Online Social Work, BS | University of Nebraska at Kearney

Social Work, BS

Bachelor of Science

University of Nebraska at Kearney

  • Course Delivery
    Fully Online
  • Total Credits
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit
  • Out of State Tuition Per Credit

Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney

Get the same diploma as on campus students

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 masters 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 enables 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

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.

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. 2.50 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
Apply Now

Application Deadlines

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

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SOWK 170GSIntroduction to Social Welfare3

Course Number: SOWK 170GS

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 172Human Service Ethics and Experience3

Course Number: SOWK 172

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 400Human Behavior in the Social Environment3

Course Number: SOWK 400

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 410Social Policy & Programs3

Course Number: SOWK 410

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

SOWK 420Diversity and Social Justice3

Course Number: SOWK 420

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 440Fundamentals of Research in Social Welfare3

Course Number: SOWK 440

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 441Social Work Practice with Individuals & Families3

Course Number: SOWK 441

This course provides a foundation for generalist social work practice with individuals and families using a problem solving approach within a systems framework.

SOWK 442Social Work Practice with Groups3

Course Number: SOWK 442

SOWK 443Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities3

Course Number: SOWK 443

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 480Field Placement I3

Course Number: SOWK 480

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 481Field Placement II3

Course Number: SOWK 481

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

Course Number: SOWK 482

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.

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SOWK 468Introduction to Disabilities3

Course Number: SOWK 468

SOWK 469Introduction to Mental Health Issues3

Course Number: SOWK 469

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 470International Social Work Experience1

Course Number: SOWK 470

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 471Aging Services 3

Course Number: SOWK 471

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 473Child Welfare Services3

Course Number: SOWK 473

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 475Child Abuse and Neglect3

Course Number: SOWK 475

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 476Social Work in Legal Settings3

Course Number: SOWK 476

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 477School Social Work3

Course Number: SOWK 477

An overview of services provided by school social workers and the interrelationships with other student services.

SOWK 478Medical Social Work 3

Course Number: SOWK 478

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 479Violence Across the Lifespan3

Course Number: SOWK 479

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 499Special Studies in Social Work1

Course Number: SOWK 499

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

Cost for Nebraska Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $261.00
  • Fees: $57.25
  • Total: $318.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $783.00
  • Fees: $171.75
  • Total: $954.75

Cost for Out of State Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $396.00
  • Fees: $57.25
  • Total: $453.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1188.00
  • Fees: $171.75
  • Total: $1359.75

Questions about tuition? We can help.

What's it like to take a program online?

  • Quality learning experience

    The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years so you can expect a quality, rigorous experience. Online courses are often highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups. You’ll have direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience. Also, you’ll be part of a community of learners and can benefit from the perspectives of students from across the globe.

  • Flexibility

    Online learning gives you the flexibility and freedom to attend your classes wherever is convenient to you. You can save time and money by being able to continue to work and by avoiding relocation or travel costs. You will be required to complete assignments in a certain timeframe, but in most instances, you can log in and complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you. You aren’t tied to a specific class time.

  • Service you expect from a leading University

    Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students. An academic adviser will guide you along your journey, library services are available to help you excel in your program and career services are available when you are ready to take your next step. These are just a few of the services in place to help you succeed.

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