University of Southern Indiana

Program Admission

BSW Admission Requirements

Students may declare social work as a pre-major upon enrollment in the University.  However, they must submit an application and be accepted into the Bachelor of Social Work program in order to continue as a major in the department.

Different rules and restrictions may apply to transfer students and students seeking readmission to the program.

Applicants to the undergraduate social work program must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • Submission of the complete application packet to the Social Work Department
  • Completion of pre-social work curriculum (42 hours)
  • 12 hours of social work prerequisites, with a GPA of at least 2.75 and a grade no lower than C in each class. (At least two of the courses must have an official grade at the time an application is submitted.)
  • 27 hours of Core 39 courses with a minimum grade of C in six required core courses and a math class at the 100 level or higher. Core restrictions may differ for students entering the University before fall 2014.

A personal interview and/or additional evaluative data may be required of applicants.

Transfer students will be evaluated on an individual basis. They must meet the minimum course work requirement(s) or their equivalent(s) to be eligible for admission to the program.

Procedure and Deadlines for Applying

Deadline for Fall 2020May 15, 2020

Deadline for Fall 2021:  January 31, 2021 and May 15, 2021

Application:  The application is online and can be accessed by the link at the bottom of the page.  

References:  Within the application, applicants will provide the email addresses for two faculty that will serve as professional references.  These faculty can come from other universities or departments; however, it is preferred that they can assess the applicants in terms of their potential as future social workers. 

Personal Statement:  Applicants will also need to upload a Personal Statement.  Please prepare this essay as a Word document prior to beginning the online application. The personal statement provides you the opportunity to describe your qualities outside of your academic performance. The committee is looking for thoughtful, honest, yet professional narratives, demonstrating excellent writing skills, critical thinking, insight, and self-awareness, in comprehensive yet brief responses. The personal statement should be a typewritten, double spaced essay of no more than four pages. The personal statement submitted is evaluated on punctuation, spelling, grammar, syntax, organization, and the ability to clearly express ideas.

Address the following topics in your narrative.

  • Brief autobiographical sketch – Discuss your life up to now; your family, friends, home, work, and community. We are interested in those experiences most relevant to you becoming a professional social worker. Discuss any extenuating circumstances which may have affected past academic performance.

  • Values - Discuss why you want to be a social worker. What is your understanding of the social work profession? What particular areas of social work interest you the most?

  • Experiences - Discuss employment and/or volunteer work which have contributed to your decision to apply to the Bachelor of Social Work program.

  • Strengths/Challenges - Discuss any strengths you feel you currently possess which may help you in the field of social work. Discuss any weaknesses or characteristics you feel you will strive to improve or change in order to function as a competent social worker. (Example: personal characteristics, intervention skills, communication skills, knowledgebase, etc.)
  • Summary - Provide a final summary of your statement, highlighting what you consider are the most important points of your essay for the admission committee to know about your application to the Bachelor of Social Work Program.

Evaluation Process

Admission decisions for the BSW Program are based on evidence that the applicant:

  1. Meets the GPA requirements
  2. Has completed the required prerequisite classes
  3. Has a commitment to social work values
  4. Has a basic understanding of generalist social work practice
  5. Demonstrates professional behaviors and attitudes
  6. Demonstrates emotional maturity 
  7. Demonstrates stable mental/emotional process
  8. Demonstrates excellent writing skills (The personal statement submitted is evaluated on punctuation, spelling, grammar, syntax, organization and the ability to clearly express ideas).
  9. Demonstrates excellent written and verbal communication skills
  10. Demonstrates good critical thinking and analytic ability, including evidence of good judgment
  11. Has relevant work and/or volunteer experience
  12. Submits appropriate references. Students are encouraged to review the reference form and request references from two university or college professors who will be able to answer the questions. Each category is scored. Submission of references with unable to judge statements will result in a lower score.

Students are given feedback on the progress of the application throughout the committee process, primarily through e-mail. Information will include a timeline with time-frames on when to expect a letter of notification, orientation & registration schedule. Students are notified of the committee’s decision in writing. An electronic copy may also be sent at the student’s request. Please notify the Social Work Department if you have a change of contact information. All communication is based on information provided on the application.

The committee will make every attempt to notify students of the status of their application by the time priority registration begins. In order to respond in a timely manner the Admission Packet must be complete at the time of submission in order to be eligible for review. Students will be admitted to the program on a conditional basis. Upon successful completion of all prerequisites, maintaining the required GPAs, completion of Orientation and completion of a national and local criminal history check students will be unconditionally admitted to the program. A student may also be denied admission.

All information submitted during the application process becomes the property of the Social Work Department and will be kept confidential. When a student is officially admitted into the Social Work program, his/her academic progress will be periodically reviewed based on the standards in the BSW Social Work Handbook.  

Indiana Public Law 11-1994 (Sexual Offender Law) and BSW Admission 

In order to fully comply with Indiana Public Law 11-1994, the University will conduct a criminal history check specific to convictions for sex offenses against children for students requesting admission to the Social Work Program. This check will be conducted at the point of admission and upon entering each field placement. A student who has been convicted of sex offenses against children as identified in P.L. 11-1994 will not be granted admission to or allowed to continue in the Social Work Program.

Individuals who were convicted of such crimes outside of the state of Indiana are required to report their intent to reside more than seven days in an area within Indiana to local law enforcement authorities having jurisdiction in the area of intended residence.

Contact Wendy Turner


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