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Western Colorado's Selective University

Social Work

Social Work is a profession dedicated to social and economic justice. Social workers focus primarily on the needs and empowerment of vulnerable, oppressed, at-risk populations, and those living in poverty.

"Make a career out of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Academic Curriculum

Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW)

Our BSW Student Manual is available here.

Students must apply to be accepted into the Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) program. Click below to learn more:

CMU students may declare a pre-Social Work major at any time, including upon admittance, to CMU. This pre-Social Work major designation indicates a student’s interest in pursuing a social work major. The pre-Social Work major designation does NOT guarantee that students will be accepted into the BSW program. Students must complete a formal application process, which gives them an opportunity to be considered for admittance into the BSW program. We currently accept up to 25 students per academic year.

In order to be eligible to apply to the BSW program, a student must meet the following criteria:

  1. Completion of the following 60 credits of coursework (please refer to the BSW Program Sheet):
  • CMU Essential Learning/General Education requirements (31 semester hours)
  • Wellness Requirement (2 semester hours)
  • Essential Learning Capstone (4 semester hours)
  • Foundation courses (6 semester hours)
  • Social Work Introductory Courses (6 semester hours)
  • Other electives (11 semester hours; could include any social work electives, foreign language requirements, or any other electives)
  1. A minimum overall cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a minimum overall cumulative social work GPA of 2.5.

The BSW application process includes:

  1. Completing the BSW Application. This application is accessible here.

The BSW application form is due no later than the last Friday in February of each academic year and should be submitted in hard copy to:

Dr. Michelle Sunkel 
Houston Hall 221A
Colorado Mesa University
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501

The forms below demonstrate the scoring process used to determine which students are accepted into the BSW program each year. Please note, these forms do NOT need to be completed or submitted by the student; they are provided only for your review and to understand the scoring process:

BSW Application Scoring Form 

BSW Faculty Rating Score

BSW Personal Statement Scoring Form

The 40 students that receive the highest score on the BSW Application Scoring Form (overall cumulative GPA, overall cumulative social work GPA, Personal Statement, and Faculty Rating Form) will be invited to sit for a Faculty Interview in mid-March. Students will be notified by email if they have or have not been selected for a faculty interview. 

The students that are selected for a faculty interview will be provided an electronic link in order to schedule their interviews. Faculty interviews are conducted by social work faculty and are similar in format to a job interview. Students can earn up to 30 points on selected questions during the interview process; these points will then be combined with the prior BSW Application Scoring Form scores to come up with a TOTAL POINTS score ranging from 0-100. The 25 students with the highest combined scores will be accepted into the BSW program. All 40 students that complete faculty interviews will be notified by mail if they have been accepted or not accepted into the social work program. 

Students that are not selected for faculty interviews, as well as students that do not get accepted into the program after completing faculty interviews, will be encouraged to set up a meeting with social work faculty to go over their individual BSW Application Scoring Form and to determine what their next steps or options might be. 

If accepted into the BSW program, students will be a part of a cohort program that will complete course work together, in a structured, sequential format, for their junior and senior years.

Minor: Social Work

The 15 credit-hour minor in social work can be combined with a major in any field. This minor is for students who want to work in the human services field immediately after graduation. A minor in social work also helps students aiming to enter a master's program in social work (MSW).

Practicum Field Experience

Field experience is social work's 'signature pedagogy.' Field work provides an educationally-supervised learning experience in social services agencies in the local community. It 'puts into practice' the theories, knowledge, and skills learned in your classes. 

This is why all BSW students complete a Field Practicum during their senior year.

Current BSW students should click here for all the information and forms needed to complete their practicum.  

photo of some officers and members of the CMU social work club
CMU Social Work Club: (Back row, L to R) Michelle, Cassandra, Ashley, Renee, Amber, Becca, Kelsey (Front row, L to R) Laura, Maegan, Kumiko

Social Work Club

Social Work students can participate in the Social Work Club, a dynamic group of students interested in "rolling up their sleeves" and putting social work into "action." A core value of the social work profession is service-and the club is always looking for opportunities to address issues of poverty and need at the local, community level.

Career Opportunities

Professional social workers are found in every facet of community life-in schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, senior centers, elected office, private practices, prisons, military, corporations, and in numerous public and private agencies that serve individuals and families in need. They often specialize in one or more of the following practice areas:

  • Mental health (mental health centers and hospitals)
  • Child welfare (abuse and neglect; adoption, foster care)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Medical Social Work (hospitals and health clinics)
  • Programs for individuals with disabilities
  • School Social Work (public schools K-12)
  • Geriatric facilities (nursing homes, home health, Alzheimer's units)
  • Military & Veterans services (United States & International)
  • Hospice & Palliative Care
  • International Social Work
  • Criminal justice (guardian ad litem, parole or probation officers)
  • Homeless shelters
  • Private practice (Master's level, licensed)
  • Domestic violence programs

-National Association of Social Workers, 2008

Graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in utilizing the social work professions 10 core competencies and 41 practice behaviors through a senior-year practicum in a social service agency in our community (specialized knowledge).  (CSWE Core Competencies 1-10)
  2. Demonstrate the ability to use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry and use research evidence to inform practice (quantitative fluency).  (CSWE Core Competency 6)
  3. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and colleagues through professional documentation and oral presentations (communication fluency).  (CSWE Core Competency 3)
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments through distinguishing, appraising, and integrating multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom; and through analyzing models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation (critical thinking). (CSWE Core Competencies 3 & 10)

* The Social Work program at CMU does not grant course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Students interested in applying for admission into the Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) program should contact Dr. Michelle Sunkel (HH 221A) for more information.

View Program Sheets

Program Assessment Outcomes

Curious about how we're doing? We'd love to show you! Feel free to view our BSW program's Annual Assessment Report.