Warning! Your browser is extremely outdated and not web standards compliant.
Your browsing experience would greatly improve by upgrading to a modern browser.
Visit Apply Contact

Social Work Major

Looking for a career where you can make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, communities, and organizations seeking to make changes to address a wide range of concerns? Social work focuses on promoting social welfare and improving the lives and conditions of our communities. 

Grand View University's social work program was selected for the 101 Most Affordable Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) Programs in America. According to HumanServicesEdu.org, "Grand View's BSW program is an exceptional value in undergraduate education. This program is also prime with exciting opportunities to work on real-world projects, participate in career-related work experiences, study under a dedicated faculty of experienced practitioners, and learn in an intimate environment that boasts a low, student-to-faculty ratio of just 13:1. Plus, Grand View boasts an impressive 98-99% job placement rate among its graduates over the last two decades."

As a Grand View social work student, you'll develop the knowledge, skills, and values of the profession and learn to serve as an agent of change with individuals, families, groups, and organizations. Active learning opportunities in and out of the classroom prepare you to develop, carry out, and evaluate interventions that empower clients to meet their goals. You'll be prepared to work effectively with diverse populations in home-based services, schools, medical settings, mental health or substance abuse centers, and correctional institutions, and be competitive at both public and private agencies.

Wondering whether you should pursue social work, psychology, or human services?

Explore the differences

Why Grand View?

  • Exciting opportunities to work on real-world projects, participate in career-related work experiences, and study under a dedicated faculty of experienced practictioners.
  • Every social work course embeds practice opportunities, so you can see what it is like to work with different populations in a wide array of settings. Students start right away in Introduction to Social Work by shadowing a credentialed social worker in agencies such as Calvin Community, Children & Families of Iowa, ChildServe, Community Youth Concepts, Des Moines Public Schools, EveryStep, Four Oaks, Iowa Homeless Youth Services/Lighthouse, LifeWorks, Orchard Place/PACE, Prelude Behavioral Services, ProjectIOWA, Woodward Community Based Services, and Youth Emergency Shelter & Services. Practice opportunities continue throughout the social work program.

  • The program is shaped by input from local practitioners, who help social work faculty understand and respond to key trends in the field. This helps ensure students graduate with an understanding of what is required to be successful in the profession. Read more to meet the members of the Grand View Social Work Advisory Council.
  • Strong advising relationships between faculty and students, which allows faculty to understand students’ academic and career goals.
  • No online coursework requirement, although students have the option of taking online or blended courses
  • No foreign language requirement, although Grand View offers a major, minor, and certificate in Spanish, including courses on translation and interpretation.
  • Coursework completed toward the BSW fulfills requirements for a tCADC (temporary Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor) certification, which allows the student to apply for this credential upon graduation.
  • Grand View University has been granted Initial Accreditation by the CSWE Commission on Accreditation. Read More
Admission to the Program

Application to the social work program happens after you've begun your studies at Grand View. Students apply to the social work program during the semester they will have completed each of the prerequisites, SWRK 101, ENGL 101, PSYC 101, and SOCS 101.

Admission is selective and involves completion of an application with personal essay and recommendation from a non-social work faculty member. Students applying to the major must have and maintain a 2.5 GPA, plus earn at least a C in all courses required for the major, including prerequisites.

Applications are due by December 1 for students enrolled in SWRK 101 in the fall term, April 1 for students enrolled in SWRK 101 in the spring term, and July 15 for students enrolled in SWRK 101 in the summer term.  Students who have completed SWRK 101 but have not yet completed required prerequisites should apply in the term in which those prerequisites are expected to be completed. Students accepted to the program begin enrollment in classes toward the major the following fall.

See Social Work Student Handbook for details on the application process.

Social Work Application Checklist

A Guide for Transfer Students
  • Students who have an AA or AS may be able to complete the social work degree in two years without taking summer classes.
  • Students may choose to enroll in the summer section of SWRK 101 - Introduction to Social Work in order to complete remaining coursework in two years (four semesters).
  • Social work courses taken at another institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) will be reviewed to substitute for Grand View social work degree requirements.
  • Transfer students from DMACC can cross-enroll in SWRK 101 during the fall or spring at no extra charge, as long as they are taking 12 or more credits at DMACC during the same semester.
Scholarships for Social Work Majors

Catalyst Scholarship
The Catalyst Scholarship is intended to support the education of a full-time student majoring in social work who shows promise as a strong catalyst for change. This $1,000 scholarship gives preference to students whose personal characteristics reflect historically underrepresented populations in the profession, such as (but not limited to) diversity in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, language, socioeconomic status, national origin, age, faith, or culture. Students must meet these qualifications:  

  • Admitted to the social work program
  • Enrolled in at least the first full year after acceptance to the major
  • 3.0 cumulative grade point average at Grand View
  • Financial need as indicated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Applicants must submit an essay indicating how they see themselves as catalysts for change, both as students and as future social workers. Learn More

Application deadline: March 1, 2019

Previous Recipients

  • Clarissa Mejia '19 - $1,000 scholarship
  • Angie Ruiz '19 - $1,000 scholarship
  • Nancy Miller '20 - $1,000 scholarship
  • Becca Sotos '20 - $1,000 scholarship

Discover Non-Grand View Scholarships

Career Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), social work employment is expected to increase by 12 percent through 2024. 

Grand View Social Work graduates make our world a better place to live by helping individuals make positive changes, promoting social and economic justice and respect for diversity. Consider a future in:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Advocacy / Community Organizing
  • Child Welfare Programs
  • School-based Services
  • Health Care Settings
  • Immigration and Refugee Services
  • Developmental Disability Services
  • Graduate School
  • Aging Services
  • Victim Services
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Adoptions
  • Adult Corrections

Getting a job after graduation is important! Grand View social work students work in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Boys Town
  • Bridges of Iowa
  • Children & Families of Iowa
  • Community Support Advocates
  • Department of Human Services
  • Des Moines Area Community College
  • Des Moines Public Schools
  • Grand View University
  • Iowa Total Care
  • Johnston Public Schools
  • LifeWorks
  • Mercy Hospital
  • Orchard Place
  • Vita Health Services
  • West Des Moines Public Schools
  • Youth Emergency Shelter and Services

The Grand View social work program prepares you for success in graduate school, should you wish to pursue an additional degree. Social work graduates have been accepted to institutions such as:

  • Drake University (Master of Science in Counseling)
  • Seattle School of Theology and Psychology (Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology)
  • University of Iowa (Master of Social Work)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Master of Social Work)
  • University of Wyoming (Master of Social Work)
  • University of Southern California (Master of Social Work)
What Can I Do With This Major? Social Work Jobs
Course Requirements

Pre-Admission Courses for the Major (12 credits)

These courses will not be counted in computing the GPA for the major.

SWRK 101 Introduction to Social Work 3 credits
ENGL 101 or
ENGL 252 or
ENGL 220
First Year Composition or
Academic Writing or/
Academic English for Multilingual Students II
3 credits or
3 credits or
4 credits
PSYC 101 General Psychology 3 credits
SOCS 101 Introduction to Sociology 3 credits

Requirements for the Major (49-50 credits)

SWRK 205 Human Behavior and the Social Environment 3 credits
PSYC 212 Human Development 4 credits
PSYC / SOCS 310 Social Psychology 3 credits
SWRK 210 Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice 3 credits
SWRK 215 Social Work Practice, Theory & Methods I: Individual 3 credits
SWRK 320 Social Work Practice, Theory & Methods II: Families & Groups 3 credits
SWRK 340 Social Work Practice, Theory & Methods III: Community Organization 3 credits
SWRK 310 Mental Health and Wellness Through the Lifespan 3 credits
STAT 241 or
PSYC 239
Principles of Statistics or
Statistics for Social Sciences
4 credits
3 credits
POLS / SOCS 350 Social Science Research Methods 3 credits
SWRK 405 Social Welfare Policy & Programs 3 credits
SWRK 410 Social Work Research Project 3 credits
SWRK 450 Social Work Field Education
10 credits
SWRK 455 Social Work Senior Seminar 2 credits

Download Degree Checklist

Plans of Study
Depending on whether you are transferring in applicable coursework, you can complete the social work degree in two, three, or four years. See the plans of study, with applicable coursework, below.
2 Year Plan 3-Year Plan 4-Year Plan

GV Degree Combinations

You may also be interested in one or more of the following:

Awards and Accomplishments 


Dr. Cathy Beck-Cross • The recipient of the 2013 Iowa Educational Research & Evaluation Association Distinguished Research Award for her work on predictors impacting adolescent suicidal behavior. The results of her research were published in Children & Schools, a journal of the National Association of Social Workers. 

Myke Selha • Selected in 2017 as one of 60 social workers from the United States and Canada to be a part of the Standards Setting Task Force for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).


Hailey Hilts '18 • Recipient of the Social Work Values and Ethical Principles award. She is employed by Orchard Place as a Milieu Treatment Counselor.

Darlene Wagler '18 • Recipient of the Social Work Scholar award for academic excellence. She is employed by Mercy Hospital as a Medical Social Worker.

Anna Determann, ’19 – Recipient of the Grand View Social Work Service Award.

Clarissa Mejia, ’19 – Recipient of the Grand View Social Work Scholar award for academic excellence.

Field Experiences

Many agencies value Grand View's experiential program and are more than willing to provide quality field experiences. Field education provides students with a guided, intensive social work practice experience and is taken in the spring of the student's senior year. The field education placement provides students an opportunity to blend social work theory and practice knowledge; it is a culmination of social work's competency-based education, the final step in academic preparation for becoming a generalist social worker. Students are placed in an approved setting and receive onsite supervision by a credentialed social work practitioner.

Students in the social work program have completed field placements in agencies such as:

  • ¡Al Éxito!
  • Ankeny Community Schools
  • Bridges of Iowa
  • CareMore
  • Children & Families of Iowa
  • Community Support Advocates
  • Community Youth Concepts
  • Department of Human Rights
  • Department of Human Services
  • Des Moines Public Schools
  • Drake University Career Center
  • Lutheran Services of Iowa
  • Madrid Home Communities
  • Marshalltown Veterans Home
  • National Association
    of Social Workers-Iowa Chapter
  • Passageway
  • UnityPoint
  •  UnityPoint Hospice
  • Youth Emergency Shelter & Services 


Field Education Manual Explore More Programs Visit Campus

Rasmussen Center

Dedicated in 2008, the 42,851 square-foot $8.5 million building houses the departments of art, education, history, criminal justice, political studies, psychology and sociology, as well as general-purpose classrooms, art studios, computer labs, the ALT Center, faculty offices, and various student amenities.

Virtual Tour