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Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning

Social Work

Recommendations are intended to help students make the most of their education by providing examples of experiences that can enrich educational experience and illustrate how within and beyond the classroom experiences relate to one another. These are examples and options, not requirements. 

To learn more about making the most of your educational experiences within and beyond the classroom contact: 
Brent Cagle, 


PARTICIPATE: Community Service

Related Course(s)
SOWK 201 – Introduction to Social Work Profession and Social Welfare
SOWK 222 – Social Welfare Institutions, Policies, and Programs
SOWK 311 – Generalist Practice I: Introduction to Social Work Practice
SOWK 322 – Social Policy Analysis
SOWK 412 – Generalist Practice IV: Organizations and Communities
SOWK 422 – Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice
SOWK 441 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment (HBSE) III: Large Systems

Recommended Sites/Experiences
The College of Social Work has partnerships with agencies, organizations, communities, and governments that provide students with opportunities to experience service with adults, children, and youth and systems of all sizes. Examples of social work fields of practice are as follows:

  • Family and Children’s Services
  • Health and Rehabilitation
  • Mental Health
  • Information and Referral
  • Occupational Social Work
  • Juvenile and Adult Corrections
  • Gerontological Services
  • School Social Work
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Housing; Income Maintenance
  • Community Development
  • IHI Institute – Interprofessional Education for the Health Sciences

Why This is Important
According to the National Association of Social Workers, service is a core value of the profession. As social workers, we promote well-being and social and economic justice by serving individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 

How Students can get Started
Enroll in the courses above, review the My UofSC Experience Database, and visit the Leadership Service Center.  


PARTICIPATE: Diversity & Social Advocacy

Related Course(s)
SOWK 222 – Introduction to Social Welfare Institutions, Policies, and Programs
SOWK 305/WGST 306 – Social Welfare Services for Women and Minorities
SOWK 331 – Diversity and Social Justice in Contemporary Society
SOWK 322 – Social Policy Analysis
SOWK 422 – Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice 

Recommended Sites/Experiences

Why This is Important
Promoting social and economic justice among vulnerable populations is a major principle of the college’s mission.   As a social worker, this principle is often made operational through advocacy efforts. 


PARTICIPATE: Global Learning

Related Course(s)
SOWK 307 – International Social Work and Social Justice
SOWK 441 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment (HBSE) III: Large Systems

Timing for Study Abroad
Consult your academic advisor and the Study Abroad office. 

There are opportunities within the College of Social Work to participate in faculty-led trips. Former trips have traveled to:

  • Vietnam
  • India
  • Aruba
  • Costa Rica
  • UN Day with the United Nations

The destinations of study varies depending on the student’s interest and career development. Selections for study abroad are made in collaboration with the BSW program office, Study Abroad Office, and academic advisor.

Why This is Important
An understanding other cultures and populations enhances a student’s capacity to think critically about the strengths and needs of diverse clients and client systems.  

How Students Can Get Started
Look through opportunities through the Study Abroad Office website.


PARTICIPATE: Peer Leadership

Student Organization(s)

Other Leadership Opportunities
Students are encouraged to participate in the numerous leadership opportunities through USC Student Government (as Arnold School Representatives), UNIV 101, Visitor Center Student Ambassadors, Student Success Center Peer Leaders, and Summer Orientation Peer Leaders

 Why This is Important
Students develop leadership skills as a prerequisite to effectively serving and empowering clients and client systems. The Undergraduate Student Social Work Association provides students with opportunities to lead and participate in community service opportunities and network within the College of Social Work.

How Students Can Get Started
Visit the College of Social Work Facebook Page.


PARTICIPATE: Internships/Professional Practice

Related Course(s)
SOWK 382 – Introduction to Field Education
SOWK 481 – Practicum I: Field Education
SOWK 482 – Practicum II: Field Education
SOWK 483 – Practicum Seminar

Program Internship Requirements 
The field education component of the BSW plan of study requires students to complete 500 hours of learning and demonstrating social work competencies under the supervision of a social work practitioner in a community agency or other human service organizational setting. The field education courses are credit bearing.

Recommended Sites/Work Experiences
Students participate in a variety of social work fields of practice. Examples include:

  • Family and Children’s Services
  • Health and Rehabilitation
  • Mental Health
  • Information and Referral
  • Occupational Social Work
  • Juvenile and Adult Corrections
  • Gerontological Services
  • School Social Work
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Housing
  • Income Maintenance
  • Community Development

Professional Organizations

Why This is Important
The field placement internship is considered the “signature pedagogy” of professional social work education. It is where students demonstrate practice competencies in a social work setting.

How Students Can Get Started
Students are required to complete requirements to be accepted into the upper division of the major. Talk with the Student Services Coordinator for more information. Visit the professional organization links to learn more about how to get involved.



Related Course(s)
SOWK 322 – Social Policy Analysis
SOWK 352 – Social Work and Scientific Inquiry
SOWK 399 – Independent Study
SOWK 422 – Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice

Sample Research Projects or Topics

  • Previous Topics of Study:
  • A Qualitative Study of Self- Efficacy in African American Women Lupus Patients
  • Participating in real-world community-engaged research projects for example: Social work and Children with Autism

Why This is Important
Scientific inquiry is crucial to the professional identity of social work.  It represents the accumulated knowledge base that social works have developed over the years.  

How Students Can Get Started
Review faculty interests and biographies and contact your favorite faculty member who has a similar research interest. Students can begin and earn funding for research projects through the Magellan Scholars Program through the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Office Fellowship and Scholar Programs.



How to Integrate 
All social work courses provide students with opportunities to integrate theory and practice through the creative and reflective use of presentations, blogs, ePortfiolios, decision case studies, journals, discussions, experiential exercises, art, photography, video-making, and writing.

In SOWK 422 - Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice, students complete a social justice and advocacy project and present their theoretical basis, framework, and activities by creating websites for presentations.

In SOWK 484 - Capstone, BSW students design an ePortfolio to illustrate the understanding and application of social work competencies that occurred during their experiences as a BSW student.

During Social Work field experiences, students are provided the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to the field setting. Prior to graduation, students communicate their capacities to integrate theory into ethical and competent practices through visual and verbal presentations. Participation in these final assignments provides students with the confidence to enter the world of professional work.



Initial Career Opportunities 
B.S.W. graduates are prepared to enter the profession generalist practitioners in the following settings:

  • Adolescent Health
  • Veterans
  • Case Management
  • Aging
  • Behavioral Health
  • Bereavement/ End of Life Care
  • Children, Youth, and Families agencies
  • Income Maintenance
  • Housing, food, and other basic resources
  • Diversity and Social Justice Advocacy organizations
  • Healthcare settings
  • International, Peace and Social Justice organizations
  • School Social Work
  • Corrections
  • Violence prevention and recovery agencies
  • Local and state legislative offices
  • Out-of-home care facilities
  • Adoption and foster care agencies.

Related Graduate Programs 
B.S.W. graduates have the opportunity to enter Master of Social Work programs as advanced standing students by meeting the admission requirements of various universities and colleges. Also, B.S.W. students have further education options in other higher education disciplines, such as public administration, public health, law, education, and nursing.

Future Career Opportunities 
M.S.W. graduates are eligible for professional licensure to practice in a variety of states. Social workers generally have a career progression that includes some of the following positions:

  • counselors and therapists in private practice
  • supervisors
  • managers
  • program coordinators
  • executive directors
  • legislators and political leaders
  • educators

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.