Bachelor of Social Work


If you believe that empowerment is a path for change and seek to be a force within social justice, gain the skills and confidence to address social issues on all levels in our BSW program. Yes, you can make an impact, spark transformation, and move your community forward.

BSW graduates work in human services, hospitals, schools, mental health, aging services, policy advocacy, community organizing, and so much more.

View the BSW Student Handbook (pdf)


Ambrose Advantages

  • Focus on Social Justice & Empowerment
  • Seamless Dual Degree Program
  • Hundreds of Fieldwork Opportunities

professor in classroom

view of campus

students walking

As a Social Work major, you'll gain skills to work in diverse settings, whether serving clients one-on-one or acting as a change agent in your community. Best of all, you earn not one degree, but two, and can qualify for our advanced standing MSW program. You'll save a year of time and tuition.

See our fact sheet on the BSW program (pdf)


Bee the Difference
Join Us!

We make an impact on campus and in the community. In 2018, more than 600 students took part in Bee the Difference Day. This annual volunteer event, coordinated by Student Government Association, sparks students to help 120 campus neighbors get their yards ready for winter. It is work, fun – and so rewarding.


More Information on the Bachelor of Social Work Program

What will I learn?

St. Ambrose has a strong tradition of preparing holistic social workers grounded in liberal arts and social justice traditions to enrich lives, empower others, and advocate for a just society. Through that generalist lens, the BSW program cultivates the desire to change society at multiple levels by equipping students with knowledge, skills, and values indicative of ethical social work practice.

In our 32-credit hour program, you'll gain skills to practice in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, clinical settings, and more.

You'll learn about human behavior, social welfare policy, research, social work ethics, diverse populations, and more. You'll build skills based on the empowerment philosophy which allows you to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

You'll explore your interests and discover your strengths within this diverse field. All students complete a culminating experience and internship. You get apply what you've learned in the classroom and continue to build your skills during 400 hours of fieldwork.

The BSW Dual Degree program allows you to earn a second degree in Psychology, Sociology, or Women and Gender Studies. These programs challenge you to think critically, complete complex analysis, and build strong communication skills. They complement and connect to your social work education so you become a better practitioner. Click on each program to see the degree plan.

What makes the BSW program unique?
  • At SAU, you'll gain a wider foundation of knowledge, perspective and breath of skills. We created our program so you earn a BSW and a second degree in Psychology, WGS, or Sociology.
  • You may be eligible for early acceptance into our BSW program. Most SAU students will formally enter the program during their junior year, but if you meet certain academic qualifications, you can start your first year on campus with guaranteed placement in the program. Contact an admissions representative for more information. 
  • Get involved on campus or in the community, now. We have more than 80 student clubs and organizations, and many of those focus on human rights, community action, and diversity. Our Campus Ministry programs are open to all students, no matter your religious affiliation, and you can take part in activities that promote social justice. 
  • We have community connections with more than 400 regional agencies and organizations. Our Director of Field Education will help coordinate a placement that fits your goals.
  • Throughout the year, SAU hosts community presentations, events, town hall meetings, and other activities on topics that are closely tied to social justice. You can attend many of these events for free. 
  • Your BSW could lead to advanced standing in our accredited MSW program, which means you could earn your graduate degree in one year, instead of two. That makes your education more accelerated and affordable.
  • If service is included in your future plans, we one of few universities in Iowa offering Peace Corps Prep, a program that can make you a stronger candidate for volunteer positions within the Peace Corps or other service programs. Most students can earn the certificate – awarded by the Peace Corps – without taking extra courses. Talk to your advisor if you're interested.
What are some potential career outcomes?

A BSW degree is one of the most useful and flexible degrees for many careers aimed toward helping others. It prepares you for direct-service positions in casework, mental health, aging service support, and community advocacy and organizing.

The job outlook for social workers is strong and has a faster than average growth rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work positions are projected to grow 16% between 2016-2026, and the number of healthcare social workers alone is expected to increase by 20% to meet the needs of the aging population and their families.

More than 70% of BSW students continue their education at some point, and this degree can provide an accelerated pathway to an MSW.

St. Ambrose was the first university in the U.S. to offer an accredited MSW program with an empowerment specialization. Twenty years later, we boast more than 500 graduates who are actively improving lives, communities, policy and advocating for social justice.

What SAU School of Social Work Alumni doing today?

St. Ambrose was the first university in the U.S. to offer an accredited MSW program with an empowerment specialization. In our BSW program, you'll build skills based on the empowerment philosophy, which can be a powerful tool whether you are working one-on-one with a client or to embolden community-wide change. Our School of Social Work alumni value our focus on empowerment.

Jennifer Pielak '18 MSW says she expanded her skills and confidence in our classrooms and during field placements. Today she is an adult clinical therapist at Transitions Mental Health Services, in Moline, Ill. Watch this video about Jennifer.

Shannon Werhane '16 MSW says her education was about personal discovery, finding her niche, and how she can have the biggest impact. She is a clinical therapist at Transitions Mental Health Services, in Moline, Ill. Watch this video about Shannon.

Stephany (Robinson) Schroeder '08, LCSW, is a powerful advocate for veterans and their caregivers. Her holistic and empowering approach to behavioral healthcare earned her a high honor from the Association of VA (Veteran Affairs) Social Workers. Read Stephany's story.

Faculty

Katie Van Blair, PhD, Professor and Director of the SAU School of Social Work

Johny Augustine, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Jennifer Boedeker, MSW, Director of Field Education and Clinical Instructor
Jacquelyn Boyd, Administrative Assistant
Christie Kostichek, Administrative Assistant
Roxanne Freeman, Administrative Assistant
Kristi Law, PhD, Assoc. Professor, BSW Director
Pam Long, MS, Asst. Professor
Chris Martin, PhD, Asst. Professor
Hunhui Oh, PhD, Asst. Professor
John Thompson, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Michael O'Melia, MSW, Professor Emeritus

Adjunct Instructors
Anne M. McNelis, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services, Transitions Mental Health Services
Nicholas Swanson, LMSW, School Social Worker, Mississippi Bend AEA
Tesha Dobling, LMSW, Linn County Mental Health/Development Disability Central Point Coordination
Gary E. Weinstein, LCSW, CEO, Transitions Mental Health Services
Angela Moody, MSW, Retired CEO, Arrowhead Youth and Family Services
Kayla Behrens, LMSW, Case Management - Social Worker, Unity Point
Kirsten Hampton, MSW

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Social Work (32 Credit Hours)

The School of Social Work is in the process of developing a Bachelor of Social Work program. Admittance of juniors into the program began in the Fall 2019 semester. We are now accepting applications for the Fall 2020 cohort. Any current or transferring student with at least 45 credit hours may apply.

Once you are admitted to the BSW program, you'll start taking classes toward the BSW in your junior year. Courses are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

Required

Fall term, junior year:

  • SWK 320 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
  • SWK 330 Generalist Practice I: Interpersonal Practice Skills with Individuals
  • SWK 360 Diversity

Spring term, junior year:

  • SWK 310 Social Welfare and Policy
  • SWK 325 Human Behavior in Social Environment II
  • SWK 333 Generalist Practice II: Empowering Processes with Families and Groups

Fall term, senior year:

  • WI-SWK 340 Social Work Research
  • SWK 400 Field Instruction I (~200 hours per semester in field agency placement arranged by SSW)
  • SWK 402 Field Seminar I, 1 credit

Spring term, senior year:

  • SWK 336 Generalist Practice III: Transformative Practice with Organizations and Communities
  • SWK 401 Field Instruction II (~200 hours per semester in same field agency)
  • SWK 403 Field Seminar II, 1 credit

Total credit hours: 32 

Dual Degree – Plan to Graduate

BSW and Psychology

Psychology is one of three majors you can pair with your Bachelor of Social Work degree.

This is the suggested Plan to Graduate in four years with a BSW degree and a major in Psychology. This plan assumes you haven't satisfied the foreign language requirement (three years of foreign language in high school). 

Read course descriptions in the online catalog

First Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1 STAT 213 Applied Statistics Reasoning for the Sciences 3
MATH 171 Elem. Functions 3 THEO/PHIL 100/200 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
PSYC 105 3 IL 101 Information Literacy 1
THEO/PHIL 3 Humanities 3
ENGL 101 Composition 3 COMM 129, 132, 203, 228, or 329 3
Total 16 Total 16

Sophomore Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 101+Lab 4 PSYC 324 Abnormal Psychology 3
PSYC 215 Research Methods 3 Humanities 3
PSYC Social/Developmental Psychology 3 Elective 3
PSCI 101 American Government 3 PSYC - any 3
SWK 201 Intro to Social Work 3 THEO/PHIL/Catholic Studies/Peace & Justice 3
Total 16 Total 15

Junior Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
WI-PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling 3 SWK 325 HBSE II 3
SWK 330 Generalist Practice I 3 SWK 333 Generalist Practice II 3
Creative Arts 3 THEO/PHIL/Catholic Studies/Peace & Justice 300-Level 3
SWK 360 Diversity 3 PSYC Bio-Psych 3
SWK 320 HBSE I: Birth to Adolescence 3 SWK 310 Social Welfare and Policy 3
Total 15 Total 15

Senior Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
SWK 400 Field Instruction I 3 SWK 336 Generalist Practice III 3
SWK 402 Field Seminar I 1 SWK 401 Field Instruction II 3
WI-SWK 340 Social Work Research 3 SWK 403 Field Seminar II 1
PSYC 300-level 3 PSYC 300-level 3
KIN Activity 1 Elective 3
Elective 3
Total 14 Total 13 

Total Credits: 118

WI=writing intensive

BSW and Sociology

Sociology is one of three majors you can pair with your Bachelor of Social Work degree.

This is the suggested Plan to Graduate in four years with a BSW degree with a major in Sociology. This plan assumes you haven't satisfied the foreign language requirement (three years of foreign language in high school). 

First Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1 SOC 220 Self and Society 3
MATH 171 Elem. Functions 3 Humanities 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
SOC 101 Intro to Sociology 3 IL 101 Info Lit 1
THEO/PHIL 100-200 3 PSCI American Gov't 3
ENGL 101 Composition 3 COMM 129, 132, 203, 228, or 329 3
Total 16 Total 16

Sophomore Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 101+Lab Principles of Biology 4 SOC 430+Lab Data Analysis in Social Research 3
SOC 200 Research Methods 3 Humanities 3
SOC 260 Social Organization 3 SOC Elective 3
SWK 201 Intro to Social Work 3 SOC 340 Race and Ethnicity 3
THEO/PHIL 100-200 3 THEO/PHIL/Catholic Studies/Peace & Justice 3
Total 16 Total 15

Junior Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
Elective 3 SWK 310 Social Welfare and Policy 3
SWK 330 Generalist Practice I: Individuals 3 SWK 333 Generalist Practice II 3
Creative Arts 3 THEO/PHIL/Cath Studies/Peace & Justice 300-Level 3
SWK 360 Diversity 3 SOC Elective 3
SWK 320 HBSE I: Birth to Adolescence 3 SWK 325 HBSE II: Families and Groups 3
Total 15 Total 15

Senior Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
SWK 400 Field Instruction I 3 SWK 336 Generalist Practice III 3
SWK 402 Field Seminar I 1 SWK 401 Field Instruction II 3
WI-SWK 340 Social Work Research  3 SWK 403 Field Seminar II 1
WI-SOC 301 Sociological Theory 3 WI-SOC 407 Seminar 3
KIN Activity 1 Elective 3
Elective 3
Total 14 Total 13 

Total Credits: 121

WI=writing intensive

BSW and Women and Gender Studies

Women and Gender Studies is one of three majors you can pair with your Bachelor of Social Work degree.

This is the suggested Plan to Graduate in four years with a BSW degree with a major in Women and Gender Studies. This plan assumes you haven't satisfied the foreign language requirement (three years of foreign language in high school). 

First Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1 SOC 101 Intro to Sociology 3
MATH 171 Elementary Functions 3 PHIL/THEO 100-200 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
WGS 201 Cross-Cultural Intro to WGS 3 COMM 203 Interpersonal Communications= 3
New Student Seminar 1 IL Information Literacy 1
ENGL 101 Composition 3 PSCI 101 American Gov't 3
THEO/PHIL 100-200 3
Total 17 Total 16

Sophomore Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 101+L Principles of Biology 4 SOC 430+Lab Data Analysis in Social Research 3
SOC 200 Research Methods 3 ENGL 222 Women's Literature 3
KIN 273 Women's Health Issues 3 SOC 323 Marriage and Family 3
SWK 201 Intro to Social Work 3 WGS 310 Topics 3
THEO/PHIL 100-200 3 THEO/PHIL/Cath Studies/Peace & Justice 300-level 3
Total 16 Total 15

Junior Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
WGS 325 Feminist Theory 3 SWK 310 Social Welfare & Policy 3
SWK 330 Generalist Practice I 3 SWK 333 Generalist Practice II 3
Creative Arts 3 SWK 325 HBSE II 3
SWK 360 Diversity 3 WGS 330 Practicum 1
SWK 320 HBSE I: Birth to Adolescence 3 ENGL 223 Minority Voices 3
KIN Activity 1
Total 15 Total 16

Senior Year

FallCreditsSpringCredits
SWK 400 Field Instruction I 3 SWK 336 Generalist Practice III 3
SWK 402 Field Seminar I 1 SWK 401 Field Instruction II 3
Elective 3 SWK 403 Field Seminar II 1
WI-WGS 405 Seminar 3 WGS 340 Women and Madness 3
WI-SWK 340 Social Work Research 3 Elective 3
THEO 324 Women Theologians 3
Total 13 Total 16

Total Credits: 120

WI=writing intensive

Scholarships and Grants

Undergraduate Scholarships

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code is 001889.

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

First-Year Scholarships

Amounts are for first-year students entering St. Ambrose in the 2020-21 academic year.

There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria. The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using unweighted high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Your scholarship will automatically renew each year of your undergraduate studies, for up to four years, as long as you maintain satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree, a minimum 2.0 GPA, and remain a full-time student. 

FOR STUDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS

On Campus (Merit-Based Scholarships)

Ambrose Advantage Scholarships
Criteria: Iowa resident, Pell Grant eligible, 2020 high school graduate, min. unweighted GPA 2.8, admitted to SAU and FAFSA filed by Mar. 15
Award: Full Tuition

Trustee Scholarships
Criteria: unweighted 4.0 GPA and minimum 30 ACT or 1390 SAT score
Award: $25,000/year and invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship

Presidential Scholarships
Criteria: minimum unweighted 3.8 GPA and 28 ACT or 1310 SAT score
Award: $22,500/year

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $14,000-$20,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
$12,000/year

On Campus (Additional Institutional Scholarships)

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000/year

Fr. Menke Catholic Parish Scholarships
Criteria: member of a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Davenport
Award: varies

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $500-$1,000/year


FOR STUDENTS LIVING OFF CAMPUS

Off Campus (Merit-Based Scholarships)

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $12,000-$15,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $10,000/year

Off-Campus (Additional Institutional Scholarships)

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate

Award: $1,000/year

Fr. Menke Catholic Parish Scholarships
Criteria: member of a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Davenport
Award: varies

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $500/year

International Student Scholarships

At SAU, our international students can qualify for university scholarships and grants based on academic achievement, merit, and their performance and abilities in fine arts and athletics.

Below, you'll find a quick summary of financial awards, and we continually look for ways to make an Ambrosian education even more affordable and attainable. Recently, we began offering athletic scholarships for Marching Band and Esports.

If you have any questions or want to apply, please contact the International Student Admissions office. 

Institutional Scholarships (2020-21)
There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students are automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria, although some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible.

Academic Scholarship – $14,000-$20,000/year

Athletic Scholarships
We have many international student-athletes who are contributing and growing their skills as valued team players. As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student-athletes. The amount varies and is based on performance and ability. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody the value of developing both the mind and body.

To qualify for an athletic scholarship you must be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at playNAIA.org

To learn more about all of our athletic teams and opportunities – including Esports – click here

Fine Arts Scholarships

These scholarships are based on your performance and ability in art, music, or theatre, and you may qualify for the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required. Contact the Admissions office to apply or for more information. 

See below to learn more about outside scholarships and we encourage you to begin your search early.

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2020-21 academic year. 

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.

Scholarships

Phi Theta Kappa
Criteria: awarded to all Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society members transferring from a community college
Award: $15,500

OR

Transfer Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on GPA
Awards:
3.5-4.00 GPA $15,000 
3.0-3.49 GPA $14,000
2.5-2.99 GPA $13,000 
2.0-2.49 GPA $11,000 

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000 per year (on campus); $500/year (off campus)

Dual Admission Scholarships
Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000/year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: Ethnically diverse student; FAFSA required. Additional aid available by application
Award: $1,000/year (on campus); $500/year (off campus)

Athletic and Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: Based on performance and ability
Award: varies

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant
Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $6,195 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Iowa Tuition Grant
Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: $6,000

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student-athletes.

These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at playNAIA.org

With more than29 varsity athletic teams and state-of-the-art facilities in which to play them, the Fighting Bees of SAU are bold contenders on any field. Watch this video

Fine Arts Scholarships

How do I qualify for a fine arts scholarship? 
Scholarships are awarded based on performance and ability in art, music and theatre. Review the various requirements below:

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.


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Contact


Kristi Law, PhD

Bachelor of Social Work
Ambrose Hall 216
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-5889
LawKristiL@sau.edu

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!