Mar 22, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

School of Social Work

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Location: Mathematics-Education-Psychology Center 222
Telephone: 859-572-5604
Fax: 859-572-6592
Web Address:
Interim School Director: Dr. Caroline Macke
Other Key Personnel:

BSW Program Director - Dr. Tara McLendon
BSW Field Director - Dr. Tara McLendon

Full-Time Faculty: Jessica Averitt-Taylor, Nycole Brundidge, Kelly Fallon, Suk-hee Kim, Megan Lindsey, Kevin Lotz, Caroline Macke, Tara McLendon, Katherina Nikzad-Terhune, Reiko Ozaki, Holly Riffe, Karen Tapp, James Taylor, Neisha Wiley, Dave Wilkerson









Thinking about the discipline

Social work is an impactful profession, one that is critically important to the wellbeing of individuals, as well as the communities in which they live. Social workers are committed to promoting positive change at the individual and societal level. If you feel energized and motivated by the thought of empowering others and positively impacting the lives of vulnerable populations, then this profession is for you. Social workers are employed in many settings, including schools, hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, detention centers, child welfare, foster care, police stations, community-based agencies, mental health agencies, homeless shelters, senior centers, policy think tanks, etc. Those who have completed a BSW or MSW have the ability to pursue state licensure at the level of their degree.


The School of Social Work is accredited by:
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
1701 Duke Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314-3457
Phone: 1.703.683.8080
Fax: 1.703.683.8099


Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is a four-year program that prepares students for generalist practice with diverse populations in diverse settings. The curriculum focuses on teaching the knowledge, skills, and values needed to effectively work with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students will complete course work related to human behavior theory, policy, community organization, research, and practice with individuals, families, and groups. The social work values of self-determination and the worth and dignity of all people form the foundation of the curriculum.


Path to the BSW degree:  

The path to the BSW degree involves 4 main steps/phases. 

  • Phase 0:  Declare Social Work as your Major & Meet with your Advisor 
  • Phase 1: Complete Required Social Work Pre-Requisites & Take Social Work Electives 
  • Phase 2: Complete Core Social Work Courses & Continue to Take Social Work Electives 
  • Phase 3: Complete your Field Placement & Finish Up Social Work Electives 

PHASE 0: Students interested in the social work profession should declare Social Work as their major and meet with their advisor.  

PHASE 1: Social work majors must complete 6 required pre-requisite courses with a grade of C- or higher. These 6 pre-requisites are as follows:  

PHASE 2: Once students have completed the 6 pre-requisite courses with a grade of C- or higher (as outlined in Phase 1), AND have maintained a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, then students are ready to enter Phase 2, which involves completing the restricted, core social work courses. Students will complete a total of 8 core social work courses over the span of 2 semesters.  

PHASE 3: In order to enter Phase 3, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 and must have completed all core social work courses with a grade of C- or higher. During Phase 3 of the social work journey, students complete their field placement. This is where students apply what they have learned in the classroom within a community-based agency. This experience fosters empirical and practice-based knowledge integration. Field placements are chosen by students in collaboration with the field director. Students will complete a total of 400 hours at their field placement over the span of their final semester at NKU. This is the equivalent of approximately 25 hours per week. While completing these field placement hours, students are also enrolled in two 5-credit hour courses (SWK 406  and SWK 408 ). These field instruction courses are intended to enhance and compliment the learning that is occurring within the community-based agency. 

In addition to the core social work courses, students must also complete a total of 9 credit hours of social work electives. We offer electives in the areas of forensic social work, police social work, child welfare, substance abuse, mental health, social justice, family-directed structural model, gerontology, veteran services, and others. Based on the needs of the community and the social work profession, we continuously re-evaluate, update, and add electives.   

You should also know: 

Some social service agencies may require field students and potential employees to undergo criminal background checks by an external agency. Also, some agencies may deny students and graduates convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. In addition, obtaining licensure may be more challenging for individuals convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors.   

Special retention requirements: Students may be removed from the social work program based on the following:

  • Academic performance below the acceptable level of an overall GPA of at least 2.75 or less than the grade of C- in any social work or supportive required courses.
  • Behavior inappropriate or detrimental in a professional relationship, including criminal convictions.
  • Violation of NKU’s Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities.
  • Violation of the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics.


Special opportunities for our BSW students

  • Public Child Welfare Certification Program (PCWCP). PCWCP is a selective-admission, pre-employment opportunity for social work majors that pays in-state tuition for the last three or four semesters and per-semester stipend benefits. PCWCP is a statewide collaboration among the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and 11 Kentucky university social work programs. The purpose of the program is to provide BSW students the opportunity to receive advanced training in the area of child welfare protection and permanency. After graduation, PCWCP students are required to become employed by the Kentucky Department of Health & Family Services, Department of Child Protection & Permanency for a minimum of two years.
  • Scholarship opportunities for social work majors. Information is available from the Office of Student Financial Assistance.
  • Micro-credentials in specific social work areas:

Special opportunities for BSW graduates

  • Ability to apply for admission to the advanced standing, one-year MSW program (30 credit hours instead of 60 credit hours).
  • Ability to obtain professional state social work license.

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