Social Work, BSW

This tool should only be used as a guide — remember to meet with your academic adviser, Career Services and/or faculty to determine appropriate career options.

Our social work degree equips you to make a difference in people’s lives.

When it comes to a bachelor of social work (or BSW), there’s no substitute for direct experience. Oakland University’s social work degree gets you off campus and into the community for hundreds of hours of field work. You’ll build a strong foundation for a social work career, acquiring practical skills and expertise related to mental health, child welfare, school counseling, gerontology, addiction recovery, and many other types of social work. With small class sizes and attentive faculty, our social work degree fosters supportive relationships and a culture of trust. You’ll gain maturity and confidence in our BSW program, earning a rigorous social work degree that equips you to help individuals, families, and whole communities improve their lives.

Social Work Degree: The Oakland University Advantage

Social work professionals in Southeast Michigan hold Oakland University’s bachelor of social work in high regard. We have a reputation for mature, well-prepared BSW graduates who can communicate effectively, solve problems collaboratively, and achieve measurable results. Agencies go out of their way to recruit our students for all types of social work internships and jobs.

Our social work degree stands out for its:

  • Robust field experience. With more than 150 community partners, our social work degree can place you in internships that closely match your career interests. You’ll gain more than 400 hours of field experience by the time you finish the bachelor’s degree in social work, with two separate internships to diversify your experience.
  • “High-touch” approach. Social work careers can be stressful, so our social work degree puts extra emphasis on self-care. You’ll develop coping mechanisms that protect you from burnout and increase your effectiveness. In addition, our BSW offers exceptional advising and counseling services that support your personal well-being and academic success.
  • Exceptional faculty. Our bachelor of social work program is led by active practitioners who have years of professional experience. They are accessible and student-focused, so you’ll build strong relationships that support your academic progress and career goals.
  • Problem-solving approach. Social workers help people confront complex challenges that don’t have easy solutions. We provide our BSW students with evidence-based tools and techniques that yield positive outcomes. You’ll become proficient at engaging diverse populations, collaborating with health professionals from other disciplines, analyzing data, writing evaluations, and planning culturally sensitive interventions.  

Social Work Careers

After completing our BSW program, you’ll be qualified to explore a broad range of social work careers. BSW graduates work for many types of employers, including state and local government agencies, school districts, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, correctional facilities and courts, and family service organizations.

Social workers provide the bulk of mental health services in the United States, so the need is great and career opportunities are extremely broad. You may find jobs in areas such as:

  • Addiction counseling
  • Criminal justice
  • Homelessness
  • Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Child advocacy
  • Family advocacy
  • Racial justice
  • Economic inequity
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Women’s rights

Social Work Degree: What You’ll Study

Prior to formal acceptance into the BSW program, you’ll take introductory courses in sociology, biology, psychology, and politics, along with an introductory social work course and a class on culture and human nature.

Core coursework in the social work degree includes classes in:

  • Research methods
  • Statistics
  • Social welfare policies
  • Human behavior and social environment
  • Social work practice

You’ll also take a diversity course focused on race, gender, or LGBTQ studies, and one or more electives in subjects such as:

  • Criminal justice
  • Sexuality
  • Race and ethnic relations
  • Family dynamics
  • Religion
  • Aging
  • Child welfare
  • Substance abuse
  • Juvenile justice
  • My future career:

    Community Health Worker

  • My future career:

    Community Service Manager

  • My future career:

    Probation Officer

  • My future career:

    Social Worker

  • My future career:

    Substance Abuse Counselor

    • Career & Salary Information
    • Possible Career Options
    • Median Salary*
    • Education Needed
    • For More Information**

    * Median salary for the state of Michigan

    ** These professional organizations provide an excellent starting point for your research. There are many more resources available online.

    Additional Considerations

    Some careers may require additional education. See your academic adviser for more information.

    • Counselor
    • Community Health Worker
    • Psychologist
    • Service Manager