College of Behavioral and Health Sciences
Department of Social Work
Location: Clement Hall, Room 103
Description of Major
The Bachelor of Social Work degree (BSW) prepares students for entry-level generalist practice and/or for pursuit of the Master of Social Work (MSW), professionally regarded as the terminal practice degree. Austin Peay offers the BSW and,with Mid-Tennessee Collaborative partners Tennessee State University and Middle Tennessee State University, the MSW, both of which are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Social work is rooted in a liberal arts perspective informed by the general education curriculum and elective courses. The undergraduate social work knowledge base builds upon this core through developing an understanding of the heritage and history of the profession, an appreciation for the values and ethics that inform practice, theories that endeavor to explain and predict human behavior and the various social and cultural factors that influence human life and interactions, and the skills needed to implement this knowledge into intervening with both individuals and larger social systems.
BSW-prepared social workers are employed in state and county agencies, such as the Department of Children’s Services, Adult Protective Services, local health departments, courts and the correction system, case management with adults and children who seek assistance with mental and/or physical challenges, schools, long-term care and other residential facilities, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and numerous other areas. One of the advantages of a career in social work is the possibility of changing practice venues without having to pursue an additional degree. Master’s level social workers who become licensed have the additional options of medical social work, conducting therapy with individuals, groups, and families, and engaging in private practice.