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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Social Work Major

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BSSW Program Curriculum Requirements

The Bachelor of Science Social Work (BSSW) curriculum at MSU, Mankato requires that students complete 9 supporting general education courses, most of which can also be used to meet the University’s general education requirements,  and 4 social work foundation courses before a student applies for formal admission to the BSSW Program. After formal acceptance in the BSSW program students complete a structured 3 semester sequence of at least 8 courses prior to graduation.

Planning Your Coursework

  • Students should work CLOSELY with their BSSW Faculty Advisor to ensure that they will successfully complete our BSSW Program requirements for graduation. 
  • If you don't have a BSSW Faculty Advisor, contact the Social Work Department Office (Trafton Science Center North, Room 358, 507-389-6504; ) to request an advisor be assigned or to schedule an advising appointment. 
  • For assistance with general education requirements and to make you a more informed student as you plan your academic path, go to our College of Social & Behavioral Science's "Advising U"  website or office (Armstrong Hall 114).
  • For more information on our BSSW Program, contact Dr. Debra Gohagan   at or 507-389-1699.

Social Welfare Minor 

Students may elect to complete the social work major or the social welfare minor, but cannot complete both a Social Work Major and a Social Welfare Minor. Courses required for the Social Welfare Minor are marked below with the letter M. Many other majors on campus require a minor and social welfare is a good fit.

Other Majors? Minors?

Students may elect to complete an additional major or a minor, but should be prepared to extend their academic experience by at least 1 or more semesters. Again, please work closely with your BSSW Faculty Advisor to ensure timely completion of all requirements for your declared major(s)/minor(s) and to develop a course plan that reflects the requirements of each of your major(s) and/or minor(s) degree programs.  

Curriculum & Graduation Requirements

The following required coursework applies to all BSSW students who will begin their academic career at MSU Mankato in Fall 2018 or later. Returning students will be able to complete the BSSW Program and University requirements specific to the catalog year under which the student plans to graduate from MSU, Mankato.  Students graduating from MSU, Mankato, must complete all general education requirements as well as all BSSW program requirements with a minimum of: 

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. 
Please arrange to meet with the College of Social & Behavioral Science’s Advising U Staff and your BSSW Program Faculty Advisor to discuss your options to:
Meet the University’s general education and BSSW Program requirements specific to the catalog year under which you plan to graduate or 
Change your graduation catalog year. 

Advising Resources

•"Advising U" office and website (CSBS) --A Porvides assistance with general education requirements or to schedule a meeting with one of the staff as you plan your academic pathway.
•Transfer Students -- Community Colleges and Universities do not have the same general education requirements, so compare your prior coursework with MSU, Mankato’s general education requirements for an ‘estimate’ of the courses that will transfer and any general education requirements that may still need to be met. Go to the Transferology website to compare general education requirements. Then contact the CSBS Advising U staff or the BSSW Program Director to schedule further conversations.
•MSU, Mankato’s Undergraduate Catalogs -- Information about MSU, Mankato’s academic requirements related to graduation for a specific catalog year, go to Undergraduate Catalogs
•Links to BSSW Program Curriculum Requirements:
Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 curriculum guide (to be added)
Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 curriculum guide  (to be added)
Descriptions of courses listed below are available on the MSU, Mankato’s Undergraduate Catalog.

Admission to the BSSW Program

When students are admitted to MSU, Mankato they must indicate or 'declare' a major. However, declaring social work as a major is the first step to completing your BSSW degree. Students must complete a formal application, usually in the first semester of their junior year, for acceptance to the BSSW Program and before they can complete the final 3 semesters of coursework. Admission to the BSSW Program is limited to 34 students per semester.

Formal acceptance to the major requires completed or in-progress final coursework for the required University’s General Education coursework, Social Work General Education courses, and Social Work Foundation courses (see below). Students submit a completed application with essays, have at least a 2.8 or higher cumulative and Social Work curriculum specific GPA, and at least 75 credit hours completed by the end of the semester (or summer) prior to formal admission to the BSSW Program.

 Courses Required for BSSW Major (Effective Catalog/Bulletin Fall 2018)

Social Work Required General Education Categories and Course Options

• These courses must be completed prior to formal acceptance into the BSSW Program.
• Courses completed with same or highly similar content may be substituted for required Social Work General Education courses or categories. See your BSSW Faculty Advisor for more information and to complete required documents.

Abbreviations Used Below

  • GE # = General Education Goal Area and DC = Diverse Cultures
  • M = Required for the Social Welfare Minor
  • + = Must have Instructor or BSSW Program's permission to take these courses

Human Development Course - Select one course

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

Psychology - Complete this course

  • Psych 101 (4) Intro Psychological Science (GE 5)

Human Diversity  & Social Justice A (Overview course)- Select one course 

  • 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)
  • 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) Multicultural/Ethnic Experience (GE 7, DC)
  • GEOG 103 (3) Cultural Geography (GE 5, 8)
  • HUM 281W (4) Human Diversity & Humanities Traditions (GE 6, 7 ,DC)
  • KSP 220W (3) Human Relationships in Multicultural Society (GE 7, 11)
  • PHIL 115W (3) Philosophy of Race, Class & Gender (GE 6,7)
  • PHIL 205W (3) Culture, Identity and Diversity (GE 6, 8)

Human Diversity & Social Justice B (Content Area Specific)- Select one course 

  • 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) Global Pers. on Women & Change (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)

Human Biology Course - Select one course

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

Statistics - Selectone course

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

Sociological, Economic, & Political Perspectives - Select two courses, one each from different departments

  • SOC 101 (3) Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 150 (3) Social Problems
  • URBS 150 (3) Sustainable Communities
  • ECON 100 (3) Introduction to US Economy
  • ECON 201 (3) Macroeconomics
  • ECON 202 (3) Microeconomics
  • POL 101 (3) Introduction to Public Life
  • POL 104 (3) Understanding the US Constitution
  • POL 106 (3) Politics in the World Community
  • POL 111 (3) US Government

Values, Ethics and Critical Thinking - Select one course

  • ENG 213W (4) Pers. In Ethics and Civil Responsibility (GE 6, 9)
  • PHIL 110 (3) Logical 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) 

Social Work Courses Required for BSSW Major (Effective Fall 2018)

Social Work Foundation Courses

These courses should be completed while completing the University's and the BSSW Program's General Education requirements.

  • SOWK 215/215W (was SOWK 180W)  (GenEd #5,9,DC) Introduction to Social Welfare Services 
  • SOWK 212 Introduction to Social Work  

The following 2 courses are generally taken after you complete SOWK 215 and SOWK 212. They can be completed in the same semester, but SOWK 310 should be completed before SOWK 315 is taken. Students generally apply to the BSSW Major while completing SOWK 315. 

  • SOWK 310/310W  Human Behavior in Social Environment (will become SOWK 310W also by end of next academic year).
  • SOWK 315  Junior Field Experience [NOTE: Application for permission to complete this course must be completed the semester prior to completing this course. Permission to register for this course imust be obtained from the instructor.)

BSSW Program Advanced Coursework

These courses are to be completed after formal application and acceptance to the BSSW program and in the following 3 semester sequence. See your BSSW Faculty Advisor for assistance with changes to the following sequencing.  Significant changes to the required 3 semester sequence must have approval of the BSSW Program. [NOTE: Information about each course is provided below.]

Semester 1
SOWK 441  and SOWK 410 and SOWK Elective  

Semester 2
SOWK 443 and SOWK 446 and SOWK 435 

Semester 3
SOWK 450 and SOWK 455 

Social Work Policy & Research Courses

  • SOWK 410 (4) Social Welfare Issues and Policies [NOTE: Usually completed with SOWK 441 Practice I  & a Social Work Elective]
  • SOWK 435 (4) Applied Social Work Research [NOTE: Usually completed with SOWK 443 Practice II & SOWK 446  (old SOWK 445) Practice III]

Social Work Practice & Practicum Sequence Courses

Students must complete a formal application and be formally accepted into the BSSW Major through in order to enroll in the practice skills and practicum sequence courses. This application is completed the semester before students plan to take SOWK 441. The number in parenthesis is the course credits. [NOTE: You CAN NOT register for these courses without formal admission to major and permission which is required for each course for each semester.]

  • 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 minimum 440 hours in social work field education setting under supervision of a social worker.]

SOWK Electives Courses (all are 3 credits each)

Majors must take a minimum 1 elective course of 3 credits at the 400-level. These are upper division courses and should only be taken by juniors and seniors. They may be taken by students in the Social Welfare Minor and in other majors as well. Electives are offered on a rotating basis in Fall and Spring semesters. Check with your BSSW Program Faculty Advisor to determine which electives are offered in Fall and/or Spring semesters.  

  • 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)Additional Social Work Courses

Additional Social Work Course Options (discuss with your BSSW Faculty Advisor)

  • 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)