BACHELOR OF ARTS
Make a difference helping others.
Mercyhurst University’s degree in social work provides students with the opportunity to pursue their desire to make a positive difference in the world by supporting others and advocating for social change. Students explore value-based and ethical issues and build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that effectively prepare them for advanced degrees and a broad array of social work careers. Some of the growing career paths available include school counselors, working in the medical arena, schools, criminal justice, mental health, child welfare, gerontology, chemical dependency, residential settings, and services for veterans. The social work major, accredited by the Council of Social Work Education, offers students the opportunity to gain “advanced standing” in graduate schools; thereby reducing the amount of time required to complete a Master of Social Work degree.
Our curriculum gives students a foundation in human diversity, populations at risk, human behavior and social environments, social and economic justice, social work research, social welfare and policy, and social work values, skills, and practice.
Social work students recently produced a documentary film titled, “Let It Begin with Me: Putting an End to Youth Violence in Erie” to encourage unity and dialogue in the face of violence in our community
The social work senior seminar is an opportunity for students to discuss the challenges of their internship as well as the ethics, theory, research, and policy involved
Mercyhurst’s social work program is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.
Studying social work combines theory with practice, giving students first-hand experience with populations often served by social workers.
This program may fulfill a portion of the requirements leading to licensure within this field. Please visit the State Authorization webpage to review the requirements for licensure by state or program.
A 21-credit gerontology minor is offered for students wishing to engage in the study of the physical, mental, and social changes of people as they age through gerontology. This program will enhance students’ skill sets in this increasingly important field that can be applied to a variety of careers as life expectancy continues to increase. Students in this program must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in minor courses. The course requirements for the gerontology minor include:
- SOC 107: Introduction to Gerontology
- SOC 214: Grief and Loss
- SOC 275: Counseling the Older Adult
- SOC 312: Services and Resources for the Aged
- SOC 475: Sociology Internship OR SOCW 477 Social Work Internship at an approved site serving the aged
- Two electives, must be approved by advisor
In the sociology minor, students engage in sociological research and theoretical skills that will equip them with a critical vantage point to prepare for the emergent occupational roles in our rapidly changing society. The department offers seniors options for a thesis, local internship, paid cooperative education placement, or internships in Washington, D.C.
A 21-credit sociology minor is offered for students wishing to enhance their chosen degree program. Students in this program must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in minor courses.
Topics of Study, include (but not limited to):
- Introduction to Sociology
- Contemporary Social Problems
- World Cultures
- Diversity in Society
- Contemporary Sociological Theory
A 24-credit social welfare minor is offered for students wishing to enhance their chosen degree program in gaining a holistic and hands-on approach to many of the injustices and societal complexities in our world today. Students in this program must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in minor courses. The course requirements for the social welfare minor include:
- SOC 101: Contemporary Social Problems
- SOC 204: Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice
- SOCW 220: Human Behavior and The Social Environment I
- SOCW 304: Social Welfare Analysis
- SOCW 307: Social Work Practice I
- Two Social Work/Sociology electives
- Two pre-approved cognate courses
A social work degree from Mercyhurst University is a professional degree that prepares students to work in any number of fields upon graduation.
Students who continue on to graduate school, which is the case for a majority of social work alumni, continually indicate how well-prepared they are to excel in their graduate studies. The foundation courses they take at the undergraduate level also allow them to enroll in graduate school as advanced standing students.
Examples of areas with career paths for social workers include:
- Children's Services
- Health Care
- Social Welfare Research
- Community Development
- Mental Health
- Public Health
- Residential Treatment
- Social Welfare Policy
- Aging Services
- School Systems
- Public Welfare
- Substance Abuse
- Developmental Disabilities
- Consumer Advocate
- National and International Sustainability Initiatives
Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12% by 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services but will vary by specialization (according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics).
Mercyhurst University’s Baccalaureate Social Work Program has been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1980. Our most recent accreditation process was successfully completed in June, 2020, and our accreditation has been reaffirmed through June 2027. As a requirement of CSWE, as well as an internal evaluation of our social work program, we complete yearly assessments to determine how successful our students are at demonstrating the EPAS competency standards (Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards). View our most recent assessment results, which reports the competency benchmarks established for Mercyhurst University's Student Learning Outcomes.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in this country.
CSWE's Commission on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet them. In accordance with the requirements of CSWE's recognition body, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the CSWE Office of Social Work Accreditation (OSWA) administers a multistep accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits, and COA reviews.
- Social Work Introduction
- Introduction to Psychology
- Contemporary Social Problems
- Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice
- American Government
- Social Welfare Analysis
- Human Behavior and the Social Environment
- Social Work Policy and Social Justice
- Social Work Practice I (Individuals)
- Social Work Practice II (Groups and Families)
- Social Work Practice III (Organizations and Communities)
- Social Statistics
- Sociological Research Methods
- Fieldwork and Senior Seminar
Social Work majors produced a documentary titled, "Let it Begin with Me: Putting an End to Youth Violence in Erie.”