About the Social Work Program

30+ Years as an Accredited BSW Program

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 10 located in the College of Social Sciences, Health, and Education.

  • Social work students primarily complete their university core requirements during freshman and sophomore years. Some core courses are specifically required for the social work major such as certain biology, psychology, sociology and statistics courses.
  • Most required social work courses for the major are upper-level courses taken during the junior and senior years. Social work students invest over 53 credit hours in required coursework, including 8 of field instruction, plus 9 credits of social work electives
  • During both semesters in senior year, students are engaged 16 hours per week in a supervised field placement.  The department Field Director guides students through an extensive matching process during spring semester of the junior year to choose their placement site. As the signature pedagogy of BSW programs, field placement and field education serve as the central vehicle through which students integrate the classroom curriculum with supervised practice experiences and real client systems and are socialized to the profession. For examples, view student videos under Field Education.
  • In many states, one of which is Ohio, students graduating with a BSW can take the licensure exam in spring of their senior year to prepare for employment opportunities. Licensure requirements vary by state (see www.aswb.org).
  • Social workers who have graduated from an accredited BSW program like Xavier's may be eligible for advanced standing admission to many graduate-level (MSW) programs. Through advanced standing, social work students may complete their graduate degree in only one year.
  • In 2008, the department received the Curriculum Development Institute (CDI) grant from CSWE's Gero-Ed Center to infuse the foundation curriculum with content on older adults in order to prepare students with the knowledge, values and skills to meet the workforce needs of our rapidly aging society. This will continue to keep our students current with both the Baby Boomers turning 65, which started in 2010, as well as the fastest growing age group, which is becoming 85 years of age and up.

Social work students learn with expert faculty whose areas of expertise and/or scholarship include gender and diversity studies, generalist practice, child abuse, eating disorders, addictions, cultural competence, domestic and sexual abuse, ethics, gerontology and spirituality.

 Some 2013 XU BSW Grads.


In addition to being accepted by the MSW program at the University of Michigan, Sarah Ciabotti '13 will be taking a year to serve as a school social worker in St. Louis through the Alum Service Corp. Juan Vargas '13 was accepted by the Mercy Volunteer Corp and will be working for a year with families and children at a hospital and orphanage in Guyana, South America.