Undergraduate Program (BSW)

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Appalachian State University is a professional program designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice. We offer a major and minor in social work. BSW majors develop skills to work with diverse clients in a wide variety of human service agencies and to advocate for human rights and social and economic justice. Students can expect to be challenged and encouraged as they grow professionally and personally.

On Campus


Field Education

BSW Program Overview

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the BSW program is a professional program designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice. Students can expect to be challenged and encouraged as they grow professionally and personally.  To find out more about the profession of social work, please visit the resources available on the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website and the North Carolina NASW website.

Curriculum & Coursework

Coursework for the BSW and the Minor in Social Work can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin:

For BSW students, SW 3000: Service Learning includes a service learning component in which you spend at least 15 hours during the semester at a human service agency applying the basic skills learned in the class.

Admission to the Professional Sequence: Once students successfully complete or are enrolled in their foundation-level social work courses, they complete an application to the professional sequence online. This application includes a personal statement based on students’ self-assessments. Students must have a 2.5 overall GPA, have a 2.5 social work GPA, and have earned at least a C in all foundation courses to be admitted to the professional sequence. Students cannot take professional sequence courses before being admitted.

Field Education

The last semester will include Field Education in the form of a field placement and field seminar, and all other coursework must be completed before this semester.

Prior to the last semester, students complete a field application and meet individually with the Field Director in order to discuss their preferences. Students are in the field for about 32 hours per week to total 440 hours per semester. 

BSW Mission

The BSW Program’s mission is to prepare generalist professional social workers. Our students partner with Appalachian and global communities and engage in interprofessional collaboration to advance the health and well-being of individuals, families, groups and communities. Our graduates understand the complexity of social problems, challenge systems of oppression and advance social, economic, and environmental justice.

BSW Program Goals

  • Provide educational opportunities to assist undergraduate students in gaining the competencies necessary for generalist social work practice.
  • Extend learning opportunities to students on the main campus as well as to those living in the High Country and surrounding communities of western North Carolina.
  • Provide classroom, community, and practice opportunities which reflect the needs of the High Country of North Carolina, and that facilitate knowledge and skills which are transferable to national and global contexts.
  • Provide a learning environment which promotes personal development, scientific inquiry, and the professional values of the social work profession.
  • Provide a curriculum that is preparatory to graduate level social work education.

Departmental Honors

Department of Social Work majors have the option to graduate with "honors in social work." To participate in the Departmental Honors program, students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher, maintain a social work GPA of 3.5 or higher and have permission from the Departmental Honors Director.

Professional Development

The BSW program is a professional program designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice.  As such, there are certain behavioral expectations for BSW students. Professional development includes self-reflection, commitment to the social work profession, and identification with the NASW Code of Ethics.

In order to meet our responsibilities to provide quality professional education and to ensure that our graduates are able to function in a broad variety of professional situations, the Department of Social Work has set forth standards for students in the BSW Program encompassed by five general areas: 1) Scholastic; 2) Professional Identity and Self Awareness; 3) Ethical Behavior; 4) Interpersonal Relationship Skills; and 5) Commitment to Diversity, Social Justice, and Human Rights.  See the BSW Student Handbook (PDF) for additional information.

Faculty Mentoring

Since a professional advisor works with students to understand program requirements and build a graduation plan, it gives Social Work (SW) faculty more time for meaningful conversations with students about professional standards and responsibilities, as well as pathways to both graduate schools and careers. Mentoring relationships evolve organically for many of our students and faculty both inside and outside the classroom, but the SW program is also intentional about carving out time for important conversations by matching students with a SW faculty member for individual mentoring. 

Newly-declared SW majors are assigned a mentor when they join the program, and they receive a letter from their mentor that explains how to arrange a mandatory initial meeting.  Additional information regarding mentoring is provided in the BSW Student Handbook (PDF)

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