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College of Liberal Arts & Education

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Social Workers Are Professional, Compassionate Problem Solvers

Detroit Mercy Social Work Students

Preparing you to make a positive impact in today's world

University of Detroit Mercy's Bachelor of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

University of Detroit Mercy's Bachelor of Social Work program prepares you for understanding the role of human diversity in a complex, multicultural world as you develop in the skills of leadership in service and in the promotion of social justice. By the end of the program, you will have gained a strong foundation in understanding human growth and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, research methods and social work practice methods and skills.

In addition to a solid foundation, you will also complete 400 hours of hands-on experience at a human service agency where you will be supervised by a qualified social worker. The program prepares you for entry-level generalist social work practice, rooted in values and ethics, and instills a commitment to knowledge development and to continuous professional life-long learning.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services, but will vary by specialization.

Undergraduate Program


    Bachelor of Social Work

    Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

    To obtain this undergraduate degree, you must fulfill the requirements of the University core curriculum, the requirements for the 68-credit-hour program major and have completed a minimum of 126 credit hours.



    Accreditation Status

    University of Detroit Mercy's Bachelor of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program's accreditation date is from 1980 through June 2018.

    CSWE is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in this country.


    Mission, Goals & Competencies

    Mission Statement

    The mission of the University of Detroit Mercy Social Work program is to provide academic experience and curriculum that enables students to integrate and apply knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession in order to become competent baccalaureate generalist social workers who engage in ethical practice, provide leadership in service, work with diverse client systems in a variety of settings and are committed to social and economic justice. The social work program's mission statement is an extension of the University's mission statement and provides the framework for program goals.

    Program Goals 

    The Social Work Program prepares students with a strong foundation in human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, research methods and social work practice methods and skills. The program's goals are to:

    1. To prepare BSW students for ethical, competent entry level, generalist professional social work practice, particularly in urban settings with diverse, poor, vulnerable and oppressed individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
    2. To foster a commitment to continuing education, maintaining competence in practice, and enhancing and increasing opportunities for BSW graduates for renewal and advancement within the profession.

    The Social Work Program does not grant experiential or previous work experience as a substitute for social work course credit.

    Social Work Competencies

    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.

    BSW Outcomes Reports


    Generalist Social Work Practice

    Definition of Generalist Social Work Practice

    Entry level to the profession of social work is considered to be generalist practice. Generalist social work practitioners work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in a variety of social work and host settings. The generalist practitioner views clients and client systems from a strengths perspective in order to recognize, support and build upon the capabilities of all human beings. They use a professional problem-solving process to engage, assess, broker services, advocate, counsel, educate, and organize with and on behalf of client and client systems. In addition, generalist practitioners engage in community and organizational development. Finally, generalist practitioners evaluate service outcomes in order to continually improve the provision and quality of services most appropriate to client needs. (Adapted from BPD-2006)


    Statement on Non-Descrimination

    The Social Work Program is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all people. We are committed to foster tolerance, sensitivity and understanding, and mutual respect among our members and to offer a diverse educational experience that ensures only relevant factors are considered when determining admission, retention and performance. It is the program's policy not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, political belief, sexual orientation, gender expression, veteran's status, marital or parental status.


Joiner picture

Janet Joiner
Assistant Professor of Social Work
*Department Chair


VanCamp picture

Aloha VanCamp
Associate Professor of Social Work

Meet Our Advisory Board


    Advisory Board Members

    Janet M. Joiner, Ph.D.
    University of Detroit Mercy Social Work Department Chairperson
    University of Detroit Mercy Advisory Board Chairperson

    Galen Duncan, Ph.D.
    Senior Director of Player Development, Detroit Lions (NFL)

    Andrea Foley
    Director of Behavioral Health Services, Catholic Charities of Southeast MI

    Mead Goedert, Ph.D.
    Therapist/Private Practitioner

    Ashley Gray
    Supervisor, STARR Commonwealth SE-MI

    Hassan Hammoud
    Director, 2-1-1

    Juliana Harper
    Senior Vice President/Chief Program Officer, Easter Seals – Michigan

    Wendy Hooker
    Care Matters, LLC

    Josie Maples
    BSW Student Representative

    Carlynn Nichols
    Chief Clinical Officer, Children's Center of Wayne County

    Betsey Rheume
    Detroit Mercy Admissions Office

    Karon D. Smith
    CEO, Advanced Educational Staffing

    Aloha VanCamp, Ph.D.
    University of Detroit Mercy Social Work Faculty Representative

Ready for the Next Step?

Interested in Social Work?
Come Talk with Us!

Please contact Janet Joiner, Ph.D., department chair, to learn more about the Bachelor of Social Work program.

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