Social Workers help others reach their full potential.
As a social work major, you’ll be trained to become a competent, entry-level, generalist social worker for practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Our curriculum integrates the Lasallian values of respect for the individual and a commitment to social and economic justice with the theory, skills, and values of the social work profession, and offers students the opportunity to put theory into action. We set the bar high for our program so our students become the best professionals and people they can be.
We do our best to meet each student where they are academically, professionally, and personally so that we may nurture them for future success in their personal and professional lives. We believe our job as a department is to cultivate an environment where our students and the people they touch excel in life.
Because our Lasallian mission places an emphasis on education for all, we provide different formats for students to receive their bachelor degree in social work. Full-time faculty, who are also active social work practitioners, teach in all programs. We also have part-time faculty who are working in the social work field. Both full- and part-time faculty integrate their practice into their teaching.
Main Campus Programs
On our main campus, we offer the curriculum in a full-time day and part-time evening format.
We offer an Accelerated Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, an innovative degree completion cohort program that can be completed in as little as 15 months. Courses are in a hybrid format, with face-to-face classes meeting at La Salle’s Montgomery County Center in Plymouth Meeting and the remainder of the class meetings online.
Students meet one night a week and some Saturdays at the Plymouth Meeting campus for the duration of the program. The Accelerated BSW program is perfect for adult learners, including students coming from community colleges who have completed their core requirements.
La Salle’s accelerated BSW program is the only accelerated program in the area.
Courses in this Major
Students enjoy a wide range of interesting and unique courses including:
SWK 240: RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY
This course is designed for social work and other undergraduate students to explore issues in relationships and human sexuality. This course examines human sexuality from a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual perspective within a developmental framework. The student examines and clarifies personal and societal values regarding human sexuality, assesses the relationship between personal and professional social work values, and develops an appreciation for issues of diversity in relationships and sexuality.
SWK 280: DYNAMICS OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSITY
This course examines the foundational aspects of social work theory and practice, that is, the development of the “person in environment.” The course focuses on individuals as members of families, groups, organizations and communities, and addresses bio-psycho-social theories of individual and family development. The role of biological, social, psychological, spiritual, and cultural contexts in the lives of individuals and families will be reviewed. The unique impact of these contexts on diverse population groups including racial and ethnic minority groups, women, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, children, older adults, and people with disabilities will be evaluated. In addition, the course will examine issues of diversity in individual development and family lifestyle and life cycle development. Emphasis will be placed on the social work profession’s ethical responsibility for enhancing personal and social functioning and advancing social justice for individuals and families.
SWK 340: PREPARATION FOR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
This course is designed to prepare the student for the professional practicum in social work. The course will familiarize the student with the roles of the student intern and will guide the student in developing skills for the social work relationship, as well as an understanding of profession practice. The course will assist the student in identifying diverse and vulnerable populations that pose the most challenge for students so that they can gain understanding of, and comfort and experience interacting with various social groups. The course will also introduce interviewing and empathic listening skills and provide opportunities for students to practice these skills.
SWK 350: LOSS AND GRIEF
This course investigates the processes of attachment, loss, and grieving. The course explores loss, in life and in preparation for death, and addresses uncomplicated, complicated and disenfranchised grief. Theories of bereavement and basic counseling and companioning skills are presented.
“In social work, each individual person we meet is an expert on their own lives...it’s our job to build in what supports we can and then trust that they will do the rest.”
— Janine Mariscotti, MSW, LCSW, Assistant Professor
Blaze Your Own Path
A bachelor of social work can prepare you for a variety of career paths. Work takes place in many different settings with a variety of populations so that individuals and groups may reach their full potential and live a dignified life. Because our program prepares students for practice in multiple arenas, graduates engage in practice in diverse settings. Many alumni take advantage of Advanced Standing, a program that permits students with a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited school to earn an MSW in one rather than two years, giving these graduates have additional opportunities for practice. Some possible job settings in social work are:
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation
Our graduates have specifically worked at places such as:
Albert Einstein Medical Center
Philadelphia Department of Human Services
Catholic Social Services
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Women Against Abuse
Beyond a career as a social worker, there are other professions where a background in social work is useful. The ability to understand how people interact with each other and society is an invaluable skill. Some additional professions to seek with a social work degree include:
A hallmark of our Social Work Program is the extensive field internships completed by our students. Our social work majors complete over 600 field internship hours across three semesters. This hands-on experience prepares them for generalist social work practice and/or graduate studies in social work.
The formal field internships occur in the second semester of junior year, when students complete 200 hours of fieldwork and in both semesters of the senior year when students complete a total of 400 hours of fieldwork. Students typically work in their field internships two days per week each semester. Students are supervised by a professional social worker, and work directly with clients and the staff of the agency in which they are placed. The Field Director meets with students to facilitate the process of securing an appropriate field internship site. We encourage students to try different sites to increase their experience and widen the breadth of their knowledge. The following is a partial list of social service agencies that provide field opportunities for our students:
La Salle University has launched a Master of Social Work program. More info >
While a master of social work (MSW) is not necessary to obtain a job, it furthers your experience and knowledge in the field. As an accredited program, our undergraduate degree allows students to apply for advanced standing for a Master of Social Work degree. Through the Advanced Standing option, students who meet the required grade point average and who choose to go to a graduate school that offers Advanced Standing can obtain an MSW in 12-15 months. The MSW allows the student to specialize in a particular area of social work beyond generalist practice. MSWs practice in many of the same areas as BSWs, but they are prepared for more advanced practice and many are able to establish their own practice. Our graduates have sought their MSW at universities including:
Rosemary Barbera, Ph.D., ’83
Associate Professor, Social Work
La Salle University
Years at La Salle: 16 years, on and off
Degree/Education: BA in Religion, 1983; MA in Pastoral Theology, 1986; Master of Social Work, Bryn Mawr College, 1996; Ph.D. in Social Work, Bryn Mawr College, 2003
Can you tell me about your human rights work across the U.S. and Latin America?
I have been involved in human rights work since the 1980’s when I began to work in solidarity with Central American refugees fleeing the US-sponsored wars. I participated in the Sanctuary Movement, keeping refugees safe so they would not be deported. I then moved to Bolivia where I worked in poor neighborhoods around access to water and food. And then I moved to Chile where I was a human rights organizer during the military dictatorship. I also participated in the Sebastian Acevedo Movement against Torture and was a co-founder of CAPCI – Pastoral Workers against Impunity. I went to Chile as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner. When I returned to the U.S., I continued solidarity work with Chile in the U.S., and began to work on issues of human rights in the United States with a focus on immigrants and economic human rights. I also continue my human rights work in Chile around issues of the disappeared and with a women’s health group.
How did your path lead you to La Salle?
I began coming to La Salle in elementary school when I would attend Basket Camp with Lefty Ervin and Angie Scarangelli. I then came as an undergrad because I liked the openness of La Salle’s Religion and Theology Department.
How do you view your role as a teacher and what do you hope to instill or inspire in your students?
I consider the educational enterprise to be one of mutual engagement and relationship, and I try to approach each and every class session, and out-of-class session, with that frame of reference. I take seriously the philosophy of the earliest Brothers to “be ‘brothers to one another’ in their community, and ‘older brothers’ to the young people whom they saw ‘confided in their care’” (Brother Gerard Rummery as quoted in La Salle University and its Catholic Lasallian Mission, p 26). What I find most rewarding is the opportunity to engage in serious dialogue, discussion, and discourse with students about profound topics that affect our lives as active and responsible members of society. I enjoy being challenged and challenging the students to become better social workers and community members. I also enjoy those “Aha” moments when a student begins to understand a complicated concept, and, most especially, when a student begins to integrate the knowledge into their personal and professional lives.
I strive to challenge students to see the world from different perspectives and to expand their own worldview.
What is your ideal way to spend free time?
I love riding my bike, hiking, reading, and listening to music.
What is a book that has inspired you most?
It is so very difficult to choose just one. There are three that are tie:
Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America
John Sobrino and Juan Hernández-Pico’s Theology of Christian Solidarity
Who are three people, dead or alive, you would invite to dinner if you knew they would attend?
Beyond the Classroom
The La Salle Social Work Department has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Our accreditation gives students the opportunity to apply for Advanced Standing in participating master’s programs.
La Salle offers the only accelerated BSW program in the tri-state areas.
92% of graduates are employed, volunteering full-time through service programs or pursuing additional education full time within one year of graduation.