BSSW Program Curriculum

BSSW Generalist Practice Definition
Generalist practice is grounded in the liberal arts and the person-in-environment framework. To promote human and social well-being, generalist practitioners use a range of prevention and intervention methods in their practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities based on scientific inquiry and best practices. The generalist practitioner identifies with the social work profession and applies ethical principles and critical thinking in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Generalist practitioners engage diversity in their practice and advocate for human rights and social and economic justice. They recognize, support, and build on the strengths and resiliency of all human beings. They engage in research-informed practice and are proactive in responding to the impact of context on professional practice.
(Adopted from CSWE EPAS 2015 Educational Policy 2.0 on 9.14.16)

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BSSW Program Curriculum Rationale
The Bachelor of Science Social Work (BSSW) Program’s curriculum is designed as a progressive curriculum. Courses are taken in a specific order as the content taught in the advanced curriculum course builds on the general education and social work foundation courses. It is designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice (see definition above). Students graduating from Minnesota State Mankato's BSSW Program possess the knowledge, values, and skills to work in multiple social work practice arenas with all age groups and at all systems levels.  

Students first complete the University’s general education goal areas and a group of mostly general education courses specifically selected by the BSSW Program. They also complete SOWK 200+ and SOWK 300+ level courses.  Students apply for acceptance to the BSSW Program during their final semester of completing general education and Social Work Foundation courses. After formal admission to the major, students complete their SOWK 400+ level courses in a 3-semester sequence. Students also complete 2 internships in agency settings for a total of 560 hours prior to graduation.

Curriculum Delivery
BSSW faculty use educational technologies to deliver their course content. Minnesota State Mankato provides students with access to Desire2Learn, a state supported learning management system. The majority of SOWK 200+ and 300+ courses usually have at least 1 section online. Most Social Work courses have at least 1 credit of course work completed online.

Faculty use best teaching practices that mirror the professional work skills required for real-world practice.  Many of our advanced courses are taught in small classes to maximize student opportunities for individual support by instructors and increased opportunities to practice generalist social work skills. Student learning is enhanced through participation outside the classroom using department, campus and community based programming, events and professionals.  Participation in annual programs such as the MSSA State and Region 9 Conferences,  NASW Social Work Day at the Capitol, interdisciplinary workshops with nursing students, Project Community Connect, etc. provide valuable learning experiences.

Our faculty are experts in many areas of social work practice and have a strong record of scholarship and research with multiple professional presentations, journal publications and textbooks, and active research agendas. The faculty are very involved in the practice communities. This scholarship, practice experience, and professional relationships are integral part of a student’s learning inside and outside the classroom.  

BSSW Course Planning
Students must know which University catalog year they plan to use to meet graduation requirements.  The also need to the BSSW Program’s curriculum requirements for that catalog year. Requirements for University graduation and general education requirements and BSSW curriculum are not always the same for each year. Use these resources  to help with your course planning.  

Students changing majors or transferring to Minnesota State Mankato for BSSW program should go to the BSSW Advising page and Transfer and Returning Student Advising page for more information on course planning.

Find Your Academic Catalog 

Students who enter Minnesota State Mankato for their freshman year or who transfer to Minnesota State Mankato usually use the catalog for their first year on campus.  However, students who are changing majors after several years or are returning to University after several years, may have the opportunity to select a particular catalog year. If you are not sure of the catalog year you will use to meet graduation and the BSSW Program requirements, schedule appointments with AH&N's Advising Office staff and your BSSW Program Faculty Advisor. You may be able to change catalogs to better meet your graduation course planning needs.

For more information about the general graduation requirements and general education requirements for a specific catalog year, go to Minnesota State Mankato’s Undergraduate Catalogs Undergraduate Catalogs. Select the year in which you are interested.       

Find your BSSW Program Curriculum Guide: AH&N Advising Office provides a handout of the BSSW Program Curriculum Guide with some information about the program requirements and the 3 semester sequence for the advanced curriculum. Select the academic year that matches the catalog year under which you plan to graduate. Download, save for your records and print if needed.

More Course Planning Resources 

  • DARS (Degree Audit Report for MinnState schools):  monitor your progress in meeting graduation, general education, and BSSW curriculum requirements.  Go to E-Services, sign in (Star ID +password), select ‘Academic Records’, then ‘Degree Audit Report’ on the left side.
  • Starfish/MavConnect  (Starfish): Minnesota State Mankato’s online program that connects students with classes, updates by class instructors, and your BSSW Program Advisor.
  • AH&N Advising: support for monitoring graduation and general education progress as well as support for academic concerns.
  • Students considering transferring to Minnesota State Mankato, should first go to the Transferology website for a predetermination of courses that will transfer to this University. 

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BSSW Curriculum Requirements

Students must complete the University’s general education goal areas and a group of mostly general education courses specifically selected by the BSSW Program and SOWK 200+ and SOWK 300+ level courses before they apply to the major (link to BSSW webpage). After formal admission to the major, students complete their SOWK 400+ level courses in a 3-semester sequence. Students also complete 2 internships in agency settings for a total of 560 hours prior to graduation.

To graduate with a BSSW degree, students complete coursework in the following curriculum areas. For a detailed description of the BSSW curriculum, see the Curriculum Section of the BSSW Student Handbook.

BSSW Program Curriculum


University General Education Required Coursework
The BSSW Program integrates a strong liberal arts foundation in its coursework.  Students are required to complete all general education requirements prior to formal admission to the BSSW Program. For information about the general education requirements for the catalog year you entered, go to:  Minnesota State Mankato’s Undergraduate Catalog.

Social Work Required General Education Categories and Course Selection Options
Social Work professionals must access information, reason clearly, write persuasively, and speak effectively. The courses in the Social Work specific general education categories described below introduce content about values and ethics, human behavior, diversity and privilege, and social, economic, psychological, and political sciences through social, economic, and environmental perspectives. These courses provide students with the knowledge, values, and skills required for critical thinking, problem-solving, and written and oral communication skills.

Students complete 9 general education courses from 8 categories prior to formal acceptance into the BSSW Program. Almost all of these courses meet the University’s general education requirements.

Abbreviations used below:    
GE # = General Education Goal Area, DC = Diverse Cultures

Human Development - Select one course
These courses contain information about the stages of human development and theories about individual and family development across the lifespan. Human development courses that focus on only one part of the lifespan are not sufficient.

  • FCS 301 (3) Lifespan Development (Not GE)
  • PSYC 343 (4) Intro Developmental Psychology (Not GE)
  • KSP 235 (3) Human Development (GE 5)

Psychology - Complete this course
This course provides introduction to the many theories about the mental or behavioral characteristics of individuals or groups and applications in the field of psychology.

  • PSYC 101 (4) Intro to Psychological Science (GE 5)

Biology - Select one course
These courses introduce students to general systems theory with an emphasis on human biological systems and provide an understanding of the interactions between multiple systems. Biology course(s) with emphasis on human anatomy and/or neuroscience may be substituted.

  • BIOL 100 (4) Our Natural World (GE 3, 8-lab)
  • BIOL 102 (3) Biology of Women (GE 3-non lab)

Values Ethics & Critical Thinking - Select one course
These courses assist with student’s abilities to identify personal values, prepare to understand the role of ethics in a profession, and strengthen students’ critical thinking and logical processing skills.

  • ENG 213W (4) Pers. Ethics and Civil Responsibility in Literature (GE 6, 9)
  • PHIL 110 (3) Logic and Critical Thinking (GE 2, 4)
  • PHIL 120W (3) Introduction to Ethics (GE 6, 9)
  • PHIL 222W (3) Medical Ethics (GE 6, 9)
  • PHIL 240W (3) Law, Justice, and Society (GE 6, 9)

Statistical Methods - Select one course
These courses contain information about the basics of research and use of and application of statistics.

  • ECON 207 (4) Business Statistics (GE 2, 4)
  • SOC 202 (3) Introductory Social Statistics (GE 4)
  • STAT 154 (3) Elementary Statistics (GE 2, 4)
  • PSYC 201 (4) Statistics for Psychology (Not GE)
  • HLTH 475 (3) Biostatistics (Not GE)

Social, Economic, & Political Perspectives - Select two courses, one each from different departments
These courses become the foundation for understanding social, economic, and political perspectives that inform the development and maintenance of social welfare policies and service delivery at multiple systems levels from local to global.

  • SOC 101 (3) Introduction to Sociology (GE 5, 8, DC)
  • SOC 150 (3) Social Problems (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • URBS 150 (3) Sustainable Communities (GE 5, 10)
  • ECON 100 (3) Introduction to US Economy (GE 5)
  • ECON 201 (3) Principles of Macroeconomics (GE 5)
  • ECON 202 (3) Principles of Microeconomics (GE 5)
  • POL 101 (3) Introduction to Public Life (GE 9, 11)
  • POL 104 (3) Understanding the US Constitution (GE 5)
  • POL 106 (3) Politics in the World Community (GE 8)
  • POL 111 (3) United States Government (GE 5, 9)

Diversity & Social Justice A-- Select one course
These courses provide a broad overview of multiple cultural groups, their history, traditions, and norms, etc. May include some global or environmental perspectives.  

  • ANTH 230 (4) People and Cultures of the World (GE 8, DC)
  • ANTH 240 (4) Language and Culture (GE 5, 8, DC)
  • ANTH 340 (4) Language and Power (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • ENG 211W (4) Perspectives in Literature/Human Diversity (GE 6, 7, DC)
  • ETHN 100 (3) American Racial Minorities (GE 5,7, DC)
  • ETHN 101 (3) Introduction to Multicultural & Ethnic Studies (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • ETHN 150 (3) Multi-cultural/Ethnic Experience (GE 7, DC)
  • GEOG 103 (3) Introductory Cultural Geography (GE 5, 8, DC)
  • HUM 281W (4) Human Diversity & Humanities Traditions (GE 6, 7 ,DC)
  • KSP 220W (3) Human Relationships in Multicultural Society (GE 7, 11, DC)
  • PHIL 115W (3) Philosophy of Race, Class & Gender (GE 6, 7)
  • PHIL 205W (3) Culture, Identity and Diversity (GE 6, 8)

Diversity & Social Justice B-- Select one course
These courses offer the opportunity to study a specific population or cultural group.

  • AIS 101 (3) Intro. to American Indian Studies (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • AIS 210/210 W (3) Oral Traditions (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • AIS 230W (3) American Indians of MN (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • AIS 240/240W (3) American Indian Women (GE 5,7, DC)
  • CDIS 290 (3) Intro. to Communication Disorders (GE 7, DC)
  • ETHN 201W (3) Pers. On African Americans (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • ETHN 203W (3) Pers. On Asian Americans (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • ETHN 204W (3) Pers. On Latinos/Hispanics (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • GWS 110/110W (4) Intro. to Gender (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • GWS 220/220W (4) Sex & Gender Worldwide (GE 8, 9, DC)
  • GWS 225/225W (4) Intro. to LGBT Studies (GE 5, 7, DC)
  • REHB 110W (3) Sensitivity to Disability (GE 7, DC)

Descriptions of SOWK courses are available in the Minnesota State Mankato’s Undergraduate Catalog. See Academic Planning Resources section above.

BSSW Foundation Courses
The BSSW Foundation courses provide students with knowledge of social welfare and social work programs and services in society. Students are introduced to a social work specific focus for values and ethics, diversity, social, economic, and environmental justice, theories about human behavior and the social environment. Students also complete a 120 hours junior field experience in a local organization.

These courses are taken while completing the University's and the BSSW Program's General Education goal areas and categories. The SOWK 200+ level courses are generally completed before completing the SOWK 300+ level courses.  SOWK 310 should be completed before or with SOWK 316. Students usually apply to the BSSW Major while completing SOWK 316, Professional Skill Development.

  • SOWK 215/215W (was SOWK 180W) Introduction to Social Welfare Services (GE 5, 9, DC)
  • SOWK 212 Introduction to Social Work  
  • SOWK 310/310W Human Behavior in Social Environment
  • SOWK 316 Professional Skill Development [NOTE: Permission to register for this course must be obtained from the instructor. Permission is given after student attends an Information meeting and completes an application process the semester prior to taking this course. For more information, go to SOWK 316, Professional Skill Development]

Application to the Major


BSSW Advanced Curriculum (3 semesters)
In these courses, students learn the knowledge, values, and skills required for competent generalist social work practice. Students develop skills in applying the generalist social work practice model with respect to values and ethics, diversity and privilege;  policy advocacy, and  research with individuals, families, groups, communities and society.

The SOWK 400+ level courses are taken after formal acceptance to the BSSW Program in the 3 -semester sequence shown below. Significant changes to this sequence must be approved by the BSSW Program.  Discuss potential changes and the process for requesting changes with your BSSW Faculty Advisor.

Semester 1

  • SOWK 441
  • SOWK 410
  • SOWK Elective

Semester 2

  • SOWK 443
  • SOWK 446
  • SOWK 435

Semester 3

  • SOWK 450
  • SOWK 455

BSSW Policy & Research Courses
These 2 courses are typically completed in the semesters after formal acceptance to the BSSW Program.

  • SOWK 410 (4) Social Welfare Issues and Policies
  • SOWK 435 (4) Applied Social Work Research

BSSW Practice & Practicum Sequence Courses
Students must complete a formal application and be formally accepted into the BSSW Major to enroll in the practice skills and practicum courses listed below. [NOTE:  Students CANNOT register for these courses without formal admission to major and permission from the BSSW Program. Students are informed in courses and through the Department Listserv when they are able to register for the courses below. ]

  • SOWK 441 (4) Introduction to Social Work Generalist Practice
  • SOWK 443 (4) Social Work Counseling with Individuals, Groups, and Families
  • SOWK 446 (4) Social Work with Organizations and Communities
  • SOWK 450 (4) Integrative Seminar
  • SOWK 455 (8) Social Work Practicum [NOTE: This course requires an application and students complete minimum 440 hours in social work field education setting. For more information, see Field Education .]

BSSW Electives Courses (3 credits each)
BSSW majors must take at least 1 of the SOWK 400+ elective courses listed below; but are encouraged to complete more than 1. Electives are offered on a rotating basis in Fall and Spring semesters and Summer sessions. Check with your BSSW Program Advisor to determine which semesters electives are scheduled.   

  • SOWK 415 – Child and Family Welfare Services (3)
  • SOWK 417 – Social Work Comorbidity of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (3)
  • SOWK 419 – Social Work and Aging (3)
  • SOWK 422 – Social Work and Chemical Dependency (3)
  • SOWK 425 – Social Work in Health Care Settings (3)
  • SOWK 427 – Social Work and Intimate Partner Violence (3)
  • SOWK 430 – Social Work in the School Setting (3)
  • SOWK 432 – Social Work and Disabilities (3)

BSSW Supporting Courses
The following SOWK courses provide students with the opportunity to develop or strengthen their professional skills through academic research and scholarship and writing and presenting skills. Your BSSW Program Advisor can help you decide how to best take advantage of the opportunity to complete one or more of these courses.

  • SOWK 255 Global Response Human Need (3) (*GE 5,8, DC) (M)
  • SOWK 485 Selected Topics in Social Work (3)
  • SOWK 492 Honors Reading (1-3)
  • SOWK 495 Honors Paper (1-3)
  • SOWK 497 Internship (1-10)
  • SOWK 499 Individual Study (1-6)

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Curriculum Related Policies And Updates

For more information about our BSSW Program’s curriculum related policies and procedures, see Academic and Curriculum Related Policies section in the BSSW Student Handbook or contact the BSSW Program Director at 507-389-6504 or

Life and Work Credit for Coursework Policy
The BSSW Program does not give life and work credit for any required courses, including the 2 internship courses, SOWK 316 and SOWK 450/455.

Course Substitution
A courses that has been completed with same or highly similar content may be able to be substituted for a required BSSW Program course. Meet with your BSSW Faculty Advisor and bring a copy of the course syllabus with you to determine if your prior course can be substituted for a BSSW Program required course.

Students must earn a grade of ‘C-‘ or better in courses that will be used to complete the BSSW Program’s curriculum. The only exception is if a statistics course is used to complete general education goal area #4 (Math) and meet the BSSW Program’s statistics requirement, the University requires a grade of ‘C’ or better.

For more information about our BSSW Program’s curriculum, contact the BSSW Program Director at 507-389-6504 or

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Students must graduate with

  • 120 course credits if graduating under catalog/bulletin 2011-2012 to present  or
  • 128 course credits if graduating under catalog/bulletin 2010-2011 or earlier.

For more information about applying for graduation, go to Graduation Services.

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ASWB Study Material

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