Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
students at desk with teacher standing over them

Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW Program)

I Am A…

social work related images, school social worker, black social workers, veterinary social work, and macro social workers

Prospective Students

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree (BSSW) is designed to educate students for generalist social work practice that focuses on the reciprocal relationships between persons and their environments. Our BSSW graduates take a wide variety of jobs ranging from case management to community organizing, and work with a variety of populations ranging from young children and families, adolescents, or work with the elderly.

The Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree curriculum, which includes field practice (internship) experiences, is geared toward preparing students to become highly competent social workers who advance human rights, engage in practice-informed research and policy practice, engage diversity in practice, and effectively encounter and strategically work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Firmly rooted in our professional code of ethics, students work with faculty, staff, and field instructors who are connected with and committed to advancing social, economic, and environmental justice for all.

Vision and Mission

BSSW Program Mission: Grounded in social justice, the BSSW program equips professional social workers with the skills needed to serve diverse and vulnerable populations. Embracing a generalist practice model, we prepare the next generation of professional social workers to be critically informed thinkers, opinion shapers, and transformative leaders in pursuit of social, economic, and environmental justice.

A Vision for Diversity: In striving for excellence our professional values, ethics, history, and future demand that social work educators, researchers, and practitioners are culturally competent and vested in responding to oppressive institutional, societal and political trends. Thus, the College seeks diversity in its faculty, field instructors, students, and staff. Cultural relevance and sensitivity to the personal, social, economic, and political needs of vulnerable, high-risk groups is emphasized throughout the education, research, and service of students and faculty. 

elderly woman with social worker and veterinary social work dog in hospital

Why Choose Social Work?

Social workers change the world and if you are looking for a career with diversity and meaning, we would encourage you to consider social work. The fundamental mission of the social work profession is to serve people needing assistance and to work to make social institutions more responsive to human needs. Social work is distinguished from other helping professions by its person-in-environment focus and its strong commitment to social and economic justice.

two women wearing masks sitting across a desk from one another in therapy room

Field Practicum (Internship)

All students will work with their field coordinator to secure their required field/practicum placements that occur in a real-world practice setting under the supervision of a professional social worker. Students are advised that several field placement (internship) agencies and licensing boards require successfully passing a criminal background check. Also, students in the college are encouraged to participate in community service and/or volunteer activities at a social service agency in advance of upper-division social work coursework.

BSSW Honors Program

The BSSW Honors Program provides a small group of academically high-achieving social work majors with an enriching, engaging, and individualized undergraduate academic experience and an opportunity to earn both a BSSW and an MSSW degree in five years. All declared social work majors with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 are invited to apply for admission to the BSSW Honors Program.

To apply to the BSSW Honors Program students must:

  • Be a declared social work major
  • Complete the Progression Application for into upper division Social Work Courses
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5
  • Complete a personal interview with the BSSW Program Director or designee

The BSSW Program Director or designee maintains responsibility for selecting the most qualified applicants for entry into the BSSW Honors Program. All students admitted into the BSSW Honors Program must earn a grade of B or above in all required social work courses and social work honors courses. To graduate from the BSSW Honors Program, students must complete twelve (12) hours of social work honors courses while maintaining at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA. Students with cumulative grade point averages that drop below a 3.5 will incur probationary status and will be given one semester to raise their average to a 3.5 or above. Failure to improve one’s cumulative grade point average during the probationary semester will lead to dismissal from the BSSW Honors Program.

Progression into upper division social work classes

Students who declare Social Work as their major will be automatically be assigned to the BSSW Academic Advisor. Progression of students in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program to courses numbered 312 and above is competitive and is based on capacity. Factors considered include overall grade point average, performance in selected lower-division courses, and personal qualifications deemed acceptable for entrance into the professional practice of social work.

Students with an intent to enroll in SOWK 312 in the fall semester must complete and submit the Progression Application by February 15. Students with an intent to enroll in SOWK 312 in the spring semester must complete and submit the packet by September 15.

Minimum requirements include:

  • 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher (UTK or transfer GPA)
  • Completion of at least 45 credit hours including English 101/118 and 102 and other general education requirements
  • Completion SOWK 200 (Introduction to Social Work) or its equivalent with a grade of C or higher
  • Completion SOWK 250 (Introduction to Social Welfare) its equivalent with a grade of C or higher
  • Completion of a Personal Essay (please see Progression Application link above)

(Please note: SOWK 200 and SOWK 250 are offered online every summer prior to enrollment in upper division social work classes in the fall.)

These minimum standards for consideration do not guarantee enrollment in SOWK 312 and progression to upper-division status within the college. The final decision for enrollment in SOWK 312 and progression to upper-division status resides with the department head or designee.

Student Testimonial

The school was about volunteering. I did a lot of that already, so I felt like it matched very well… I just think about all the families that I can help that were in a similar situation to me.

Daijah Nabors ‘21

Connect with the BSSW Program

Robert M. Mindrup

Program Director
Robert Mindrup
rmindrup@utk.edu

macy bunn headshot

Recruiting Coordinator
Macy Etter
macyetter@utk.edu

Gina Middleton

Program Assistant
Gina Middleton
gcox@utk.edu

hands writing on paper and working on laptop

Current Students

Helpful Links and Resources

BSSW Faculty and Staff

Robert M. Mindrup

Program Director
Robert Mindrup
rmindrup@utk.edu

macy bunn headshot

Recruiting Coordinator
Macy Etter
macyetter@utk.edu

Gina Middleton

Program Assistant
Gina Middleton
gcox@utk.edu