Department of Social Work

About the Department

Delta State University began offering social work courses in 1972, granted its first B.A. in Social Work in 1974, and granted its first Bachelor of Social Work Degree (BSW) in 1980. The Department of Social Work is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body for social work. The program has been accredited since 1983. Graduates are recognized as entry-level professional social workers that are eligible for jobs requiring baccalaureate education in social work. BSW graduates from DSU are also eligible for licensure at the LSW level in the State of Mississippi.


Consistent with the mission of the university and built on a strong liberal arts foundation, the Bachelor of Social Work program at Delta State University seeks to prepare students with the research-informed knowledge, values, and skills needed for generalist social work practice with diverse systems of all sizes. The program offers undergraduate and continuing professional education opportunities that emphasize service to rural communities, the right of self-determination, social and economic justice, ethics, and respect for difference and diversity. Using the person-in-environment perspective, the program seeks to educate and produce social work professionals who seek to prevent conditions that limit human rights (such as poverty) and enhance the well-being and quality of life for all people, especially the vulnerable and oppressed, locally and globally through scientific inquiry and service provision using the core values of the social work profession as a guide.

Programming Goals

The DSU BSW Program will:
Prepare practitioners who engage in ethical and competent generalist social work practice with diverse systems of all sizes by providing a dynamic research-informed, competency-based curriculum focused on the demonstration of professional knowledge, values, and skills.

  1. Encourage the development of a strong professional identity and a commitment to the values and ethics of the social work profession in future practitioners by providing a learning environment that models and applies social work frameworks.
  2. Prepare social work practitioners who understand, value, and respect difference and diversity by emphasizing culturally sensitive humility, empathy, self-determination, kindness, and service that advances human rights and enhances the well-being of all people and seeks to prevent conditions that limit these (such as poverty).
  3. Promote the importance of understanding the consequences of social, economic, and environmental injustice and preventing and alleviating injustice and oppression, especially with vulnerable populations, through advocacy and the provision of evidence-based trauma-informed education and care.
  4. Prepare practitioners who understand and appreciate the role and value of ethical scientific inquiry and methodological experimentation by engaging faculty and students in research and scholarship activities.
  5. Engage students in the assessment, intervention, and evaluation processes of competency-based social work education with diverse systems of all sizes using innovative simulation and service-learning experiences that promote competent care and well-being at all levels.
  6. Promote healthy and mentally healthy human growth and development through the integration and use of the person in environment perspective, simulative education and self-care models.
  7. Maintain adequate field resources with agency partners and organizations serving individuals, families, groups, and communities in which real-world competency development can occur.
  8. Promote the importance of lifelong learning by providing continuing education programs that enhance professional knowledge, values, and skills.
  9. Provide resources and leadership by partnering with individuals, families, groups, community agencies and organizations at all levels.

Delta State University’s BSW Program seeks to develop professional social workers who have the generalist knowledge, values, and skills which help them to understand social problems and human needs which lead to alternative ways of intervening in these situations. The curriculum is designed to educate and develop a professional social worker who, consistent with the values and ethics of the social work profession, is able to provide direct services to people as they experience needs in their interaction with others and the environment. General education and special degree requirements provide a broad liberal arts base which emphasizes the social and behavioral sciences and is a necessary foundation for the professional social work courses. Social work course requirements include a combination of academic classroom, simulative, volunteer, and field experiences.

With the liberal arts and a person in environment perspectives as its foundation, BSW graduates are prepared to continue their formal education in social work or engage in entry-level social work practice because they have demonstrated mastery in CSWE Competencies/learning outcomes.


Upon completion of the DSU BSW Program, students should have mastered the generalist social work knowledge values, and skills taught in the BSW curriculum and be able to demonstrate the following program learning objectives and CSWE 2015 competencies:

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior.
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice.
  3.  Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  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 Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.
    (See the Appendix where the full description with behavioral indicators of these competencies is provided).

Statement on Social Justice

Social, economic, and environmental justice is important to the DSU BSW Program and is part of the NASW Code of Ethics which we adhere to and the CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards competencies which we demonstrate. We teach it throughout our curriculum, include it in our assignments, volunteer activities, and simulations, and model it through kindness, respect, advocacy, and various activities. All our teaching, research, and service activities seek to promote and advocate for justice for all, especially the poor, vulnerable and oppressed at all levels of social work practice. Whenever injustice occurs, we try to listen and learn and then respond appropriately.