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The Basics About Social Work

The National Association of Social Workers defines social work as the following:

Social workers help people overcome social and health problems, such as poverty, mental illness, child abuse and neglect, emotional instability, illness, economic uncertainty, domestic violence, homelessness, and drug abuse. They work directly with individuals, couples, families, and groups to identify and overcome these problems. Some social workers also work with communities, organizations, and/or systems to improve services and/or administrate social and health programs.

Social workers apply their professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most effective use of their own abilities. When adequate services do not exist in a community, social workers promote the development of new services and programs.

Social workers are found in many settings, including private practice, mental health, health, schools, community agencies, public welfare, agency administration, and policy and planning. Social work’s approach is unique among the helping professions because it focuses on people’s problems in the context of their social environment. Social workers believe that people are influenced by the strengths and weaknesses of those around them – in their families, communities, workplaces, and organizations.

Social Work is an exciting academic major, preparing students for professional entry-level work in the social and human services. Students in the major engage in the exploration of ways to ameliorate personal, interpersonal, and societal problems and learn skills and techniques in order to create change and make a difference in people’s lives. Social Work is a valuable degree as many employers recognize it as preparing graduates to utilize a variety of tools to work with diverse populations on multiple issues and goals.

One difference between the two disciplines is that counselors focus on helping individuals and families who have a certain set of challenges. Social workers are involved in offering a range of services within social service systems. A counselor may focus on helping family members cope with tragic news and deal with their emotion about the situation. A social worker can provide therapy and also refer the family to resources that may help them manage. Social workers typically have a broader understanding of the community and the systems that impact the needs of their clients. 


The BSSW Program has been continuously accredited since 1997 by the Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting body for social work programs in the U.S. Accreditation assures that professional standards are met in curriculum content and delivery. Accredited programs periodically undergo rigorous review by CSWE in order to ensure compliance with educational standards.

Application Process

When students start at MSU Denver and decide they wish to major in Social Work they should meet with a general studies academic advisor and an advisor from the Social Work Department. You must apply, meet the requirements and  be accepted to start the Social Work major.

You should contact the Office of Transfer Services to have a preliminary evaluation completed. Once students have had their transcripts evaluated students should contact the Social Work Department  to schedule an appointment with a SWK academic advisor.  They will provide you with a personalized curriculum plan based on how completed coursework will transfer. This plan is tentative until an official evaluation has been completed.

We accept applications from February 1st- April 1st. Please visit the apply section of our website for more detailed information . If you need to apply passed the application submission period please contact the Social Work Department at 303-556-3474.

We admit students in the Spring semester for a Fall semester start. Our coursework is sequential and only starts in the Fall of every year.

Students can attend courses on campus day, on campus night or a combination of hybrid or online. Due to the sequential nature of the coursework it is important for students to follow the plan of completion agreed upon at the time of admission. Students should expect to be on campus at least one or two days a week depending on their course selection. Hybrid and online course work may require one on campus meeting date. 

Yes, the Social Work Department has both part-time plans to complete the BSSW degree and evening courses to help accommodate non-traditional schedules. It is important for students to meet with an academic advisor and discuss their needs at the time of acceptance. 


The BSSW program is 55 credit hours.

See 2014 BSSW Advising Chart Full Time and 2014 BSSW Advising Chart Part Time plans. We do offer some summer courses to lighten the course work through the regular academic year. We recommend student check summer schedule and confirm they are eligible for the coursework. 

The BSW curriculum is delivered within a two year (full-time) highly structured format. Students take Social Work coursework in sequence and should take that into consideration when planning education, work and other commitments. The first year of courses must be completed before you can move on to Field placement and the second year SWK courses in senior year.

Your field placement will be sixteen hours a week. Think of this as two full eight hour days, although the schedule typically depends on the needs of the agency. 

Career and Professional Advising

Yes, you will be assigned a faculty and academic advisor at the time of admission into the Social Work Department.

Costs and Financial Aid

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Contact Information

Main Office Phone:



Main Office
Central Classroom Suite 201

Office of Field Education
Central Classroom Suite 202

Office of Social Work Student Services
Central Classroom Suite 206

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Mailing Address:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362