Exploring UC’s Online Bachelor of Social Work Curriculum

The University of Cincinnati (UC) offers a dynamic and flexible online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program designed to prepare students for meaningful and impactful careers in social work. This program combines rigorous academic coursework with hands-on field experience, providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in various social work roles. In this blog post, we will explore the curriculum in detail, highlight key courses, and discuss how these courses translate to potential social work jobs.

Program Overview

UC’s online BSW program is structured to provide a comprehensive education in social work. The program requires 120 credit hours, which includes general education courses, social work core courses, and fieldwork. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours from previous accredited coursework, making it an ideal option for those with prior college experience. The program’s flexibility, with multiple start dates and online delivery, makes it accessible for working professionals and those balancing other responsibilities.

Curriculum Breakdown

BSW Curriculum Graph

General Education Courses (42 credits)

The general education component provides a solid foundation in liberal arts, which is essential for a well-rounded education. These courses cover a range of subjects, including humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, fostering critical thinking and a broad understanding of the world. Below are examples of different courses you will take throughout the program, and you can view the curriculum in more detail on the BSW webpage.

Social Work Prep Courses (9 credits)

SW 3030: Introduction to Social Welfare Institutions and the Social Work Profession

  • Course Overview: This introductory course provides a comprehensive overview of social services and the social work profession. It covers the history, values, and structures of social welfare institutions and the roles of social workers in different practice settings.
  • Career Applications: This course prepares students for entry-level positions in social service agencies, such as case management and community outreach. Graduates can work in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and healthcare settings, helping individuals and families navigate social services and support systems.

SW 2050: Families in America

  • Course Overview: This course explores the diversity and dynamics of American families through a multigenerational developmental perspective. It examines the impact of social policies and cultural forces on family life and how social workers respond to contemporary family challenges.
  • Career Applications: Students gain insights into family dynamics and social policies, which are crucial for roles such as family counselors, child welfare specialists, and school social workers. These professionals support families through various challenges, providing counseling, advocacy, and intervention services.
Foundation Courses (9 credits)

Foundation courses provide a deeper understanding of social work theories and practices. These courses are essential for building the core competencies required in advanced social work roles. Key topics include human behavior, social environments, and research methods in social work.

Social Work Core Courses (27 credits)

SW 3042: Mental Health Perspectives in Social Work

  • Course Overview: This course focuses on social work with individuals who suffer from mental illness. It includes an overview of the service systems in place and explores issues for clients and families. The history of mental illness is examined in relation to service system progress, with a focus on social justice, ethical issues, and stigma elimination. The course emphasizes approaches that enhance problem-solving and coping strategies.
  • Career Applications: Graduates are well-prepared for roles in mental health services, including positions as mental health social workers, clinical social workers, and mental health advocates. They can work in various settings such as hospitals, mental health clinics, and community organizations, providing support and advocacy for individuals with mental health issues.

SW 3051: Human Diversity and Generalist Social Work Practice

  • Course Overview: This course prepares students to recognize and address diversity in social work practice, emphasizing cultural competence. It covers the strengths, values, family structures, and communication styles of various groups, and teaches students to establish working relationships across lines of difference. The course also focuses on identifying and eradicating institutionalized oppression and discrimination.
  • Career Applications: Skills from this course are essential for roles that require cultural competence, such as community social workers, diversity and inclusion specialists, and advocacy roles. These professionals work to support and empower diverse populations and address social and economic injustices
Field Work Courses (21 credits)

Field placements are a critical component of the BSW program, offering hands-on experience in real-world settings. Students work in various social service agencies under the supervision of experienced social workers. This practical training is crucial for developing professional competencies and networking within the community.

  • Field Placement Details: During the final year, students engage in fieldwork that provides high-quality opportunities to learn, develop skills, meet social workers in their community, and make a difference in the lives of the clients they serve. Field placements are arranged by the School of Social Work and are an important part of the curriculum.

Career Preparation

The curriculum is strategically designed to ensure that graduates are well-prepared for various roles in the social work field. Here are some potential career paths for graduates of UC’s BSW program:

Community Social Workers

  • Role: Community social workers develop and implement programs that address the needs of communities. They work in community centers, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
  • Relevant Courses: SW 3030 (Introduction to Social Welfare Institutions and the Social Work Profession), Field Work Courses.

Family Counselors

  • Role: Family counselors work with families to resolve conflicts, improve communication, and support family members through various challenges.
  • Relevant Courses: SW 2050 (Families in America), Advanced Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups.

Substance Abuse Counselors

  • Role: These counselors provide support and treatment for individuals struggling with substance abuse. They work in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and community health organizations.
  • Relevant Courses: SW 3045 (Introduction to Problem Gambling, Suicide, and Substance Misuse Prevention).

School Social Workers

  • Role: School social workers support students’ emotional and social well-being, working within educational settings to address issues such as bullying, family problems, and mental health.
  • Relevant Courses: SW 2050 (Families in America), Field Work Courses.

Clinical Social Workers

  • Role: Clinical social workers provide therapy and counseling services to individuals, families, and groups. They work in private practice, hospitals, and mental health clinics.
  • Relevant Courses: Advanced Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups, Field Work Courses.

Additional Credentials


Through a partnership with the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) at UC, students can gain additional credentials in Substance Abuse Counseling. By participating in specific courses, students can fulfill the educational requirements for the Ohio Chemical Dependency Counseling Assistant Phase 1 Exam or a similar exam in their home state.

One of the standout features of UC’s online BSW program is its flexibility. With multiple start dates and the ability to complete coursework online, students can tailor their education to fit their schedules. This flexibility makes it an excellent choice for working professionals or those balancing other responsibilities.

The University of Cincinnati’s online Bachelor of Social Work program offers a comprehensive and flexible education designed to prepare students for successful and impactful careers in social work. With a curriculum that combines academic rigor with practical experience, graduates are well-equipped to make a difference in their communities and support those in need.

For more detailed information about the program and its courses, visit the University of Cincinnati’s Bachelor of Social Work page.

Q: What are the prerequisites for enrolling in the BSW program at UC?

A: Students must have a minimum of 24 semester credit hours from a regionally accredited institution and a GPA of at least 2.75

The program allows the transfer of up to 90 credit hours from accredited institutions.

To approximate which of your existing college credits will transfer, please visit: transferology.com

Q: How long does it take to complete the online BSW program?

A. The program typically takes about four years to complete, but this can vary depending on the number of transferred credits and the student’s course load.

Q: Can I complete the fieldwork component in my local community?

A: Yes, students can complete their fieldwork placements in their local communities. The School of Social Work at UC helps arrange these placements to ensure they meet the program’s requirements.

Q: What types of financial aid are available for BSW students?

A: UC offers various financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Students are encouraged to contact the financial aid office for more information on available resources

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
Need additional student resources?
Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.
Corporate Taxation professionals having a meeting
Helping You Build a Better Business Through Continuing Education
Employee recruitment and retention is crucial for the growth and profitability of an organization and should be a high priority for every business. At the University of Cincinnati Online, we want to help develop and retain your employees through our Business Partnership offering.

Sign up for updates from UC Online

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.