Social Work

Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Social Work

Nature of Program

The School of Social Work provides students with a comprehensive program of professional education in social work, including degree programs at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, and a range of part-time and continuing education opportunities.

The BSW and MSW programs at West Virginia University are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which makes graduates eligible to seek licensure as social workers in West Virginia and other states, depending on individual state laws.  The degree programs offered by the School of Social Work allow students the opportunity to prepare for entry-level professional practice at the baccalaureate level and to specialize at the advanced (graduate) level of study.  The baccalaureate program prepares social workers for generalist practice and is a recognized national leader in the development of baccalaureate-level curriculum to support this educational goal.

B.S.W. Program Mission

The mission of the B.S.W. Social Work Program at West Virginia University is to train competent and effective undergraduate students in generalist social work practice committed to enhancing social well-being and quality of life with particular emphasis on vulnerable and oppressed populations in small towns and rural areas characteristic of the Appalachian region.

The 2 + 2 Program

WVU and several colleges have entered into a joint commitment to increase the college-going rate within the state of WV and throughout the country, as well as the num­ber of social workers within the state, through a special 2+2 arrangement that will lead to a bachelor of social work degree from WVU.  Current affiliation agreements for the 2 + 2 program include Pierpont Community and Technical College, WV Northern Community College, and Bermuda College.  For students from these colleges to enjoy the benefits of the 2+2 program they must be ready to enter the major when they matriculate to WVU.  Students in the 2+2 program must meet the admissions standards for WVU and the B.S.W. program and must follow the B.S.W. program’s policies for transfer students.

Certificate of Global Engagement

Students in the Eberly College, regardless of their major, can earn a Certificate of Global Engagement. Completion of the Certificate demonstrates the student’s knowledge of diverse cultures, as well as the ability to communicate and interact effectively with people of different cultural backgrounds.  Students will be required to apply their knowledge of contemporary issues and global social contexts to their course work and their broader citizenship.  For details regarding Certificate requirements, please visit the Eberly College page.


Freshmen and students in good standing are admitted directly into the major.  At the end of their fourth semester, students apply to be admitted to the professional level of the major.

In order for social work majors at WVU, its branch campuses, or 2+2 program students to attain professional social work status, they must meet the B.S.W. program’s admission criteria, complete a formal application for admission, and have their application approved by the School of Social Work B.S.W. Admission Committee.  The process is competitive, and students are selectively admitted to the advanced level of the program for their final two years of education, which includes the upper-division courses in social work.

To be eligible for admission to the advanced level and become professional social work majors, students must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Have a 2.50 GPA on a four-point scale.

  • Complete 100 hours of human service activity (paid or volunteer) by the time of application with verification of completed hours on the BSW program application form.

  • Submit a supportive or generally positive reference letter from the volunteer site supervisor(s), or a faculty member

  • Complete fifty-eight credit hours by the conclusion of the semester during which application to the professional major is made

  • Earn a C or better in SOWK 147 and SOWK 151 (Students may be enrolled in one or both of these courses at the time of application to the professional major; additionally, students applying to the program through the 2+2 arrangement or as transfers from another institution can replace the SOWK 147 course with another minority course pre-approved by the B.S.W. Program Director).

  • Successful completion of at least 75% of the General Education Foundation courses (GEF) by the conclusion of the semester during which application to the advanced level is made.

  • Demonstrate college-level writing skills

  • Show potential for commitment to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics

    Applications are reviewed in January for entry to the advanced level, professional social work major the following fall semester.

Transfer Students

Transfer students, including 2+2 students, who wish to enter the social work major must contact WVU’s Office of Admissions and the B.S.W. program director no later than the semester before you intend to matriculate to WVU.  For entry to the B.S.W. program, students must meet all requirements that apply to major status.  Students, who plan to matriculate to WVU in the fall semester at the professional social work major level should contact WVU’s Office of Admissions the prior December and complete the application to the B.S.W. program for admission at the professional social work major level in January.

Upper-division social work courses taken at other institutions do not automatically transfer to WVU and meet the program’s requirements.  To gain approval for these courses students must have earned a B or better in the course(s) and must submit course syllabi and other appropriate course materials to the B.S.W. program director.  Courses that are not approved count as electives.  The lower-division social work courses taught on 2+2 campuses have received approval via the formal agreement with the program.

Benchmark Expectations

By January of the 4th semester, students must submit an application to the professional major. For the application, students must have a C or higher in SOWK 147 and 151, completed 100 hours volunteer service, and submit a personal statement and a reference from academic or volunteer service individual. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA overall after admission to the professional major.  All majors must meet with Mrs. Carol Amendola, the SOWK adviser each semester. Students who do not meet these benchmarks may be removed from their major.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete WVU General Education Foundations requirements, School of Social Work (major) requirements, and electives to total a minimum of 120 hours.

School Requirements for the Bachelor of Social Work

The undergraduate social work program consists of a foundation in the liberal arts, and students must complete all courses outlined below, with 58 credits at the 200-level or above.  Students are encouraged to consult with the social work adviser regarding the selection of electives appropriate for their career interest.

  • Capstone Requirement: The university requires the successful completion of a capstone course , preferably in the major.  Social Work majors satisfy these requirements by completing SOWK 494A.
  • Writing and Communication Skills Requirement: Social Work BSW students fulfill the Writing and Communication Skills requirement by completing ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 (or ENGL 103), and two additional SpeakWrite Certified CoursesTMSOWK 320 and SOWK 494.
  • GPA in the major: Social Work majors must maintain a 2.00 GPA in their major courses; students must complete all required GERO and SOWK courses—in their proper sequence—with grades of C- or higher, except for SOWK 319, 491A and 491, which are taken P/F.  If a course is repeated, the all attempts will be included in the calculation of the GPA. Students who are unable to meet the performance standards for social work courses are permitted to repeat a course once. Students who are unsuccessful in the second attempt will be counseled out of the program. If a student is unsuccessful in either SOWK 494A or SOWK 491, both courses must be repeated and successfully completed to meet graduation requirements.
  • Field Instruction Requirements: Students must successfully complete 12 credits of field placement.
  • Benchmark expectations: For details, go to the Social Work admissions tab.

Curriculum Requirements

First-Year Seminar
GEF: Number of credits may vary based on overlap
Foundation Social Work Requirement6
Human Diversity
Introduction to Social Work
Social Science Requirement:6
State and Local Government
Families and Society
Social Science Electives:9
One class in PSYC 200 level or above
One class in SOCA 200 level or above
One class in POLS, PSYC, or SOCA- 200 level or above
Minority Content Class:3
Select one class in:
Introduction to Africana Studies
Gender Communication
Communication and Aging
African American Literature
American Folklore and Culture
Appalachian Fiction
African American Literature
Images of Women in Literature
Topics in Appalachian Studies
Topics in Women's Literature
West Virginia
Appalachian Regional History
Gender/Politics and Policy
Sex Roles and Behavior
Adulthood and Aging
Race and Ethnic Relations
Sociology of Rural Life
Women and Men in Society
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
Women's Health and Fitness
Advanced Social Work Courses25
Social Welfare Policy and Services 1
Social Welfare Policy and Services 2
Skills Lab 1
Social Work Methods 1
Social Work Methods 2
Methods 3: Organizations and Communities
Human Behavior in the Social Environment 1
Human Behavior in the Social Environment 2
Social Work Research and Statistics
Social Work Electives6
Introduction to Gerontology
Rural Gerontology
Legal Issues in Social Work
Special Topics
Field Instruction12
Professional Field Experience
Capstone Experience3
Number of hours may vary depending on overlap
Total Hours120

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
SOWK 1911ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3GEF 23
GEF 33GEF 53
GEF 63SOWK 147 (GEF 7)3
SOWK 1513General Elective3
General Elective2 
 15 15
Second Year
GEF 23GEF 8*3
POLS 220 (GEF 4)3SOCA 221 (GEF 8)3
SOCA 200-level Elective3PSYC 200-level Elective3
General Elective3Minority Content Course3
General Elective3General Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
GEF 8*3SOWK 3103
SOWK 3003SOWK 3223
SOWK 3191SOWK 3503
SOWK 3203SOWK Elective 13
SOWK 3303General Elective3
General Elective2 
 15 15
Fourth Year
SOWK 3603SOWK 494A (Capstone)3
SOWK 3243SOWK 49112
SOWK Elective 23 
Social Science Elective3 
General Elective3 
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Outcomes

social work

Upon successful completion of the B.S.W. degree, Social Work majors will demonstrate:

  1. Competence for entry-level generalist practice, with an emphasis on rural and small town settings, gained through a curriculum including liberal arts and social work foundations, human behavior in the social environment (HBSE) practice, policy, assessment/research with individuals, families, groups, communities, and society.
  2. Ability to engage in effective practice that is responsive to changing the social context, with an existing value base and ethical standards of the social work profession.
  3. Skills for effective for practice with diverse, vulnerable, and oppressed populations and to further social and economic justice.
  4. A foundational identity as a professional social worker and commitment to conduct oneself accordingly.
  5. Sensitivity, knowledge, and understanding of human needs and rights, social welfare issues, and approaches toward resolving social problems.

Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology

certificate code - cu03

The Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology may be pursued concurrently with any undergraduate major. The Certificate affords students an opportunity to explore the basic biological, psychological, and sociological processes of aging, their effect on the needs of older people, and the impact of social policies related to human aging. Additionally, through required field experience, students develop basic skills for effective practice with older adults. The certificate emphasizes an understanding of the unique problems and needs of older adults in Appalachia and other rural areas.

The Certificate requires eighteen credit hours, including a field experience as described below.

  • Students are admitted to the Certificate Program by application. An application form is available on the School of Social Work website or may be obtained from the main office. Applications are accepted during the Fall and Spring semesters.  Students must have an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher to be considered for admission to the Certificate Program.
  • A grade of a B or better must be earned in all Certificate coursework.
  • Students who satisfactorily complete the requirements of the program will receive an Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology awarded by the School of Social Work at the time they receive their baccalaureate degree. The Certificate award will be noted on each recipient’s University transcript.
Required Courses9
Introduction to Gerontology
Adulthood and Aging
Rural Gerontology
Professional Field Experience *
Public Policy of Aging
Aging, Women and Culture
Independent Study
Audiological Assessment
Aural Rehabilitation
Communication and Aging
Core Concepts in Gerontological Nursing
Health Care Ethics
Death and Dying
Special Topics
Special Topics
Social Work Practice and End of Life Care
Contemporary Issues in Aging
Total Hours18

Gerontology Minor

minor Code - U146

A 2.0 GPA is required for admission to the Minor program. A grade of C- or better must be earned in all coursework applied to the Minor.  Except for GERO 491, courses applied to the Minor cannot be taken as pass/fail.  

Core Courses7
Introduction to Gerontology
Adulthood and Aging
Rural Gerontology
Professional Field Experience (*one credit hour required)
Public Policy of Aging
Aging, Women and Culture
Professional Field Experience *
Independent Study
Communication and Aging
Audiological Assessment
Aural Rehabilitation
Core Concepts in Gerontological Nursing
Health Care Ethics
Death and Dying
Death and Dying
Social Work Practice and End of Life Care
Total Hours16

*GERO 491 (1 credit hour) is a requirement for the Minor in Gerontology and GERO 212 or PSYC 345 must be taken prior to enrollment.  Additional experience through GERO 491 (3 credit hours) may be taken as an elective for the Minor.  

For further information about the Undergraduate Minor in Gerontology, contact Dr. Kristina Hash (, 304.293.8807) or Ms. Morgan Boyles (, 304.293.3192).  


SOWK 105. Social Welfare Institutions. 3 Hours.

Examines the historical development of social welfare in the United States and the values that shape social welfare institutions. (3 hr. lec.).

SOWK 147. Human Diversity. 3 Hours.

(Must be completed before applying to the major.) Covers a range of diverse populations especially those historically subjected to oppression and social and economic injustice. Addresses the causes and effects of institutionalized forms of oppression.

SOWK 151. Introduction to Social Work. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. (Must be completed before applying to the major.) Overview of the social welfare field and social work profession. Emphasizes social work values and ethics.

SOWK 191. First-Year Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

Engages students in active learning strategies that enable effective transition to college life at WVU. Students will explore school, college and university programs, policies and services relevant to academic success. Provides active learning activities that enable effective transition to the academic environment. Students examine school, college and university programs, policies and services.

SOWK 293A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

SOWK 300. Social Welfare Policy and Services 1. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 151. Review of current and historical perspectives on the social welfare institution. Includes philosophical and ideological factors that influence U.S. social welfare policy and services.

SOWK 310. Social Welfare Policy and Services 2. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 300. Explores the social welfare policy-making process. Analyzes current social welfare programs and possible reforms, policy responses to social issues, and strategies for shaping and influencing policy and their impact on vulnerable populations.

SOWK 319. Skills Lab 1. 1 Hour.

PR: SOWK 151. This experiential component of SOWK 320 focuses on developing communication and interviewing skills, relationship building, and problem solving. (Grading will be pass/fail.).

SOWK 320. Social Work Methods 1. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 147 and SOWK 151. Presents a broad range of generalist practice knowledge, values and skills. Focuses on theories and interventions with individuals, and introduces evaluation of practice effectiveness. (30-hour service learning requirement.).

SOWK 321. Field Experience in Social Work. 1-12 Hours.

(Open to non-majors by consent.) Develops basic helping skills through supervised volunteer or work experience in a community agency or program.

SOWK 322. Social Work Methods 2. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 319 and SOWK 320. Builds on Methods 1 by focusing on more specific theories, methods, and intervention models with groups, communities, and organizations. Introduces program evaluation. (30-hour service learning requirement.).

SOWK 324. Methods 3: Organizations and Communities. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 319 and SOWK 320 and SOWK 322. Focuses on applying theories and concepts of generalist social work practice at the macro (organization/community) system level with an emphasis on rural environments.

SOWK 330. Human Behavior in the Social Environment 1. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 147 and SOWK 151. Individual development within the family context. Provides students with a life course perspective, and the understanding of the relationships among biological, social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions as they are affected by human behavior and family life.

SOWK 350. Human Behavior in the Social Environment 2. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 319 and SOWK 320 and SOWK 330. Groups, organizations, and communities. Examines, using an ecosystem's perspective, the influence of communities, organizations and groups on human functioning. Emphasis on the challenges and opportunities offered by rural environments.

SOWK 360. Social Work Research and Statistics. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 300. Introduces and applies research and statistical methods social workers use to evaluate practice and programs, to critique research, to build knowledge for practice, and to address ethical standards of scientific inquiry.

SOWK 380. Child Welfare. 3 Hours.

Introduction to issues in the field of child welfare. Includes policies, practice, protective services, family centered services, prevention, out of home placement, and in-home placement.

SOWK 400. Legal Issues in Social Work. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 300 and SOWK 320 and SOWK 330. Explores legal and ethical issues and obligations affecting social workers and social work practice.

SOWK 401. Social Work Practice and Human Sexuality. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 319 and SOWK 320 and SOWK 330. Focus on issues of sexuality that impact direct/micro and mezzo practice, and indirect/macro social work practice.

SOWK 403. Social Issues of Public Health. 6 Hours.

Examines issues related to assessment and intervention in community health/mental health in Vietnam and Cambodia.

SOWK 404. Social Work Practice and End of Life Care. 3 Hours.

PR: SOWK 300 and SOWK 319 and SOWK 320 and SOWK 330. Applies a multidisciplinary and multidimensional approach to the study of end of life. Addresses death, dying, and bereavement across the lifespan.

SOWK 481. Senior Capstone. 3 Hours.

PR: Completion of advanced SOWK courses with a grade of C- or higher in each course. Provides educational direction and support for students’ field placement experience. Assists students in the integration, mastery, and application of practice theory in conjunction with placement learning activities, and provides opportunities to apply research to practice by evaluating the effectiveness of practice and programs.

SOWK 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-12 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 12 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

SOWK 493A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

SOWK 494A-Z. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

SOWK 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.



  • Deana Morrow - Ph.D.
    North Carolina State University

Baccalaureate Program Director

  • Linda Ferrise - MSW (West Virginia University)


  • Elise Fullmer - Ph.D.
    (University of Albany, State University of New York)
  • Karen V. Harper-Dorton - Ph.D. (Ohio State University)
    Title IV-E Project in Child Welfare, Rural Social Work, Social administration
  • Helen Hartnett - Ph.D. Ohio State
  • Kristina Hash - Ph.D.
    (Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • Deana Morrow - Ph.D.
    North Carolina State University
  • Carrie Rishel - Ph.D. University of Pittsburg
  • Leslie Tower - Ph.D. (Barry University)
    Domestic Violence, Women's Issues, Health Care Administration
  • Michael Zakour - Ph.D. (Washington University)
    Associate Director of Nova Institute, Organizations and Communities, Non-profit Management, Disaster Response

Associate Professors

  • Linda Ferrise - MSW (West Virginia University)
    Clinical Practice, Community Mental Health
  • Neal Newfield - Ph.D. (Texas Tech. University)
    Strategic Therapy, Hypnosis, Solution focused Therapy, Social Documentary Photography

Assistant Professors

  • Hae Jung Kim - Ph.D. (University of Maryland)
    Non-profit Management, Social Policy
  • Mary LeCloux - (Simmons College)
  • Jiyong Tabone - Ph.D. (University of Chicago)
    Risk and Resilience, Program Evaluation

Instructors and Faculty Equivalents

  • Carol Amendola - MSW (West Virginia University), LCSW
    Baccalaureate Program Coordinator, Clinical Practice, Child Welfare
  • Jacqueline Englehardt - MSW (West Virginia University), LCSW
    Professional and Community Education Director, Non-profit Management
  • Jeremy Speer - MSW
    (West Virginia University)

Research Associate

  • Rebekah Bledsoe - MSW (West Virginia University)
    Title IV-E, Child Welfare

Emeritus Faculty

  • Majorie H. Buckholz-Cleveland - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
  • Patricia Chase - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)
  • Roger A. Lohmann - Ph.D. (Brandeis University)
  • Nancy Lohmann - Ph.D. (Brandeis University)
  • Caroline T. Mudd - MSW (University of Pennsylvania)