Social Work, BA

Students majoring in Social Work at Central will develop all core competencies for entry-level generalist social work practice, as informed by The Educational Policies of the Council on Social Work Education.

Building upon a liberal arts foundation, our generalist social work program prepares students to embrace the practices of cultural humility to engage with diverse client systems from a strengths-based approach within an ecological perspective; guided by understandings of the social determinants of health, informed by the intersectional dynamics of power and oppression.

We believe that life is dynamically interwoven by historical, social, cultural, spatial, political, and economic forces. Therefore, our program prepares students to assist people by locating barriers to human wellbeing and development within three broad levels of analysis and practice:

Micro– with individuals, families, small groups, local municipalities and organizations;

Mezzo– within large municipalities, state governments, large organizations, regional socio-cultural contexts and political economies

Macro– within the federal government, national and international organizations, socio-cultural contexts and political economies

Our integrative curriculum provides comprehensive understandings of client systems using a range of theories and practice models that inform multidimensional assessments and interventions within a variety of social work roles, including but not limited to advocate, educator, case manager and broker. This methodology is especially pertinent when working with groups of people who are socially and culturally subordinated, economically impoverished, politically disenfranchised and systematically subjugated. The individual, familial and community impacts from these systems of domination often leads targeted groups to be labeled as “vulnerable” or “at risk” populations.

Groups within the State of Connecticut who are designated as such include marginalized women, children and adolescents, Puerto Rican/Caribbean Basin Natives, African Americans, persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities, refugees, new immigrants, gay men, lesbian women, bi-sexual and transgender individuals, older adults. Refugee populations include Bosnians, Kosovos, Laotians, Vietnamese, Mexican and Columbian. Immigrants include Jamaican, Haitians, Bahamian and Brazilian populations.

Finally, the Central Social Work Department embraces the International Federation of Social Workers global definition of the social work profession:

Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.

Field Education

Guided by CSWE standards, the Social Work Program is designed to enhance course content through experiential opportunities. Students are required to complete a minimum of 680 hours in “the field” throughout their program. These volunteer field experiences are done in a variety of human service and human-service related agencies that provide assistance to individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. They may address a single client system and single social issue, or may address a multitude of client systems and issues simultaneously.

Two semesters of a minimum of 70 hours per semester are required of pre-Social Work majors before they can be admitted to the Social Work Program. This is typically done in the sophomore year. Once students are fully admitted to the Social Work Program, they are expected to complete additional volunteer field placements in each of the following two semesters, a minimum of 70 hours per semester or 5 hours per week.

During the final year of the program, students will complete a 400 hour internship (200 hours each semester), supervised by an MSW level social worker within an organization that is a vetted partner of the Central Department of Social Work.

Some of your field placements may require that you pass a background check before you can participate in the placement. If you fail to pass the background check, you may be unable to complete the Social Work Program at Central.

Student Portfolio

Progress in the Social Work Program is assessed through the Student Portfolio which is submitted through the software program Taskstream.

Stage 1 - Application to the major;
Stage 2 - Application for senior field education experience; and
Stage 3 - Upon completion of the Social Work Program.

The student portfolio is a place to organize and store material relevant to your development as a social work major during your time at Central. At each submission point you will be required to respond to a series of questions using a narrative format. It is important that your portfolio documents are organized and presented well.


All Social Work majors and pre-Social Work majors are expected to adhere to the professional standards adopted by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics (2017)and the NASW Standards of Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice (2001). Therefore, in both the classroom and the field students are expected to conduct themselves in a mature, respectful and responsible manner in terms of attendance, promptness, class activities and out of class interactions. Students are also expected to respect diverse opinions and tolerate differences.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Admissions Contact

Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions

Contact Information

Joanne Leon
Department Chair
Social Work
Henry Barnard Hall

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate competencies in social work knowledge, values and skills measured by senior evaluations, portfolio and employer surveys.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of diverse client systems with an emphasis on populations at risk, including cultural and spiritual considerations and the socio political and economic environment.
  3. Develop writing skills.
  4. Develop a social work value base.
  5. Demonstrate skills necessary to effect change with client systems of various sizes.