Jun 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, B.S.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study A-Z

Go to information for Social Work .

Department Contact:

Department Chair: Dr. Suzanne Black
Coordinator: Dr. Morgan Daugherty, DSW, MSW, LCSW

Program Description:

Established at Saint Francis University in 1974, the Social Work major provides a general education as well as career preparation.

The primary educational objective of the Social Work program is to prepare its students with the competency, practice skills, ethics and knowledge base for entry into generalist social work practice at the beginning professional level. Further, the program seeks to assist students in understanding social welfare as a system of social institutions that has been developed to meet human needs. Based on a strong foundation of courses in the arts, social sciences, natural sciences, math, and the humanities, the social work curriculum is conceived as a broad orientation to the human and helping services which will enable the student to: seek employment in the field of social work upon graduation; continue one’s education on the graduate level in social work; the behavioral sciences or one of the numerous areas of human services; and/or support social and economic justice through service and citizenship participation.

There are opportunities for employment in such areas as individual therapy, group therapy, community organization, family counseling, foster care and adoption services, child welfare, public welfare, hospital and home nursing social services, mental health and mental retardation programs, programs for the elderly, school social work, drug and alcohol programs, and community action programs. Some students choose to go to law school at one of the many JD/MSW programs offered and work as lawyers and advocates. In addition, some students are involved in community organization and advocacy work. Many graduates have become administrators. 

The Saint Francis University Social Work major is accredited for the baccalaureate degree in social work by the Council on Social Work Education. The program has been accredited since 1974. Upon graduation, majors are eligible for regular membership in the National Association of Social Workers. Students graduating from the social work program are also able to receive advanced standing in MSW programs throughout the country.

Students and other interested individuals should consult the Social Work handbook for detailed information on program policies and standards, located on the program’s website.

The Field Instruction sequence provides the practice experience to prepare students to work with individuals, families, small groups, organizations and communities served by both governmental and voluntary programs. It constitutes an integral component of the total curriculum, reinforcing and integrating the entire curriculum. Students have an opportunity to experience field in a number of settings, and may also seek to find experiences in their local community. Some current cooperating senior Field Instruction agencies are as follows: Allegheny Valley Hospital; ACRP- Saint Michaels School; AseraCare - Altoona; Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8; Beginnings, Inc.; Blair Family Solutions; Cambria County Children and Youth; Cambria County Office on Aging; Catholic Charities-Altoona; Communities at Indian Haven; Conemaugh-Nason Hospital; Conemaugh-Medical Center; Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)-Johnstown; Dorothy Day Outreach Center - Saint Francis University; Dubois Area Regional Medical Center; Evolution Counseling Services-Altoona; Grane Hospice Care; Hiram G. Andrews Center; Homewood at Martinsburg; Hilliview Nursing Center; Home Nursing Agency; Home Instead Senior Care; Hollidaysburg Veterans Home; Impact Counseling Services, INC; Professional Family Care; Presbyterian Senior Care; The Learning Lamp; The Village at Morrison’s Cove; Three Wires; Torrance State Hospital; UPMC-Altoona; Victim Services; Women’s Help Center-Johnstown; Youth Forestry Camp-3.

Student Learning Outcomes:

The Learning Objectives (Goals) of the Saint Francis University Social Work Department are based on the 2022 CSWE Competences (EPAS) 


1.Social worker students understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant policies, laws, and regulations that may affect practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social Work Students will develop critical thinking skills within professional practice. 

2. Social worker students understand that every person regardless of position in society has fundamental human rights. Social workers are knowledgeable about the global intersecting and ongoing injustices throughout history that result in oppression and racism, including social work’s role and response. 

3. Social worker students understand how racism and oppression shape human experiences and how these two constructs influence practice at the individual, family, group, organizational, and community levels and in policy and research. 

4. Social worker students use ethical, culturally informed, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive approaches in conducting research and building knowledge. Social workers use research to inform their practice decision making and articulate how their practice experience informs research and evaluation decisions. Social workers critically evaluate and critique current, empirically sound research to inform decisions pertaining to practice, policy, and programs. 

5. Social worker students identify social policy at the local, state, federal, and global level that affects wellbeing, human rights and justice, service delivery, and access to social services. Social Work students will demonstrate knowledge of the history of the social work profession, current structures and issues.  

6. Social worker students understand that engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of practice with and on behalf of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 

7. Social work students will demonstrate professional use of self and utilize supervision to improve knowledge, skills and abilities of social work practice. 

8. Social Work students will apply and understand theoretical models such as: bio-psycho-social, Person-in-Environment, Systems Theory, and their interaction with social systems (families, groups, organizations and communities). 

Accreditation Statement:

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) reaffirmed the baccalaureate social work program at Saint Francis University. CSWE may be contacted at 1701 Duke Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314-3457; (703) 683-8080; www.cswe.org.

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 4 years of full-time study

Admission Requirements:

Social Work as a profession has evolved during the last century because of society’s concern about problems related to the distribution of resources and opportunities, as well as problems of health and illness and the growing stress on individuals in their pursuit of satisfying life styles in an increasingly complex society. Therefore, the practice of Social Work requires not only knowledge and specialized skill, but also healthful and hopeful attitude in working with people. This includes the ability to face the harsh realities of life while retaining compassion for people facing those realities and the determination to help them make constructive changes in themselves or their environment. For these reasons, acceptance into the Department as a social work major is provisional.

Request for Admission and Process

The university has two forms that individuals use to apply to the program as an incoming student or as a student transferring from another major within the University. The undergraduate application form for admittance can be found at https://my.francis.edu/ICS/Future_Students/ on the University’s website. Once the admissions office receives the application, it is reviewed by enrollment staff in a primary and secondary review to determine if the student is appropriate for acceptance into the university. The student is then sent a decision letter indicating the University’s position. There are three letters the student can receive. 

  • A letter of acceptance into the social work program. If accepted, the student’s name and contact information is given to the department chair and/or designee to follow up with the applicant. The Social Work Department contacts all accepted students, providing additional information about the program. The students officially meet with social work faculty in the next student orientation session.
  • A letter of acceptance with the requirement to the social work program and the OASIS program. The OASIS program offers supportive services for students transitioning from high school to college. 
  • A conditional acceptance and is called acceptance into the exploratory program. The admissions committee in this case feels a student must carefully determine their major or work to assure that they can meet the requirements of the major.

Initial Screening:  Entry to Saint Francis University requires submitting an application to the Office of Admissions and following the same procedure as for all entering freshmen wherein selection is based on one’s standing in the high school graduating class, e.g. in the first and second quintile in achievement.

Second Screening: Formal entrance into the Department as a social work major is threefold:

  • The successful completion of Social Work 203:  Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work 310:  Human Behavior in the Social Environment with a grade of C or higher.
  • The achievement of an overall grade point average of 2.2 or higher on a scale of 4.0.
  • The evaluation of the student’s suitability for the profession based on classroom performance, volunteer experiences, involvement in the Social Work Club and enrichment activities.  The Social Work faculty advisor determines acceptance into the Department.

The formal entrance occurs during the sophomore year or when 49 credits are obtained, although for administrative purposes, students can be identified as social work majors in their freshman year.

Transfer students will be screened by the Office of Admissions and then by social work faculty to determine their eligibility and prospective status in the Department. See University Catalog, Admissions with Advanced Standing.

Grievances and appeals may be referred to a committee composed of social work faculty and student representatives of the Social Work Club.

Progression and/or Retention Criteria:

Students are required to have an overall minimum GPA of 2.5.

Capstone Requirement:

Student takes and pass SCWK 426, Senior Seminar in Social Work. Student passes a written comprehensive examination. Students pass oral comps.

Other Information:

Students have field replacement requirements. Students are required to complete all necessary background checks as needed by the agency and give copies to the social work office before starting the placement. The student is responsible for the cost of the clearance, tests, and any other paperwork required by the agency.

Students are also required to have a medical examination as required by the SFU School of Health Sciences. 

Students are required to carry the SFU Student Malpractice Insurance.

Students are required to provide their own transportation to field sites.

Total Credits Required:

128 credits

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study A-Z