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Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Join the New Wave of Social Work. Start Here!

Awarded within Top 10 "Best Social Work Programs in Michigan"

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Accredited by the Council on
Social Work Education

 

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education

Faster than Average 
Employment Growth through 2029

Faster Than Average

Do you want to make a positive impact in the world?

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 behavior 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.

 

Transferring from a community college?

Did you know students can transfer up to 63 credits earned at a community college? That means you are already on your way toward earning a Bachelor of Social Work at Detroit Mercy once you are admitted to the program. For full details and information on which classes are eligible for transfer and if additional classes may be needed, you'll need to speak with us. The transfer process is easy and there is no application fee. 

Register for virtual information sessions just for transfer students

Each session is live and interactive using Zoom. You will learn about the program, how to transfer credits, ability to attend full or part time, types of financial aid and scholarships and more! You will also be able to ask your questions directly to Department Chair Janet Joiner, Ph.D, LMSW and Transfer Admissions Counselor Anna Holthus.

For questions about the program or the information session, contact joinerjm@udmercy.edu.

Sessions are offered from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on the following Tuesdays:

  • Dec. 8, 2020
  • Feb. 9, 2021
  • March 9, 2021
  • April 13, 2021

What are the requirements for a BSW at Detroit Mercy?

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    Bachelor of Social Work Curriculum

    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.*

    University of Detroit Mercy's Bachelor of Social Work Program prepares students with a strong foundation in human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, research methods, social work practice methods and skills and the signature pedagogy, field education. The program's goals are:

    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.

    Major Requirements (68 credits)

    Click the button below to see courses and other requirements listed in our catalog.

    * New students enrolled starting fall 2020 will follow a minimum of 120 credit hours.

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    Community College and College Transfer Guides

Student success

Student of the Year

"Through my education at Detroit Mercy, I found out that there is a wide range of different options with a social work degree."
Brogan Holmes '18

Holmes was awarded 2018 Social Work Student of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

Student Leadership

Jennifer Lafon

"My primary goal in serving as the BSW student representative would be to further policy action that betters the lives and improves conditions for at-risk populations in Michigan, particularly children in the foster care system."
—Jennifer Lafon, Detroit Mercy BSW senior

Lafon was elected to the 2020-2021 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) – Michigan Chapter Board of Directors as the Bachelor of Social Work student representative.

Social Work in Sports

Moné Knowles
Social Work Major and Student Athlete

Moné Knowles is a sophomore student-athlete with the university’s track and field team. Knowles indicated that she chose to major in social work because she wanted to help a variety of people, and enjoys working with children. She currently helps coach a middle school volleyball team and finds volunteering her time rewarding because she is able to make a positive impact with children. After graduation, Knowles plans to secure employment in child welfare; working with foster care and child protective services to improve the lives of children. She believes working in child welfare will allow her to be a voice for children who are voiceless.

Knowles indicated that being a college athlete and social work major are similar, both roles take hard work and dedication. She loves being a student-athlete, and had this to say about the atmosphere before a competition: “I can tell you with certainty the bond you create with your teammates are bonds you will cherish forever.” Knowles went on to say that while in retrospect she had no idea what she was getting herself into as a college-athlete, she worked very hard setting goals every season. Establishing regular goals like measuring her personal best performance helped her achieve success on the track and in the college classroom.

Holly Kerstner
University of Detroit Mercy's Associate Athletic Director for Student Service

Holly Kerstner is the university’s Associate Athletic Director for Student Services. She credits her background in social work as teaching her the importance of looking at the whole person without judgement; empathizing and understanding them and their situation in order to provide necessary support. “Competing at the Division I level, some student athletes may struggle academically, feel overwhelmed with the amount of pressure or suffer an injury. As a trained social worker I have conversations with the student-athletes daily and have used my training and experience to work with them as they navigate their college experience”. Kerstner holds a bachelor of social work degree and a master’s degree in student personnel administration.

Accreditation

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    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 2026.

    Accreditation of a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’ Commission on Accreditation indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited program has sufficient resources to meet its mission and goals and the Commission on Accreditation has verified that it demonstrates compliance with all sections of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.

    Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

    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.

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    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.
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    Curriculum Assessment Reports

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    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)

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    Statement on Non-Discrimination

    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.

Meet our Social Work Advisory Board

Photo of Detroit Mercy Advisory Board - not all members are present.

University of Detroit Mercy Social Work Advisory Board members, from left front: Aloha VanCamp, associate professor, University of Detroit Mercy; Wendy Hooker, CEO, Care Matters;Mead Goedert '06, private practitioner/clinician; Betsey Rheume, associate director, University of Detroit Mercy Admissions Department; Hassan Hammoud, United Way for Southeast Michigan; Juliana Harper, senior vice president & chief program officer, Easterseals Michigan; and Janet M. Joiner, assistant professor, Department of Social Work chair and advisory board chair, University of Detroit Mercy.

Not pictured: Belinda Evans Ebio, social work instructor, University of Detroit Mercy;  Karon Smith, CEO, Advanced Educational Staffing (Old Redford Academy Schools) ; Carlynn Nichols, chief clinical officer, The Children's Center; Andrea Foley, director of behavioral health, Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan.

Faculty

Davis picture

Nickolas Davis
Tenure-Track Instructor of Social Work
davisnb@udmercy.edu

Evans Ebio picture

Belinda Evans Ebio
Adjunct Professor of Social Work
evansebd@udmercy.edu

Joiner picture

Janet Joiner
Assistant Professor of Social Work
*Department Chair

313-993-1038
joinerjm@udmercy.edu

VanCamp picture

Aloha VanCamp
Associate Professor of Social Work
313-993-2010
vancampa@udmercy.edu


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