Social Work Major

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.

In order to complete the BSW degree, students will earn 122 credits. Coursework in the major begins with two introductory courses in the sophomore year, followed by a structured program, including 13 required courses (41 credit hours) in social work. Beginning in fall of the senior year, students will complete 450 hours over two semesters of supervised field education in a variety of social service agencies and community outreach settings.

In order 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.
  • Average of 3.00 or higher in all social work practice courses.
  • A passing grade in the first semester fieldwork practicum.

All students must earn the minimum grade of C+ (77) in all social work courses and a B (83) in social work practice courses to progress to the next semester and continue in the program. 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.

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 B in all social work practice courses. Corequisites for entering the field are registration in:

SWRK 4305Generalist Social Work Practice I3
SWRK 4306Generalist Social Work Practice II3
SWRK 4307Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I2
SWRK 4308Integrative Field Practicum Seminar II2
SWRK 4951Field Practicum I4
SWRK 4952Field Practicum II4

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.

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.

Motor Skills and Mobility

Sufficient mobility, including the gross and fine motors skills needed to function in professional social work environments.

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 accurately and clearly communicate information 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 each individual’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 must have a physical examination and non-reactive TB skin test or a negative QuantiFERON Gold Blood Test (If positive, proof of a clear chest x-ray must be provided). Proof of immunization or immunity must be provided for the following: hepatitis, Marcella, measles, mumps, rubella, flu, and diphtheria-tetanus. History of disease is not acceptable as proof of immunity; laboratory results of blood titers must be provided. is the immunization tracking system used by Fairfield University social work students to house their health information. Students are responsible for uploading information and keeping all required information updated. Students unable to comply with field placement requirements will be dismissed from the program. All costs associated with these 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, it is the policy of the Egan School that all admitted 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).

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 Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. 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 45 credits to receive the MSW Clinical Specialist rather than the 60-hour 2-year program. The period of study for this option is three terms: summer, fall, and spring, including 900 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.