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Social Work, B.S.W.

Social workers provide the bulk of mental health services in the United States. BSW graduates are employed in family service agencies, child welfare organizations, nursing homes, hospices, substance abuse programs, aging services, criminal justice agencies, and schools to name just a few. Their education prepares BSWs to utilize a planned change or problem solving approach that encompasses engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, and follow-up. Clients may consist of individuals, families, groups, organizations, or communities.

Activities of the BSW may include interviewing, crisis intervention, case management, advocacy, linking people with services, networking, and outreach to name a few.

Program Requirements

Guided by the principles of social and economic justice, cultural competence, and the values and ethics of the social work profession, Oakland University’s BSW Program prepares students for competent and effective generalist social work practice to serve the needs of individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in a multicultural and global society. Utilizing critical thinking, scientific inquiry and evidence-based practice skills, graduates of the program are prepared to provide empowerment based services, promote socially just, culturally-responsive and theory-informed interventions and advocate for social justice of oppressed populations in the delivery of social services throughout Southeast Michigan.

Faculty and staff in the Social Work Program value a close working relationship with students and feel that careful advising and mentoring are critical. Students who declare a pre-major in social work and/or are admitted into the program are assigned an advisor.

Students can schedule half-hour appointments with an Academic Adviser as needed when they have questions about their major program, class scheduling, or any issues related to their academic progress at Oakland University or questions about the application process.

For More Information Contact

Paige Freed, LMSW-Clinical
Assistant Director of Student Support, Social Work

Oakland University
512A Varner Hall
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice
Rochester, MI 48309-4401
To schedule an advising session:  https://calendly.com/paigefreed/student-advising

Bachelor of Social Work degree is a professional degree that permits one to work with clients who seek help at a vulnerable time in their lives for complex problems. Students interested in the program are encouraged to meet with a departmental advisor prior to declaring a pre-social work major. Although students may declare a pre-social work major at any time, formal admission into the program requires a separate application and approval process. As such, Oakland University’s Social Work program rigorously reviews candidates to assure that they are appropriate to continue pursuing the profession of social work. 

If you are transferring from another University, please view the transfer requirements online and make an appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences advising office.

Requirements to Apply

All students will need formal admission to OU. See below for eligibility criteria to apply to OU's BSW Program

  1. Overall GPA of a 2.8
  2. 56 credit hours completed
  3. Completion of all necessary program prerequisite courses:
    • SOC 1000: Intro to SOC with a letter grade of C or better
    • PSY 1000: Intro to PSY with a letter grade of C or better 
    • PS 1100: Intro Political Science with a letter grade of C or better 
    • BIO 1002/BIO  1200: Human Bio with a letter grade of C or better;
    • SW 2301: Intro Social Work with a letter grade of B or better
  4. Aptitude for the profession of social work including a commitment to social justice, emotional stability and the capacity to build helping relationships with others, and respect for diversity
  5. Suitability for the profession as evidenced through work or volunteer experience. We recognize with COVID-19, volunteering may be difficult. If you have concerns about meeting the volunteering requirement, email [email protected]

Application Process

As an applicant, you will be providing the following information to apply to the Social Work Program. 

  • Intent to Apply Application: Click this link for access to our intent to apply application. Once you submit this application, you will receive a user name and password to our application system. Access to the intent to apply form.
  • Application: This application is a separate application for admission to our social work program using our SONIA system under the forms tab. 
  • Personal Statement: This statement will be carefully read and assessed as one of several criteria used to evaluate each applicant. The statement should be approximately two to four typewritten, doubled spaced pages in length. Be sure to address each of the questions listed on the form. Here is a preview of the personal statement instructions that you will find in the Sonia software.
  • Reference Request Form: Please fill out this form with the contact information for two references (one academic - ideally your Introduction to Social Work professor, and one volunteer/work reference. No personal references. The program will contact them and solicit your letter of reference. You must allow ample time to for your Recommenders to respond, therefore please submit before the deadline. Please note, your reference cannot be a family or friend unless it is related to employment.

Deadline to Apply

The deadline for the completed application for admission to the Social Work Program is June 1. If you need extra time, email [email protected].

For assistance with our application system or if you have additional questions or concerns email  [email protected] or call 248-370-2371.

Oakland University's BSW Program routinely collects and analyzes student learning outcomes. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) mandates that accredited BSW and MSW Programs widely report student learning outcomes on several practice competencies. To establish and monitor the quality of social work programs across the country, the CSWE's Commission on Accreditation (COA) uses these and other data to evaluate the extent to which programs across the U.S. are in compliance with national CSWE accreditation standards.  Oakland University BSW Program measures student outcomes in both course work and field work. Reports provide a brief description of each of the CSWE competencies, the benchmark at which individual student' scores are considered proficient, and the percentages of students attaining the level of proficiency on each of the CSWE accreditation competencies.

2023 Assessment

2021 Assessment

2020 Assessment

Oakland University BSW's Program Competencies

The Oakland University Bachelor of Social Work Program's conception of generalist practice involves the use of social work knowledge, professional values, and an array of skills that can be adapted to work with diverse client systems of all sizes in a variety of settings.

Our program is designed around competency-based education. Students are trained to demonstrate the integration and application of the following competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities:

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  4. Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Varner Hall Room 518
371 Varner Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2420
fax: (248) 370-4608

Social Work
Varner, Room 513
371 Varner Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(248) 370-2371
[email protected]