Social Work

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Welcome to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program at Elizabeth City State University Website! The BSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting organization for social work education in the United States. Professional social work education at the baccalaureate level prepares students for Generalist Social Work Practice. Generalist practitioners are trained to address a wide range of social problems and needs of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

The BSW Program offers a Minor in Gerontology. Gerontology is the study of the biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging. As people continue to live longer and grow older, there is an increasing need and opportunity for people to develop special knowledge and skills to work effectively witholder adults and their families. Overall, the need for social workers in general is projected to continue to grow. 

Mission of the BSW Program

The mission of the Social Work program at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is to prepare students to be competent, effective, and professional generalist social work practitioners at the entry level with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Special attention is given to the needs of rural and developing communities and guided by a person-in-environment construct in a global perspective. Through this mission, the Social Work program serves predominantly first-generation African American students and other underserved groups who often choose to remain in the rural counties of Northeastern North Carolina. 

The Social Work program focuses on knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that are required for effective practice in rural and developing communities which are challenged by disparities in social, economic, environmental, political, cultural, and educational arenas. The primary challenges include persistent poverty, underemployment, lack of affordable housing, homelessness, limited educational opportunities, human service organizations and professionals, economic resources, and access to health care and public transportation. Through mastery of specific competencies and behaviors, students are uniquely prepared to effectively and ethically serve diverse populations in these communities and other contexts. Students are also prepared to engage in practices that demonstrate their commitment to the eradication of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, oppression, and other forms of social injustice, as well as the commitment to continuous professional growth and lifelong learning.


  1. To prepare students to practice ethically and competently as generalist practitioners with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  1. To prepare students to engage with diverse populations to advance human rights and promote social, economic, and environmental justice in rural, developing, and global communities.
  1. To provide practice opportunities for students to serve the community.
  1. To prepare students for graduate study and lifelong learning.


Student Learning Outcomes

The BSW curriculum prepares its graduates for Generalist Social Work Practice through mastery of the nine competencies below.

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

(Council on Social Work Education-2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards)

Plan of Study

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Minor in Gerontology

Social workers have excellent employment opportunities as the demand for social workers at all levels are high:
  • Advocacy Services
  • Aging/Older Adult Services/Geriatrics
  • Behavioral Health Services
  • Case Management Services
  • Child and Youth Services
  • Child Support Enforcement Specialists
  • Child Welfare Services
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Domestic Violence Programs
  • Family Services Specialists
  • Foster Care Services
  • Guardian-Ad-Litem (GAL)
  • Home Health Services
  • Hospices and Palliative Care Services
  • Human Services Specialist
  • Juvenile Court Liaison
  • Probation Officer
  • Public Health
  • Residential Care Services
  • School Social Work
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Schedule an appointment with a Social Work faculty member to learn more about career opportunities in Social Work and preparation for the Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree/Advanced Standing.  

Salary Information:

$41,000 per year at the entry level (varies by state, job type, and agency)

Admission to Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs

ECSU Social Work Program Graduates Have Attended the Following University of North Carolina (UNC) System Institutions (regular and advanced standing admission):

  • East Carolina University
  • Fayetteville State University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke

ECSU Social Work Program Graduates Have Attended the Following Out-of-State Institutions (regular and advanced standing admission):

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Fordham University
  • Howard University
  • Morgan State University
  • Norfolk State University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Georgia
  • University of New England
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of South Carolina
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Social Work Club

The Social Work Club is a student led organization that was developed to increase awareness of social problems and needs within the University and the community. The primary focus is community service and outreach.  The Club offers volunteer opportunities, leadership experiences, and fellowship with students across disciplines. These and other activities increase the visibility of the Social Work program on campus and in the community, as well as educate others about the importance of the social work profession.

Examples of events sponsored by the Social Work Club include:

  • Annual food drive held during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays
  • Coat drives
  • Street clean up
  • Toy drives
  • Social events
  • Meet and Greet
  • Service projects

Requirements for Membership

  • The Social Work Club is open to all students enrolled at ECSU, regardless of major
  • $10.00 annual membership fee

Social Work Program Honor Society

The purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideas. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

The Pi Psi Chapter of Phi Alpha at ECSU offers membership to current social work students, faculty, and practitioners.

Requirements for Membership

  • Formally declare social work as their major
  • Achieve sophomore status
  • Officially accepted into the BSW Program
  • Have a GPA of 3.25 in required pre-professional and professional social work courses
  • A one-time induction fee bestows life-time membership in the organization

Benefits of Membership

  • Recognition of academic excellence
  • Participation in academic and service activities
  • Member of an internationally recognized organization for outstanding scholarship in social work education
  • Lifetime membership
  • Membership certificate and lapel pin
  • Recognized in the program at graduation

All students who plan to earn the BSW degree must officially select Social Work as their major, complete the Declaration of Major Form, and meet the following Admission Requirements:

  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation (faculty member, clergy, counselor, or other professionals in the human services field);
  •  A cumulative GPA of 2.50;
  •  A "C" grade or higher is required in ENGL102, 103, and SOWK 205;
  •  Completion of ENGL 102, and 103, BIOL 100 or BIO 207, SOC 201, PSY 212, and SOWK 205;
  •  The Social Work program courses are sequenced. Students are only admitted during the spring semester of each academic year;
  •  Admittance for transfer students, during the summer session is based upon completion of all requirements;
  •  Agree to abide by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics; and
  • Approved Personal Statement that addresses the questions developed by the Social Work Program Admissions Committee.

Additional Requirements and Policies

All students must complete SOWK 205, 210, 220, 247, 250 and 260 with a "C" grade or higher prior to entrance into Professional Social Work courses. A student may be dismissed from the Social Work Program due to the following:

  • Cumulative GPA less than 2.50;
  •  Grades less than "C" in the Pre-Professional and Professional Social Work courses;
  •  Unethical behavior (e.g., cheating, plagiarism, behaviors breaching the NASW Code of Ethics);
  •  Transfer students (including those who have already achieved junior status) and other students who change their major to Social Work must also go through the application process and be officially admitted into the Social Work program;
  •  There is no guarantee that courses transferred from other degree programs or institutions of higher learning will substitute for required social work courses.
  •  The BSW Program does not grant Social Work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Additional Fees not Included in Tuition

Liability Insurance ($30)

Proctoring Fees


Internship Required? Yes or No, if so what semester and are there any fees associated


Fall & Spring,  (Senior Year) Yes


Laboratory fees associated with the course(s)? Yes or No


Are Online Subscription's required for course(s)? Yes or No


Membership fees associated with academic program? Yes or No

Yes (CSWE)


Social Work Field Experience and Seminar I and II provide a field placement internship for students at selected human service agencies.   Students are expected to stay in the assigned agencies for the entire academic year.

The Field Education component of the Social Work Curriculum includes directed practice experiences under the supervision of an approved Agency Field Instructor and the Director of Field Education. The Seminar Class meets once per week and is designed for students to integrate classroom learning and field education experiences. Students are required to demonstrate beginning knowledge, values and skills of generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organization and communities with emphasis on the rural perspective.

Admissions Criteria

Social work students are required to meet the following admissions and placement criteria before they are selected for field agency placements. The admission process for Field Education begins during the spring semester of the students' junior year. The Admission Criteria for Field Education are as follows:

  • Complete an Application for Field Experience and Seminar and return it to the Director of Field Education by the established deadline.
  • Include in the application packet a money order to purchase liability insurance.
  • Complete required background check.
  • Provide an Unofficial Transcript.
  • Maintain a grade of C or higher in all pre-professional and professional social work courses
  • Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 2.50
  • Submit a current resume to be maintained in the Field Education Office
  • Attend three Pre-Field Orientation Meetings

The Field Education Placement Process

The Director of Field Education will provide Field Education Applications to students via email Students must complete the application and submit it to the Director of Field Education by the identified due date. The Director of Field Education and social work faculty will meet to identify agency placements based upon: students’ experience, learning needs and agency requirements.

Pre-Field Orientation Meetings

Students are required to attend three scheduled field orientation meetings before they enter their placements during the fall semester of their senior year. The purpose of the pre-field orientation meetings is to discuss expectations and requirements of field education and agency placements.

Field Education Hours and Seminar Class

Each student must complete a total of 440 hours (220 hours per semester) in field education.

In addition to the agency placements, students are required to attend and participate in a weekly seminar class. The seminar class provides the opportunity for students to discuss their agency experiences and to integrate the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom and practice in the field agencies with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Field Education Placement and Employment

The Social Work program does not allow students to complete their internships in an agency where they are currently or have been previously employed.   This policy is necessary to prevent conflicts of interest in rural agencies used for field education placements by the Social Work program. The Social Work program does not grant academic credit for life or work experience.

Field Agency Placements

The Social Work program collaborates with a wide range of community-based agencies.

Some of the fields of practice include:

  • Rehabilitation
  • Public School System
  • Employment Services
  • Guardian Ad Litem
  • Aging/Gerontological Social Work
  • Child Welfare
  • Community Planning and Development
  • Community Organizations
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Disability Services
  • March is National Professional Social Work Month
  • World Social Work Day (third Tuesday in March)
  • NASW-NC Social Work Advocacy Day (held every other year/odd number years)
  • NC Child Welfare Education Collaborative – ECSU
  • April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • September is Healthy Aging Month (supports Gerontology Minor)


If you live outside North Carolina and are considering enrolling in an online or a face-to-face program that leads to a professional licensure or certification, we highly recommended that you contact the appropriate state licensing agency in your state or the state where you intend to work to seek the most up-to-date information about state licensure requirements before beginning the program. Elizabeth City State University makes every effort to ensure information about educational requirements for licensure is current; however, licensure regulations are frequently revised. Separate from educational requirements, state licensure boards may require applicants to complete professional examinations, background checks, years of professional experience, jurisprudence exams, etc.

Have questions about professional licensure requirements? Submit questions here. 

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes


Kim S. Downing, PhD., LCSW, ACSW 

Professor/Director of the Social Work Program
333 STEM Complex
Campus Box 305
Phone: (252) 335-3135
Fax: (252) 335-3843