FAQ

The basics

How many students are in the School of Social Work?

We offer three social work degrees — the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. Each semester, we typically have 250 to 300 B.S.W. students, 400 to 500 M.S.W. students and 25 to 35 Ph.D. students at varying points of degree completion.

How diverse is your school and student body?

The student body at VCU and at the School of Social Work is diverse in many ways. Our students come with an incredible mix of backgrounds, life experiences and aspirations, all of which create enriching classroom and student community interactions.

What is the average size of your classes?

Classes average about 25 to 30 students per class. None of our social work courses are in large lecture-style classrooms.

I am interested in learning about the B.S.W. degree program curriculum in more detail. Where can I find this information?

Please refer to the VCU Undergraduate Bulletin for all of the requirements for a Bachelor of Social Work degree.

I would like to find out more about specific course descriptions. Where would I find this information?

Search VCU Courses with the following selections:

  • Term: fall, spring, or summer
  • VCU unit: School of Social Work
  • Subject: Social Work
  • Course classification: Undergraduate
  • Check “Show course description” box

Admission

How do I apply? When can I begin the B.S.W. degree program at VCU?

Students may begin the B.S.W. degree program at VCU in either a fall or spring semester. In order to apply to VCU, please fill out the online application on the VCU Undergraduate Admissions website and choose social work as your desired major.

Does the School of Social Work have an honors program?

Yes. Students are able to apply to graduate with honors from the School of Social Work in the second semester of their junior year. For more information about this opportunity, please reach out to your student success adviser. Students who are interested in this program may also be interested in applying to the VCU Honors College.

What is the estimated cost to attend your program?

Tuition and fees fluctuate each academic year. For the most current cost, please visit the VCU Enrollment Services website. There you can find a handy Tuition and Fees Calculator. Total cost of attendance also varies depending on your residency status, choice of housing and lifestyle.

Should I wait until I have been admitted to apply for financial aid?

No. It is best for students to apply for financial aid as soon as possible. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is available on the Federal Student Aid website each January.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Please visit the VCU Office of Financial Aid website for the most up-to-date procedures and deadlines related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and various other financial assistance programs and options. This website also has great planning tools such as “Financial Aid Programs at a Glance” and student budget planning worksheet.

I’d like to get a student perspective on your program. Can this be arranged?

The Peer Mentor Program is available through the Office of Student Success. All peer mentors are B.S.W. students in the upper-level professional curriculum of the program, so they are able to share their experiences from the program, as well as what has helped them be successful throughout their time at VCU. Students are matched with a peer mentor based on their specific interests in the social work field, which is captured through the online request form.

I am a nontraditional student. Is this a good program for me?

The upper-level professional curriculum of the B.S.W. degree program requires a high degree of commitment from students. Courses in the upper level are typically offered only on Tuesday and Thursday from late morning to early afternoon, which can sometimes make it difficult for students to maintain a full-time job. None of the upper-level courses are currently offered in an online capacity.

Students are required to complete fieldwork during three semesters. Students are able to set their schedules with their field supervisor at their individual placements. Some field placements allow students to work outside traditional office hours, which has given some students flexibility in the past.

If admitted, what are some opportunities I might have to engage with other students?

Our Peer Mentor Program for B.S.W. students helps assist students throughout their development as professional social workers.

Our active student associations provide leadership development, educational workshops, advocacy, outreach in the local Richmond community and social opportunities to B.S.W. students. You can get an idea of the activities that they currently have going on through the Facebook pages of the organizations: BSWSALGBTQIA and Allied Social Work Group VCU and Association of Black Social Workers.

The Office of Student Success facilitates numerous engagement opportunities and posts relevant job opportunities and announcements through the Office of Student Success Facebook page.

Transfer students

I took social work courses at another institution. Can I receive credit at VCU for these courses?

Social work courses from other institutions are reviewed on an individual basis. In order to have these specific credits reviewed, please contact your student success adviser.

Whom should I contact to find out more information about how my credits will transfer into the VCU social work program?

You should contact Student Success Adviser Sarah Burton-Everette at severette2@vcu.edu. She will be able to identify how your credits will transfer. You will also need to send official copies of your college transcripts to the VCU Transfer Center, P.O. Box 842532, Richmond, VA 23284-2532.

I anticipate completing at least two years of college at a local community college. How can I be intentional about my courses at community college?

The VCU School of Social Work currently has an articulation agreement with John Tyler Community College that allows students to complete two years of college at John Tyler and then transfer into the VCU B.S.W. degree program with only two years (or four semesters) remaining prior to graduation. If John Tyler is not an option for you, contact Stevara Clark-Johnson at scjohnson2@vcu.edu to get an understanding of the courses that we recommend students complete prior to applying to VCU.

What supports are available for transfer students at VCU?

The VCU Transfer Center is designed solely to support all transfer students who come to VCU, through processing transfer credits and offering specific programming to help with the transition. The VCU School of Social Work Office of Student Success also offers specific programming throughout the year designed specifically to help support transfer students.

Academics

How can I change my major into or out of social work?

Students may change their major to social work at the end of any semester if they meet the minimum GPA requirement of 2.5. Students may meet with Christina Pittman, a B.S.W. adviser, at any point in the semester in order to get an understanding of the social work curriculum and a projected course plan and timeline to graduation. A change of major form will be provided to the student at the end of the advising meeting, which the student can complete and return to Pittman prior to the end of the semester.

Can I have a double major or a minor in social work or another subject?

Students who choose a double major must meet the degree requirements of both majors. Students who are interested in pursuing a double major with social work should meet with one of the B.S.W. advisers and bring any advising or planning materials received from advising in the other department. The change of major form will be supplied during the advising meeting.

Students who choose to minor in any subject must meet the requirements set by the individual departments. The Undergraduate Bulletin has information about major and minor requirements.

The only minor that is offered through the School of Social Work is a minor in social welfare. Students who are interested in this minor should plan to meet with Christina Pittman, a B.S.W. adviser, in order to discuss the requirements for completion of the minor. Change of minor forms will be supplied during the advising meeting.

At the time that a student applies for graduation, he or she completes the graduation with minor application and secures the approval of that department. Once this form is completed, it is returned to the department of the major program of study which the student is graduating from.

What would current students say is the most difficult aspect of the B.S.W. degree program?

The upper-level professional curriculum of the B.S.W. degree program, which students normally begin in their junior year, is very writing intensive. Most students report that the higher expectations that accompany these classes, both in the workload and research required for papers, is very challenging compared to the other courses that were taken prior to beginning the upper-level curriculum. The Office of Student Success offers writing support to students, and the VCU Writing Center also provides assistance to students with writing and editing papers assigned for courses.

What should I expect from my required field experience in the B.S.W. degree program?

You can expect a varied set of experiences. One of your semesters for fieldwork will consist of a service-learning type of experience, which will likely have more of a macro-level social work component to it. During your senior year, you will be required to complete fieldwork at one agency, which will give you a better understanding of what it looks like to work with clients through their entire experience with that agency. You will complete a field application prior to the semester in which your field experience is planned, in which you are able to express your specific interests within the social work profession. This helps guide the field department toward finding a placement that matches your particular professional and career goals.

Student support

What support services are available to students?

The Office of Student Success assists students with financial, academic and/or emotional support from the application phase to graduation. For universitywide support services, refer to the annual resource guide provided by the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

How can I find out who my student success adviser is?

If you are a lower-level B.S.W. student, your adviser is Christina Pittman. Email her at cepittman@vcu.edu. If you are an upper-level B.S.W. student, your adviser is Stevara Clark-Johnson. Email her at scjohnson2@vcu.edu. If you have questions, you can email sswinfo@vcu.edu or call (804) 828-1030.

I have a special learning need. Are there any supportive services available or exceptions to the structured curriculum?

VCU Disability Support Services will work with you to determine any necessary academic adjustment you require. You may also contact the Office of Student Success to discuss your particular situation.

Is there any help given to students who are applying for a job in social work?

Post-graduation opportunities such as fellowships, graduate school options and jobs are shared with students via email, Facebook, LinkedIn and HireVCURams. The Office of Student Success also posts announcements in the Student Success Center and hosts various workshops each semester. In addition, students are encouraged to use the services of VCU Career Services, which is located in the University Student Commons.