Bachelor of Social Work - What To Expect

What to Expect as a BSW Student at Appalachian State University

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the BSW program is a professional program designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice.  BSW students 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.  To find out more about the profession of social work, please visit the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website and the North Carolina NASW website.


Checksheets / Programs of Study:  Students can find their major program of study (listing all required courses) on the Programs of Study website.  Be sure to select your correct program year, which is typically the year you entered ASU.  Social work courses include foundation-level introductory courses which prepare students for professional sequence courses as well as the field semester (see below).  The checksheet also lists required cognate courses from other departments.  Please note the prerequisites for all courses.

Service Learning:  SW 3000 includes a service learning component in which you spend at least 30 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 Placements:  The last semester will include 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 placed at agencies within a 150 mile radius of Boone, NC and are in the field for about 32 hours per week to total 440 hours per semester.  Please plan to complete your field placement during daytime hours as evening and weekend field placements are rare and may not be available.  You can find additional information about field placements, including employment-based field placements, on the BSW Field website. The website provides the BSW Field Manual and contact information for the Field 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 for additional information (link below).

Program Information and Policies

Information about the BSW program, program and university policies, grievance procedures, and the curriculum is included in the BSW Student Handbook found on our BSW website.  Our website also provides information about departmental scholarships, student groups, honor societies, distance cohorts, and additional opportunities.  Once students declare social work as their major, they will be assigned a faculty advisor within the department who can provide guidance on the curriculum and the profession.