James Madison University

Admission to the B.S.W. Program

You may declare a major in social work at any time.  You will be officially admitted after you have applied to the Social Work Program and been accepted.  The Undergraduate Catalog stipulates that you apply the semester after completion of SOWK 287 Introduction to Social Work and SOWK 288 Social Welfare.  To be considered for unconditional admission, you must have a 2.0 overall average with no single grade lower than a "C (2.0)” in the above named courses, and have completed the 20 hours of community service-learning required in SOWK 287.

You will be evaluated on the basis of community service and life experiences, academic performance, communication skills, work related skills, ability to work with others, motivation, professional value orientation, and career plans.  Work related skills and characteristics that you are expected to demonstrate include:

  • Punctuality
  • Attendance
  • Follow Through/Dependability
  • Meeting of Deadlines
  • Handling of stress
  • Using humor appropriately
  • Assumption of responsibility for actions
  • Flexibility
  • Work organization
  • Acceptance of written feedback (200 level courses)
  • Acceptance of verbal feedback (200 level courses)
  • Effective use of written feedback (300-400 level courses)
  • Effective use of verbal feedback (300-400 level courses)

The admission process alerts the faculty as to how you respond to requests for information, in terms of completeness of information provided, promptness of your response, professional appearance of the application and the personal statement, etc.  

The personal statement is used to assess your writing ability as well as your choice of social work as a profession.  The criteria for evaluation are that your writing clearly and thoughtfully addresses the requested topic, is organized with ideas being clearly and logically presented, and is mechanically and grammatically sound.  Additional guidelines for written assignments are in the Social Work Handbook (p. 19).  It is strongly suggested that you submit a draft of your application to your adviser for review. In addition to the admission form, resume and personal statement you will submit a minimum of three reference forms and a Student Agreement for Admission to the Social Work Program. 

Submit a draft of your application, resume, and personal statement to your faculty adviser for feedback and recommendations at least one week prior to the application deadline.  You must meet with your faculty adviser to sign the Student Agreement Form documenting that you have read the Social Work Handbook and the NASW Code of Ethics and agree to follow both.

The reference forms are to be completed by individuals other than social work faculty members who are able to assess your work-related skills as well as your interests and ability in working with others. Consider supervisors of volunteer or human service related jobs you may have held.  You may not use relatives, other students, or more than one reference per work/agency setting.

Please give your references stamped envelopes addressed to Department of Social Work, James Madison University, 801Carrier Drive, MSC 4303, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, so that the forms can be returned directly to the department.  Your references WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED VALID UNLESS SENT DIRECTLY TO THE DEPARTMENT.  Refer to Appendix C for a copy of the admission form, the personal statement guidelines and reference forms.  These forms are also available on the department’s website. The submission date for Fall is October 15 and March 15 for Spring unless specified differently by the department head.  You need to write the appropriate due date on the reference forms.

Your application will be reviewed by at least two faculty members, not to include your adviser who would have already seen your materials, and presented to the department head for action.  If an issue is noted during the faculty review, it will be presented at a social work faculty meeting for action. An interview may be scheduled with you if deemed appropriate.  You will be notified in writing of the decision.  Decisions categories are: admit, admit conditionally, defer decision or not admit.  If admitted conditionally, areas of deficiency will be described in writing and you will be reevaluated prior to admission to the upper level practice courses or as designated in your conditional admittance letter at which time a final decision will be made.  If the decision is to defer, you will be notified in writing of the reasons for deferral and the steps you need to take to have your application accepted.  If not admitted, or if in disagreement with the conditions set for conditional admittance, you may appeal the decision to the Social Work Department Head.  You may NOT enter upper level practice courses until you have been admitted. 

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Our Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree prepares students for beginning professional practice, and is the entry-level credential as recognized by the National Association of Social Workers. More >