Social Work (Acc)


To prepare graduates for baccalaureate level, generalist, Social Work practice, within the context of faith, service and social justice.

The context of faith is important in the School of Social Work. From a perspective of faith, we are able to draw energy and determination in teaching, and helping our students develop strong, competent Social Work skills that will provide a foundation for helping others. It reminds us (students and faculty) that our talents, abilities, and resources are all gifts from God that are to be used in the spirit of love, generosity, and forgiveness.

Our faith-based context also directs the manner in which we provide service to our clients. It means that Social Work students and faculty will utilize the expected professional practice knowledge and skills of the Social Work profession in their work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and governments. Our faith serves as a lens through which we see our Social Work education as a layer established upon Christian knowledge and values.  It is a lens through which we see the world, our careers, vocation, and the special calling we have to reach out as Christian Social Workers to those who need help.

The idea of possibility relates both to our work as Social Workers and in our commitment to social justice. The concept of possibility reminds us that there are a myriad of opportunities in the Social Work profession. As students and faculty we have the chance to discern the best fit for our talents and skills. Likewise, in the pursuit of social justice, we help our clients reach for the possibilities in their lives, and as Social Workers we confront the barriers that might prevent our clients from reaching the possibilities that fit their skills and abilities.

History of Social Work at Concordia University Wisconsin

Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) was founded in 1881 as a school of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). Over the course of the next century, CUW moved from Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee, to property on 31st street, and finally to the former campus of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mequon, Wisconsin.

For approximately eight decades, Concordia offered high school and the first two years of a liberal arts college program providing "classical, technical, and religious instruction to young men and students who desire to prepare themselves for the ministry of the Lutheran Church." In the 1960's and early 1970's, a lay ministry program was incorporated in the curriculum along with co-educational programs for those interested in becoming teachers, deaconesses, or Social Workers in the Lutheran Church. In 1978, Concordia became a 4-year accredited college providing education in teacher education, nursing, medical assistant, Social Work, and engineering. It was at this time that the current Social Work Program began as a cooperative effort with the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

After officially becoming a university on August 27, 1989, the decision was made to establish an independent Social Work program at CUW. On June 16, 1997, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) granted initial accreditation for a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at CUW. The program has remained fully accredited since that time and was recently reaffirmed in 2018.

The Social Work Program at Concordia University is housed within the School of Health Professions (SHP) and is designed for undergraduates, leading to a Bachelor of Social Work Degree (BSW). In addition to the traditional BSW program on the Mequon campus, the program expanded in 2015 to offer an adult-accelerated BSW program through the Green Bay and Miller Park Way Accelerated Learning Centers. The BSW program is also offered at CUW’s sister campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan (CUAA).  Finally, a Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the Mequon campus began in fall 2017.


The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) provides accreditation for Social Work programs at the bachelor and graduate level of education. Graduating from an accredited program is important for BSW students. An accredited program offers BSW graduates the opportunity to request advanced standing for an MSW degree in any University. The BSW program at CUW has been fully accredited by CSWE since 1997.

Social Work Values

“Service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, competence, human rights, and scientific inquiry are among the core values of social work.” – CSWE 2015 EPAS

Generalist Practice

All Social Work programs educate students in Generalist Practice. Generalist practice provides students with a social work professional foundation knowledge base. Undergraduate students receive this knowledge base during the junior and senior year. Graduate students receive this knowledge base at a somewhat advanced level during the first year of their graduate program.

Definition of Generalist Practice

Generalist Social Work practitioners work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations in a variety of Social Work and host settings. Generalist practitioners view clients and client systems from a strengths perspective in order to recognize, support, and build upon the innate capabilities of all human beings. They use a professional problem solving process to engage, assess, broker services, advocate, counsel, educate, and organize with and on behalf of clients and client systems. Generalist practitioners engage in community and organizational development.  Additionally, they evaluate service outcomes in order to improve the provision and quality of services most appropriate to client needs.

Field Education

Students begin the field instruction sequence in the first semester of the senior year, and spend both fall and spring semesters of the senior year in one field placement. Only on rare occasions, if there are problems, will a student change a field agency mid-year.

During both semesters, a student will spend an average of 16 hours per week at the placement agency, for a total of at least 450 clock hours of field instruction. Students make a commitment to remain with the agency for two semesters, until the end of the academic year.  During the spring semester, traditional students must remain in their field placement until at least May 1st.

Program Requirements

Students must receive at least a “B” in all social work courses, maintain at minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA overall and maintain a 2.75 cumulative GPA in all Social Work courses in order to continue in the social work program. A student may repeat a course one time in an effort to improve their grade.

Program Outcomes

The goals of the CUW/CUAA Social Work Program are to:

  1. Prepare students for professional generalist practice
  2. Prepare students who have developed the behaviors associated with the nine (9) competencies established by CSWE.
  3. Encourage students to draw on the foundations of Christianity in faith, service, and social justice, and to provide leadership in the provision of service and solidarity for all persons, especially marginalized or oppressed groups.
  4. Develop students with strong practice skills built on the knowledge base of the profession. 
  5. Support students in their understanding of and ability to apply the NASW Code of Ethics when practicing, and in their understanding of the relationship between the code of ethics and Christianity.
  6. Prepare students who can apply research and/or evidence-based practice in practice settings, and in evaluating the effectiveness of practice and programs.

Social Work Program Core Competencies

  • Competency 1:  Demonstrate Ethical & 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.


Post-Traditional Core Requirements 144
Major Requirements48
Total Hours120

1 Post-Traditional Transfer Student Core Requirements   Transfer students must complete 30 credits in core and 45 elective credits to reach the 120 required credit hours.

Major Requirements

Required Core Courses
Statistics I (Counts as university core) 1
Required Courses
LA 115Student Success Strategies3
All required Social Work (SW) courses require a grade of B- or better
SW 225Social Work & Social Welfare3
SW 235Introduction to Child Welfare3
SW 306Social Welfare Policy and Programs3
SW 310Research Methods I3
SW 346Human Behavior in the Social Environment I3
SW 347Human Behavior in the Social Environment II3
SW 410Research Methods II3
SW 490Senior Integrative Seminar3
SW 327Field Education I3
SW 427Field Education II3
SW 328Field Seminar I3
SW 428Field Seminar II3
SW 326Skills & Methods of Social Work Practice I3
SW 426Skills & Methods of Social Work Practice II3
SW 436Skills & Methods of Social Work Practice III3
Total Hours48

Must receive a "C" or better

Application Process

A completed application includes:

  1. An online application completed at
  2. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 GPA overall and a 2.75 GPA in social work courses.
  3. A self-reflection essay.

When an applicant’s file is complete, the file is forwarded to the Director of the Social Work Program for review. Based upon review of the file, the Director will make the official admission’s decision.