Bachelor of Arts in Social Work

Eligibility Requirements

Admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) major is limited to students at the upper-division level (60 units or more). Applicants must be either a current SF State student or eligible for admission to undergraduate studies at San Francisco State University.

The BA in Social Work is a two-year (four semesters) cohorted program designed for full-time study. Students are admitted during the fall semester only. As a cohort group, students typically begin and end the program at the same time. Students are expected to complete their BASW degree in two years.

Prior to entering the program, students are expected to have completed all general University requirements pertaining to the admission of undergraduate students. Students must have completed all SF State lower-division General Education requirements (or equivalent) and have junior standing (60 units or more) at San Francisco State University. Students must have an all-college total GPA of 2.0 or higher at the time of application. Students must also complete and pass the four required prerequisites with a grade of C– or higher prior to admission into the BASW Program:

  1. Introductory-level course in Human Biology (BIOL 100 or equivalent; lab not required for Social Work program)
  2. Macro Economics (ECON 102 or equivalent)
  3. Introductory Psychology (PSY 200 or equivalent), and
  4. Introductory Sociology (SOC 105 or equivalent)

All BASW majors must complete 120 credits to graduate and at least 44 units of major courses. 

Application Procedure

Students already enrolled at SF State who meet the eligibility requirements described above can visit the School of Social Work website at to learn about the application process. The BASW application for currently enrolled/non-transfer students can be found on the School of Social Work website. 

Prospective transfer students must submit two separate applications. First, they must be admitted into San Francisco State University Undergraduate Studies. Second, applicants must complete the supplemental School of Social Work BASW application. Again, the application process is as follows: 

  1. First, they must complete the SF State Application for Admission online and must be accepted by the University.
  2. Second, they must complete the School of Social Work application available on the School of Social Work Website. 

To determine if the School of Social Work prerequisites have been met, the articulation agreement between SF State and any of California’s public colleges or universities can be accessed at, an online student-transfer information system that shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California’s public colleges and universities and provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about student transfer in California.

The school’s admissions evaluation is based on prior academic performance, including completion of the five prerequisite courses: human biology, introductory psychology, introductory sociology, English composition, and macroeconomics. Other considered factors include the potential for professional social work practice as demonstrated by previous employment/volunteer experiences, and knowledge of and experiences with historically oppressed, under-served, and under-represented individuals, families, groups, and communities. In determining admissions, reviewers also consider the congruence between the applicant’s educational objectives and the school’s mission and objectives.

Once admitted, students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Students not maintaining this average may be dismissed from the social work program.

Freshmen and sophomore students planning to major in social work should consult with an advisor in the College of Health and Social Sciences Student Resource Center before enrolling in courses that fulfill General Education requirements.

Internships: BASW students are required to complete 450 hours at an approved internship site during their senior year. The Internship Coordinator works closely with students to find internship placements. Before entering internships, students must have completed 24 units of their junior year courses with a grade of C or better.

Program Learning Outcomes and Core Competencies

The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) curriculum gives students a solid grounding in generalist social work practice through mastery of the nine competencies developed by the Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS, 2015). Upon completion of the degree, students are prepared for a broad range of early career professional social work positions. After completing all general education requirements and prerequisites, students are admitted as upper-division students with junior-level standing. Students are admitted in the fall semester only and are cohorted to meet all social work requirements during their junior and senior years. It takes four semesters or two years of full-time study during the academic year to complete the BASW Program.

Competency-based social work education is an outcome performance approach to the curriculum and includes measurable behaviors for each competency that are comprised of knowledge, values, skills, and affective and cognitive processes. Our program learning outcomes are to teach students to demonstrate the integration and application of social work competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

The program learning outcomes (PLOs) of the BASW program are defined by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The EPAS lists nine core competencies that social work students ought to have at the end of their programs. The nine core competencies make up the PLOs of the BASW program:

  1. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
  2. Advance human rights and social, racial, economic, and environmental justice.
  3. Engage anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in practice.
  4. Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
  5. Engage in policy practice.
  6. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  7. Assess with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  8. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  9. Evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

The School of Social Work is committed to enhancing all students’ ability to communicate in an effective and professional manner, both orally and in writing. Further, the school promotes efforts to ensure that all forms of communication are culturally sensitive and appropriate.

To prepare practitioners for the challenges and responsibilities of advocacy within professional settings, the School of Social Work pursues a rigorous writing proficiency standard in the BASW and MSW programs. Formal writing assignments are integrated into the structure of classes with the expectation that students progressively expand and refine their mastery of organizing ideas and expressing purposeful thinking. Written communication is a core competency in both the BASW and MSW degree programs.

Social Work majors who successfully complete S W 301GW in spring 2010 or thereafter will have satisfied the University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). S W 301GW is offered the second semester of the junior year.

Social Work (B.A.) — 42 units

BASW Course Requirements

Prerequisites for entering the Social Work program:

Introductory Psychology
PSY 200General Psychology3
or equivalent
Introductory Sociology
SOC 105Sociological Perspectives3
or equivalent
Human Biology (lab not required for SW program)
BIOL 100Human Biology3
or equivalent
ECON 102Introduction to Macroeconomic Analysis3
or equivalent
Non-Roadmap Plan of Study Grid
Fall SemesterUnits
S W 300 U.S. Social Welfare: Past, Present, and Future (3) 3
S W 302 Introduction to Social Service Organizations (3) 3
S W 352 Gender, Sexism, and Social Welfare (3) 3
S W 410 Human Development and the Social Services (3) 3
Spring Semester
S W 301GW U.S. Social Welfare II: Problems, Policies, and Programs - GWAR (3) 3
S W 400 Social Work Practice I (3) 3
S W 402 Interviewing Skills in Social Work (3) 3
S W 470 Social Differences and Social Work Practice (3) 3
Fall Semester
S W 350 Services to Children, Youth, and Their Families (3) 3
S W 401 Social Work Practice II (3) 3
S W 456 Urban Community Organizing and Citizen Action (3) 3
S W 502 Seminar on Internship Experience I (2) 1
S W 503 Field Experience in the Social Services I (2) 2
Spring Semester
S W 450 Introduction to Research in Social Work (3) 3
S W 504 Seminar on Field Experience II (2) 1
S W 505 Field Experience in the Social Services II (2) 2
 Total Units42

Complementary Studies

Students completing a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (B.A.S.W.) degree must complete 12 units in Complementary Studies in courses bearing a prefix other than S W and not cross-listed with S W. The courses required of all students who are admitted to the B.A.S.W. program will also satisfy the CS requirement: Introductory Sociology (SOC 105 or equivalent); Introductory Psychology (PSY 200 or equivalent); Macroeconomics (ECON 102 or equivalent); and an introductory-level course in Human Biology (BIOL 100 or equivalent, lab not required).

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

SF State Scholars Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Social Work and Human Services.
Social Work ADT Roadmap

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.