School of Social Work

The School of Social Work was established in 1965 by the Alabama Legislature, and the School’s first dean was appointed the following year. The MSW Program was first accredited in 1969, and the first class received master’s degrees the same year. The MSW program was re-accredited in 2011 for the maximum period of eight years.

The undergraduate program in social work was approved in 1969 and placed within the School of Social Work in 1970. In 1974, the undergraduate program was first accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The BSW program was re-accredited in 2011 for the maximum period of eight years.

The doctoral program began as a doctor of social work (DSW) program in 1975 to prepare teachers and researchers for the social work profession. Over the years, recognizing the need for increased emphasis on research within the profession, the faculty substantially revised the program. As of 1992, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) has been conferred. The doctoral program is affiliated with the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) in social work.

The School of Social Work currently offers the degrees of bachelor of social work (BSW), master of social work (MSW), and doctor of philosophy (PhD).

The School of Social Work offers the degrees of bachelor of social work, master of social work and doctor of philosophy.

General Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours for the degree. Of those, 48 hours must be in social work courses. Required courses are listed in the preceding Program Requirements section under Overview.

Hours of Study for the Minor in Social Welfare

Students in other divisions of the University may earn minors in social welfare by completing 18 hours of social work courses. Course requirements are listed under the Minor in Social Welfare section.

Independent Study

Independent study is usually arranged in order for the student to pursue a special area of interest in social work or social welfare that is not covered in courses regularly offered. To arrange an independent study course, the student should obtain permission from his or her adviser, work out the goals and objectives of the course with the supervising instructor and secure a recommendation from the program chair and approval from the assistant dean for educational programs and student services. Independent study must be approved no later than the last day of class of the semester preceding the semester of the course. Such courses may be dropped according to University policy.

Course Substitution

Occasionally, a student may wish to substitute another course for a required course. All such requests should first be presented to the student’s adviser, who will weigh the merits of course substitution and determine whether the content of the proposed course is appropriate as a substitute. Decisions on social work course substitutions are made by the program chairperson.

Transient Enrollment

A student who wishes to take courses at another college or university during a summer or regular semester should, after talking with his or her adviser, check with the School of Social Work registrar’s office to determine whether the courses will transfer to the School of Social Work. Prior approval must be received in order for transfer credit to be accepted toward degree requirements.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

A student with a bachelor’s degree in a major other than social work may take courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in social work as a second degree. To qualify for enrollment in social work courses as a major, the student is expected to meet all requirements for admission (i.e., 2.25 cumulative GPA and 2.5 GPA or higher in social work courses and a completed application for admission). The student is also expected to complete, in residence and with the required overall and social work GPAs, the specified social work courses for the BSW degree. The student is also expected to take other courses common to social work majors, such as 4 hours of biological sciences. Students interested in a second degree should also refer to the University’s requirements listed under the Second Bachelor's Degree section of this catalog under Academic Records and Policies/Multiple Degrees and Multiple Majors.

Students entering the School of Social Work as freshmen are required to meet the admissions standards of the University set forth in the Admissions section of this catalog. The University accepts transferred credit from accredited associate of arts programs (see Undergraduate Transfer Admission section of this catalog). The School of Social Work also accepts those hours but requires that all students meet the course requirements for the bachelor of social work degree. An evaluation of each transferred course is made by the University’s Academic Records office or the registrar of the School of Social Work. Any transfer credit of a social work course must be approved by the program chair. No academic credit, course waivers, or credit for field practicum shall be granted for life experience or for previous work experience.

Transfer credit from four-year institutions is accepted as long as the specified requirements for the BSW degree are met. Credit for 400-level social work courses can be granted only for such courses taken in a CSWE-accredited social work program. Social work courses below the 400 level taken in programs without CSWE accreditation are evaluated for transfer credit on a course-by-course basis. Because of the number of social work courses required of junior- and senior-level students, it is difficult for a transfer student to enter the School of Social Work after the first semester of the junior year and complete the program within an additional two-year period, unless the general education requirements have been completed during the first two years of study. Most transfer students attend at least one summer session.

Any University of Alabama student who has completed 45 semester hours or more of academic work and who wishes to transfer from any other UA division into the School of Social Work must have a grade point average of at least 2.0 for all college work.

Admission into the Professional Program

The priority deadline for application to enter the upper division (professional program) in social work is February 15 of each year for admission the following fall semester and September 15 for admission the following spring semester. Application forms are available on our website and from the school’s registrar.

Each applicant for the professional program should have completed:

Hours
BSC 108 or Intro Biology Non Maj I4
BSC 109 Intro Biology Non Maj II
PY 101Intro To Psychology3
SOC 101Intro To Sociology3
OR their equivalents
SW 100 or Introduction to the Fields of Social Work Practice3
SW 105 Honors Introduction to the Fields of Social Work Practice
SW 200 or History of Social Welfare in the United States3
SW 205 Honors History of Social Welfare in the United States
SW 351 or Oppression & Soc Injustice3
SW 355 Hon Oppression & Soc Injustice
Total Hours19

A student who has completed at least two of those courses may apply if he or she is enrolled in the other course at the time of application. An applicant also must have qualified for UA core curriculum–level math courses either by placement score or by having earned a C or higher in MATH 100 Intermediate Algebra . To be considered for admission, the student must have completed at least 45 hours toward the degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.25 and a social work GPA of least 2.5.

Spaces for students in the upper division are limited. Two faculty readers score each application. Depending on the number of applications and spaces available, some applicants who meet minimum admissions requirements may be placed on a waiting list. Students who are conditionally admitted must maintain cumulative grade point averages of at least 2.25 (and 2.5 in social work courses) or the offer of admission will be withdrawn.

After the completion of approximately 54 hours toward the social work degree, with the required cumulative and social work grade point averages, students who have been admitted into the professional program begin taking the professional courses, which are the 400-level social work courses listed in the School of Social Work Program Requirements section of this catalog.

Performance and Retention Policies

To continue in the social work professional program, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Students must earn minimum grades of C in all required social work courses, including two social work electives.
  • Students must earn minimum grades of C in all other courses required in the major: PY 101 Intro To Psychology ; SOC 101 Intro To Sociology; PY 358 Abnormal Psychology ; PY 372 Social Psychology or SOC 205 Social Psychology; BER 345 Educational Statistics ; CJ 381 Statistics; PY 211 Elem Statistical Methods or ST 260 Statistical Data Analysis .
  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C on the designated writing assessment during their first semester in the professional program. Students who have not earned a C on the writing assessment by the end of the semester in which they complete SW 440 Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families will be placed on probation and will be required to enroll in SW 310 Professional Writing Seminar during the following semester. These students must pass SW 310 Professional Writing Seminar in order to continue in the professional Social Work Program.

Field Education

SW 490 Field Education , a 9-credit-hour course, is a four-day-per-week learning experience course taken during the fall semester of the senior year. Students are given opportunities, under supervision, to develop social work skills. The School of Social Work collaborates with agencies in a variety of settings for field education placements. To complete field education requirements, students must make arrangements for transportation to and from their field education site. During this semester, students also attend classes at the School of Social Work one day per week.

To be eligible for their field education placement, students must maintain cumulative grade point averages of 2.25 or higher and 2.5 or higher GPAs in social work courses, and they must have passed a statistics class. Students on probation and/or holding grades of I in any social work courses may not be admitted to field education.

The School of Social Work was established in 1965, when an act of the Alabama Legislature created a graduate school of social work, the first graduate social work program in the state. The undergraduate program began in 1970 and a doctoral program was added in 1975. The undergraduate program is the only one in the state offered within a comprehensive school of social work.

Social work is a challenging and rewarding profession that has as its goal helping people live satisfying lives within their families and their communities. The profession’s focus is on action to help people affect positive changes in their lives.

At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, the School of Social Work prepares social workers to plan, administer, deliver and evaluate social services for citizens of the state, region and nation. The bachelor of social work degree prepares the graduate to begin generalist practice in a variety of settings. The master of social work degree prepares the graduate for advanced, specialized practice. The doctor of philosophy degree prepares graduates to develop and impart knowledge to advance the profession. The faculty engage in research and professional activities designed to enrich educational programs, improve social conditions and meet the special needs of the state, region and nation.

The undergraduate program leads to the bachelor of social work degree. The primary objective of the undergraduate program in social work is the preparation of students for effective practice of professional social work in beginning-level positions. The graduate is prepared as a social work generalist with skills to assist individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities in achieving goals, solving problems and bringing about change where it is needed. Additionally, this program prepares students to enter graduate study in social work or related fields. It also provides interested persons with knowledge of social welfare needs and the means of providing for those needs. These objectives, however, are secondary to the primary objective of preparation for practice.

Five basic requirements of the BSW program prepare the student for practice as a generalist social worker: required liberal arts courses, elective courses, required social work courses, elective social work courses and supervised social work field education.

SW
100
Hours
3
Introduction to the Fields of Social Work Practice

An overview of the many and varied roles in which social workers function in today's society. Reviews the historical development of the profession, its various fields of practice, the profession's code of ethics, and covers current national and local issues. Fifteen hours of volunteer work outside of class are required. Required course for social work majors and social welfare minors; open to all University students, but freshmen and sophomores preferred. Offered in the fall and spring semesters.

Prerequisite(s): None. This is an introductory course open to all University students. It is a required course for social work majors and social welfare minors.
SW
101
Hours
1
Orientation to Social Work

The purpose of this course is to orient new social work majors to the School of Social Work (SSW) to promote student academic success. Emphasis is on the advising process and establishing an educational plan, professional etiquette, steps in applying for admission to the professional program, the BSW program's writing proficiency exam, and campus resources.

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Faculty

Dean
  • Dr. Vikki Vandiver
Assistant Dean of Scholarly Affairs
  • Hamner, Karl
Instructors
  • Herrin, Charlotte B.
  • Lockhart, Angela
  • Melton, Pamela
  • Payne, Nancy
  • Phelps, Carroll C.
  • Welker, Kathleen, W.
Assistant Professor
  • Hopson, Laura M.
  • Noh, Hyunjin
  • Shah, Avani
  • Simpson, Gaynell M.
  • Starks, Karen
  • Traylor, Amy C.
Associate Professor
  • Cheng, Tyrone Chiwai
  • Drolen, Carol S.
  • MacNeil, Gordan A.
  • Nelson-Gardell, Debra M.
  • Pryce, Josephine G.
  • Simon, Cassandra E.
  • Smith, Brenda D.
Professors
  • Csikai, Ellen L.
  • Parker, Michael W.
Professor Emeritus
  • Adams, James P., Jr.
  • Crow, Richard T.
  • Crunk, Phillip Eugene
  • Kaufman, Alan B.
  • Kosberg, Jordan I.
Assistant Professor Emeritus
  • Bell, Roy F.
Associate Professor Emeritus
  • Eure, Gerald K.
  • Sumrall, Raymond O.
Associate Professor Emerita
  • Raymond, Ginny
  • Mueller, Thelma V.
Assistant Professor Emerita
  • McClain, Shirley B.
  • Shelton, Sharon C.
Professor Emerita
  • Roff, Lucinda L.
Chairperson
  • Smith, Brenda
  • Jackson, Mary Sebrena
  • Hopson, Laura M.
Associate Dean
  • Williams, Javonda