University of South Carolina

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Social Work: What to Expect

The Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) is a new major at the University of South Carolina and is just one of three public universities in South Carolina that offer the degree. As a Social Work major, you can expect to develop skills in community organizing, diversity, social justice, networking, interviewing, multitasking, case management, and grant writing. You will also be able to gain hands-on experience in the field through service-learning that is integrated into academic coursework. You may also choose to pursue the Child Welfare Certificate and become certified in Child Welfare and receive a fellowship from the Department of Social Services.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.):

  • Social Welfare Institutions, Policies, and Programs
  • Generalist Practice I: Introduction to Social Work Practice
  • Generalist Practice II: Social Work with Individuals and Families
  • Social Policy Analysis
  • Social Work with Diverse and Oppressed Populations
  • Human Behavior and Social Environment I and II
  • Social Work and Scientific Inquiry
  • Introduction to Field Education
  • Generalist Practice III: Social Work with Small Groups
  • Generalist Practice IV: Organizations and Communities

There is a 12 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. Social Work majors at the University can join the Undergraduate Social Work Student Association, the Phi Alpha Honor Society, and the Social Work Student Association. You will have the opportunity to engage in additional community service activities, meet other majors, and connect with the greater community by getting involved in these organizations. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Students that earn a B.S.W. degree from the University will be considered advanced standing and will be able to earn a Master of Social Work degree (M.S.W.) in just one academic year. Students can take advantage of this offer for up to five years after their graduation date. Many graduates also go on to pursue a Master of Public Health.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Dr. Nicholas Cooper-Lewter has been involved in Sports Psychology working with professional boxers, Olympic-hopefuls, and entire football teams. Dr. Cooper-Lewter wants “to help people who have lost to win and people who win to become champions.” Susan Parlier, M.S.W., is the Director of the program and is also a Licensed Master Social Worker and member of Academy of Certified Social Workers.
Departmental Scholarships The College of Social Work awards ten scholarships each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Social Work majors at the University have had a wide range of exciting and unique internship opportunities. Students have participated in Washington Semester, United Way, and been a part of a research project on Kidney Disparities in African Americans.

Student Spotlight

Social Work major Christina Hoffecker put her skills to use during an internship with United Way. Her duties included working with the Partners in Compassion Institute, administrative tasks, corresponding with grantees, and helping her supervisor coordinate capacity training sessions. Christina developed skills and knowledge in the classroom that translated to her work experience. “Through my classes, I was able to meet my supervisor and understand what I should expect in the real world agency setting,” she said. “In one of my classes specifically for my internship, we discussed everything that happens and I have never felt alone while going through this exciting time in my life.” Christina learned additional skills through her internship experience including a professional office manner, how to interact with business professional, business writing skills, phone skills, and even e-mail skills. “The United Way has also taught me to constantly look for ways to improve the community versus just waiting for opportunities to come around to me.” Christina encourages current students to network throughout their time at Carolina. “Networking is very important, even once you’ve gotten a position within a company,” she said.  “It is important to constantly be talking to and learning from people of all different background and expertise. You’re devoting so much time to this internship, so you might as well make it worth your time especially since this internship could possibly help you find a job down the road.”

Career Opportunities

Social Work majors often pursue careers as school social workers, counselors, case managers, interpreters, youth counselors, medical social workers, community organizers, and employees in local, state, and national government.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the College of Social Work

The College of Social Work aims to promote social well-being and social justice with vulnerable populations through dynamic teaching, research, and service conducted in collaboration with diverse people of South Carolina, the nation, and the International community. The Bachelor of Social Work program began in fall 2009, however the University has had consistent high rankings for their Master in Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Work programs for many years. Students can also earn a certificate in Child Welfare.

Points of Pride

The College of Social Work is number one in graduate assistantship nationwide, providing more graduate assistantships than any other school of social work in the nation.

  • The College of Social Work is ranked among the top 20 percent in the nation, the youngest school of social work to be ranked among the top forty.
  • Our B.S.W. program began in the fall of 2009 with just nine students. We now have over 70 and are growing every day!

 Additional Resources
College of Social Work Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin