The Bachelor of Social Work is the entry level degree, and the BSW program at Georgia State University provides a solid educational experience for entry level social work practice. Through course work, internships, and involvement in other School and University opportunities, our graduates find employment in a variety of human service contexts and choose to enroll in graduate programs for social work and related disciplines. The BSW curriculum is designed to provide students with theory for understand human functioning across a variety of different contexts and social settings. In addition, students are taught methods of intervention for practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. The curriculum is organized around competencies and practice behaviors that promote knowledge and skill development in critical thinking and ethics, intervention approaches with diverse populations of clients, understanding human functioning and the social environment, and practice evaluation and research. In addition to their coursework, students complete an internship that promotes the integration of their academic content within the context of a social service setting.

BSW Student Competencies

The following competencies provide the structure for the undergraduate social work curriculum:

BSW Competencies

A Career in Social Work

Social Work is a profession (like nursing) and our BSW and MSW programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education with a complete listing of all accredited BSW and MSW programs available here. Social workers are employed in mental health, substance abuse, aging, schools, military, child welfare, health, private practice, a huge range of nonprofits, criminal justice based programs, and many others. Our professional association is NASW and more info about our Georgia Chapter can be found here.

BSW: Social workers with an undergraduate degree are very employable, although the overall opportunities are fewer for BSWs than for MSW. The possibilities for employment include many of the areas noted above.

MSW: Graduate degreed social workers have significant employment opportunities and can now be licensed in all states. Exams are handled by the Association of Social Work Boards and their website has a great deal of information about licensure in all states. Please note that the GSU MSW program has a sole specialization in community partnerships. If you are interested in pursuing the MSW, you will want to explore the range of program options offered by schools of social work not only in Georgia, but across the country.

Advanced Standing: BSWs can apply to MSW programs that offer "advanced standing," and if accepted, can do a two year MSW degree in roughly half the time. Generally, it's two semesters plus one summer. It is a very good reason to choose a BSW over another major if you are strongly considering an MSW in the future. Generally, the option to apply as an advanced standing student expires five years after the BSW graduation date.

Financial: We presently do not have financial support within social work for undergraduate students (except for a few very modest scholarships/awards). We are working hard to develop other mechanisms that could help fund our BSWs.

Professional Behavior: We expect our current and prospective majors to exhibit professional behavior in all of their encounters with faculty, staff, and students. We also require professional written communications, including e-mails.

The BSW is a two-year curriculum, which follows four sequential semesters, and includes a field internship experience that involves 16 hours per week, during regular weekday, daytime, business hours.

For additional information about the BSW program, please contact:

Jan Ligon, PhD, LCSW
BSW Program Director
(404) 413 1066

What is a Social Worker?

Social workers are members of one of the faster growing professions. They are concerned with a wide variety of issues related to personal growth, the development of flexible and positive relationships and the establishment of social justice.

Social work is a profession for those with a spark of idealism, a belief in social justice, and a natural love of working with people. Social work offers the chance to work with and for people of all kinds: rich or poor, white or black, young or old, in hospitals, at home, or at work.

Myth: Social service employees, caseworkers, and volunteers are "social workers."
Fact: A social worker is a trained professional who has a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in social work. All states license or otherwise regulate social work practice. A social service employee, caseworker, or volunteer community worker is not a "social worker" unless he or she has a social work degree.

Social work is concerned with the interaction between the individual and society and involves working with individuals and groups in a diversity of ways from counseling, to community development, to social policies. The ability for individuals and families to achieve a self-satisfying lifestyle is influenced by the social systems and historical times in which those individuals and families live. Social workers develop skills and knowledge promoting empowerment of, and advocacy for, people who experience marginalisation or exclusion from the means to a satisfying life. Governed by principles of equity and social justice, social work practice is based on ethics of inclusivity, participation and an understanding and valuing of difference. To this end social workers seek to ensure that appropriate services and community resources are available to both meet people's needs and provide people with the opportunity to develop their human potential.

Myth: Most social workers work for the government.
Fact: Fewer than 3 percent of all professional social workers work for the federal government. About a third of all professional social workers are employed by federal, state, and local governments combined.

Social Work Practice

Areas of social work practice include: counseling & mediation; welfare & protection of children; aged care; crime & juvenile justice. Social workers work with people across a range of differing needs and social positioning including: Individuals & groups, children and young people, women, men, people with ill health or disabilities, victims and perpetrators of crime or violence and the aged. Social workers may be involved in the development of social policies and agency administration, advocacy for individuals and groups, assessing client needs, connecting clients with appropriate resources; assessing community resources, evaluation of programs and community development. During the course of your studies you could develop you skills with organizations as diverse as United Negro College Fund, American Red Cross, Family and Children's Services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Neighborhood Centers and Hospitals.

Myth: For therapy you need a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Fact: Professional social workers are the nation’s largest providers of mental health and therapy services. Professional social workers are often the only mental health care providers serving residents of many poor, rural counties. Social work is designated as one of the four core mental health professions under federal legislation that established the National Institute of Mental Health.

Myth: Most social workers are employed in public welfare or child welfare.
Fact: About one-quarter of all child welfare cases are handled by professional social workers. About 1 percent of NASW members works in public assistance. Professional social workers practice in many settings: family services agencies, mental health centers, schools, hospitals, corporations, courts, police departments, prisons, public and private agencies, and private practice. More than 200 professional social workers hold elective office, including one U.S. Senator and four Representatives.

Myth Buster are from the National Association of Social Workers, Inc.

Choosing Social Work as Your Major

BSW Online Application: A separate online application must be submitted during spring semester for consideration to be accepted for the following fall as a BSW major. The link is only available during spring semester.

Entry into the B.S.W. program is a highly selective process on a space availability basis. A student who meets only the minimum grade point average or other criteria is not necessarily guaranteed acceptance. Qualified students who initially are denied entry will be placed on a competitive waiting list in the order of their initial application to await possible access to the program at a subsequent time.

Consideration for B.S.W. status requires the student to:

Area F requirements for the BSW major are as follows

  • ANTH 1102 Introduction to Anthropology (3)
  • ECON 2105 Principles of Macroeconomics (3)
  • MATH 1070 Elementary Statistics (3)
  • PSYC 1101 Introduction to General Psychology (3)
  • SOCI 1101 Introduction to Sociology (3)
  • SW 2000 Introduction to Social Work (3) (Can be taken at GSU if not transferred in)

Other Requirements

  • Biology Requirement: In the past we required evidence of a biology course for all students, so we encouraged students to take the Biology Lab Science sequence. That social work requirement has been eliminated. Of course the lab science sequence is still required, but students can choose any subject area. Students sometimes confuse the “no biology requirement” to mean that they are somehow excused from the Lab Science sequence, which is not correct.
  • Social Work Electives: Two social work electives are required, but students can submit an online petition to be considered for the possibility of one of the electives being taken outside of Social Work. The following procedure must be completed prior to enrolling in a course:
    1. Identify a course (must be 3000 or 4000 level) in a related discipline (Sociology, Psychology, Criminal Justice, Women’s Studies, African American Studies, etc.)
    2. Summit the online petition accessed here
    3. The petition will be reviewed. If approved (an e-mail will be sent), you can register for the course, and upon successful completion, the course will cover one of the two required Area G Social Work electives.
  • Criminal Background Checks: All social work students must complete field education requirements as part of the BSW degree program. Please be aware that field placement agencies are more frequently requesting background checks on potential student interns. Background checks often focus on such issues as prior arrests and convictions for felonies and misdemeanors, abuse of illegal drugs, and certain motor vehicle offenses (e.g., driving under the influence). If you have such a record or if there are criminal charges pending against you at this time, this may impact your ability to complete all degree requirements. An agency may deny a student a field placement position based on the results of the background check. Since field education is a program requirement, a student may be excluded from completing the social work program if an approved field placement cannot be arranged.

In accordance with Council on Social Work Education accreditation standards, the School of Social Work does not award academic credit for life experience or previous work experience in the BSW or MSW programs. Additional information about this policy can be located in the School of Social Work Student Handbook.

Transfer Students

If you are not a student of Georgia State University or wish to transfer from another institution, please refer to this link:

B.S.W. Program Director

Jan Ligon, PhD, LCSW, .

The Council on Social Work Education requires that current students show competency measures as part of their curriculum. Click here for more information.

Fall Semester Junior Year

SW 2000: Intro to Social Work
SW 3500: Research Methods
SW 3200: Social Welfare Institutions
SW 3300: Human Behavior I (HBSE)
SW 3000: Communication/ Cultural Diversity

Spring Semester Junior Year

SW 3400: Human Behavior II (HBSE)
SW 3700: Communications Skills
SW 3600: Social Welfare Policy
SW 3800: Case Management/Community Resources

Fall Semester Senior Year

SW 4100: Social Work Methods I
*SW 4500: Field Education I (6 credit hours)
Elective Courses

Spring Semester Senior Year

SW 3730: Social Work Methods II
*SW 4900: Field Education II (6 credit hours)
Elective Courses

REMINDERS: Deviations from this prescribed schedule are not permitted without signed authorization by the BSW Program Coordinator. All lower division course work must be completed before beginning most upper division courses. All required social work courses must be taken in the sequence noted and be completed before the field education sequence begins in the senior year. Only the social work methods courses and electives are taken concurrently with field education. Applications for field education are due February 15th to begin the following Fall semester (only students who have been accepted as social work majors are eligible for field education)
*Field placement is 8 hours per day, two days per week, Fall and Spring semesters of the final year.

SW 4990 Independent Studies will require a petition to the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. For information or to apply, please review the application.

Field education at Georgia State is organized and implemented as a partnership between the educational community and the practice community in training future social work practitioners. Within this partnership, there are three key people to the success of the field education experience: the student, field supervisor, and faculty liaison. First is the student, who possesses the willingness and desire to observe, learn, take action, and reflect. The student’s professional development is guided and nurtured by the field supervisor whose role as teacher is pivotal in the student’s evaluation of self as an emerging professional social worker. The faculty liaison’s role is to provide ongoing support and information to the student and the field supervisor. Communication among all parties is critical in meeting the objectives of field education and maintaining a healthy partnership. Ongoing feedback is welcomed from all parties.

Field Education Information 
Academic advisement is a key factor in selecting a major, staying on track, and completing your undergraduate degree on time.  Your academic advisor depends on the number of credit hours you have completed.  Please use the chart below to determine your advisor and then plan to arrange a time to meet.

Academic Advisement for Social Work Students

(PSW and BSW)


0-89 Credit Hours: University Advisement Center: 25 Park Place, Suites 1300 and 1400,

90+ Credit Hours: Andrew Young School Advisement: 14 Marietta St. NW, 

Suite G-52  

Credit Hours Academic Advisor E-mail Phone
0-29 UAC Brittney Jones (404) 413 2647
30-89 (A-K) UAC Jennifer Seelman (404) 413-2627
30-89 (L-Z) UAC Heather R. Paige (404) 413 2610
90+ (A-K) AYSPS Rashida LeBeaux (404) 413 0027
90+ (L-Z) AYSPS Carlena Prophet (404) 413 0039

Concerns or Problems: Univ. Advisement Center

Crystal Mitchel


Associate Director: Elisha Jarrett (404) 413 2295


Concerns or Problems: AYSPS

Director: Mathieu Arp (404) 413 0024

BSW Director: Jan Ligon, PhD, LCSW    404-413-1066