College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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BA in Social Work

Welcome to the BSW Program Homepage

Jim and Bachelor Students Graduation

The Social Work Department at the University of Northern Iowa is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The undergraduate social work major prepares students for beginning level professional social work practice.

The program defines the generalist perspective on practice as "Multidimensional theory, knowledge, and skills used to understand and intervene into diverse human systems in keeping with social work values and ethics."

The program contributes to the liberal arts, general education of university students who are not social work majors. Finally, it affords social work students the opportunity to explore advanced methodologies and fields of practice within social work through occasional advanced elective offerings.

Why UNI?

Do you enjoy working with people and understanding them? Do you want to make a difference in others' lives? Then you may want to consider a Social Work major at the University of Northern Iowa. Students in social work take classes in human growth and development, human behavior, social work practice and social policy. The Department also offers a one-of-a-kind certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling.

Practical experience is an important emphasis in this department. Every senior does an internship in a social agency working with clients and supervised by a practicing social worker.

Graduates of the social work program find employment in child and adolescent social work, family practice, probation and parole, medical social work, and working with the elderly. They graduate from a department that is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This means UNI social work majors are prepared for beginning social work practice throughout the country and receive advanced standing in graduate programs.

Program Mission

The mission of the UNI BA in Social Work program is to prepare students for beginning generalist social work practice at the individual, family, small group, organizational and community levels while adhering to social work values and ethics. Students will learn to use research informed practice to advocate for social and economic justice. This commitment is supported by the promotion of multicultural responsiveness.  Critical thinking is a fundamental component of the program that encourages students to examine challenging or opposing concepts and explore conflicting personal and professional values. Service learning requirements, to include volunteer and internship experiences, contribute to the sharing of knowledge between community partners, faculty and student. (March 2020)

Program Goals

1. Provide an integrated curriculum that builds on a liberal arts foundation and addresses knowledge and skills essential for beginning generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

2. Infuse social work values and ethics throughout students’ educational experience to serve as guides for practice and promotion of human and social well-being;

3. Promote student understanding of diversity through curriculum that identifies the experiences and needs of vulnerable and oppressed groups while emphasizing resilience and strengths;

4. Increase students’ understanding of the types and processes of discrimination and oppression and enhance their ability to promote social and economic justice through advocacy and social reform;

5. Prepare students to engage, assess, intervene and evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities within a person-in-environment framework. 

6. Prepare students to critically assess and apply empirically-based knowledge, evaluate their own practice effectiveness, and participate in the evaluation of programs and policies.

(Spring 2020)

Resources & Links

BA Social Work Program Handbook (July 2020)

Student Social Work Association  

Study Abroad Opportunities

Social Work Scholarships

UNI Tuition Rates

Net Price Calculator - an online tool to learn about our scholarship and grant programs, as well as overall accessibility and affordability at UNI. 

Careers in Social Work

Social Work Licensing

Undergraduate Curriculum Meeting Minutes: September 4, 2019; September 25, 2019; October 23, 2019; November 20, 2019; January 20, 2020; February 19, 2020

BA Program Student Outcomes Assessment Results (10-9-19)

Jenny Becker, Undergraduate and Field Director

Ashley Rasmussen, Undergraduate Secretary