As one of the oldest bachelor's-level programs in the nation, the Department of Social Work offers the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. In 1980, Xavier University acquired Edgecliff College, a liberal arts college in Cincinnati supported by the Sisters of Mercy, which included a social work program. The Social Work Department at Xavier was established from that program and was initially accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 1981. Reaffirmation of accreditation occurred in 1987, 1994, 2002, and again in 2010. The department is one of the 10 located in the College of Social Sciences, Health, and Education.

It is important to note that the social work program at Xavier is accredited, which means it meets all the standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The implications of accreditation are important and far reaching, both for licensure and graduate school. As part of implementation and monitoring of a new 2012 standard from the Commission on Accreditation, all programs accredited by CSWE were asked to begin posting program assessment findings.

All 50 states regulate social work practice independently with licensing laws and in many you cannot work as a social worker unless you are licensed. One of the licensing requirements usually includes a Bachelor's degree from an accredited program such as Xavier's. In some states, you must have a MSW to be licensed.

The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapy Board has passed a licensing law such that students who have a B.S.W. are eligible to take the social worker exam and practice in the state of Ohio as a social worker. Additionally, graduates of accredited programs may receive advanced standing in social work graduate programs. Advanced standing means that a student can finish an MSW degree in one year instead of two.