Below please find some of our most commonly asked questions. If you don’t see your question here, please feel free to contact the BSW Program Coordinator, Dr. Caroline Shanti at

Yes. The BSW program in social work prepares the student for the professional practice
of social work at the entry level. Our social work curriculum was re-accredited in 2013
by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting body for
schools of social work, for eight years.

Students who receive a degree from an accredited undergraduate program in social work
may apply to selected graduate schools of social work for advanced standing. You must
have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. If you are accepted as Advanced Standing,
you can finish an MSW in less than two years and in most cases, one year. Advanced
Standing is NOT automatic but up to the MSW institution you apply to.

Students transferring to USM from another college or university must first have their
college transcript evaluated by the Office of Transfer Affairs. If you have social work
classes that you would like to transfer in, we require you to provide the class syllabus for
review. If the social work courses were taken in an accredited social work program, it is
likely that they will be approved.

Students who declare a major in their freshman or sophomore years will be assigned an
advisor in the Student Success Office. Upon reaching the junior year, a School of Social
Work faculty advisor will be assigned. If at any time you are unsure of who your advisor
is, you can look at your student account on MaineStreet or you can contact Cathryn Egan-Arnold at 780-4120.

To ensure that you are taking courses in the proper order it is important that social work
majors meet with their advisors on a regular basis, once a semester as a minimum.
Advising in the School of Social Work is a mutual process of exploring career objectives,
reviewing requirements, designing the best possible combination of required courses and
electives, determining proper course sequencing, and facilitating a collaborative
relationship between the student and the School.

Throughout your required and elective social work courses, you will have experiences in
social work agencies. Some of these experiences will be in the form of service-learning
and the remainder will occur in your last year of school while you are enrolled in Field
Work courses. During the Field Work year, each student is placed in a community social
service agency selected and approved by the Field Work Coordinators. Field work
placements only begin in the fall and students continue into the second semester in the
same agency. By the end of the second semester of field work (the student’s last
semester of school), each student will have accrued 480 hours in the assigned agency.
Generally this breaks down to 16 hours a week during the semesters. A large number of
community agencies in the Southern Maine area have been most generous in their
collaboration with the School of Social Work and in providing supervision of students.
All students should refer to the Field Work Manual for more information and guidelines
governing field work. Students have input into their choice of agencies, but depending
on geography and other needs, you may not receive your first choice.

In order to advance to SWO 393 (Social Work Methods I) and then Field Work, students
must be junior status, have completed certain pre-requisites, have a 2.5 cumulative grade
point average, and a grade of C (2.5) or better in all major and foundation classes.
Students may also be evaluated as to their suitability to the profession.

To major in social work, all students must maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average
and a grade of C or better in all major and foundation courses. Once at the level of
applying for methods/field work (entering SWO 393) Students must maintain the 2.5
GPA and a C or better in all required social work and foundation courses to complete the

The students of the School have organized a Social Work Student Organization (SWSO). The
organization seeks to facilitate communication between students and faculty, ensure
student involvement in School activities, provide for professional growth, and respond to
issues and problems in the community. Student representatives may attend faculty
meetings and may serve as advisory members on the SSW’s curriculum committee.
Within the School, a chapter of the Phi Alpha Honor Society also exists.

SWO 201 Introduction to Social Work
SWO 250 Introduction to Social Welfare
SWO 333 Social Work Research I
SWO 334 Social Work Research II
SWO 350 Social Welfare Policy
SWO 365 Examining Oppression and Valuing Diversity
SWO 370 Human Behavior in the Social Environment
SWO 393 Methods of Social Work Practice I
SWO 403 Methods of Social Work Practice II
SWO 404 Methods of Social Work Practice III
SWO 411 Field Work I
SWO 412 Field Work II
1 SWO 3XX Upper Level Social Work Electives

There are formal procedures for the adjudication of student grievances in instances where
a student believes that his or her rights have been denied or violated. Grievances from
students can be brought forward based on grading practices, discrimination or
harassment, or termination from a field practicum. The student might first make an
appointment to speak to the faculty member or other person against whom you wish to
file a grievance. If that is not possible, or if the issue is not resolved, it then goes to the
Coordinator of the BSW program, and, if the issue is still not resolved, the final point of
appeal is to the Director of the School.

Grade disputes that cannot be resolved between faculty and the student are handled by the
Dean of the College of Management and Human Service. Claims of discrimination or
harassment are brought to the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.

Student complaints regarding the field work placement are handled within the School of
Social Work. These issues are first addressed with the student’s field faculty liaison who
will involve the supervisor at the field placement and the field work coordinators. A
variety of options will be explored and this may be accomplished through the Academic
Review procedure which brings a number of viewpoints to the table. This process is
explained further in the Field Work Manual and the BSW Handbook.

No. The BSW program prepares students for generalist social work practice. Grounded
in a commitment to professional ethics, social and economic justice and the
empowerment of client systems at all levels, generalist social work practice is built upon
ten core competencies, as outlined in the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards
of the Council on Social Work Education. The competencies relate to: professional
identity, ethical practice, critical thinking, diversity, human rights and social justice,
research, human behavior and the social environment, social policy, evolving contexts of
social work practice, and professional interventions at multiple levels. Some MSW
programs do have specific concentrations in a particular area.

If you have a particular career aspiration in mind, such as work with the elderly, refugees,
corrections, child and family services, health care, etc., your advisor can help you to
select appropriate foundation and elective courses that will assist you in preparing for
jobs in these areas.

Based on the policies of our accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education
(CSWE), you cannot receive required course credit or waiver for life or professional or
military work experience. You may however go to the Office of Prior Learning and ask
about receiving prior learning credit, but this is usually for elective classes.

At this point in time, no required social work courses are offered on the weekends. Some
classes are offered in the evenings (after 4 pm) to accommodate students who work
during the daytime. However, we do not have enough faculty to offer all courses during
both the day and the evening times. While we try our best to schedule as many late
classes as possible, there will be some courses that must be taken during the day.

There are three types of course offerings: on-line, blended, and traditional in-the classroom courses. On-line courses offer all course activity on line. Blended courses are partially on-line but also have a few sessions in the classroom. The majority of our
classes at this time are traditional courses offered in the classroom. Some required
courses have two sections and students may choose a blended (or completely on-line)
section or a traditional in-the-classroom section.

Students are strongly discouraged by the accrediting body from using their employment
site for a field practicum because field placement is intended to expose students to a new
learning experience and environment. Both the student and the employing agency and
supervisor are apt to experience role confusion with the addition of a field practicum
relationship. Also, the expectations of a placement relationship and a work relationship
are different (field placement is focused on student learning rather than agency service).
Students might be less likely to take a critical/objective stance toward their agencies or to
question agency policies. However, occasionally students are able to construct a
placement that also fits into their job responsibilities. If a student wants to propose this,
and the agency is willing to engage in a specific contract with the School of Social Work,
the student must first consult with one of the Field Work Coordinators.

Yes, our BSW graduates are eligible for the LSW license. You can find out the latest
information on licensing at:

You can sign up for the BSW or MSW listserv by contacting the Administrative
Specialist at 207-780-4120. Please be sure to let them know to which listserv you need to
be added to.