Bachelor of Social Work

Students who earn a BSW degree are trained as social work generalist practitioners. This means that they are provided with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, and skills required to intervene with individuals, families, organizations, and communities. They can work with clients of all ages and assist them in facing an array of life challenges.

Bachelor of Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Welcome to the Simmons College BSW Program

Social Work Tradition...

In 1904, Simmons became the first college to provide training for clinical social workers, filling a critical community need, expanding the profession, and offering a vehicle through which women could advance their careers. Since then, Simmons College School of Social Work has been a leader in social work education and an enduring example of the College's signature committment to academic rigor, strong professional preparation, and visionary thinking. Buttressed by a vibrant undergraduate liberal arts college, the School of Social Work's 100 year legacy, consistent growth, and pattern of high quality professional preparation and educational innovation make it an ideal site for a new undergraduate program designed to trained baccalaureate level, generalist social workers.

Contemporary Vision...

The new Simmons College BSW Program embraces the history of the School of Social Work while focusing on the needs of contemporary students, the changing social work profession, and our diverse community. The Program has been designed to maintain the educational standards set forth by its accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), while offering students enhanced options for completing their social work education and training.

The Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting body for social work programs.

BSW Program Options: Traditional 4-Year Program and Accelerated 3+1 Program

The Simmons College BSW Program offers two degree options for social work students, a Traditional 4-Year Program and an Accelerated 3+1 Program. Students in the Traditional BSW and 3+1 Programs complete the same curricular requirements, including all Simmons College Core Courses, Mode requirements, electives, BSW courses, and BSW Field Placements.

Traditional 4-Year BSW Program

The Traditional Program allows students to earn their undergraduate degree in a typical fashion, by completing their required courses and field work in four years. Students graduating from this Program with their BSW are eligible to apply for Master's level social work (MSW) training as advanced standing students. This means, provided they have met all advanced standing eligibility requirements, Simmons students with an earned BSW may be admitted into their MSW Program as an accelerated student, with some of their BSW courses applied to the MSW degree requirements. To view the course sequence for Traditional BSW students, please click on the side tab.

Accelerated 3+1 BSW/MSW Program

The Accelerated 3+1 BSW/MSW Program is intended for highly motivated students who are interested in accelerating their education and training. This Program option is generally appropriate for new college students or transfer students with a small number of transfer credits (15 credits or less). Current Simmons students may also apply for admission into the 3+1 Program at the end of their first year. Students enrolled in the 3+1 Program complete their undergraduate work in three years by taking five courses rather than four during some semesters and by completing two courses (Modes or electives) during each summer. At the end of their BSW plan of study, 3+1 students then apply to the Simmons MSW advanced standing program. Provided they meet all requirements of the program, these students are eligible to earn their MSW in one additional year (3 semesters), allowing them to begin working and earning earlier. Like the traditional BSW Program sequence, the 3+1 Program option prepares students for lifelong learning through the provision of a Simmons liberal arts foundation while also providing classroom learning and field instruction that will allow them to master and demonstrate the Core Competencies and Practice Behaviors required of social work professionals. To view the course sequence for Accelerated 3+1 students, please click on the side tab.

Waldstein Scholarship for 3+1 Students: The Simmons 3+1 Program has received a generous donation from SSW alumna and College Trustee, Andrea Waldstein '60SW, and her husband, Arthur Waldstein, to fund scholarships for current 3+1 students based on financial need. All 3+1 BSW/MSW Program students are eligible to apply for the Waldstein Scholarship upon admission into the Program. Scholarship decisions will be made based on student financial need and availability of funds.

Program Mission Statement

Consistent with the mission of Simmons College, ideals of the School of Social Work, and standards set forth by the Council on Social Work Education, the Simmons College BSW Program's Mission is:

to prepare baccalaureate-level students for professional generalist social work practice and lifelong professional and personal learning. Consistent with the mission and vision of Simmons College, the School of Social Work, and professional social work tradition, the Program seeks to develop competent, ethical social work practitioners who are attuned to the values of the social work profession, embrace a professional social work identity, value diversity, and seek social justice through effective advocacy and social change efforts.

Program Goals

Within the liberal arts tradition and guided by the purpose and values of the social work profession, the Simmons College BSW Program aims to:

  1. Contribute to the fulfillment of the mission and goals of Simmons College and the School of Social Work by contributing to a liberal arts foundation adn providing strong social work career preparation at the baccalaureate level;
  2. Prepare students for generalist social work employment and graduate level education;
  3. provide students with instruction, field experiences, and opportunities to develop the knowledge, values, and skills and master the core competencies needed for effective, culturally sensitive, evidence-based, ethical social work practice;
  4. Provide students with instructional opportunities that will facilitate the development of critical thinking and writing skills necessary for effective social work practice;
  5. Prepare students to become competent practitioners, social justice advocates, policy analysts, and agents of social change;
  6. Provide a foundation for students' professional futures, emphasizing life-long learning, growth, and professional development

Simmons College Baccalaureate Social Work Program's Core Competencies and Practice Behaviors:

In alignment with the 2008 Council on Social Work Education's Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, the Simmons College Baccalaureate Social Work Program utilizes a competency-based educational model whereby student abilities and Program success are demonstrated by measureable outcomes. Like the Simmons College MSW Program, the BSW Program's pedagogical philosophy is structured around a commitment to ensuring that its graduates are capable of demonstrating their ability to integrate and apply what they have learned in practice that is of high quality. The Program strives to prepare its graduates for generalist social work through the demonstrated mastery of the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for effective, competent, ethical practice.

By the completion of their baccalaureate education and training, the Simmons College BSW graduate will demonstrate the following Core Competencies, operationalized by their Practice Behaviors:

1) Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly

  • advocate for client access to the services of social work
  • practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development
  • attend to professional roles and boundaries
  • demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication
  • engage in career-long learning
  • use supervision and consultation

2) Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice

  • recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice
  • make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics
  • tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts
  • apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions

3) Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments

  • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom
  • analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation
  • demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues

4) Engage diversity and difference in practice

  • recognize the extent to which a culture's structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power
  • gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups
  • recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences
  • view themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants

5) Advance human rights and social and economic justice

  • understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination
  • advocate for human rights and social and economic justice
  • engage in practices that advance social and economic justice

6) Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

  • use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry
  • use research evidence to inform practice

7) Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment

  • utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation
  • critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment

8) Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services

  • analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being
  • collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action

9) Respond to contexts that shape practice

  • continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services
  • provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.

10) Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities


  • substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups,organizations, and communities
  • use empathy and other interpersonal skills
  • develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes.


  • collect, organize, and interpret client data
  • assess client strengths and limitations
  • develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives
  • select appropriate intervention strategies


  • initiate actions to achieve organizational goals
  • implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities
  • help clients resolve problems
  • negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients
  • facilitate transitions and endings


  • Critically analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions

What Can Graduates Do With a BSW?

Students who earn a BSW degree are trained as social work generalist practitioners. This means that they are provided with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, and skills required to intervene with individuals, families, organizations, and communities. They can work with clients of all ages and assist them in facing an array of life challenges.

BSW Graduates are prepared to:

  • Seek admission to MSW Programs as "advanced standing" students, provided they meet MSW requirements for admission. This means that if students meet the criteria for advanced standing admission (including GPA and satisfactory field evaluations) the BSW work they have already completed counts toward their MSW degree, allowing them to finish their MSW sooner
  • Apply to take the licensing exam for bachelor's level social workers (LSW) upon graduation
  • Enter the workforce as a practitioner and obtain employment in a variety of settings, including work with children, the elderly, immigrant populations, patients in hospitals, to name a few
  • Pursue additional professional BSW level social work credentials, including:
    • Social Worker in Gerontology (SW-G)
    • Certified Children, Youth, and Family Social Worker (C-CYFSW)
    • Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker (CHP-SW)
    • Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM)

In order to be eligible to graduate with a BSW, all students must:

Course Work

  • Earn a minimum of 128 credits (with an overall GPA of 2.0)
    • 12 courses in the College Core Curriculum
    • 13 required Social Work courses (B or better course grade), plus one pre-requisite
    • 5 general electives

Field Work

  • Complete social work field placement requirements
    • Service-learning hours (may be waived for transfer students)
      • 40 hours as freshmen
      • 80 hours as sophomores
    • Field Placement and Instruction
      • 100-hour formal field placement in the junior year
      • 425-hour formal field placement in the senior year