Social Work Major
A passion for helping others is a prerequisite for students entering the Social Work major. Social workers have the power to influence the lives of people through their desire to help those in need and change society for the better. Through our major, which is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, you will get a broad liberal arts education combined with a social work foundation that incorporates the knowledge, values, and skills needed for the social work profession.
- Students shadow a social worker during their freshman year and complete a service learning experience during their first semester.
- Social Work majors complete three internships during their junior and senior years.
- Our accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) qualifies our graduates to apply for Advanced Standing at most graduate social work programs to complete a master’s degree in one year, rather than two, if you do well in our program.
- Your good grades and formal test scores can qualify you for our Merit Scholarships of $12,000 to $16,500 per year.
- The social work profession has loan forgiveness programs. Read more at Financial Aid Resources and Loan Forgiveness.
- There are similarities and differences between social work and other helping professions—view a comparison.
- Read about a recent visit by students from Springfield's Central High School who will be taking a for-credit college course.
Social Work Curriculum
Our comprehensive hands-on majors prepare our graduates to make meaningful contributions when they reach the professional world. Social Work majors complete 600 hours of fieldwork during their four years at Western New England University. Your professional development begins in your first semester when you will mentor children, assist the elderly, or help the homeless.
The Social Work curriculum includes courses in all areas of the field of Social Work:
- human behavior
- practice with individuals, families, groups and communities
- oppression and empowerment
- social policy
- community-based internships
Social Work Resources:
- The most recent Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes report.
- A comparison of social work to other helping professions.
- Information on the social work profession.
Social work is an extremely flexible profession offering a wide variety of career paths. Watch this video from the National Association of Social Work Massachusetts chapter to see where a career in social work may lead you.
The major is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body that sets the standards for both undergraduate and graduate social work educational majors. If you choose to pursue a master’s degree in social work, you will find that most graduate schools in social work offer advanced standing that enables you to earn a master’s degree in as little as one year.
For details about courses and requirements, please consult the Catalogue:
You’ll be taught in small classes by experienced professors, not graduate students, who take a personal interest in your progress. Their prime focus is teaching and mentoring you. Our students find their teachers are always easy to approach and available for one-to-one consultation.
The full-time faculty is composed of licensed MSW and PhD social workers, complemented by professionals from the local community who teach in their areas of expertise. Their experience ranges from clinical work with individuals to work with community organizations. The Social Work Advisory Board, which is made up of representatives from social service agencies, adjunct faculty, students, alumni, and field practicum supervisors, assists in evaluating, promoting, and building the Social Work major.
Field Experiences, Research and Special Opportunities
For every Social Work course there is a field experience providing an invaluable complement to class work; you will complete more than 600 hours of fieldwork in social work settings. In your first semester at Western New England University, you'll be placed in a setting mentoring children, visiting elderly people, or helping homeless people. In macro-practice field instruction, you will learn how to create change through community education, advocacy, and major development. In senior field instruction, you will become comfortable with your role as a social work practitioner. By the time you finish the major, you’ll be trained to work with individuals, families, groups, and communities.
In your first year, you will shadow a social worker to see firsthand what the work entails. In other courses, you’ll interview people representing a population that you’ve never been exposed to. In research class you’ll do evaluations and research projects for community agencies. There is constant integration between what you are learning in the classroom and what you learn in the field. You’ll work in places such as:
- Family preservation
- Wingate Nursing Home
- Children's protective services
- Shriners Hospitals for Children
- Local elementary, middle, and high schools
- Baystate Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
You'll spend junior year developing a helping relationship with two clients.
Small classes, a social work luncheon each semester, a social work trip to Washington, DC, and celebrations for Social Work Month are some of the ways the Department of Social Work offers creates close connections among students and faculty. International social work internships are also being developed.
Social Work students are active in:
- Alpha Lambda Delta (First-year honor society)
- Social Workers Advocating Together (S.W.A.T.)
- Mass. Chapter, National Association of Social Workers
- Helping Hands Society
- Honors Program
- Study Abroad Program
- U&ME Diversity Club
- Peer Advising
- Student Ambassadors
- Freshman Seminar Student Assistants
Many of our students also participate in varsity and intramural sports, special interest groups, and student government.