Required course work for the Bachelor of Science in Social Work includes acquisition of social work knowledge, values, and skills essential to social work practice, research, and policy. The curriculum culminates with a full-time, one-term field practicum. Requirements include 49 hours of Social Work classes and 28 hours of required foundation courses from other school disciplines.

You can read the Student Handbook (pdf) for an in-depth look at exactly how the program works and what you will be studying and experiencing.

No minor is required for social work majors.


How to Apply

If you wish to declare social work as a major, you must formally apply for admission to the professional program. Learn about the application process on the Admission to the Program page.


Course Catalog

A complete list of major requirements, courses, and a proposed four-year program of study for Social Work majors are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.


Program Requirements

All program requirements and courses are outlined in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog. Required coursework includes acquisition of social work knowledge, values, and skills essential to social work practice, research, and policy. The curriculum culminates with a full-time, one-term field practicum.


All social work majors must take:
The overall goal of this course of this course is to introduce students to the value-based profession of social work. More specifically, the students will have the opportunity to learn about social work's history mission, its professional values and its theoretical frame the systems/ecological perspective. Further, students will explore arenas in in generalist practice and the varied roles and responsibilities of social work professionals in a range of fields or practice. Students will be afforded the opportunity to examine their own personal values and how those values influence their views on social welfare problems and issues. SW 100 is required for social worker majors and social work minors, an it is open to others as an elective. Students generally take SW 100 while completing core requirements. 3 hours.
An introduction to the techniques of professional writing for human service practitioners. The course is designed to enhance professional and academic writing skills. Students in this class will receive practice in writing to a variety of professional audiences typical of the human service workplace. The course will be of benefit to students who want to advance their competencies in manuscript development and general writing skills for the social sciences. Content includes a review of the basic writing mechanics for English composition. For professional publications and social science academic papers, emphasis will be placed on the American Psychological Association's (APA) documentation style and manuscript format guidelines. Students will study how to craft narrative proposals for funding-support applications. 2 hours.
A history of US social welfare and its relationship and impact on current social work practice. Additionally, the course explores, within a social justice context, the historical impact of social welfare policies on the well-being of individuals and communities. 3 hours.
This course offers an introduction to the helping profession of social work with service learning opportunities in local social service agencies. A didactic classroom that focuses on self-awareness related values, professionalism and ethical practice. This is one of four foundation courses that student must successfully complete before fully admitted to the professional program. 3 hours.
Requirement: Must be taken concurrently with SW 222L.
This course offers an introduction to the helping profession of social work with service learning and simulation opportunities in local social service agencies. The service learning lab integrates field observation with self-awareness related values, professionalism and ethical practice (SL). 1 hour. Requirement: Must be taken concurrently with SW 222.
Introduces analytical frameworks with which to evaluate contemporary US social welfare policy; it is designed for students with basic knowledge of the history of social welfare. The course also examines the relationship between current policy and the practice of social work today. Additionally explored is the real-world impact of current policy on the well-being of individuals and communities, within a social justice context. 3 hours. Prerequisites: SW 203 [Min Grade: C].
The first of two required courses in Human Behavior and the Social Environment, this course is designed to prepare students to understand human development across the different levels of social systems. The course explores theories, concepts, and knowledge from conception through early adolescence. Content also includes discussion of how factors such as social class, sexual orientation, gender, physical ability, age, race, ethnicity, and culture influence human development and behavior. 3 hours.
The second of two required courses in Human Behavior and the Social Environment, is designed to prepare students to understand human behavior across the life cycle. The course explores theories, concepts, and knowledge from early adolescence through death. Students acquire knowledge and understanding of human beings as individuals, as members of families, and other social groupings, and as members of organizations, communities, and larger societal and cultural collectives. Content includes discussion of how factors such as social class, sexual orientation, gender, physical ability, age, race, ethnicity and culture influence human development and behavior. 3 hours. Prerequisites: SW 313 [Min Grade: C].
The goal of this course is to introduce students to research theory, methods and tools; and to expand their appreciation of the quintessential role of research in guiding practice. Qualitative and Quantitative research methodologies, sampling, data collection, and data analysis, as well as skills in critiquing research studies will be taught in the context of ethical standards governing evaluation and research as set forth in the NASW Code of Ethics. This course is a part of the core curriculum of the social work program. 3 hours.
This course provides the context for understanding the analysis and interpretation of quantitative data. Descriptive and inferential statistics will be covered, along with hypothesis testing and statistical significance. 3 hours. Prerequisites: SW 320 [Min Grade: C].
The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to social work’s helping process that facilitates change and improves social functioning. More specifically, students will study the structure and skills of conducting an interview and the collaborative problem-solving process. Accordingly, students will have the opportunity to learn about and to practice various interviewing skills and communication methods such as session contracting, exploring sensitive subjects, and conflict resolution/mediation. Other areas of emphasis are empathetic responding, active listening, reflecting feelings and content, and observing nonverbal communication. This course will concentrate on assessment skills at the micro-level. Integral to the course goal is a focus on self-awareness and the professional use of self needed to build an interpersonal helping relationship. Therefore, students will examine ways in which their own personal values as well as characteristics (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity) and perceptions (e.g. belief in client autonomy, nonjudgmentalism, body language), may influence their communication with others. Emphasis will also be placed on documentation (narratives, comprehensive assessments) and the importance that accurate and timely documentation plays in our work with clients. 3 hours. Prerequisites: SW 222 (3) and SW 222L (1) or SW 222 (4). Corequisite: SW 322L. Instructor's permission is required.
This service learning lab focuses on generalist model application of social work practice at the micro level. The lab emphasizes systems theory and strengths perspectives to examine individuals and families, and gives students the opportunity to discuss and practice necessary skills for practice. This lab allows students to practice working with individuals and/or families in local social service agencies, using ethical and professional standards based on NASW Code of Ethics (SL). Students will complete 25 hours in service learning and/or simulation experiences. 1 hour. Corequisite: SW 322.
This course focuses on generalist model application of social work practice at the mezzo and macro levels. The course emphasizes systems theory and strengths perspectives to examine groups, communities and organizations, and gives students the opportunity to discuss and practice necessary skills for practice. This course must be taken in conjunction with the required service learning lab that allows students to practice working with groups, communities and organizations in local social service agencies, using ethical and professional standards based on NASW Code of Ethics. 3 hours. Prerequisites: SW 322 (3) and SW 322L (1) or SW 322 (4). Corequisite: SW 422L.
This service learning lab focuses on generalist model application of social work practice at the mezzo and macro level. The lab emphasizes systems theory and strengths perspectives to examine groups, communities and organizations, and gives students the opportunity to discuss and practice necessary skills for practice. This lab allows students to practice working with groups, communities and organizations in local social service agencies, using ethical and professional standards based on NASW Code of Ethics (SL). Students will complete 25 hours in service learning and/or simulation experiences. 1 hour. Corequisite: SW 422.
Integration of social work knowledge and values with application of professional helping skills. Students participate in a full-time placement in approved social service agencies under supervision of master's-level social workers. 9 hours. Prerequisites: SW 494 [Min Grade: C; can be taken concurrently].
The capstone course in Social Work is an integrative seminar that must be taken concurrently with SW 490: Practicum in Social Work. The seminar reviews basic social work tools that will enhance the students' work with client systems by providing opportunities to increase their knowledge of the social work profession, practice collegial collaboration for the benefit of clients, and engage in strategies for problem-solving. The seminar also provides a forum to review students' practicum experiences, discuss social work practice issues, and reflect on the relationship of these experiences to their overall social work education program. 3 hours. Prerequisites: SW 490 [Min Grade: P; can be taken concurrently].

You will also choose one Social Work elective (3 hours).

Transfer students must complete SW 322/322L, SW 422/422L, SW 490 and SW 494 at UAB.


Foundation Courses

Selected social and behavioral science courses provide a foundation for the professional courses. Majors must take the following courses from other disciplines:


  • ANTH 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • BY 101: Topics in Contemporary Biology and BY 102: Topics in Contemporary Biology Lab OR BY 123: Introductory Biology & Lab (this requirement may be taken as part of the Core Curriculum)
  • CS 101: Fluency with Information Technology
  • EC 110: Economics and Society OR EC 211: Principles of Macroeconomics
  • HY 121: The United States since 1877
  • PSC 101: Introduction to American Government OR PSC 221: American State and Local Government
  • PY 101: Introduction to Psychology
  • SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology

Ready to Apply?

All the information you need to apply can be found on UAB's Undergraduate Admissions Hub.