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Where your degree can take you

A B.S.W. degree from our program enables our students to empower others and effect change in prevalent areas such as:

  • Addiction, substance abuse and behavioral health
  • Aging
  • Child welfare
  • Community development
  • Corrections/justice
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Employment/occupational social work
  • Family services/group services
  • Health care services
  • Homelessness/housing
  • International social work
  • Mental health
  • Public welfare
  • Rehabilitation
  • School social work

Where passion meets precision

In the B.S.W. Program in the VCU School of Social Work, our students hone their desire to help others in ways that will allow them to truly effect change.

Through an innovative curriculum and individualized attention from faculty and mentors, our students engage the guiding principles of the profession and build a foundation of theoretical knowledge concerning human behavior and community dynamics. From that foundation, they discover diverse methods of intervention and develop the skills not only to apply those methods in a wide range of real-life settings, but to reflect upon and process their experiences.

When our students enter the field as professionals, they do so equipped with a nuanced understanding of the day-to-day demands of the job and a commitment to meeting the challenges of social work with strength and compassion.

What we offer

There is no shortage of “aha” moments for our students. From their first introduction to a social work course through their field placement, they’re engaged in a constant evaluation of what it means to work for the well-being of others and what a tremendous ethical responsibility and privilege it is to call oneself a social worker.

Our small class sizes afford students the room and time to connect with their teachers and each other, to fully contemplate where their true passions lie and to reflect on their shared experiences. And through it all, they’re given the tools and encouragement to embrace their own unique insights and fashion themselves into the practitioner they most want to be.


Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education through 2027, the B.S.W. degree from VCU prepares students for beginning-level generalist social work practice, which requires a broad base of knowledge and field experience concerning how individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations function, as well as an appreciation of cultural diversity. From this base, our students are then exposed to a variety of skills and interventions, both in the classroom and in the field, to use in social work settings.

B.S.W. degree requirements

Guided by the principle of promoting social justice, the goals of the B.S.W. program are to

  1. Provide an integrated curriculum based on the knowledge, skills, ethics and values essential for beginning generalist social work practice
  2. Offer an educational experience that facilitates the critical analysis of social work knowledge and practice
  3. Provide classroom and field instruction experiences designed to promote culturally sensitive practice with diverse and oppressed groups
  4. Provide an environment that encourages lifelong learning and prepares students for professional growth and development

Core competencies of social work practice

  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
  • Engage diversity and difference in practice
  • Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice
  • Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  • Engage in policy practice
  • Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  • Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  • Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  • Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities


Our students are offered the opportunity to graduate with honors following the completion of an independent senior research project successfully defended in front of a committee of three faculty members. Students interested in earning honors in social work also may want to look into applying to the VCU Honors College.

Our advanced standing option allows those interested in pursuing graduate study the opportunity to apply to the school’s Master of Social Work Program, if accepted into this option, and complete their graduate degree over the course of three continuous semesters, following their undergraduate work.


Passionate about helping others from a social work and social justice perspective, but committed to another undergraduate major?

The VCU School of Social Work offers a minor in social welfare to students in other programs throughout the university. The minor consists of 18 credits of courses that introduce students to the subject of social welfare.

Contact the Office of Student Success at sswinfo@vcu.edu for more information about amplifying your undergraduate degree with a minor in social welfare.

Field experience

The beauty of VCU’s campus is that it’s embedded in the city of Richmond. Walk just a few blocks in any direction from class and one finds neighborhoods with their own unique populations, needs and attractions, as well as a menu of agencies to serve those needs. What better way, and in what better place, for students to embrace and fully immerse themselves in the grassroots of social work practice?

As Virginia’s oldest and most established social work educator, we’ve forged lasting connections with more than 500 community agencies throughout Richmond and the state, which means our students won’t be pigeon-holed into a field experience that doesn’t truly match their passions and future ambitions.

So, what are you waiting for?

Connect with us

Contact the Office of Student Success at sswinfo@vcu.edu to receive program information or schedule a campus visit.

Apply to VCU

Students interested in the B.S.W. degree must apply for general admission to VCU and may declare social work as their major at that time, which will classify them as lower-level social work students and signify that they are completing the required general education preprofessional curriculum classes. Upon completion of preprofessional requirements and reaching junior standing, students can register for courses in the major.

Transfer to VCU

Joining VCU from another institution can be a big life transition. Fortunately, the School of Social Work’s Office of Student Success works in tandem with the VCU Transfer Center to make sure students feel connected as soon as they step on campus.

The VCU School of Social Work’s transfer agreement allows eligible John Tyler Community College and Reynolds Community College students to earn their Bachelor of Social Work at VCU in as little as two years. Complete your associate’s degree in human services with a pre-social work specialization at JTCC or Reynolds, and you can seamlessly transfer to VCU’s nationally ranked School of Social Work.

Assessment data

All programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed for mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice which all social workers are expected to master during their professional training.

A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.

View our most current results:

2018-2019 B.S.W. Program assessment of student learning outcomes

Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Social Work
Academic Learning Commons
1000 Floyd Avenue, Third Floor
Box 842027
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2027

Phone: (804) 828-1030
Fax: (804) 828-0716
Email: sswinfo@vcu.edu
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