The bachelor's degree in social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Its primary objective is to prepare students for beginning generalist social work practice.

The program prepares students for potential employment in both public (federal, state, and county) and private social service agencies. Students are trained to work and affect change among individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The program helps prepare students to engage in critical thinking and actively apply research to practice, policy, advocacy, education, and leadership. A sample of career possibilities includes caseworker, psychiatric social worker, youth counselor, and alcohol/drug counselor.

Requirements

General Curriculum Requirements36
Major Requirements55
General Electives29
Total Credits120

General Curriculum Requirements

For courses that satisfy the distribution requirements in humanities, natural science, and social science, see the GER listing in the current Timetable. The UWM General Education Requirements apply to all students who were not enrolled in an accredited institution prior to 1986.

English
Refer to Proficiency Requirements in General Education Requirements. Contact a school advisor for specific information.
Mathematics
Refer to Proficiency Requirements in General Education Requirements. Contact a school advisor for specific information.
Liberal Arts Foundation
Foreign Language
Completion of two years of high school-level instruction in a single foreign language, or satisfactory completion of at least two semesters of a single foreign language, or approved demonstration of foreign language ability
Arts
Select 3 credits of General Education-approved arts course in the history, philosophy, theory, or practice of the creative and interpretive arts3
Humanities
COMMUN 103Public Speaking3
Select 9 credits of General Education-approved humanities courses9
Natural Science
Select 6 credits of General Education-approved natural science courses to include a lab or field course6
Social Science
Select 15 credits of General Education-approved social science courses 115
Total Credits36

Major Requirements

The undergraduate social work major includes a pre-professional component. Freshmen and sophomores may begin to take courses offered in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare.

Students must complete at least 120 credits to obtain the degree. The major in Social Work requires a minimum of 55 credits in Social Work or Helen Bader School of Social Welfare courses (students can take courses in criminal justice and have them count toward the major as elective credit). The Department requires that students attain at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA, including transfer credits, in order to advance in the major. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 cumulative GPA in order to graduate from UWM. 

Required Courses
SOC WRK 100Introduction to Social Work3
SOC WRK 250Human Behavior and the Social Environment3
SOC WRK 260Case Management in Social Work3
SOC WRK 270Advocacy and Empowerment3
SOC WRK 306Introduction to Social Welfare Policy3
SOC WRK 308Social Work Values and Ethics3
SOC WRK 310Social Work Practice I: Individuals and Families 23
SOC WRK 410Social Work Practice II: Groups 2, 33
SOC WRK 421Field Education & Integrated Field Seminar I 2, 35
SOC WRK 422Field Education & Integrated Seminar II 2, 45
SOC WRK 427Social Work Practice III: Communities and Organizations 2, 43
SOC WRK 604Social Systems and Social Work Practice3
SOC WRK 662Methods of Social Welfare Research3
SOC WRK 665Cultural Diversity and Social Work3
Social Work Electives
Select 9 credits in SOC WRK or CRM JST courses9
Total Credits55

No academic credit for life experience and previous work experience is granted in lieu of field placement.

All credit for required courses must have been earned within 10 years of graduation.

General Electives

Credits towards the degree not counted in other categories will apply to General Electives. Classes counting towards General Electives may include, but are not limited to:
ENGLISH 100Introduction to College Writing and Reading4
ENGLISH 101Introduction to College Writing3
ENGLISH 102College Writing and Research3
MATH 102Mathematical Literacy for College Students II3
MATH 103Contemporary Applications of Mathematics3
MATH 105Introduction to College Algebra3
MATH 108Algebraic Literacy II3
Foreign Language credits
Total Credits29

Credits earned in HONORS 687or HONORS 689 will not count towards the major.

Fieldwork

The field education sequence required for social work majors consists of two semesters of placement, beginning as early as the junior year. A total of 256 hours in the field is required each of the two semesters. The field courses are taken concurrently with the practice courses. Students are required to maintain a grade of B or better in each social work practice and field course. When a student does not, the student's academic progress is reviewed by the chair of the Social Work Department. In certain cases, the student may be referred to the Faculty Review Panel and may not be allowed to continue in the major.

For further information about fieldwork, consult the Field Staff Office, Enderis Hall, Room 1075, (414) 229-6526.

Degree Requirements

To receive the bachelor's degree with a social work major, the student must have an overall GPA (including non-UWM college work) of 2.0 and a total of 120 credits. At least 50% of the credits in the social work major must be earned at UWM. Social work students must complete at least one semester of field placement at UWM. Students must earn their last 30 credits at UWM.

Advancing to the Major

In addition to the normal University admission requirements, students will submit an application to be advanced into the Social Work major. Students who have not yet been advanced to the Social Work major are still able to take a sequence of Social Work courses. Students must formally be advanced into the Social Work major prior to beginning field placement. The requirements to apply to the Social Work major are:

  • Completion of 48+ credits
  • Completion of Social Work 100, 250, and 306
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, including all transfer work.

All of these requirements must be satisfied at the time a student applies. Applications are found online and an advisor should be consulted for more information.

Undergraduate Academic Advising

The Office of Student Services in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, located in Enderis Hall on the 10th floor, offers undergraduate student academic advising from professional advisors who are familiar with the Social Work and Criminal Justice curriculum, College requirements, and university policies. Advisors can also provide information on scholarship opportunities, tutoring, and student organizations that align with a student's interests.

These advisors provide services such as new freshman orientation, course selection, assistance with registration, and review of transfer credit. Students are assigned to a permanent professional advisor upon admittance into the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor at least once each semester. Please call (414) 229-4852 to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Transfer Students

The Helen Bader School of Social Welfare welcomes students from other academic areas on the UWM campus and students transferring to UWM from other institutions. Students planning to transfer into either major from another institution should meet with an academic advisor as soon as they are admitted and the transfer credit evaluation process has been completed. During this meeting, the student and advisor will review transfer course equivalencies, discuss program requirements, and create an academic plan for coming semesters. Students may meet with their advisor in person or by phone. Please call (414) 229-4852 to schedule an appointment or for more information. 

Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major are granted to students who have earned a GPA of 3.500 or above in major courses, including social science credits completed at UWM.

Honors in the School of Social Welfare

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.