Social Work Major

The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies offers a major in social work. The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Fairfield University prepares graduates for beginning practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The BSW curriculum is conceptualized within a generalist framework incorporating a solid foundation of coursework in social work knowledge, values and skills, interdisciplinary and interprofessional cooperation, social justice activism, research, and policy practice. 

Core Curriculum

Social work students must complete the core curriculum that is required of all Fairfield Undergraduates, with specific courses required to meet major and core curricular requirements.

To complete the BSW degree, students will earn 125 credits. Coursework in the major begins with two introductory courses in the first year, followed by a structured program, including 15 required courses (47 credit hours) in social work. Beginning in fall of the senior year, students will complete 450 hours (8 credits) over two semesters of supervised field education in a variety of social service agencies and community outreach settings.

To remain in the social work program, students must have:

  • Cumulative Overall GPA of 2.50 and 2.75 in the social work major by the start of junior year.
  • A minimum grade of C+ or higher in all social work courses.
  • A passing grade in the Field Seminar and the Fieldwork Practicum.
  • The recommendation of the faculty advisor.

Students who do not obtain the minimum grade in a course may repeat the course once. A grade of less than C+ in two social work courses (including a repeated course) will result in dismissal from the Egan School BSW Program. Students must also receive a minimum grade of C+ in SWRK 4307/4308 Integrative Field Seminar I & II and a passing grade in SWRK 4951/4952 Field Practicum I & II. These two classes are linked; therefore, a student cannot pass one without also passing the other. If a student fails either the seminar course or the field practicum, both courses must be repeated.

Progression and Admission to the Field Practicum

The BSW program has specific criteria for admission to field education. Students must have senior status, be in good academic standing with a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 and 2.75 in the social work major, and will need to maintain a minimum grade of C+ in all social work practice courses. Corequisites for entering the field are registration in:

SWRK 4305Generalist Social Work Practice I3
SWRK 4307Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I3

Field placements are arranged with the director of field education, in collaboration with the program director, faculty advisor, the agency and the student. The placement is developed to provide generalist experiences in accordance with students’ educational needs, practice preferences, and field site availability. Students are not guaranteed requests for specific field placements.

All Egan BSW students are expected to comply with all requirements of their field education agencies. Noncompliance with agency requirements (e.g., vaccination mandates, professionalism, supervision, weekly process recordings and other requirements) will result in the student being unable to complete the program requirements for graduation. A passing grade in Field Practicum I (SWRK 4951) and Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I (SWRK 4307), is required to progress in the program. Students who do not obtain a passing grade in the Field Practicum/Field Seminar course sequence may repeat the courses once.  The field education courses are taken in tandem and are offered once each academic year beginning in the fall. Failure to pass the field education sequence a second time may result in dismissal from the Egan School BSW program.  BSW students must complete the core curriculum that is required of all Fairfield undergraduates, with specific courses required to meet major and core curricular requirements.

Disability Statement

Consistent with its mission and philosophy, Fairfield University Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies does not discriminate on the basis of disability. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the University will assist students in making reasonable accommodations that allow an otherwise qualified student with disability to meet essential eligibility requirements in order to participate in its programs. Candidates for the Social Work program must be able to meet minimum standards for Field Practicum, with or without reasonable accommodations. To receive accommodations on the basis of disability, the student must self-identify, provide documentation of the disability and request accommodations from the Office of Accessibility. The decision regarding appropriate accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis. An accommodation will not be made in those situations where the accommodation itself would fundamentally alter the nature of the program, cause hardship on the school, or jeopardize the health or safety of others. For further information refer to the Fairfield University website for “Policies for Students with Disabilities and Temporary Impairments.”

Required Abilities and Attributes for Social Work Students

All undergraduate social work students in the Egan School at Fairfield University are expected to exhibit the following abilities and attributes in order to progress in the program. The faculty responsible for evaluating student’s competence in the classroom and field practicum will evaluate these essential qualities. The inability to consistently demonstrate these attributes and abilities can lead to a student’s removal from the program.

Sensory Abilities

Ability to observe, identify, and obtain information in order to assess, plan, provide, and evaluate social work situations and interventions; student must possess adequate sensory abilities or be able to demonstrate appropriate and safe compensation for deficits.

Emotional Stability

Emotional stability sufficient to function within rapidly changing and often stressful professional environments; the ability to monitor and identify one's own and others' emotions and use the information to guide thinking and actions.

Physical Health and Abilities

Physical health and stamina sufficient to function in social work environments. Sufficient energy and ability to manage social work responsibilities in a variety of settings for a full internship day. Physical health necessary to interact with those who may be immunocompromised, incapacitated, and/or otherwise vulnerable populations.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking ability in order to make sound professional judgments; student must be able to examine, interpret, analyze, and synthesize material for problem solving and evaluation of professional situations  and to evaluate their own practice.

Interpersonal and Communication

Interpersonal and communications skills appropriate for interacting sensitively with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations from a variety of professional, social, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. The ability to communicate information accurately and clearly for clients and other professionals orally as  well as in writing.


Social work students need to have the ability to self-reflect and awareness of how their own values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and experiences affect their feelings, thoughts, behavior, and relationships with others. Students must be able to understand and change their behavior when it interferes with their work with clients or other professionals.


Social work students must have the capacity for empathy. Students must be able to respond to clients in an empathic manner and communicate an understanding of everyone's unique feelings, thoughts, and experience.


Social work students need to be objective in consistently evaluating clients in their unique situation.

Value Diversity

Social work students need to appreciate and value human diversity. They must respectfully and appropriately assist all persons in need, regardless of age, class, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.


Social work students need to have skills to cope with stressful situations. They should also know when to ask for help in managing stress and have a care plan that includes support.

Professional Behavior

Social work students must behave professionally by knowing and practicing within the scope of social work, adhering to the NASW Code of Ethics, respecting others, being punctual and dependable, prioritizing responsibilities, and completing assignments on time.  

Health and Professional Requirements

Field agencies may require documentation of various professional and health information. As such, social work students may be required to have a physical examination, comply with health requirements of their field agencies, and submit this information to the clinical tracking system used by Fairfield University social work students. Students are responsible for keeping all required information updated throughout their field experience.  Students unable to comply with agency requirements will be dismissed from the program.  All costs associated with agency requirements are the responsibility of the student.

Student Background Checks and Drug Testing

The undergraduate social work program at Fairfield University requires the successful completion of the internship component of the curriculum. Some internship sites may require students to complete a criminal background check and drug screening before beginning the internship. Therefore, all social work students must satisfactorily complete a criminal background check and drug screens prior to participating in the internship component of the curriculum. These will be completed at the student's expense at a location designated by the University. Fairfield University and the Egan School have no obligation to refund tuition or otherwise accommodate students in the event that a criminal, drug, or immunization history that renders the student ineligible to complete required course or field placement(s).

Scholastic Honors

The Chi Psi Omega Chapter of Phi Alpha, the International Social Work Honor Society, was established at Fairfield in 2020. The purpose of the Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideas. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

Progression to Graduate Study

Advanced Standing Option

The BSW Program offers a 5-year BSW/MSW program option that allows students to complete both degrees in 5 years. The MSW program is housed in the Fairfield University School of Education and Human Development. Students will have the option of receiving the BSW degree without progressing into the MSW program. There is no guarantee of entrance into the Fairfield University MSW Program. Graduates of a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited undergraduate social work program within the past six years may apply for admission into the specialized practice year (2nd year) of the two-year program. Students who enter with advanced standing will complete 30 credits to receive the MSW Clinical Specialist rather than the 60-hour 2-year program. The period of study for Fairfield BSW students' is two terms: fall and spring, including 450 hours of field instruction. Students are enrolled on a full-time basis and move through the program as a cohort. The BSW degree must be conferred prior to the beginning of the Advanced Standing summer session. Applicants for advanced standing will apply during their senior year.

AETH 2285Ethics of Health Care3
ANTH 1110Cultural Anthropology3
HIST 2242Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in U.S. History3
HLST 3201Health Communication for Healthcare Professionals3
NURS 1112Healthcare Delivery Systems3
PUBH 1101Public Health and Social Justice3
SOCI 1135Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations3
SWRK 1101Social Work Essentials I2
SWRK 1102Social Work Essentials II2
SWRK 2400Social Work: An Introduction3
SWRK 2410History of Social Welfare3
SWRK 3301Human Behavior in the Social Environment I3
SWRK 3302Human Behavior in the Social Environment II3
SWRK 3303Social Policy and Social Justice4
SWRK 3304Research in Social Work Practice4
SWRK 3311Leadership for Interdisciplinary Health Professionals3
SWRK 4305Generalist Social Work Practice I3
SWRK 4306Generalist Social Work Practice II3
SWRK 4307Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I3
SWRK 4308Integrative Field Practicum Seminar II3
SWRK 4951Field Practicum I4
SWRK 4952Field Practicum II4
Total Credits68

All undergraduate students will be required to complete the Magis Core Curriculum, which is woven into this plan. Please refer to the Curricula section of this undergraduate catalog for detailed explanation of the Magis Core.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
ENGL 1001 Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition 3
History Orientation Tier 3
MATH 1016 Concepts of Calculus 3
Modern/Classical Language Orientation Tier 3
Philosophy Orientation Tier 3
SWRK 1101 Social Work Essentials I 2
Literature Exploration Tier 3
MATH 1017 Elementary Probability and Statistics 3
Religious Studies Orientation Tier 3
SWRK 1102 Social Work Essentials II 2
Free Elective 3
Second Year
Select one of the following: 3
Health and Healing in America, 1650-1980: History of Western Medicine  
Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in U.S. History  
African-American History, 1619 to 1865  
Inventing Themselves: African-American Women in U.S. History  
African-American History, 1865 to Present  
History of Global Humanitarian Action  
Natural Sciences Exploration Tier 3
NURS 1112 Healthcare Delivery Systems 3
SWRK 2400 Social Work: An Introduction 3
Visual and Performing Arts Exploration Tier 3
Select one of the following: 3
Introduction to Four-Field Anthropology  
Cultural Anthropology  
Sex, Gender, and Sexual Orientation  
Anthropology of Happiness  
BIOL 1018 Human Biology: Form and Function 3
Select one of the following: 3
Health Communication  
End of Life Communication  
Health Communication for Healthcare Professionals  
HIST or PHIL or RLST Exploration Tier 3
SWRK 2410 History of Social Welfare 3
Third Year
AETH 2285 Ethics of Health Care 3
HIST or PHIL or RLST Exploration Tier 3
SWRK 3301 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I 3
SWRK 3303 Social Policy and Social Justice 4
Free Elective 3
SWRK 3302 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II 3
SWRK 3304 Research in Social Work Practice 4
SWRK 3311 Leadership for Interdisciplinary Health Professionals 3
Select one of the following: 3
American Society  
Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations  
American Class Structure  
Free Elective 3
Fourth Year
SWRK 4305 Generalist Social Work Practice I 3
SWRK 4307 Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I 3
SWRK 4951 Field Practicum I 4
Free Elective 3
Free Elective 3
PUBH 1101 Public Health and Social Justice 3
SWRK 4306 Generalist Social Work Practice II 3
SWRK 4308 Integrative Field Practicum Seminar II 3
SWRK 4952 Field Practicum II 4
Free Elective 3
 Total Credits125