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Social Work Bachelor's Degree (BSW) SocialWork_Hero.jpg

Social Work Bachelor's Degree (BSW)

Social Work Bachelor's Degree (BSW)

Social Work at Messiah University 

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree at Messiah University, a top-ranked Christian university, is nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). As a graduate of the social work degree program at Messiah University, you qualify for advanced standing status in an accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program, meaning you can go on to earn your MSW in just one year. Messiah University’s unique approach to the BSW degree intentionally integrates Christian faith formation and extensive field education, effectively preparing you to become a competent and skilled professional social worker.

As a social work major at Messiah University, you’ll be able to:

  • Learn how to integrate principles of Christian faith with social work values, knowledge and skills.
  • Partner with faculty to complete research on various topics in social work, and possibly event present at a conference.
  • Accumulate several hundred hours of experience by your senior year (most other schools do not have this experience until the senior year).
  • Deepen your commitment to respecting diversity and enhancing social and economic justice for all people.
  • Acquire professional interviewing, recording and problem-solving skills needed for entry-level employment.
  • Prepare for a rewarding career in social service, corrections, child welfare, youth services, gerontology, probation and parole, juvenile and criminal justice, victims services, counseling, health care, Christian ministries, law enforcement, government, research and many other areas.
  • Take challenging courses such as Cultural Anthropology, Human Diversity and Social Interaction, and Social Welfare Policies in the United States.
  • Gain valuable hands-on experience—even in your first year—through field experiences in various social service agencies in the area.
  • Complete a 450-hour field placement during the spring semester of your senior year. This program is expanding into international locations such as Thailand and Uganda.
  • Join student-run organizations such as the Social Work Club and/or Phi Alpha (national honor society).

As a graduate of the social work program, you will be equipped to secure positions such as:

  • Child, family and school social worker
  • Medical and public health social worker
  • Geriatric social worker
  • Mental health and substance abuse social worker
  • Private practice social worker
  • Administrator
  • Researcher
  • Policy maker
  • Advocate

For more information on career planning for the social work program, visit the Messiah University Career and Professional Development Center

Messiah’s nationally recognized internship program places students in a variety of social work internships. A few examples include:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Foster care and adoption agencies
  • Retirement communities
  • Prisons
  • Children's homes
  • Correction centers
  • Other social service agencies

Our accredited degree program gives you hands-on experience working with human services agencies, and helping those in social, emotional or economic need. Our social work students often connect with each other through a common theme—they are passionate about social justice and enhancing the well-being of others. Throughout the social work program, you actively integrate your Christian faith with the field of social work and are challenged to explore how your faith influences your practice of social work.

Faith integration

Faith integration is not an add-on to Messiah's social work program. Spiritual competency is embedded in every course, integrating principles of Christian faith with the six core values of social work as established by the National Association of Social Work (NASW). This sets Messiah’s social work program apart ,even from other faith-based institutions.  

Classroom learning and practical experience as a social worker

The BSW degree program balances classroom learning with practical experience. We place a strong emphasis on field education. You finish the major with a minimum of 650 field hours with three social service agencies. In your senior year alone, you complete 450 hours of social work practice. Our goal for you is to develop as a social worker who can engage the world and facilitate change through enhancing community and actively participating in issues to address social and economic justice in rural, urban and international settings. 

In 2017-18, Messiah's social work students completed 12,540 hours of service at regional senior care communities, adoption and foster care agencies, crisis treatment centers, legal aid organizations, children and youth services, mental health services, prisons and correctional centers, hospice agencies, school districts, intermediate units, domestic violence and rape crisis centers and agencies that serve the homeless population.

Job or MSW degree preparation

And as a graduate of Messiah’s social work degree, you’ll be prepared for a variety of entry-level jobs in the social work profession. Or maybe you’d like to further your studies at graduate school - a path many of our graduates pursue – and you’ll be well prepared for that next step. Visit our FAQs for more info.


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Students in the social work program take a selection of courses that successfully prepare them for a career in a related field.
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