Social Work Department at NMU

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program

A program with a proud history, NMU's Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) Program has been continuously accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (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. 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.

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.

BSW Advanced Program Application Submission Deadline is October 1st, 2022 (Please print one-sided)


Social Work Department at NMU

Master of Social Work (MSW) Program

NMU's new Master of Social Work (MSW) program is an exciting opportunity for human services professionals to earn a graduate degree and take their careers to the next level. Our mission is to prepare advanced practitioners of social work by extending the department's and profession's commitment to higher learning that promotes service, social justice, human rights, and dignity, worth and well-being of individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities through specialized clinical and macro practice.

At NMU's graduate tuition rate, our 50-credit regular standing program or 36-credit advanced standing program, are some of the most affordable routes to an MSW in Michigan.  With a wide array of field placement opportunities across the Upper Peninsula, our flexible global campus option for distance students, and our options for clinical or macro concentration, we offer students an education that meets their individual career interests and learning needs.

Our Mission

The mission of the social work program is to prepare competent professionals committed to advancing social justice, human rights, and the dignity and worth of diverse individuals, groups, families, and communities through social work practice. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the program delivers competency-based instruction designed for students’ acquisition of core social work knowledge, values and skills. A unique combination of the social work major with a constellation of courses from multiple disciplines that complement the major culminates in graduates receiving the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. This designation identifies the graduate as a professional practitioner prepared to enter professional positions in a wide array of social work settings such as health care, juvenile justice, and services for the elderly. In addition to entering professional employment upon graduation, many BSW graduates opt to complete an advanced degree, such as an MSW.

Professional Development

Throughout the program, students are exposed to the values and ethics that guide professional practice. The social work curriculum develops awareness in students of the need for continued professional development following graduation and throughout their professional careers. The entry-level to the profession of social work is generalist practice. The generalist practitioner has the capacity to provide services across a broad range of client systems. The generalist is able to work with an array of problem situations and can apply a common or generic social work method across a variety of service systems within an eco-systems model and utilizing a strengths perspective. The generalist practitioner provides services to clients directly. Although the curriculum certainly contains elements of preparation for such activities as planning, research, supervision, and administration, the major skill preparation is for direct practice with clients.

Our Philosophy

The Social Work Program is built on a humanistic philosophy that exemplifies the values of social justice, respect for human rights, dignity, and diversity. The Social Work Program seeks to respond to the unique needs of the Upper Peninsula by providing educational opportunities for social work practitioners and other professionals.

Social Work Minors

The social services minor is designed as an option for students who may have chosen another field as their major, but are looking to strengthen their knowledge of the human services sector. They may be looking at having a career in a field closely related to social work or may already know that they will be working with social workers. Students who commonly choose a social service minor are psychology, criminal justice, and political science majors. This is a 20-credit minor that includes a requirement to complete SW 100 - Exploring Social Work and at least two courses at the 400 level.

For a full description of the minor requirements, and descriptions of optional courses, please consult the University Bulletin.

Note: This minor is only for students who are not social work majors. Field instruction courses and 300-400 level practice method courses may not be included in the social welfare minor.

The human behavior cluster minor must be completed by all social work majors at NMU to earn their BSW degree. This minor is 28 credits, which requires that students complete the Introduction to Sociology (SO 101) and Introduction to Psychology (PY 100) courses plus a course from each of the five other remaining categories. The minor is not restricted to social work majors, so other students who have an interest in gaining knowledge from multiple disciplines about the nature of human behavior may consider choosing this minor.

See the University Bulletin for a full listing of the requirements, options and course descriptions for the human behavior cluster minor.

Social work majors can also consult their advising packet for more details.

The Social Work Department also participates in interdisciplinary majors in international studies and social science and interdisciplinary minors in gender studies, labor studies, gerontology, and religious studies. Information about these majors and minors can be found in the NMU undergraduate bulletin.

Native American Community Services Associate Degree 

Native American Community Services Minor 

This interdepartmental minor that focuses on substance use and approaches to explain, prevent and treat substance use disorders in the United States. All the courses offered in this minor have been approved by MCBAP (Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals) and if the minor is successfully completed, students will have met all of the educational requirements necessary to apply for their CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor) credential. 

For a full description of the minor requirements, and descriptions of optional courses are available through the University Bulletin.

Note: This minor is open to students in any major.