BSW Program History

Undergraduate social work education has long been associated with The University of Southern Mississippi. Social work courses were included in the curriculum of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 1960. Students planning to enter the social work profession were allowed to major in Sociology with an emphasis in social work. The social work courses at that time included Introduction to Social Work, Methods of Social Work, and a Field Work Practicum. When the Council on Social Work Education issued standards for the accreditation of baccalaureate social work programs, careful attention was given to the content of some sociology courses and several were used to support the social work degree.

In the fall of 1987, the University began reorganization. As a result, the undergraduate social work emphasis was carefully examined. The examination revealed that the program was not adequately meeting the needs of the students. Since the program was not accredited, students who graduated with a degree in Sociology with a Social Work emphasis were at a disadvantage. They could not compete with students from accredited programs for entry-level social work positions. They could not apply for licensure scheduled to begin in Mississippi in 1989 and when applying for graduate social work programs students would either lose credits or not be admitted as advanced standing students.

On a recommendation from the Reorganization Committee, the emphasis in social work was transferred from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology to the School of Social Work on July 1, 1988. A proposal requesting accreditation of the Bachelor of Social Work Degree was submitted to the Council on Social Work Education in 1989. The program was accepted into candidacy in 1990. The BSW Program was granted full accreditation in February 1996.

In the Fall, 2005, in response to demand for more social work education and to have an educational presence to address the needs of the employers in Coastal Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Northwest Florida, the School of Social Work established a new fully onsite BSW program at the University’s Gulf Park campus. The Gulf Coast BSW program has grown in a few short years to become one of the most successful new programs offered at the Gulf Coast campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Because we are one program with two locations, students may choose to take courses on either campus, based on availability and faculty advisor recommendation.