Mar 04, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

College of Social Work

Justin “Jay” Miller, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Social Work; Natalie Pope, Ph.D., is Director of the Ph.D. and D.S.W. Programs; Kalea Benner, Ph.D., is Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and the Director of Graduate Studies; Diane Loeffler, Ph.D., is Director of Undergraduate Studies; Pam Weeks, J.D., M.S.W., is Director of Field Education.

Social work is the only helping profession that emphasizes both human well-being and social justice. Social workers strive to empower others to make the changes they desire in their lives and advocate to bring about social change on both the individual and community level. Social workers help communities provide maximum equality of opportunity for all; help vulnerable individuals address needs more effectively; and seek continually to strengthen and improve the institutional systems responsible for education, justice, health, business, labor, and welfare so that people are better served.

The social work profession has one of the fastest growing job outlooks in the nation; dedicated professionals make a difference daily in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Social work students learn to assess and critically examine needs and available resources to create maximum opportunities for people of all ages.

The College of Social Work prepares students to become professional social workers through a liberal arts foundation and social work courses that include multiple service opportunities and field placement in social service agencies. Our alums work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, child welfare, mental health agencies, and social welfare organizations and with a diversity of populations including the elderly, the impoverished, the homeless, veterans, and their families, children and adolescents, and refugees and immigrants. This includes services designed to protect, promote or restore the well-being of people.

Program Accreditation

Both the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and the Master of Social Work degree programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


Social work graduates are eligible for professional licensure. In Kentucky, social workers are licensed through the Kentucky Board of Social Work. For additional information on licensure visit or the website for the licensing board in the state where you plan to practice.

Undergraduate Program in Social Work

The University of Kentucky grants the following degree in the College of Social Work:

Undergraduate Certificate in Social Work

The University of Kentucky grants the following undergraduate certificate in the College of Social Work:

The Undergraduate Program of Education for Social Work

The principal objective of the undergraduate program is to prepare students for beginning social work practice. Additionally, it prepares students for graduate professional education, whether in social work or other helping professions such as law or medicine.

All social work majors will participate in field education under faculty direction in a variety of community agencies. Students will complete the social work program with practical social work experience from their practicum placements.

Courses in social work contribute to the practice foundation of all students and help prepare them to be more effective practitioners in a complex society in which social welfare issues and programs are of increasing importance.


Every student is assigned an academic advisor who assists them in preparing for registration each semester. Undergraduate advisors are assigned by the Director of the Undergraduate Program, 629 Patterson Office Tower, 859-257-3506.

Undergraduate Admission Policy

Admission to the University of Kentucky is sufficient for admission to the College of Social Work as a premajor. Social work students must successfully complete the premajor course requirements before applying to the BASW degree program and maintain a 2.5 GPA. The premajor course requirements are: SW 124  and SW 222  or SW 322 ; PSY 100 ; SOC 101 ; and BIO 103 .

An application must be filed with the College of Social Work in order for a student to be considered for admission as a full major. In general, admission as a major depends upon the qualifications and preparation of the applicant, as well as the availability of resources for maintaining quality instruction.

Admission Criteria to the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Professional Program

In order to be admitted to the BASW degree program as a major, applicants must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Admission to the University of Kentucky (students are considered for acceptance by the College only after acceptance by the University);
  2. A grade of B or better in both SW 124  and SW 222 , or equivalent (or a grade of B or better in SW 322 );
  3. Submission of an application form;
  4. Minimum of a 2.5 cumulative grade-point average on all college work attempted as computed by the Registrar’s Office;
  5. Submission of essay based on criteria established by the College of Social Work;
  6. A passing grade in PSY 100 , SOC 101 , and BIO 103 .

Applications for admission are available online at:; deadlines are August 1 for the fall semester, and December 1 for the spring semester.

Individuals who do not meet the admissions criteria may submit a petition for consideration of exception to the College’s Admissions Committee. Admission may be granted if there is persuasive evidence of both the capability and motivation to successfully undertake the BASW degree program.

Probation, Dismissal and Reinstatement Policy

An undergraduate social work major or graduate student may be dismissed from the College of Social Work for failure to make satisfactory progress. In the Social Work program, the college continuously monitors the progress of all social work students. Consistent with University regulations and the CSWE requirements that social work programs have policies for “terminating a student’s enrollment … . for reasons of academic and professional performance,” the following rules apply in the College of Social Work: Academic Performance.

For students accepted to the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program, the rules for academic probation, dismissal and reinstatement are comparable to those established by the University for undergraduate colleges and also include criteria for student performance in required social work courses:

  1. A student must earn a C or better in all social work core courses (SW 300 , SW 350 , SW 400 , SW 421 , SW 422 , SW 430 , SW 435 , SW 444 , SW 450 , SW 460 , SW 445, SW 470 ) in order to complete the major requirements and advance through sequential social work courses. A grade lower than a C will require the student to repeat that course and obtain a C or better to meet major requirements.
  2. Any student who fails to maintain a cumulative UK GPA of 2.5 shall be placed on academic probation within the College of Social Work.
  3. A student can be removed from academic probation when a cumulative GPA of 2.5 is obtained.
  4. A student shall be dismissed from the College if he/she fails to achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher within two consecutive semesters of being placed on probation or fails to earn a term GPA of 2.5 or higher for any two consecutive semesters following his/her placement on academic probation.
  5. A student who earns a term GPA of 2.5 or higher for each semester following placement on probation will continue in probationary status until a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher is obtained.
  6. A student may not graduate from the College of Social Work while on academic probation.
  7. Students who are on academic probation within the College of Social Work may transfer to other colleges or departments provided the student meets eligibility criteria.
  8. A student who has been dismissed from the College for academic reasons and has remained outside the program for at least a semester and a summer session may petition for reinstatement. Petition for reinstatement is to be made in writing to the Dean and shall include a written statement by the student specifying why he/she should be considered for reinstatement. After consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and other faculty as appropriate, the Dean may choose to accept or deny the petition. The Dean may require that the student agree to certain conditions in order to be reinstated (i.e. take additional course work, complete a writing class, obtain tutoring, etc.). The Dean shall inform the student in writing that he/she has been reinstated or reasons for denial of the petition for reinstatement. No student will be readmitted to the College via reinstatement request more than twice.
  9. A student who has been dismissed for academic reasons and reinstated shall, upon reinstatement, be placed on academic probation and be subject to the academic performance expectations outlined in this policy.

Courses for Nonmajors

Students from other departments are eligible to take certain social work courses offered to enrich the content of their basic major and/or to increase their knowledge and understanding of the society of which they are a part. They may take SW 124 - INTRO TO SW AND DIV POPULATIONS ; SW 222 - DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY ; SW 322 - SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL WELFARE ; and elective social work courses.

Graduate Programs

he College of Social Work offers graduate curricula leading to the Master of Social Work degree and to the DSW or Ph.D. in Social Work. An MSW is a prerequisite to DSW admission and preferred for Ph.D. admissions.

Master’s applicants holding the baccalaureate degree in social work may be eligible for the 30-credit advanced standing option. Others will be considered for the regular 60-credit MSW program.

For further information, see The Graduate School Bulletin or the College of Social Work Bulletin.

University Scholars Program (USP)

The University Scholars Program offers students the opportunity and challenge of integrating their undergraduate and graduate courses of study into a single, continuous program leading to both a baccalaureate and master’s degree. The student’s particular requirements will determine the amount of time needed to complete the program, but the two programs can be completed in less time and tuition than that required in a conventional program.

Students with a 3.8 social work GPA and 3.5 UK cumulative GPA are eligible to apply following the completion of their first practicum.

Departmental Honors

The College of Social Work recognizes those undergraduate students who attain a 3.6 overall University of Kentucky GPA as having Departmental Honors which is indicated on the final transcript.

Dean’s List

Full-time (as defined by 12 hours at the University of Kentucky) students who achieve a 3.6 GPA for the semester will be recognized by the College of Social Work as having made the Dean’s List for that semester.


    MajorUndergraduate Certificate