Social Work

The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work (BSW) as professional preparation for entry level positions in social welfare and human service delivery systems, or entry into graduate school. The degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and prepares students at the Aberdeen campus for the Generalist practice. Generalist practitioners work with individual, families, groups, organizations and communities. A general practitioner enables people to enhance their own problem-solving and coping abilities, advocates for human operation of societal systems, and links people with resources. Therefore, the generalist perspective requires that students learn competencies in a wide array of areas rather than specialization.

Graduates will be prepared to intervene in a purposeful manner, utilizing knowledge of people and environment as well as the ethics of the profession to guide their behaviors. Upon graduation students will have achieved the ten Core Social Work Competencies as identified by the Council on Social Work Education-Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. Students with a BSW degree have a wide range of career possibilities. As noted by the National Association of Social Workers Guide for Schools and Programs of Social Work, social workers are employed in: “schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, senior center, private practices, prisons, the military, corporations, government, private and public agencies” (NASW 2008, p. 3).

A variety of minors are available to students majoring in social work, including: criminal justice, psychology, corporate recreation/fitness, religious studies and health services administration. The BSW program is offered at the Aberdeen campus of Presentation College. Courses are offered in a variety of formats, including traditional classroom settings, online and video-conferencing. The Social Work Student Handbook is updated each year and is available on-line. It is the students’ responsibility to review the handbook and be accountable for the information and policies.

Admission

Students are first admitted to Presentation College and then may be admitted to the Pre-Social Work program. Students may declare their interest in social work as a major at any time after admission to the College. Students may apply for formal admission to the Social Work major in the spring of their sophomore year.

The Social Work program admissions committee will evaluate students based on the program’s admission criteria. The Social Work program admission process is designed to accomplish two goals. First, it is intended to admit to the program those students who may reasonably be expected to complete the program academically, to be accepted by agencies for field placement and to perform competently as professionals upon graduation. Second, it is based on the need to maintain a program of excellence in the classroom and assure availability of quality field placements. The Department of Social Work reserves the right to refuse admission to any student who does not meet the established criteria for program admission. Additionally, the Social Work program reserves the right to revoke the admission any applicants or suspend any students who have falsified or withheld required admission information. Students who are enrolled in the Social Work program are subject to two different minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) standards. Students who are enrolled in courses that are prerequisites for social work classes or general education courses required for the degree must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00. Students are, however, advised that maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.00 is not sufficient to meet the standard for enrollment in the social work program. Upon application to the Social Work major, the student must meet the admission and progression guidelines as stated below.

Admission Process

Application to the Social Work major comes after completion of:

  1. Prerequisite social work courses in the required sequence which includes: SW233, SW243, SW273 with a grade of “C” or above
  2. A foundational liberal arts base which includes: BI115/BL115, CT233, EN113, EN133, HS223, MA243, PS133, PS153, and SO103
  3. The application forms and submission of two professional or academic (non-social work) character references by the appropriate deadline
  4. A background check
  5. Interview with an admission committee (may be required)

Note:

  1. Students must be admitted to the Social Work program prior to registration for any course 300 and above. Current students will be registered for the following semester during advising week with the knowledge that final registration is based upon the acceptance into the program.
  2. No student will be allowed to enter or re-enter after twice receiving less than a “C” in a Social Work (SW) course or less than a “C” in any two Social Work prerequisite courses or the following courses: BI115/ BL115, CT233, EN113, EN133, HS223, MA243, PS133, PS153, and SO103.
  3. A laptop computer is required; access to high-speed internet is recommended.
  4. Students are required to attend the social work orientation meeting held each semester.
  5. The Social Work program reserves the right to change the curriculum and checklist as deemed necessary to maintain current practice knowledge, skills and values, as well as meet updated accreditation criteria and standards.
  6. Upon admission to the Social Work major, membership in the National Association of Social Workers is required.
  7. Submit to criminal background screening prior to admission to the program; cost is incurred by the student. See policy in the Social Work Student Handbook regarding interpretation of results.
  8. Admission to the social work program does not guarantee the ability to obtain a license to practice.

In reviewing each application, the committee has the following options:

  1. Grant admission to the major,
  2. Grant provisional admission, or
  3. Deny admission

Provisional admission may include a contract which outlines specific activities for students to complete. A formal letter of provisional acceptance stating the terms of the admission to the program will be sent to the student and placed in the official academic file. Students who are denied admission to the major may apply again the following semester. The Social Work Student Handbook, which includes an application for admission, is available online on the Social Work page of the College website. All students will apply in the spring of the academic year preceding anticipated entry. An Admissions Committee of social work faculty and Advisory Committee members reviews the applications to the program and may conduct interviews as deemed necessary.

Transfer Students

Students transferring from social work or other programs such as human services/sociology at other colleges and universities may also apply for formal admission to the major. The department will review social work and other courses completed by students at the other schools and grant credit where applicable. Transfer students with proper academic credit history will be assigned an advisor in the declared major. In the event of denial of acceptance into a major, students may be accepted into the College to enable them to take general studies courses until they can meet the specific criteria of the major. If students are unsuccessful in two social work courses from another program, they will not be considered for admission.

Degree Completion

Degree completion is available for students who currently hold an Associate of Science in Social Work. Students who have earned an associate degree may be eligible for this program upon completion of pre-program requirements. Special attention should be given to following the required sequence of courses to insure progression into the program in a timely manner.

Readmission

The Department encourages application for program re-admission. Students requesting readmission must apply in writing to the Program Director of Social Work. Student situations are reviewed on an individual basis. Students may apply for reentry, although the program will readmit only those students who, in the judgment of the faculty and admission committee may reasonably be expected to complete the program academically, to be accepted by agencies for field placement and to perform competently as professionals upon graduation. A formal letter of provisional acceptance stating the terms of the admission to the program will be sent to the student and placed in the official academic file. Readmission cannot be guaranteed to any student. Specific guidelines for re-admission include the following:

  1. If students withdraw or take a leave from the program/school for greater than one semester they must reapply to the program.
  2. A social work course withdrawn from or earned less than a “C” may be repeated only one time.
  3. No student will be allowed to enter or re-enter after twice receiving less than a “C” in a Social Work (SW) course or less than a “C” in any two Social Work prerequisite courses or the following courses: BI115/ BL115, CT233, EN113, EN133, HS223, MA243, PS133, PS153, and SO103.
  4. A repeated course must be repeated within the next academic year; extenuating circumstances will be considered by the Admission Committee.
  5. If students are allowed to repeat a social work course, they must repeat the course in its entirety.
  6. Students may appeal readmission decisions. The appeal should be in writing and sent to the Department of Social Work Admission Committee. The appeal should include a recommendation from the academic advisor or course instructor. Decisions on appeal requests are the responsibility of the Admission Committee and may be approved or denied based on individual circumstances and an evaluation of the request.
  7. Readmitted students will be expected to meet graduation requirements in effect at the time of readmission and to follow the social work policies in effect for that academic year. Academic credit for life experience and previous work experience is not given in the Social Work program. Field practicum courses cannot be transferred from a program which is not accredited by CSWE.

Progression

Social Work faculty will evaluate students during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. In order to progress in the program students in the Social Work major are expected to:

  1. Complete the program of study in the sequence outlined on checklist and in the catalog of the year they are accepted into the program
  2. Earn a minimum of “C” in all social work major requirement courses
  3. Maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 2.50 or have a contract with an advisor
  4. Meet with an advisor at least twice a semester
  5. Students may retake a required social work course only once
  6. Complete 500 hours of field practicum before graduation
  7. Comply with to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) as well as the related policies and the program and field handbooks
  8. Submit satisfactory background screening prior to the start of field practicum placement; cost incurred by students
  9. Complete all volunteer/service learning projects by graduation

Requirements for Field Practicum

  1. Submit satisfactory background screening prior to the start of field practicum placement; cost incurred by students
  2. The health form and the following immunizations must be completed and submitted to the Field Director:
    1. Tetanus (booster every 10 years)
    2. Polio (proof of initial series)
    3. Measles, Mumps, Rubella or titer/screening showing immunity (if born after 1956, you must have two (2) doses of MMR)
    4. Tuberculosis skin test (if there is a positive result, students must have a negative chest x-ray)
    5. Hepatitis B (proof of series of three)

Students should make sure their immunization records are current. Students may be required to have immunizations for certain diseases if they cannot produce their immunization records. Because many students are placed in clinical settings, it is the students’ responsibility to ensure their immunization and health records are up-to-date. All immunizations must be submitted to the Field Director prior to starting in Field placement. The Hepatitis B series needs to be completed through the second immunization prior to starting Field placement.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is required of all students in the Social Work program and in Field Practicum. Any breach in confidentiality may result in departmental dismissal of the student.

Graduation and Licensure

A Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree is granted by Presentation College to students who have met the requirements of the Social Work major, as well as all requirements of Presentation College. A cumulative GPA of 2.50 or higher and completion of 120 credits is required to graduate from the program. Students are responsible for monitoring their progress and credits hours. Graduation from the social work program does not guarantee the ability to obtain a license to practice.

Note

Persons who have been convicted of a felony offense or any crime involving moral turpitude may not be eligible for licensure. Licensure requirements and subsequent procedures are the exclusive right and responsibility of the state Boards regulating the profession and practice. Applicants should contact the South Dakota Board of Social Work Examiners to determine eligibility.