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Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Why Earn Your Social Work Degree at Saint Leo University?

Saint Leo University's Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program offers students who are physically living in Florida an innovative, full-time program at the University Campus, and a Hybrid Program Option at the Center for Adult Learning at University Campus. The BSW program is based on a liberal arts foundation, which enables our graduates to analyze and solve problems from a variety of perspectives. Students will receive intensive academic advising and oversight of student progress.

The program prepares students to become professional generalist social workers in social work agencies that promote social justice, economic justice, policy practice, and human rights on local, national, and global levels. The Saint Leo University BSW program incorporates anti-racist and cultural humility throughout the curriculum and its electives. This emphasis includes a deeper understanding of how diversity, equity, and inclusion shape human experiences and identity. Within the BSW program, students will learn to demonstrate anti-racist and anti-oppressive social work practice at the individual, family, group, organizational, community, research, and policy levels. Students are prepared to lead in generalist social work practice that serves diverse populations—including children, the elderly, military personnel, and those who experience discrimination and oppression.

Saint Leo's BSW degree program delivers courses during the day and in the evenings, allowing students to take classes that best fit their schedules. Students should enter the program knowing that they will be required to complete internship hours during the final term. Students who excel in the BSW program will be eligible for advanced standing for the Master of Social Work (MSW) (our 4+1 model) program, which allows students to complete both degrees in five years, instead of six years. A student with an A.A. or A.S. degree can transfer into the university and finish the BSW program in two years and the advanced standing MSW in one year, for a total of three years.

Saint Leo’s Social Work program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). An advisory board composed of students, alumni and human service professionals guides the program, assuring the curriculum’s quality, relevance and currency.

You may declare the Social Work major when you begin coursework at Saint Leo University. However, to be formally admitted to the social work program, you must complete a major application and interview with Social Work faculty.

The BSW degree program prepares students to become professional generalist social workers in social work agencies that promote social justice, economic justice, and human rights on local, national, and global levels.

Learning Experience:
Campus Education Center
Est. Time to Complete:
4 years
Credit Hours:
120 hours
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Undergraduate Social Work Program Details

The bachelor of social work curriculum emphasizes content in each of five areas: social welfare policy, human behavior in the social environment, research, practice methods, and practice education.

Learn Your Way: 
On Campus or Hybrid

  • Saint Leo students and instructor in classroom
  • What are the on-campus facilities like?

    Students who pursue their degrees at Saint Leo’s main campus near sunny Tampa Bay, Florida, join a community of enthusiastic learners just like them. 

    Students enjoy plenty of engaging learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, as well as exciting departmental events.

    Learn about the On-Campus Experience

Career Outlook

As of 2021, the social work profession has over 700,000 professionals because of a deep desire to help vulnerable populations and bring justice to our society. The social work occupations will surge in the next few years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work jobs are expected to increase by 13 percent from 2019 to 2029, more than the average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to increased life expectancy, a growing aging population, and the need to offer relief to struggling people and groups.

Earning our BSW degree at Saint Leo University will give you plenty of professional development opportunities, industry knowledge from expert professors, and support from the Saint Leo community. You will be ready for a successful career working as a generalist social worker or continue your education towards a graduate degree in social work with the 4+1 model.

  • Saint Leo University students in Psychology classroom
  • How will you gain real experience?

    Classroom learning is only part of the social work degree program at Saint Leo University. We also know the value of hands-on experience. The BSW program includes internships, research, and community-based project within the curriculum. Additionally, it allows students to volunteer with national organizations such as Campus Vote Project and Vot-ER, and experience real-life advocacy through legislative education days in Tallahassee and Washington, DC.

    Saint Leo has a strong relationship with many internship organizations locally, statewide, and nationally, including NAMI and Big Brother Big Sister and other programs for aging, autism, addiction, clinical research, children’s services, victim advocacy, and workforce development

    Plus, our Career Services center is always available to help connect you with a variety of other experiential learning opportunities to fit your individual career goals.

What skills you will learn?

  • Research planning, implementation, and reporting;
  • Legislative advocacy;
  • Cultural competency and humility; 
  • Completing a qualitative or quantitative study with coding
  • Oral presentation;
  • Grant writing;
  • Social work practice methods

How will you gain real experience?


Gain hands-on experience at a social service agency for 32 hours per week during the final semester of your senior year.

Senior seminar

Taken in tandem with the field internship, the seminar provides an opportunity to discuss your field placement, present your cases, build your resume, practice interviewing and complete an integrative senior paper.

Co-curricular activities

Become a member of Phi Alpha, the national honor society of undergraduate and graduate social work students. You will have the opportunity to join student organizations such as the Social Work Club and Lions S.E.R.V.E. As well as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the largest professional social work organization and Vot-ER, which is a national civic organization.   

Service learning

Education should be meaningful and hands-on. Saint Leo is honored to have been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll each year since it was started in 2006

What can you do with an undergraduate social work degree?

A diverse range of private and non-profit companies (and many government agencies) offer terrific pathways to successful careers with a bachelor’s in social work degree. Common Bachelor of Social Work jobs include:

  • Caseworker at a non-profit or government agency;
  • Family Service Worker;
  • Residential Case Manager;
  • Field Organizer; 
  • Habilitation Specialist in a healthcare setting; 
  • Substance Abuse Specialist.

Earning a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work provides a great entry point to many varied social work career pathways or sets the foundation for completing a master’s degree in social work as this leads to managerial, specialty, or licensed clinical positions within the field. The top five rapidly growing sectors of social work include:

  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
    Geriatric Social Worker
    Veteran Affairs Social Worker
    Healthcare Social Worker
    Child Welfare Social Worker

What are the top social work degree jobs?

Career Growth Salary
Social Service Manager 15% (Faster than average) $69,600 per year
Social Worker 12% (Faster than average) $51,760 per year
Mental Health Counselor 23% (Much faster than average) $47,660 per year

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020.

Where are Saint Leo social work graduates now? 

Graduates of Saint Leo's BSW degree program continue their education with graduate programs, and pursue employment in various contexts - from Advent Health and BayCare Behavioral Health to numerous Florida School Districts and Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough. With great success, our students represent micro and macro employment throughout Florida and nationwide. 

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Annual Assessment Report

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes