Division of Continuing Studies

Social Work, B.S.W.


This major provides an education for students wishing to enter the field of social work or improve their current skills. The B.S.W. can be a terminal degree or preparation for a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) or related master's degree. The B.S.W. is a professional degree.

The Social Work program at La Sierra University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the only CSWE-accredited program in Riverside County!

Click here for additional information about the Social Work Department.

Career Opportunities

Social workers work in mental health and health care, in child welfare and aging, in management and in clinical settings.  They work in hospitals, schools, businesses, public agencies, police departments, private practices, and many other interesting workplaces.  They are managers, therapists, community organizers, educators, and researchers.  They are on the front lines and behind the scenes.  They are in large cities and in small communities.  Few occupations can match the broad range of opportunities social work offers.

Course Overview

A total of 190 quarter units (60 upper division) is required for graduation; 44 of the last 56 units (including 16 in the major) must be taken at La Sierra University. The curriculum is divided among four areas: general education requirements, major courses, required cognates, and general electives.

The social work major consists of 17 courses which total 75 units plus required cognates (16 units):

Major Requirements (75 units)

SOWK 204
SOWK 205
SOWK 214
SOWK 215
SOWK 252
SOWK 286
SOWK 311
SOWK 312
SOWK 314
SOWK 315
SOWK 316
SOWK 317
SOWK 349
SOWK 386
SOWK 388
SOWK 405
SOWK 488
SOWK 498
UNST 404P

Colloquium (A, B, C)
Heritage of American Social Work
Introduction to Social Work Practice I
Introduction to Social Work Practice II
Understanding Social Work Research Methods
Special Topics
Human Behavior and Social Environment I
Human Behavior and Social Environment II
Social Work Methods: Individuals
Social Work Methods: Groups
Social Work Methods: Communities and Organizations
Social Work Methods: Children and Families
Generalist SW Research Methods
Special Topics
Field Practicum Orientation
Social Work Policy
Field Seminar
Field Practicum
Religious, Moral & Social Aspects of Social Work

Required Cognates (16 units)

BIOL 107
MATH 155
PSYC 104
SOCI

Human Biology
Introduction to Statistics
General Psychology
Sociology (one course)

Course Descriptions

SOWK 204 Colloquium (1, 1, 1)
A seminar of selected topics related to generalist social work practice. Three units are required.  Students are recommended to take courses sequentially, fall, winter and spring.

SOWK 205 Heritage of American Social Work (4)
Analysis of historical development of the social welfare system within the context of economic, political, religious, and sociocultural influence of each period; implications for social welfare services and policies; and historical development of the social work profession, casework, group work, and community organization.

SOWK 214 Introduction to Social Work Practice I (4)
Study of theory and principles of generalist social work practice within an ecological framework. Special attention given to the strength-empowerment and solution-focused perspectives. Introduction to the generalist intervention model across the micro, mezzo, macro continuum. Introduction to professional social work values and to ethics and issues of diversity underlying generalist practice.

SOWK 215 Introduction to Social Work Practice II (4)
Continuation of SOWK 214 with an emphasis on generalist engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, termination and follow-up across the micro, mezzo, macro continuum. Special attention given to bio-psychosocial spiritual assessment, child neglect/abuse assessment, suicide assessment, crisis intervention, and content on diversity, oppression and social justice.
Prerequisite: SOWK 214


SOWK 252/252L Understanding Social Work Research Methods (4)
Introduction to basic research concepts, approaches to research design, and statistical methods of data analysis using SPSS. The course emphasis will be on the importance of evidence-based social work practice.
Prerequisite: MATH 155

SOWK 286/386 Special Topics (4)
Topics of current interest in the field of social work. Each course covers the historical development, central theories, generalist practice assessment and interventions, and policy issues related to that specific topic. Different sections may be repeated for additional credit:

  • SOWK 286A Substance Abuse
  • SOWK 286B Gerontology
  • SOWK 286C Criminal Justice
  • SOWK 386A Mental Health
  • SOWK 386B Medical Social Work

SOWK 311 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (4)
Apply a holistic model for the understanding of human development and behavior from pre-natal through adolescence by drawing on a number of theories. Explore patterns of normative and abnormal development and behaviors across the pre-natal through adolescent lifespan. Focus on the biopsychosocial and spiritual factors affecting individuals, families, groups, and communities; and develop the ability to apply the generalist intervention model across the micro, mezzo, macro continuum. Emphasis on diversity issues such as gender, race, and socio-economic status.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214

SOWK 312 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II (4)
Apply a holistic model for the understanding of human development and behavior from young adulthood through senescence; including death and dying, by drawing on a number of theories. Explore patterns of normative and abnormal development and behaviors across the lifespan. Focus on the biopsychosocial and spiritual factors affecting individuals, families, groups, and communities; and develop the ability to apply the generalist intervention model across the micro, mezzo, macro continuum. Emphasis on diversity issues such as gender, race, and socio-economic status.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 311

SOWK 314 Social Work Methods: Individuals (4)
Application of generalist practice to working with individuals. Professional skill development in utilizing effective techniques of worker-client communication; structuring helping interview; and establishing, maintaining, and terminating effective working relationships within a generalist model. Special attention is given to legal and ethical issues, case recording, and working with diverse populations.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 215, 311


SOWK 315 Social Work Methods: Groups (4)
Application of generalist practice to working with groups. Historical overview of group work and introduction to major theories about group dynamics; emphasis on group development and stages; introduction to interventions with groups.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 215, 311

SOWK 316 SOWK Methods: Communities and Organizations (4)
Application of generalist practice to working with communities and organizations. Exploration of the theoretical foundations of community organization as a focus of social work intervention; identification, analysis, and evaluation of community problems; understanding the concepts of power, social policy, social change, and the community as a social system; introduction to and comparison of community organization strategies. Emphasis on serving the vulnerable and oppressed in our society. Students participate in service-learning.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 215, 311


SOWK 317 Social Work Methods: Children and Families (4)
Application of generalist practice to working with children and families within a systemic and developmental framework; introduction to primary stressors and problems affecting families; and study of interventions which target transactions between families and other social systems; examination of diverse family systems and macro influences; brief introduction to family policy.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 215, 311


SOWK 349/349L Generalist Social Work Research Methods (5)
Students employ research methods learned in SOWK 252 and write a research paper reporting data analysis outcomes. Students may collect small-scale original data or use existing secondary data relating to a broad range of social work isues.
Prerequisite: SOWK 252


SOWK 388 Field Practicum Orientation (1)
Introduction to the concepts, components, and expectations of the senior field practicum. Assessment of student interests, skills, and suitability for placement in the practicum. Emphasis on interviewing, selecting and securing an appropriate field placement. Required of all social work majors during spring quarter of the junior year.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 215, 311

SOWK 405 Social Work Policy (4)
Systematic analysis of major social problems of the modern world and the formulation of social policies, including social welfare policies, that influence social issues on all levels of society from individuals to communities and nations. Emphasis on policies and legislation relevant to the vulnerable and oppressed in our society.
Prerequisite: SOWK 205


SOWK 488 Field Seminar (2, 2, 2)
Integration of social work knowledge, skills and values with the field practicum. Application of
the role of the generalist social work practitioner to multilevel client systems, agencies, and the profession. Required each quarter of the senior year. Must be taken consecutively fall, winter, and spring.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 215, 311, 312, 314, 388; concurrent enrollment in
SOWK 498; successful completion of previous quarter; completion of major admissions procedures; senior standing and consent of the field coordinator


SOWK 498 Field Practicum (4, 4, 4)
Internship program involving generalist practice with clients in local service agencies; application of generalist social work practice skills. Must be taken consecutively fall, winter, and spring quarters.
Prerequisites: SOWK 214, 215, 311, 312, 314, 388; concurrent enrollment in SOWK 488; successful completion of previous quarter; completion of major admissions procedures; senior standing and consent of the field coordinator.
Recommended: SOWK 315, 317

UNST 404P Religious, Moral & Social Aspects of Social Work (4)
Capstone course integrates the baccalaureate experience into a coherent whole.  Students explore significant social work issues, bringing their experience and knowledge to bear on the interaction of their values and skills within the major.  In this integrative experience, students take the senior comprehensive exam.
Restriction:  Only for social work majors with senior standing

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