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Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

            -Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Social Work program recognizes and acknowledges the Nuuchiu (Ute) people as the first people of the unceded territory upon which Colorado Mesa University exists. The BSW program is committed to the advancement of social, economic, and racial justice for those who are marginalized and vulnerable locally, nationally, and globally. We demonstrate this commitment through intentional inclusion of historically marginalized perspectives in the curriculum, decolonization efforts in both social work theory and practice, and by building community across the wide spectrum of social work arenas of practice.

The BSW is an exceptional undergraduate degree as it provides both an academic and applied foundation for students enrolled in the major, completing 120 academic credit hours and 450 practicum hours at a local social service agency. As an accredited program through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) we have accomplished the highest standard for social work education and are uniquely situated to prepare students for entering the profession or moving onwards to graduate school.

Social Work Education’s Board of Accreditation indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process.  An accredited program has sufficient resources to meet its mission and goals and the Board of Accreditation has verified that it demonstrates compliance with all sections of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.  CSWE logo

Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program. 

State licensing information for Bachelor of Social Work

Program Mission:

To prepare students who embody the mission and core values of social work and demonstrate anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and culturally responsive social work in a variety of settings for the betterment of our local, national, transnational, and global communities.

Program Goals:
  1. To educate students as generalist social work practitioners in a multicultural context with the knowledge and understanding of the ecological perspective, the strengths perspective, the empowerment approach, critical theory perspectives, scientific inquiry, and case management skills.
  2. To provide students with the capacity and skills to address complex social issues from a multi-dimensional, multi-level approach involving micro, mezzo, and macro-level interventions that advance human rights and social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.
  3. To provide opportunities for the application of the social work profession’s mission and the core values of service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.
  4. To integrate anti-racist and anti-oppressive social work practice, professional standards, and knowledge of the NASW Code of Ethics across curriculum and practice settings.
  5. To prepare informed students who understand systemic oppression and are willing to take action to challenge social, economic, racial, and environmental injustice and promote a more equitable society.
  6. To strengthen students’ relationship between theory and practice by engaging them in various service-learning projects, leadership development, strong practice education placements, and involvement in the Social Work Club and Phi Alpha Social Work National Honor Society
  7. To prepare students for graduate education.
  8. To provide access to a high-quality, nationally accredited, undergraduate social work education to residents of the Western Colorado region.

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


Academic Curriculum

Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW)

Students must apply to be accepted into the Bachelor's program. The BSW admission processes uses a holistic model to assess student applications and participates intentionally in creating an equitable admission process, especially encouraging students from marginalized social groups to consider careers in social work.

BSW Student Handbook


Minor in 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). For more information about the minor, see the program sheet

Social workers working in the field.

Practice Education

The 2022 Educational Policy 3.3 states that field education is the signature pedagogy for social work. The intent of field education is to integrate the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting. BSW students will work side by side with a practitioner in the community for 450 hours during the fall/spring semester of their senior year. This is to develop strong social work skills through practice, and to promote professionalism.

Our BSW Practicum Manual is available here. Students ready to start their practicums should click below.



What is social work?

Social work is a profession dedicated to social and economic justice through a commitment to anti-oppressive and anti-racist practice. Social workers focus primarily on the needs and empowerment of vulnerable, oppressed, and those living in poverty. Social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, educational problems, disability, and mental illness. Social workers who graduate from a generalist BSW program gain the education and training to work with individuals, families, communities, and organizations across the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of intervention.

The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social, economic, and cultural institutions, and of the interaction of all these factors; as well as skills in developing relationships, assessing needs, and providing services while facilitating change. Social workers seek to strengthen relationships among people to promote, restore, maintain, and enhance the well-being of individuals, families, social groups, organizations, and communities (

Career Opportunities

Social workers are found in every facet of community life. We are in schools, hospitals, behavioral health clinics, senior centers, elected office, private practices, prisons, military, corporations, and in numerous public and private agencies that serve individuals, families, groups, and communities. These are the types of social work as detailed by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW):

  • Administration & Management
  • Advocacy & Community Organizing
  • Aging
  • Child Welfare
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Health Care
  • International Social Work
  • Justice & Corrections
  • Mental Health & Clinical Social Work
  • Mental Health & Substance Use Social Work
  • Occupational & Employment Assistance Plans (EAP) Social Work
  • Policy & Planning
  • Politics
  • Public Welfare
  • Research
  • School Social Work

-National Association of Social Workers, 2023

What kind of social worker would you want to be? Take this survey and see where your interests and skills take you.

You can also find out more about social work career options here.


Council of Social Work Education Education Policies & Accreditation Standards 2022 (CSWE EPAS) 

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

Competency 2: Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice

Competency 3: Engage Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice

Competency 4: Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities


Graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in utilizing the social work profession’s 9 core competencies and 20 practice behaviors through a senior-year practicum in a social service agency in our community (Specialized Knowledge/Applied Learning, Core Competencies 1-9).
  2. Demonstrate the ability to use practice-informed research and practice the use of the scientific method to develop research-informed practice in academic assignments and at practicum (Quantitative Fluency, Core Competency 4,5, and 9).
  3. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and colleagues through practicum, required classes, and oral presentations (Communication Fluency, Core Competency 1, 6,7, and 8).
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments through distinguishing, appraising, and integrating multiple sources of knowledge; and through analyzing models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation (Critical Thinking, Core Competencies 1-9).
  5. Engage with anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in social work classes and practicum; demonstrate ethical and professional behavior in classes, with peers, and in practicum by adhering to the NASW Code of Ethics (Personal and Social responsibility, Core Competency 1, 2, and 3).
  6. Demonstrate effective skills in evaluating information and applying the information to specific purposes; demonstrate ethical use of social media and technology in the classroom, in assignments, and in practicum (Information literacy, Core Competency 1-9).


Program Assessment Outcomes

Our social work program strives to provide diligent, ethical, and professional students.

Please see our Assessment Outcomes for more specific information on our student productivity.

2023 Assessment Outcome Report

2022 Assessment Outcome Report

2021 Assessment Outcome Report

2020 Assessment Outcome Report

2018 Assessment Outcome Report

2017 Assessment Outcome Report

2016 Assessment Outcome Report


Program Overview