Social Work

Learn to build on the strengths of individuals, families, and communities to design solutions for an array of pressing societal issues while earning a Bachelor of Social Work. Apply Today

Social Work majors have a caring spirit and desire a meaningful career. At Mary Baldwin, you’ll learn alongside others with a passion for service and world change. Social work is among the fastest growing professions in the United States. The field offers career opportunities as well as the ability to help improve lives and benefit families, groups, organizations, and communities. With a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) you are ready for a professional position or for graduate study.

Students who major in social work earn the BSW degree; this credential is necessary for entry-level and generalist social work positions with governmental agencies and many nonprofits that serve our communities.

Prospective students interested in the BSW should first apply and be admitted to either the Mary Baldwin College for Women or Baldwin Online and Adult Programs. Once enrolled, undergraduates who are interested in the program will complete the BSW Application during their junior year in the program. Students gain extensive hands-on experience in the social work field while completing a field placement of 450 hours during their senior year, spring semester.

Our BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. You can view our Mary Baldwin University Assessment Results for 2015  here.

Fast-track your Social Work degree online.

Most courses required for our Social Work degree can be completed online through the university’s innovative Baldwin Online and Adult Programs. Just like in-person classes, the Blackboard-interface program emphasizes the development of strong conceptual skills in tandem with practical applications. MBU helps you fast-track your path to a Social Work degree with the opportunity to transfer up to 36 credits (12 courses) through direct course equivalents from the Virginia Community Colleges System.

Designed to equip students with excellent career preparation, the Social Work major requires occasional in-person class meetings as well as an internship and field experience practicum in addition to online coursework.

MBU’s program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which provides graduates advanced standing when pursuing Master of Social Work programs.

Why study Social Work at Mary Baldwin University?

The mission of the social work program is grounded in educating and training social work professionals who are dedicated to both personal development and social change through enhancement of individual and group problem-solving capabilities and the creation of a more nurturing, just and humane society. As part of this mission, students prepare to be competent, effective, skilled and ethical professional social work practitioners who contribute to the amelioration of human suffering.

Students are encouraged to build on the strength of individuals, families, and communities, and to lead the scholarly search for innovative, efficacious, and equitable solutions to our array of societal issues. To this end, our social work program is committed to the development of new knowledge that will inform the evolution of social policy, the organization and delivery of social services, and the profession’s ability to intervene effectively with, and on behalf of the vulnerable, disenfranchised, and marginalized populations. Within this framework, the program prepares students for generalist social work practice.

Social work students are trained in areas such as:

  • Assessment
  • Interviewing
  • Intake/Referral
  • Service planning
  • Case management
  • Crisis intervention
  • Program evaluation
  • Advocacy
  • Mediation
  • Community organization

The BSW’s academic foundation includes content on human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work research, and social work practice. Infused into all these subject areas is content on values and ethics, populations at risk, human diversity, and social and economic justice. In addition to foundation courses, elective courses include Aging, Child Welfare, and School Social Work.

Field practicum is an integral and essential component of the curriculum. Students are required to complete at least 450 hours of supervised social work practice in an approved agency. Through their field practicum, students refine their professional social work skills and integrate course content with on-the-job experience. One option is a field practicum focusing on social problems and direct service.

For adult men and women in the Charlottesville, Roanoke, Richmond, South Boston, and Staunton areas, Mary Baldwin’s BSW program can be particularly attractive. Many adults with work and family obligations find that Baldwin Online and Adult Programs’ flexibility and convenience makes it far preferable to other programs with rigid schedules and campus-only courses taught during the work day. Adult students can take many courses online, or in hybrid online and in-person formats, without giving up face-to-face learning opportunities and personal guidance from faculty with offices in our regional centers.

The Phi Alpha Honor Society provides a closer bond among students of social work and promotes humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work. Phi Alpha’s slogan that embraces their purpose is “Through Knowledge-the Challenge to Serve.”

The concept of a national social work honor society came from a group of undergraduate social work students at Michigan Sate University in 1960. Investigation revealed that local chapters existed at three schools. Those three schools along with a few other schools formed a National Honor society Committee in November 1960. For more than a year this committee worked on the constitution and other administrative matters. The name Phi Alpha and the key were adopted from the local chapter which existed at Florida State University. The constitution and formal organization were completed in 1962, and six chapters quailed to become” charter chapters.” They were Florida State, Michigan State University, Ohio Northern University, Central State College, University of Dayton and the University of Tennessee. Over 110 chapters are now in existence, and the addition of new chapters is continuing. The Mary Baldwin University Sigma Phi Chapter was added in April 2011.

Phi Alpha holds an annual induction ceremony in Miller Chapel each spring.

Membership Requirements:
An undergraduate student is eligible for active membership after achieving the following National minimum requirements and meeting local Chapter requirements:
a. Declared social work as a major.
b. Achieved sophomore status.
c. Completed 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of required social work courses.
d. Achieved an overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
e. Achieved a 3.25 grade point average in required social work courses.
f. Local chapter may establish higher eligibility requirements.

Social Work Graduates: Where are they now?
Some recent Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) graduates include:


  • Marisela Figueroa-Gomes
    In-Home Counselor, Compass Youth and Family Services
    Staunton, Va


  • Hannah Boitet
    Clinical Social Worker, University of Virginia Medical Center
    Charlottesville, Va
  • Monique Burgess
    Social Worker, Foundations Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program
    Linthicum Heights, MD
  • Ashley Johnson
    Social Worker, Intercept Youth Services
    Richmond, Va


  • Simone Collins
    MSW student
    University of Maryland School of Social Work
  • Ashton Linkenhoker
    Therapeutic Day Treatment Counselor
    Family Preservation Services
    Verona, VA
  • Tamara McMillan
    Emergency Foster Care Worker
    Warren County Department of Social Services
    Front Royal, VA
  • Christina Ramirez
    Episcopal Service Corps
    All Saints Community & Development Corp
    Union City, NJ
  • Kaitlin Smith
    Foster Care Prevention Social Worker
    Warren County Department of Social Services
    Front Royal, VA


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Contact Information

College of Business and Professional Studies
Dean Joe Sprangel
Associate Professor of Business Administration


Carla M. Renner

Adjunct Faculty Member; BA, University of Nebraska; MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University Carla...
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Elizabeth Anderson

Adjunct Faculty Member; AAS, Dabney Lancaster Community College; BMT, Radford University; MSW,...
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Christopher R. Jenkins

Adjunct Faculty Member; BA, MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University
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Doris Dodson

Assistant Professor of Social Work and Director of Field Experience; BSW, Longwood University;...
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Kim Higgins

Adjunct Faculty Member; AAS, Thomas Nelson Community College; BSW, James Madison University; MSW,...
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Dianna Parrish

Adjunct Faculty Member; BA, Roanoke College; MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University Dianna Parrish...
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Guari S. Rai

Professor of Social Work; BA, MAS, Kashi Vidyapith University; MSW, St. Louis University; PhD,...
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Mary Clay Thomas

Associate Professor and Director of Social Work; BA, University of Montana; MSW, University of...
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May Guenin

Adjunct Faculty Member; BA, University of Virginia; MSSA, Case Western Reserve University May...
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