FAQs About the BSW Program

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Is JMU’s BSW program accredited?

JMU’s BSW program has maintained continuous accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education – we were reaffirmed in 2016 through 2023!

Are social work students involved on campus and the community?

Our students are outstanding examples of JMU and our department’s involvement on campus and in the community! For the past two years, the student commencement speaker has been a BSW student!! We also have two students currently employed at JMU as Engagement Fellows, competitively selected upon graduation. The social work department regularly logs over 45,000 hours PER YEAR of service involvement to the community.

What does it mean that social work is a professional program at the undergraduate level?

Social work differs from disciplines like sociology and psychology, in that we are a professional program at the bachelor’s level. That’s why you receive a BSW degree rather than a BA or BS!  It also means that practical experience like our field placement are REQUIRED, rather than elective experiences.  Our courses prepare you to be practice-ready when you graduate by many experiential activities.

How large is the social work department? Will I get to know my instructors and my fellow students?

We are a small department of about 200 students and 8 faculty. Our classes range in size from 40 students in our introductory courses to 25 in most major required courses to 10 to 12 in our field seminars! The faculty and your fellow students get to know you well!

Does the BSW program value diversity and promote inclusion of students with diverse backgrounds?

Our program places a high value on diversity in its many forms. We have a highly diverse faculty and we also support a number of “Affinity Groups” for students who may be underrepresented in our programs and on campus.  The affinity groups provide “brave spaces” for students to discuss the challenges of being underrepresented and are facilitated by faculty to provide maximum support (as well as pizza)!  Faculty have even published on this innovative idea!

Do I need to specialize in a specific area of practice in the BSW program?

Social work education at the Bachelor’s level is generalist, meaning we prepare you for a wide variety of careers. What you study in your courses will prepare you to practice with individuals, groups and communities.  You may choose to take a minor or select electives that support your specific career goals.  When you graduate with your BSW, it will open doors for a wide variety of career paths.

What if I do have an interest in a specific area of practice or population?

In addition to required coursework, each BSW takes a minimum of two electives so that you can explore different areas of practice. You will also have opportunities to do projects and papers on specific topics during your curriculum. However, if you wish to specialize in an area of practice (e.g. child welfare, mental health, older adults, etc.), you will likely need to continue on to graduate school. About 2/3rd of our students go on to graduate education, many into MSW programs, but also programs such as counseling, urban planning and even law school! They love our students for their commitment to social, economic and environmental justice!

Does JMU’s BSW program prepare me to go on to graduate school in social work?

Our students regularly qualify for Advanced Standing in MSW programs, meaning that you can earn your MSW in as little as one calendar year post-BSW! ONLY students who have received their BSW degrees from an ACCREDITED program are eligible to apply for Advanced Standing! We also often have students who go on to graduate programs in law, public administration or counseling.

Does JMU have an MSW program?

JMU does not currently have an MSW program but we are exploring the option of adding it in the next few years. Our BSW students regularly apply to MSW programs such as Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, Radford, the University of Maryland, Morgan State University, the University of South Carolina and many others.