Social Work

600 Academic and Student Recreation Center

1800 SW Sixth Ave.


Two graduate degree programs are offered by the School of Social Work: a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree, which is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and a Ph.D. degree in Social Work and Social Research. The School offers Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science in Social Work (B.S.) degrees. The BSW Program was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in June, 2011.

Degree Maps and Learning Outcomes

Admission requirements



Social Work and Social Research Ph.D.


The Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) Program prepares students to become entry-level professional generalist social workers to work in a variety of settings with client systems in different communities.

The BSW Program Mission statement states: “The BSW Program promotes commitment to well-being, self-determination, and social and economic justice in our communities. The educational experience prepares professional, entry-level, generalist social workers to provide competent, effective, and values/ethics-based services with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. This mission builds on the tradition and history of Portland State University as an urban, public access institution.” (Revised and accepted by the BSW Program Committee on October 18, 2013).

The BSW Program Goals are:

1.  To provide a public access program with the goal of preparing generalist social workers who are informed and effective leaders in challenging injustice and promoting human rights and social and economic justice.

2. To prepare generalist social workers to practice competently with diverse client systems through promoting well-being and self-determination.

3. To prepare generalist social workers to assume the role of change agent regarding issues, policies, and community needs that affect individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

4. To prepare generalist social workers able to work with a diversity of populations, integrating values, ethics, empirically informed practice and service user input.

5. To provide a foundation for advanced study in social work and prepare generalist social workers to be reflective practitioners and lifelong learners.

Students enter the BSW Program as a “cohort” of learners. The cohort model provides a place for peer support, sharing of ideas, and resources.  Students also have BSW student advisors to support their academic and other educational needs. The curriculum prepares students with the social work knowledge, values, and skills to provide effective services to individuals, families, groups, and communities in diverse settings. The curriculum is based on a liberal arts foundation. It is designed on the 10 competencies and practice behaviors from the Council on Social Work Education. The BSW social work courses are taken within a two-year timeframe over six terms. The courses include social work history, social welfare policy, generalist social work practice, research, human behavior and the social environment, social justice theory and practice and diversity electives. Students complete three terms of field education supervised by a qualified social worker. Students complete a 500 hour field practicum in conjunction with their practice courses and a field seminar. The field provides students with the direct application of their knowledge, values, and skills in a variety of community agencies and settings.  Students complete a senior portfolio which synthesizes and integrates their entire learning in the program and can serve as a gateway for employers to learn about their educational experiences and knowledge from a social work perspective.  This e- portfolio course allows graduating seniors to discuss and showcase their work from the BSW Program and continues to prepare them for professional careers in generalist social work settings. Many of the seniors will utilize this portfolio for interviewing with potential employers.  Students who graduate from the BSW Program are prepared to become active social justice change agents ready to provide professional generalist social work competency-based knowledge, values, and skills to the community. The BSW Program does not give credit for prior work experience and/or life experience, a requirement from the CSWE.


In addition to meeting the general University requirements for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, majors must complete the following program components:

Professional Course Requirements (39 credits)

SW 301Introduction to Social Work


SW 339Introduction to Oppression and Privilege


SW 340Advocacy for Policy Change


SW 341Social Justice Practice


SW 350Human Behavior Through the Lifespan


SW 351Beginning Generalist Practice


SW 430Generalist Practice with Communities and Organizations


SW 431Generalist Practice with Individuals and Families


SW 432Generalist Practice with Groups


SW 450Social Work Research and Evaluation I


SW 451Social Work Research and Evaluation II


SW 460Senior Integrative Portfolio


Field Placement (12 credits)

Students are required to take SW 400 Field Placement and Seminar I-III over three academic terms for a total of 12 credits.

Diversity Electives (12 credits)

Students must choose one course from each of three lists of courses: (a) Culture/History; (b) Family/Gender/Sexuality; and (c) Race/Class/Identity. Prospective students may consult a complete list of approved courses under each topic area at the School’s Web site,, where undergraduate program requirements are included in an on-line B.S.W. Student Map.

Upper Division Program Electives (12 credits)

Total Credit Hours: 75