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Social Work Department at NMU

Why study social work at NMU?

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Social Work Department at NMU

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accredited

A program with a proud history, NMU's Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) Program has been continuously accredited by the CSWE since 1974. The program is designed for aspiring social workers to provide a strong educational foundation in generalist practice and to open the doorway to a career serving others.

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Social Work Department at NMU

Multi-Disciplined Curriclum

Drawing from multiple disciplines of scientific study, NMU's BSW curriculum starts with courses required for the embedded human behavior cluster minor. Faculty then use a person-in-environment perspective to increase students' knowledge of human behavior and develop skills in our introductory social work courses.

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Social Work Department at NMU

Real-World Learning and Experiences

As BSW students demonstrate their progressive competency, they then can apply for and complete the required course sequence for majors, participate in role play and simulated client engagement projects and cap off their studies with an intensive, real-world internship, or field placement (internship) experience before graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Earning a BSW opens the door to a vibrant, rewarding career field with a growing job market. Social workers can find themselves carrying out the job they have passion for, in nearly any variety of settings. From schools, to hospitals, to nonprofit agencies, to local, state and federal government offices, to developing communities across the world, to anywhere there are people in need, social workers are trained to help their clients tap into their individual potential and connect to external resources in an effort to bring about lasting positive change. 

Social work as a profession is made up of a widely diverse group of people, playing many different roles, but we are brought together by a desire to serve others, a common set of core values, a unifying perspective on human behavior in the social environment, and even a guiding model for how we can provide the best help. We often call all that unifies us, Generalist Practice. One of the best ways to learn generalist practice is through a formal social work education. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), is a national accrediting body whose mission it is to “ensure and enhance the quality of social work education for a professional practice.” Because of its quality, the BSW Program at NMU has earned and held CSWE accreditation for nearly 50 years. Maintaining accreditation can ensure that our graduates are ready to hold the title of “social worker” (protected by law in many states), and to fill the growing number of job openings for which the generalist social worker skill-set is critically needed.

To learn more about the social work job market, you can visit the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Social Work Job Outlook website. You can also learn more about the field of social work on the website for your state’s chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Finally, you can find out more about what makes a quality social work education program by visiting the website for the Council on Social Work Education.

If you are interested in applying to attend NMU as an undergraduate student, in any major, your first step is to explore the NMU admissions page. There you can find contact information for admissions counselors who can walk you through the application process.

Many past students have transferred to NMU’s BSW program, and the vast majority of those have been able to complete the program and graduate within a planned, reasonable timeframe. While NMU makes transferring easier by accepting most college credit, many of the courses a student has taken at a prior institution will NOT be considered equivalent to the required courses for NMU’s BSW Program. Therefore, prior to transferring, students may want to review their own transcript and compare it to our listing of Social Work Major and Human Behavior Cluster Minor requirements (located in our BSW Program Advising Packet), using NMU’s course equivalency website. Once you’ve been admitted to NMU, your transcript will be officially evaluated by the Registrar and entered into our degree evaluation system. Social work advisors are ready to meet with transfer students to review the evaluation of their transcript, and together, create a course plan that minimizes the length of time to graduation.

Enrolled students at NMU can declare their major by connecting with the Academic and Career Advising Center on campus. You can change or declare your major on their website, or contact them in person or by phone.

The term generalist when used in social work refers to knowledge and skills that are widely transferrable across different contexts in which the profession is practiced.  Generalist social workers understand human behavior from a person-in-environment framework, studying a variety of psychological, sociological and biological theories.  Generalist methods are based on these theories and can be applied at many levels, whether social workers are intervening at the micro level, with individuals and families, or the macro level, with organizations and communities. BSW degree earners learn a model for generalist intervention (involving engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation) that they can use effectively no matter what setting they hope to practice in, or with which population of clients they hope to work.

The BSW curriculum is designed in phases and is built around the key generalist practice principles. All social work majors are also Human Behavior Cluster minors (HBCM), and completing the 28 credits of required courses in the minor serves as Phase One of the program. Course options for completing the minor are organized into seven categories, and draw from other disciplines on campus—like psychology, sociology, and biology. Most courses on the HBCM list can also be counted to meet the requirements for the General Education program at NMU. All students in Phase One must also complete SW 100 and SW 230. On a traditional, four-year course schedule, students will complete Phase One of the curriculum during their Junior year, enabling them to apply to begin Phase Two of the curriculum.    

Phase Two is composed by forty credits of 300 and 400-level social work courses. Courses here cover topics in lifespan development, research methods, direct and indirect practice, and social policy. Also included in Phase Two is the required field placement experience (SW 480 and SW 481). You can review the BSW Program Advising Packet for a detailed listing of courses and program requirements. If you have further questions, please schedule an appointment with a social work faculty advisor.  

Both phases are designed to fit easily into a typical four-year, 120-credit track to graduation at NMU.

The field placement is unique to social work education, and critical in the preparation of competent social work professionals. CSWE has established very specific standards that guide the implementation of the field placement experience, whichever accredited program a student attends. All BSW students are required to complete a minimum of 400 field hours (1-2 days per week in an academic semester) in a real-world setting under the instruction of a degreed social worker. At NMU, the BSW Field Coordinator identifies organizational settings that provide appropriate, hands-on experiences that allow students to practice social work skills and apply their classroom knowledge. The field coordinator then matches students to specific field placements that are able to meet their learning needs. More information can found in the BSW Field Handbook

The NMU Social Work department and NMU Center for Native American Studies have partnered together to support students choosing to pursue education and field placements with victim services in tribal communities.  The Serving Native Survivors Circle project will offer selected students financial assistance to social work and NAS students who pursue specialization as advocates in rural tribal communities within their chosen program.  More information can be found in the Native Circle program brochure.

Resources

BSW Advising Packet

Download the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program Advisement Package.

More about the BSW Program

Effective Fall 2007

Note: Some courses in Cluster Minor also fill Liberal Studies requirements:

Liberal Studies Code
NS = Natural Science HU = Humanities
SS = Social Science FS = Formal Studies

CLUSTER MINOR (28 credit hours)

 

Social Economic Justice/Populations at Risk

 

Lib Studies

Choose one from:

4

SS

EC 101

The American Economy

4

 

EC 201

Microeconomic Principles

4

 

EC 202

Macroeconomic Principles

4

SS

EC/HS 337

American Economic History

4

 

Choose one from:

4

SS

SO 372

Minority Groups

4

SS

SO 362

Women, Men and Social Inequality

4

SS

SO 322

Social Class, Power and Mobility

4

 

Diversity

 

 

 

Choose one from:

4

SS

AN 100

Introduction to Socio-Cultural Anthropology

4

SS

HS 233

Native American History

4

HU

NAS 204

Native American Experience

4

HU

HS 293

Minorities in American History

4

HU

HS 283

The American Woman

4

 

HS 273

Gay and Lesbian History

4

 

HBSE: Biological

 

 

Choose from:

 

 

NS

BI 100

Biological Science

4

NS

BI 104

Human Anatomy and Physiology

4

 

BI 201

Human Anatomy

3

 

BI 202

Human Physiology

5

 

HBSE: Psychological

4

SS NS

PY 100, H,S,L or G

4

 

HBSE: Sociological

4

SS

SO 101

Introductory Sociology

4

 

Research

 

 

 

Choose one from:

4

FS

MA 171

Introduction to Probability and Statistics

4

FS

PY 305

Psychological Statistics

4

FS

SO 208

Methods of Social Research I

4

SOCIAL WORK MAJOR:

 

 

SW 100

Exploring Social Work

4

 

HBSE

 

8

 

SW 230

Human Behavior & Social Environment I

4

 

SW 331

Human Behavior & Social Environment II

4

 

POLICY

 

8

 

SW 341

Social Welfare Policy I

4

 

SW 440

Social Welfare Policy II

4

 

RESEARCH

 

4

 

SW 308

Research Methods II

4

 

PRACTICE

 

12

 

SW 370

Generalist Practice Methods I

4

 

SW 372

Generalist Practice Methods II

4

 

SW 472

Practicing with Diversity

4

 

FIELD

 

12

 

SW 473

Integrative Seminar I

2

 

SW 474

Integrative Seminar II

2

 

SW 480

Field Instruction I

4

 

SW 481

Field Instruction II

4

To ensure your successful progression through the bachelor of social work program at Northern Michigan University, please click on the links below and read through the pages carefully.

Social work licensure has been in effect in Michigan since July1, 2005. Although obtaining a social work license is required for many social work jobs, it is not a universal requirement by any means.  Health care settings, community mental health and organizations that rely on Medicaid or third party reimbursement are more likely to require staff be licensed.One of the key issues is obtaining supervised experience. Normally, you must have MSW supervision through your employer or arrange your own supervision by a licensed MSW social worker in order for experience to qualify.  In Michigan, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is responsible for most professional occupation licensing.  You can obtain an application packet and other information from their website.

Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker (LBSW)

Application Criteria

Public Act 61 requires an applicant for licensure as a Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker to have:

  • A bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited social work program.
  • Completed at least two years of full-time post bachelor’s degree experience, or the equivalent in part-time hours, in the practice of social work at the bachelor’s level under the supervision of a licensed master’s social worker. (Until July 1, 2008, the supervision can be done by a person with a master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a college or university school of social work).

The Administrative Rules clarify that the work experience must consist of at least 4,000 hours accrued over not less than two years.

The Rules also require LBSW applicants to pass the Basic or Bachelor’s exam given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The passing grade is 75. (Note: For exam information: See http://www.aswb.org/ or call the Association of Social Work Boards at 800-225-6880 for additional information and exam preparation materials. Another source of examination preparation material is Social Work Examination Services, 800-933-8802, www.swes.net. )

Scope of Practice

The Act defines the scope of practice at the bachelor’s level as including all of the following, applied within the scope of social work values, ethics, principles, and skills:

  • Applying social work theory, knowledge, methods, and ethics to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or bio-psycho-social functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, or communities with particular attention to the person-in-environment configuration.
  • Social work case management and casework, including assessments, planning, referral, and intervention with individuals, families, couples, groups, communities, or organizations within the context of social work values, ethics, principles, and skills
  • Helping communities, organizations, individuals, or groups improve their social or health services by using social work practice skills
  • Administering assessment checklists that do not require special training or interpretation

A person who performs one or more of these functions, but not all of them, will not be considered engaged in the practice of social work at the bachelor’s level.

The practice does not include the practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine and surgery, including prescribing drugs or administering electroconvulsive therapy; the practice of psychotherapy and other advanced clinical skills specified in the master’s level scope of practice; or the administration or interpretation of psychological tests except as described in the bachelor’s scope of practice.

Qualifying Work Experience – Functions

Qualifying work experience for the LBSW would include, but not be limited to, any of the following:

  • Social casework assessment, planning, and intervention with individuals, couples, families, or groups to enhance or restore the capacity for social functioning.
  • Case management of health and human services.
  • Providing information about and referring individuals to resources.
  • Planning and collaborating with communities, organizations, or groups to improve their social or health services.
  • Working with clients in accessing, coordinating, or developing resources to develop solutions for interpersonal or community problems.

Note: For supervision and other requirements concerning qualifying work experience for LBSWs see “Qualifying Work Experience – General Requirements: LMSWs, LBSWs, SSTs” at this website

The undergraduate social work program at NMU has been continuously accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1974. Accreditation was last reaffirmed in 2013. A program review for reaffirmation of accreditation is expected to be completed in 2021. The BSW Program self-study report can be accessed here in a three volume set:

  1. BSW Program Self-Study  Vol I  Report
  2. BSW Program Self-Study Vol II Program Course Syllabi
  3. BSW Program Self-Study Vol III Supporting Documents (includes field manual and department by-laws)
  4. CSWE Competency Reporting Form 2012
  5. CSWE Competency Reporting Form 2014
  6. CSWE Competency Reporting Form 2016

Why accreditation is important:

1. National Standards of Program Quality: The social work program conforms to requirements for program academic content, field instruction, and program operation. Accreditation requires that programs not only have minimum faculty and support resources but that they have a well designed curriculum which prepares graduates for generalist professional practice. Accreditation requires that programs continuously monitor and evaluate themselves for program quality. It also requires that programs adhere to standards of nondiscrimination and provide opportunity for student involvement in governance. Complete information on accreditation standards is available from the Council on Social Work Education.
2. Enhanced Employment Opportunities: CSWE accredited status is beneficial for employment for the following reasons: a) The accredited BSW degree is preferred by many employers in the human services; b) It is required for some jobs, especially where third party payment by insurance providers is involved, and c) it is necessary for licensure as a social worker in many states with social work licensure.
3. Graduate Education: CSWE-accredited status is beneficial for obtaining advanced standing in Master in Social Work Programs throughout the nation. Although one may gain admission to an MSW program with other undergraduate degrees, completing the program would normally require approximately 60-credit hours over two academic years. CSWE-accredited BSW grads may often complete an MSW in one calendar year with about 45 credits. In addition, our graduates often test out of several required courses, enabling them to expand their educational experience with electives. Advanced standing policies vary from school to school. For more information, the Council on Social Work Education web site provides links to all accredited MSW programs.

To see which license the BSW program prepares you for by state, visit our Licensure Disclosure.

View the NMU BSW program's latest learning outcomes report.

To complete the BSW degree requirements in four years, students are recommended to follow a schedule similar to this example illustration.

Illustrated Four Year Schedule

   

Freshman Fall

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

Div I

EN 111

Composition 1

4

Div IV

SO 101

Intro Sociology

4

Div III

PY 100

General Psychology

4

 

UN 100

Freshman Studies

2

HP 1

HP 200

Physical Well Being

1

     

15

   

Freshman Winter

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

Div I

EN 211

Composition 2

4

Div VI

VPA XXX

Visual Perform Arts

4

Div IV

EC 101

American Economy

4

 

SW 100

Exploring Social Work

4

HP 1

HP XXX

Health Promotion Elect.

1

     

17

   

Sophomore Fall

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

Div III

BI 104

Anatomy & Physiology

4

 

SO XXX

Population at Risk elective

4

 

SW 230

Hum Behavior & Soc En I

4

Div II

HU XXX

Humanities Elective

4

     

16

   

Sophomore Winter

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

 

D&D XX

Diversity  Elect

4

Div V

SO 208

Research Methods I

4

Div II

HU 3XX

Humanities 300 & WC

4

 

SW 331

Hum Behavior & Soc En II

4

     

16

   

Junior Fall

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

 

SW 308

Research Methods II

4

 

SW 341

Welfare Policy I

4

 

GE XXX

Elective or Minor

4

 

GE XXX

Elective or Minor

4

     

16

   

Junior Winter

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

 

SW 370

Practice Methods I

4

 

SW 372

Practice Methods II

4

 

GE XXX

Elective or Minor

4

 

GE XXX

Elective or Minor

4

     

16

   

Senior Fall

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

 

GE XXX

Elective or Minor

4

 

SW 472

Practice with Diversity

4

 

SW 473

Senior Seminar I

2

 

SW 480

Field Placement I

4

     

14

   

Senior Winter

 

LS

Number

Title

cr

 

SW 474

Senior Seminar II

2

 

SW 481

Field Placement II

4

 

GE XXX

Elective or Minor

4

 

SW 440

Welfare Policy II

4

     

14

   

Total Credit Hours

124

The Council on Social Work Education requires a minimum of 400 clock hours of field instruction for a BSW degree.

  • NMU requires 8 credit hours of field instruction: SW 480 (4 credits) and SW 481 (4 credits). Usually, this translates into about 15 hours per week for 30 weeks during the senior year for a total of 450 hours. A minimum of 400 hours is required for a passing grade.
  • Field Instructors should have either an MSW Degree or a BSW degree with experience. Exceptions can be made with additional supervision provided by NMU faculty.
  • Only students who have been admitted to the advanced BSW curriculum and who have a GPA of at least 2.5 are eligible for placement.
  • The NMU Field Coordinator arranges prospective placements between the student and the agency. Field agencies interview each prospective student (typically in April) before the placement is approved for the following Fall.
  • Each student prepares a learning agreement with assistance from the field instructor; this learning agreement operationalizes how the student will address CSWE competencies during field placement. The learning agreement is reviewed and revised each term.
  • Field students are concurrently enrolled in a seminar while in placement.
  • An NMU faculty member is the instructor of record and serves as the NMU liaison with the agency field instructor.
  • Students provide a weekly log of activities to their Field Instructor and the Field Placement Coordinator to document hours.
  • The field instructor completes a rating form each semester as part of the student evaluation process assessing competency development
  • Students also complete a self-assessment each term of their competency development.
  • Field placement is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. The NMU faculty liaison is responsible for assigning the semester grade.​
  • Download the Field Manual here

For more information, please contact:

Ann Crandell-Williams, Field Coordinator
Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Avenue
Marquette, MI 49855
Email: acrandel@nmu.edu

Beginning Stage: Exploring the Curriculum Foundation

This component includes the following courses:

  • SW 100 Exploring Social Work 
  • SW 230 Human Behavior and Social Environment I 

The overall goal of this component is for students to come away with a clear conception of what the profession of social work is about, especially generalist practice. Students will have explored their own values and competencies in comparison to the expectations of the profession and made a decision through application to the advanced BSW program that they are prepared to make mastery of the professional foundation their goal. SW 100 provides an overview of the profession, basically providing a rationale for the entire curriculum. It includes guest presenters from several work practice settings and includes a volunteer experience. SW 230 introduces students to the systems approach for organizing knowledge about people and their social environments. 

Upon completion of this component, the following will have been accomplished:

  1. The student understands and can describe core social work competencies, generalist practice and how the Social Work curriculum prepares them to enter generalist practice.
  2. The student will have assessed personal values, strengths, weaknesses, and goals for professional growth.
  3. The Social Work faculty will have directly observed the student in order to make recommendations concerning potential for continuance in the program. 
  4. A decision will be made for continuance or termination in the BSW curriculum.
  5. At this point the student may apply to and be admitted to the advance program; the student may apply and be denied admission, or the student may voluntarily chose to pursue another career path 

Middle Stage: Building the Knowledge and Skills for Generalist Practice 

This component includes the following courses: 

  • SW 331 Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • SW 341 Social Welfare Policy 
  • SW 370 Practice Methods I
  • SW 372 Practice methods II
  • SW 308 Research Methods II 

The goal of this component is to provide in-depth coverage of social work core competencies.   Upon completion of this section of the curriculum students will:

  1. Be able to discuss of all 10 core social work competencies.
  2. Have applied competencies in classroom activities, course assignments and exams.
  3. Have demonstrated practice behaviors that show mastery of core competencies.
  4. Show a level of intellectual, psychological and emotional maturity to suggest readiness for senior field placement.   

EP 2.1.1. Identification as a Professional Social Worker is covered extensively in SW 370 and SW 372 Practice Methods I and II.  SW 370 and SW 372 also include in-depth coverage of EP 2.1.2 Social Work Ethics and EP 2.1.4. Diversity and Difference in Practice.  SW 341 focuses primarily on EP 2.1.3 Critical Thinking, EP 2.1.5 Human Rights and Social and Economic Justice, and EP 2.1.8 Policy Practice.  EP 2.1.6 Research-Informed Practice and Practice-Informed Research are highlighted in SW 308.  EP 2.1.7 Human Behavior in the Social Environment and EP 2.1.9 are the focus of SW 331 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II.  EP2.1.10., which includes the major practice skills of Engagement, Assessment, Intervention, and Evaluation, are the primary focus of SW 370 and SW 372 Practice Methods I and II, which are taken concurrently.  SW 370 focuses on direct practice interventions within generalist practice and SW 372 focuses on indirect practice interventions within generalist practice.  

Final Stage: Social Work Competencies Action

This component includes the following courses: 

  • SW 440 Social Welfare Policy Analysis 
  • SW 473 Integrative Seminar I 
  • SW 474 Integrative Seminar II 
  • SW 472 Social Work Practice with Human Diversity 
  • SW 480 Field Placement I 
  • SW 481 Field Placement II 

This component is a sequence of courses for the senior year of the program. All prerequisites must be completed before entry and each of these courses is completed concurrently with field placement. The primary goal of this component is to integrate the competencies covered and demonstrated in previous courses with practice in the field. SW 472 emphasizes issues of human diversity in social work practice (EP 2.1.4). SW 473 emphasizes issues of social work professionalism and conduct (EP 2.1.1) and serves as a forum for processing field practice experiences. SW 474 continues this function during the winter semester. Students prepare for entry into the profession by developing a resume and by working on career planning. Policy is integrated with practice through SW 440. Building on SW 341, the course focuses the student's attention on policy issues in the field and the role of policy in professional social work (EP 2.1.8).  SW 440 also addresses critical thinking (EP 2.1.3.), and human rights and social and economic justice (EP 2.1.5) through assignments that require students to evaluate a social problem or issue related to their field placements and create policy and program recommendations to address the problem or issue.  SW 480 and SW 481 provide 30 weeks of field practicum in which the student completes assignments that demonstrate mastery of each of 10 core competencies. Field placement is where students apply generalist practice knowledge, values and skills in an actual social work settings. Students are assessed in terms of these 10 competencies.

Students in the NMU Social Work Department

The Baccalaureate Social Work degree is a gateway to career fields such as child protective services, juvenile probation, substance abuse treatment, services to the aging and more. Our graduates are eligible for licensure throughout the U.S. In addition to entering professional employment upon graduation, many BSW graduates opt to complete an advanced degree, such as a Master of Social Work.