Quick Facts
General Education - 37 Hours
Required Courses - 51 Hours
Upper Division and
Social Work Selectives - 15 Hours
Child Welfare Electives (optional) - 6 Hours*
Electives - 17 Hours
Total for Degree - 120 Hours
Full Program Requirements

Why Study Social Work?

Governors State’s Bachelor of Social Work is grounded in a social justice ethic scrupulously attentive to social and economic disparities encompassing planned interventions with people at multiple levels (individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities) through engaged, inclusive, culturally appropriate practice methods at all levels to affect systemic social and economic change and “just” outcomes for people at greatest risk.

A belief in the capacity of people to grow and change, and to make positive decisions on their own and others behalf, as well as an appreciation of the value of human capacities and diversity is emphasized.

The Bachelor of Social Work Program reflects a richly diverse student population with age, race/ethnicity, gender, community identification, and socio-economic status. A large majority of our students are working as well as managing the demands of family. We work with students to develop a Plan of Study that maps out the completion of academic requirements, but that also considers the context of their lives.

Our program emphasizes experiential and service learning, advocacy, self-care, professional development, and leadership, as well as providing collaborative learning opportunities between community practitioners/constituents and students. These opportunities take the form of guest speakers, forums, symposiums, visits to communities, events, and more.

Student Involvement

The Social Work program has a well-established history of student involvement in the community, at GSU, and in the Social Work Department, through service and leadership by developing and involvement in student organizations (e.g. The Gay Straight Alliance, Veterans Resource Center, International Student Organization, and Student Senate).

  • Social Work students founded Generating Hope, a student organization grounded in the belief that education is a human right that should be accessible to everyone—a belief supported by data that shows higher education significantly decreases recidivism and transform the lives of those who have been formerly incarcerated.
  • The Social Work Student Organization (SWSO) has been instrumental in coordinating an annual Social Work Advocacy Day in Springfield, and raising funds for global and domestic communities (e.g. Haiti, Flint, Michigan, etc.)
  • The social work honor society Phi Alpha not only recognizes academic excellence but also has spearheaded community service projects.
  • Under faculty leadership, social work students have the opportunity for study abroad and service learning opportunities in locations such as Nicaragua and Panama.

We are proud to say that we provide a transformative educational experience which is reflected in our alumni who are contributors to the profession as outstanding leaders and practitioners

Social Work is far more than a profession. It is an avocation. Social Workers bring their skills to bear on some of the most pressing issues in our society.

The Bachelor of Social Work degree program is ideal for you if you want to make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities. The curriculum imparts the skills and knowledge you'll need to begin your career as a social worker.

Our BSW coursework will teach you how to interview clients, knowledgeable about the issues that confront them. You’ll learn about and understand substance abuse, human behavior and urban environments. You’ll discover the legal aspects of Social Work, and you’ll explore the boundaries and ethics of the profession. You’ll gain the insight you need to work with children, families and individuals who may be facing the most critical crises in their lives.

Our program places a unique emphasis on the concept of social justice, and we prepare our students to lead and support social justice action agendas. We teach them to develop the community resources that individuals and families rely on to live their lives with dignity and progress.

Whether you’re a traditional or non-traditional student, you’ll find our BSW program ideally suited to your needs. Our faculty will teach you to think critically; engage in reflective practice; and apply Social Work knowledge, values and skills as a generalist practitioner.

Reach Your Career Goals

As a graduate of the BSW program, you will be prepared to enter the field as a generalist, with a focus on concrete direct services and case management. Generalists differ from advanced practitioners, who require a master’s degree or higher. As a graduate of the program, you will have fulfilled the prerequisites needed for Advanced Graduate-level study in Social Work.

Alumni Success

In addition to receiving the 2015 Lincoln Laureate award for “overall excellence,” earning a Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2016, and a Master of Social Work degree in 2018, Jerry Davis-EL has been a consistent champion for social justice –– working with the traumatized, the socio-economically deprived, and marginalized adults and children.

A Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), Davis-El currently works with Becoming a Man (BAM). He has served as an Adolescent Youth Counselor at WestCare Foundation and has presented at national and local conferences and events across the country, including the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting and reintegrative justice forums at Chicago’s Kennedy King College and at New York’s Columbia University in partnership with the Center for Justice.

As a GSU student, Davis-El was a founding member as well as a previous president of Generating Hope and assumed leadership roles in the Student Social Work Organization (SWSO) and the Social Work Honor Society (Phi Alpha). Davis-El was selected as the 2018 Commencement Speaker.

Application Deadlines for BSW Program

Term                    Deadline  
Fall 2023 ----------------August 4, 2023  
Spring 2024 ------------ December 8, 2023
Summer 2024-----------April 5, 2024 

Learn More!

Click here to view a one-page Bachelor of Social Work Fact Sheet.


The Bachelor of Social Work program is nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

*In addition to the Child Welfare electives, the required Field Practicum I & II must be completed in a child welfare agency.

Dr. Lorri Glass
Program Coordinator

<b>Full Program Requirements</b>

Full Program Requirements

You can find the complete guide to graduation requirements for your degree in our catalog.

<b>Program Faculty</b>

Program Faculty

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<b>How to Apply</b>

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