Social Work, BS

Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work

University of Nebraska at Kearney

  • Fully Online
  • 120
  • $259.00
  • $396.00

Program Overview

Social work is more than a profession; it is a calling and a personal mission that compels ordinary individuals to make extraordinary efforts aimed at creating a more compassionate, moral and inclusive society. 

The online Social Work, BS degree program allows students to:

  • Make a difference in the lives of people from all walks of life and improve the responsiveness of societal institutions.
  • Give a voice to society's most vulnerable, advocate for the inclusion of those overlooked and left behind and create solutions to perplexing social challenges.
  • Work in a variety of settings that include child welfare and family services, youth residential treatment facilities, elder care programs, addiction and mental health services, domestic violence programs and corrections.

The UNK Department of Social Work has maintained accreditation at the baccalaureate level by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1982. This accreditation allows students to classify as advanced standing students and complete their master's degree in social work from schools around the country in a faster and more affordable way.

The online Social Work, BS degree prepares students to be competent social work practitioners while also preparing students for lifelong learning and the application of critical thinking to guide professional decision-making. Graduates are equipped with evidence-based generalist social work knowledge, skills, ethics and values to promote the dignity and well-being of all people within a diverse society and enable them to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

The online Social Work, BS degree is ideal for those who: 

  • Desire to be a problem-solver
  • Dream of making life better for others
  • Are compelled to address and negotiate programs
  • Feel driven to advocate for fairness, justice and basic civil rights for all people

Social Work employment outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the social work profession will continue to grow for the next several decades and at a rate faster than most professions.

  • Social workers are in demand and are highly desired for many human service areas.
  • Most social work growth will occur in medical and public health at 22% growth, mental health & substance abuse at 20% growth and child family and school at 12% growth, with all other social worker careers experiencing a 13% growth rate.
  • Social workers specializing in geriatrics and working in rural areas are especially in demand.

Graduates of UNK's online Social Work, BS degree program will help meet workforce demands in human services areas, including medical and public health; mental health and substance abuse; child, family, and school; geriatrics; and other areas within communities.

Position titles may include: 

  • Social worker
  • Case manager
  • Case management aid
  • Community outreach worker
  • Rehabilitation caseworker
  • Eligibility worker
  • Human services specialist

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. 2.5 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  2. Completed coursework

    Successful completion of Introduction to Social Welfare-SOWK 170 with a grade of B or better. Successful completion of Human Service Ethics and Experience-SOWK 172 and the required hours of volunteer work at a human service agency with a satisfactory evaluation from the agency.

  3. Official transcripts from all previous schools

  4. Graduated high school or received a GED

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

  • Complete the Admissions Application 
  • Pay the $45 non-refundable application fee

Courses You’ll Take

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SOWK 443Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities3
This course focuses on macro social work with organizations, communities, state, and federal entities. It examines the models of community planning and organization with emphasis on individual and community empowerment and modifications of institutional structures. Program development, social planning, and administration of social agencies are taught and issues of equity and social justice issues related to populations at risk such as minorities, elderly, and women are explored.
SOWK 440Fundamentals of Research in Social Welfare3
This course will introduce students to the concepts and principles of social work research methodology, educate them about the ethics and politics involved, and promote their understanding of research issues relevant to diversity, multiculturalism, as well as social and economic injustices
SOWK 172Human Service Ethics and Experience3
This course introduces students to the values and ethics that underlie the social work profession and human services. Students are required to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours at a social service agency where they will observe and participate in agency and community activities. Students should have completed or be enrolled in SOWK 170GS.
SOWK 441Social Work Practice with Individuals & Families3
This course provides a foundation for generalist social work practice with individuals and families using a problem solving approach within a systems framework.
SOWK 481Field Placement II3
The complete practicum experience, SOWK 480 and SOWK 481, consists of 400 actual contact hours of supervised field experience in an approved social services agency, along with scheduled group seminar meetings with the Field Coordinator. The first 200 hours (SOWK 480) involves orientation to the agency, observing and learning the structure of the agency, and the integration of classroom content with practicum experiences. The second 200 hours (SOWK 481) involves actual hands on participation and students are expected to demonstrate a higher level of skills and an increased responsibility for their learning and performance. SOWK 480 and SOWK 481 are arranged through the Field Coordinator. Prereq: all required social work courses must be completed with the exception of SOWK 443*, Practice III, which can be taken prior to or concurrent with SOWK 480-SOWK 481 AND permission of the field coordinator
SOWK 482Senior Social Work Seminar3
This course is designed as an integrating seminar to be taken concurrently with Field Placement. It facilitates the transition from student to professional social worker practice. Assignments build on the field placement experience to promote the integration of knowledge, skills, and values. Students should have completed all required social work courses, and be enrolled in SOWK 480/SOWK 481.
SOWK 410Social Policy & Programs 3
The course examines the historical evolution of Social policy, value assumptions, as well as the social, political, and economic contexts and processes tat impact it. Students learn the skills required for analysis of policies and advocacy for social and economic justice. Prerequisite: SOWK 170
SOWK 400Human Behavior in the Social Environment3
This course analyzes human behavior in the social environment from a life-span developmental approach from conception through adulthood. The theories, which emphasize biological, psychological, sociological, spiritual and cultural aspects of the individual are examined. A systems approach is combined with an ecological perspective to analyze social conditions and to identify problem areas in society. Prereq: SOWK 170GS
SOWK 170GSIntroduction to Social Welfare3
The course explores the foundation and principles of social welfare in American society. The spectrum of social welfare programs and issues are examined with emphasis on the contexts that shape them and the impact they have on vulnerable and underrepresented groups.
SOWK 420Diversity and Social Justice3
The course examines cultural, social, and economic diversity; the role of social institutions and social, political, and cultural processes as they relate to discrimination and oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class and disability status.
SOWK 480Field Placement I3
Prereq: all required social work courses must be completed with the exception of SOWK 443*, Practice III, which can be taken prior to or concurrent with SOWK 480-SOWK 481 AND permission of the field coordinator
SOWK 442Social Work Practice with Groups3
SOWK 410Social Policy & Programs3
The course examines the historical evolution of Social policy, value assumptions, as well as the social, political, and economic contexts and processes that impact it. Students learn the skills required for analysis of policies and advocacy for social and economic justice. Prereq: SOWK 170GS

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SOWK 473Child Welfare Services3
The common problems of children and families needing services are studied. Knowledge of existing services is imparted, and students are exposed to the initial "how" of doing child welfare work.
SOWK 470International Social Work Experience1
This summer experience takes students to foreign countries and immerses them into the social, cultural, political, and economic environment that impact citizens there. Policy issues and human rights are emphasized, compared to the American system, and assessed for support or hindrance of general wellbeing especially related to at-risk and underrepresented groups. 1-6 Credit hours
SOWK 476Social Work in Legal Settings3
An overview of social work practice, theory, and skills for working within and with legal host agencies, and a brief examination of legal consequences of social work practice
SOWK 469Introduction to Mental Health Issues3
This course enables students to develop a broader understanding of the occurrence and impact of mental illness in society and from a social work perspective. Mental health issues across race, class, gender, and culture will be examined with the goal of promoting practice skills and sensitivity to future clients.
SOWK 471Aging Services 3
The common problems of the aged and their families are studied, knowledge of existing services is provided, and students are exposed to the initial theory and practice of delivering services to the aged in both the outpatient and inpatient setting.
SOWK 479Violence Across the Lifespan3
The course focuses on the causes, prevalence, treatment and prevention of violence that individuals may encounter throughout the lifespan. It maintains a dual focus on victims and perpetrators of violence, the impact of violence on vulnerable groups, and prevention and intervention strategies that may be used in practice, programming, policy, and research.
SOWK 478Medical Social Work 3
An overview of social work services provided in medical and other health care settings. The relationships to other professionals are explored in all health care settings. Students are introduced to the specific recommendations for practice in medical and other health care social services.
SOWK 468Introduction to Disabilities3
SOWK 499Special Studies in Social Work1
An in-depth study of contemporary social work practice issues. The project is supervised by the director. This course may be repeated to a maximum of six hours. 1-3 Credit hours
SOWK 475Child Abuse and Neglect3
The course prepares students for child welfare practice and provides an overview of child maltreatment. A historical perspective of child abuse is used to examine issues related to reporting, legal response, treatment, and prevention, and intervention.
SOWK 477School Social Work3
An overview of services provided by school social workers and the interrelationships with other student services.

Tuition & Fees

Nebraska Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours


Out of State Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours

Benjamin Malczyk, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Benjamin Malczyk's research interests revolve around familial influences on adolescent behavior and wellbeing, poverty and online education as a means of achieving social justice. Malczyk's dissertation focused on the influence of the parent-child relationship and student academic engagement.

Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions. Application review will begin upon receipt of all required application materials.

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)