Social Work (B.A./B.S.)

Concordia’s Social Work Program is nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. National social work accreditation makes our graduates eligible to apply for advanced standing in graduate social work programs. Advanced standing students are able to complete a master’s degree in social work in one year rather than two.

The mission of the Social Work Program is to develop social work professionals who will identify and build on individual, family, and community strengths, while promoting human dignity and positive social change. In order to achieve this goal, the Social Work Program strives to provide a curriculum and learning environment that is accessible to a broad diversity of students who will make important and unique contributions in their service to clients, communities, and the profession at large. Social work is a practice-oriented discipline, and a social work degree qualifies students for a variety of entry-level positions in the human service field including mental health, gerontology, child welfare, adult and juvenile justice, and substance abuse prevention.

Students have two options for pursuing a degree in social work at Concordia.

The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is the more traditional program. Concordia’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work is designed for non-traditional students, recognizing the value of relevant work experience.

Concordia’s Social Work Program prepares students:

  • to become leaders who work actively towards a transformed society in which all can lead lives of human dignity.
  • for competent, ethical and self-reflective generalist social work practice.
  • to draw on their spiritual beliefs to demonstrate a deep respect and honor for others and for oneself.
  • to work in diverse communities.

Those who successfully complete Concordia’s Social Work Program will be able to:

  • demonstrate ethical and professional behavior,
  • engage diversity and difference in practice,
  • advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice,
  • engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice,
  • engage in policy practice,
  • engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities,
  • assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities,
  • intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, and
  • evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities,

Field experience is an integral part of Concordia’s social work major. During two semesters of the senior year, students participate in a supervised learning experience in a community agency that reflects each student’s interests and learning needs.

A number of campus activities are geared specifically for social work students, including the Social Work Club, the Social Work Graduate School Panel, and Social Work Advocacy Day. Social Work faculty regularly lead students on international study tours to places such as Nicaragua, Germany, and the Dominican Republic. In addition, relationships with faculty mentors help students direct their own learning to meet personal and professional goals.

Sik Yin P. Chan, M.S.W., Associate Professor,

Julie A. Dodge, D.Min., Interim Dean, Associate Professor,

Andrea L. Doerfler, M.S.S.W., Associate Professor,

Sonja B. Vegdahl, Ph.D., Professor,

SCW 251      INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL WORK      Credits: 3

This course provides an overview of professional social work including the values, ethics, knowledge base, and history of the profession. The connections between the social work profession, social justice, and the social welfare delivery system are explored. Students are introduced to the many practice areas in which social workers work, including mental health, medical, school, criminal justice, gerontology, addictions, anti-poverty, and community-based settings. To better understand the profession students will visit community agencies and have guest speakers from diverse social work practice settings.

SCW 321      SOCIAL WORK INTERVIEWING      Credits: 3

This course prepares students to use a strengths-based, solution-focused approach to interviewing. Students learn how to interview clients in a variety of situations, including mandated clients and clients in crisis. The course includes hands-on practice in interviewing and uses videotaping to maximize student learning. The principles of motivational interviewing are also addressed in this course.
Prerequisites: SCW 351 with a C or higher or concurrent enrollment.


This course provides an introduction to the various theories of human behavior in the social environment as a foundation for social work practice. The relationship among biological, psychological, social, and cultural systems as they affect the person-in-environment will be examined. Critical thinking and theory application skills will be emphasized.
Prerequisites: SCW 251 and WR 308 with a C or higher and SOC 220 with a D or higher or concurrent enrollment.


An introduction to the theories and skills essential for effective, beginning social work practice with individuals, families and groups, including the application of the problem-solving/solution-building process.
Prerequisites: SCW 351 with a C or higher or concurrent enrollment.


An introduction to the knowledge, theories, and skills essential for effective, beginning social work practice with communities and service organizations. This course emphasizes social justice and planned change at the community and organizational levels.
Prerequisites: SCW 352 with a C or higher.


Social workers work with people who represent many spiritual and cultural backgrounds. This course assists students in understanding their own beliefs and cultural identity in order to understand the other person. Students learn to recognize the barriers and opportunities associated with various aspects of spiritual, cultural, and other identity factors. Students will learn to successfully build relationships with and provide responsive services for people from backgrounds different from their own by adjusting their communication style and modifying their behaviors.
Prerequisites: SCW 251 with a C or higher or concurrent enrollment.


A course designed to introduce the student to the area of chemical dependency by providing an overview of the social issues related to chemical dependency, examination of the social structure, and assessment and treatment methodologies.
Prerequisites: PSY 201 with a C or higher.


This course prepares students to apply generalist social work skills across some of the most common situations faced by social workers: addiction, mental health, interpersonal violence, and crisis. Students will learn to recognize the signs and symptoms presented by clients in these four areas, as well as describe the appropriate role of the BSW. Students will proactive specific engagement, screening, and referral methods. They will gain confidence in suicide assessment and intervention.
Prerequisites: SCW 352 with a C or higher.


This course provides an exploration of social work practice with children and adolescents, including provision of services to children and adolescents in schools, groups, out-of-home placements, in nontraditional families, and families affected by illness or death.
Prerequisites: PSY 201 with a C or higher.

SCW 391      PRE-PRACTICUM SEMINAR      Credit: 1

The purpose of this seminar is to prepare junior-level Social Work students to begin their first semester of social work practicum. Students will examine their career goals, the social work knowledge, skills and values they want to further develop, and the practicum settings where they will best be able to accomplish these goals. By the end of the seminar, students are expected to have finalized their practicum site and supervisor arrangements. Students should enroll in this course the semester immediately preceding their practicum.
Prerequisites: SCW 353 and SCW 363 with a C or higher.

SCW 399      INTERNATIONAL STUDY TOUR      Credits: 3

This social work study tour is designed to give students the opportunity to learn and experience how social work is practiced in another culture. A Concordia faculty member will accompany students as they visit social service agencies and attend lectures given by social work faculty from that culture. Students will be able to explore how culture and values influence the social work profession and the delivery of social services. This course is generally scheduled for May or during Spring Break.
Prerequisites: PSY 201 with a C or higher.

SCW 441      GRANT WRITING      Credit: 1

This seminar provides beginning skill instruction in the seeking and management of grants. Topics covered include grant-related concepts, investigating grant opportunities, research for grant development, proposal writing and presentation, and receiving and managing grants.
Prerequisites: SCW 353 with a C or higher
Corequisites: SCW 492.

SCW 451      SEMINAR      Credit: 1

Current advanced social work topics in a workshop format. Topics will be announced by the program director.

SCW 471      SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS      Credits: 3

This is an introductory course to the scientific, analytic approach to building knowledge for practice. In this course students learn to develop and use empirically based knowledge, including both qualitative and quantitative methods. Students will also become informed consumers of research reports for the purpose of informing social work policy and practice.
Prerequisites: SCW 353 with a C or higher and MTH 097.

SCW 472      SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY      Credits: 3

This course covers the history of the current structure of social welfare services and the role of policy in service delivery, social work practice, and the attainment of individual and social well-being. Students will become equipped to participate in policymaking at the agency, local, state, and national level and be prepared to effectively analyze social policy.
Prerequisites: SCW 492 with a C or higher or concurrent enrollment.


This course focuses on issues related to beginning generalist social work practice. How do personal values relate to professional practice? How does one continue to develop professionally once working in the field? How can one do self-care to avoid burnout? Since part of being a professional is understanding and adhering to a professional code of ethics, the NASW code of ethics will be examined, and students will develop strategies for dealing with ethical conflicts. This course should be taken during the student's last semester in the Social Work Program.
Prerequisites: SCW 492 with a C or higher or concurrent enrollment. Recommended last semester of SCW 492.

SCW 491      SOCIAL WORK PRACTICUM      Credits: 1-6

This course is an educationally directed, coordinated, and monitored field practicum focused on the role of the generalist social worker. Senior level students spend a minimum 400 clock hours over two or three semesters in a supervised social work setting. The emphasis is on the student's application of the knowledge, skills, and values developed in previous social work courses and through life experience.
Prerequisites: SCW 391 with a C or higher
Corequisites: SCW 492.

SCW 492      SOCIAL WORK: PRACTICUM SEMINAR      Credits: 1-4

This seminar course supports social work practicum students in their integration of classroom learning and field instruction. Academic assignments are designed to facilitate professional, reflective, evidence-based, and resilient social work practice. Must be taken concurrently with SCW 491; see Social Work Practicum Manual for details.
Prerequisites: SCW 391 with a C or higher
Corequisites: SCW 491.

SCW 499      INDEPENDENT STUDY      Credits: 1-3