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Path to BSW Degree

Phase 0:

We would love to welcome you to our BSW family and our amazing profession. If you believe this is the path for you, then please declare Social Work as your major and meet with your advisor. 


Phase 1:

Students must complete 6 required pre-requisite courses with a grade of C- or higher before they are able to complete the core social work courses. These 6 pre-requisites are as follows:

  • SWK 105 Social Work & the Community (3 credits)  
  • SWK 106 Introduction to Social Justice (3 credits) 
  • SWK 204 Social Work Ethics (3 credits) 
  • SWK 205 Inclusion, Oppression, & Social Work (3 credits)
  • SWK 206 Professional Social Work Communication (3 credits)
  • Statistics (3 credits) 

While working on these pre-requisite courses, students can also start to take their social work electives.


Phase 2:

Once students have completed the 5 pre-requisite courses with a grade of C- or higher (as outlined in Phase 1), AND have maintained a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, then students are ready to move into phase 2 and start their restricted, core social work courses. Students will complete a total of 8 core social work courses over the span of 2 semesters. These courses are listed in the table below.

SWK 307 Human Behavior in Adulthood SWK 303 Professional Interactional Skills
SWK 308 Social Work Research SWK 304 Human Behavior in Childhood
SWK 310 Practice with Families and Groups SWK 305 Practice with Individuals
SWK 405 Practice with Community Organization SWK 306 Contemporary Social Welfare Policy

Phase 3:

In order to enter Phase 3, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 and must have completed all social work courses with a grade of C- or higher.

During Phase 3 of the social work journey, students complete their field placement. This experience fosters empirical and practice-based knowledge, it's where the rubber meets the road and students apply what they have learned within a community-based agency. Our BSW program collaborates with many community-based agencies, thereby offering our students a plethora of options for their field experience. Field placements are chosen by students in collaboration with the field director. Students will complete a total of 400 hours at their field placement over the span of their final semester at NKU. While completing these field placement hours, students are also enrolled in two 5-credit hour courses (SWK 406 and SWK 408) courses, as can be seen in the table below. These field instruction courses are intended to enhance and compliment the learning that is occurring within the community-based agency.


SWK 406 Field Experience I (1st 7 weeks of semester)

SWK 408 Field Experience II (2nd 7 weeks of semester)


In addition to these core courses, students must also complete a total of 9 credit hours of social work electives. We offer electives in the areas of forensic social work, police social work, child welfare, substance abuse, mental health, social justice, family-directed structural therapy, gerontology, veteran services, and others. Based on the needs of the community and the social work profession, we continuously re-evaluate, update, and add electives.  


You should also know:

Some social service agencies may require field students and potential employees to
undergo criminal background checks by an external agency. Also, some agencies may
deny students and graduates convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. In
addition, obtaining licensure may be more challenging for individuals convicted of
felonies and certain misdemeanors.