social work degree is field placement. In addition to classroom or online study, you will have in-person field experiences that will teach you how to apply your knowledge and skills in a practical setting. These settings can include mental health clinics, child and family service agencies and policy organizations.3

If your dream is to make a difference in people’s lives, consider a career in social work. Learn more about the on-campus and online Bachelor of Social Work degree program at GCU by completing the form on this page. A university counselor will be in touch to answer your questions and discuss your next steps.

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective Sept. 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers, retrieved on Sept. 26, 2023. 

2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How To Become a Social Worker. Retrieved on Sept. 26, 2023.  

3 National Association of Social Workers. Types of Social Work Degrees. Retrieved July 2022. 

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
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Online: 8 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
72 credits
Open Elective Credits:
8-14 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course provides the foundation for students to explain the profession of social work within the social context of the United States. The course explores how society influenced the development of social work as a profession in the United States. Students examine cultural values, social work values, history of social work, and selected theoretical models of social work to demonstrate how these factors influenced the adoption of the general practice framework. In a broad overview, students examine the process to help individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities evaluate and solve problems in using the micro, mezzo and macro system levels to assess the problem and make recommendations for interventions.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the purpose, structure, and professional roles of human service agencies including federal, state, and social service delivery systems. Students explore the delivery of services with special populations. This course includes integration of 25 hours of service-learning experience with course material. Prerequisite: SWK-170.

Course Description

This course provides the theoretical and practical foundation for conducting social work with cultural competency. Focus areas include understanding yourself and others from a variety of diverse backgrounds, the importance of ethics and professional behavior, development of effective communication techniques, and beginning case management and helping skills for working with individuals, families, groups, and larger systems. Prerequisite: SWK-280.

Course Description

This course provides foundational knowledge of how diversity, advocacy, and social justice exist within social work practice. It offers an examination and application of frameworks to guide and advance social and economic justice and human rights. Students learn skill development related to cultural competency and advocacy for individuals and groups while gaining a deeper self-awareness. Students also learn about the impact of oppression and privilege. Prerequisites: SWK-280 and SWK-285.

Course Description

This course provides the foundation for students to learn and examine the impact of human biology on social work practice. The course explores how the human body’s response to differing variables plays a major role in a social worker’s approach and ideology to practice. Students examine mental health, varying human biological determinants, faith, and environmental factors that influence both the individual and the practitioner. Understanding how these biological factors influence mental and physical health is vital to a social worker’s role in assisting others as they navigate from birth to adulthood and inevitably work through the end of life stages. Students in this course examine the impact of biology to assist individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities evaluate how to minimize negative biological outcomes while focusing on the strengths of biology and beliefs to overcome obstacles. This course looks at the impact of human biology from a micro, mezzo, and macro system level providing an overview of the impact a person’s biological response can have in recovering from a life event. Prerequisites: SWK-280 and SWK-285.

Course Description

This writing intensive course explores the history, evolution, and application of values and ethics in social work, reviewing theoretical approaches and decision-making models. Students explore components of professional values, personal values, and self-awareness in their application and demonstration of ethical professional behavior as it relates to the NASW Code of Ethics. Students examine the legal or jurisdictional requirements of licensing boards and the intersectionality with professional ethical behavior. Students develop a method for decision making for ethical dilemmas that occur in social work practice at all levels of practice, including micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Prerequisites: SWK-280 and SWK-285.

Course Description

This writing-intensive course examines the history of social work as it relates to public policy in social welfare, social health, and civil rights. Roles of social work professionals in policy analysis and evaluation are also examined as well as the interaction between social policy and social work services. Prerequisites: SWK-290 and SWK-330 and SWK-350.

Course Description

This course examines human behavior in the social environment by critically analyzing biopsychosocial development from conception through late adulthood using an integrative, multidimensional perspective while examining multiple theories of human behavior. This includes a focus on individuals and families. The course emphasizes a social work perspective and key frameworks for social work, with an emphasis on person in environment and systems theory as they describe diverse human behavior in relation to social class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and other multicultural backgrounds. Prerequisites: SWK-290 and SWK-330 and SWK-350.

Course Description

This course introduces students to scientific inquiry and the research process used to evaluate and inform the social work profession. Methods of both quantitative and qualitative data methods and analysis are explored. Prerequisites: SWK-290 and SWK-330 and SWK-350.

Course Description

This course provides an introductory knowledge of trauma-informed care from foundational principles and historical context to practice implementation. The context of trauma is discussed including types of trauma and adverse outcomes related to various systems. It offers an overview of screening, assessing, and treating traumatic stress. Information is provided on the risk of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue for providers. Prerequisites: SWK-355 and SWK-360 and SWK-430.

Course Description

This course examines human behavior in the social environment at the macro level with a focus on groups, communities, and organizations and their effect on human behavior. The course emphasizes a social work perspective and key frameworks for social work, with an emphasis on person in environment, systems theory, and social justice as they describe diverse human behavior in relation to social class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and other multicultural backgrounds. Prerequisites: SWK-355 and SWK-360 and SWK-430.

Course Description

This course explores the complexities of leadership and management in the profession of social work, reviewing theoretical approaches and practices. Students examine various components of leadership including leadership styles, self-awareness, motivational methods, financial management, accountability in management, and vulnerability. Students learn to consider the power differential, courage, exploration of the self, life experience, and the impact of these components on the supervisory relationship. Prerequisites: SWK-355 and SWK-360 and SWK-430.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the fundamental skills of social work direct practice for individuals and family systems within the general practice framework. Students demonstrate a mastery of the social work “helping process.” Students learn, practice, and reflect on their interaction skills within the intake, assessment, treatment, evaluation, and termination process with individuals and families. The course reinforces a variety of organizing theories, builds a variety of social work practice theories, and it broadens the concept of cultural humility and reflective attentiveness. Prerequisites: SWK-370 and SWK-420 and SWK-450. Co-Requisite: SWK-470.

Course Description

This course introduces students to entry-level case management skills. Students identify the various roles and functions of a case manager. A primary focus of this course is the case management process, including how to track and manage a client case load. Through case study analysis, students determine appropriate client assessment techniques and problem-solving strategies. Students explore case manager roles and case management styles in a variety of client populations and nonprofit human service agencies. Students learn to differentiate roles, functions, and styles based on their assessment of the client’s needs and a clear understanding of the agency’s mission, policies, and programs. Prerequisites: SWK-370 and SWK-420 and SWK-450.

Course Description

This course exposes students to the foundations of social work practice in approved community agencies with professional supervision. The course consists of both classroom course work and field experience hours. The course provides experiential integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Prerequisites: SWK-370 and SWK-420 and SWK-450. Co-Requisite: SWK-455.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the fundamental skills of social work direct practice for groups, communities, and organizations within the general practice framework. Students demonstrate a mastery of the social work “helping process.” Students learn, practice, and reflect on their interaction skills within the intake, assessment, treatment, evaluation, and termination processes with groups and organizations. The course reinforces a variety of organizing, builds a variety of social work practice theories, and broadens the concept of cultural humility and reflective attentiveness. Prerequisites: SWK-455 and SWK-465 and SWK-470. Co-Requisite: SWK-480.

Course Description

This course provides a continuation of foundations of social work practice in approved community agencies with professional supervision. Experiential integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills from concurrent social work courses are practiced. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Prerequisites: SWK-455 and SWK-465 and SWK-470. Co-Requisite: SWK-460.

Course Description

This capstone course in the Bachelor of Social Work program allows students the opportunity to integrate and apply previous learning through the creation of a project to reflect their knowledge and skills. The student will take insight from their academic and field experiences to create a final project and poster presentation highlighting their knowledge of assessment, application of theory, practice skills, ethics, and cultural sensitivity. Prerequisites: SWK-455 and SWK-465 and SWK-470.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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