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Student Opportunities in Social Work

At SVSU, classroom learning is only part of a student's education. Experiencing real life situations; sharing knowledge, leadership and skills; working with clients and those from different backgrounds; are part of what it means to experience social work first hand. These experiences through field placement options, student clubs and organizations, and study abroad experiences give our students an advantage before they enter the workplace.

Student Social Work Organization 

The Student Social Work Organization (SSWO) exists to allow an outlet for student service, to inform students of meetings, workshops and conferences of interest to them, to supplement the formal educational experience, to provide for fellowship for those pursuing common goals, and to serve as a liaison with the social work department. SSWO sponsors forums, fund raisers, social events, and service and social action projects in the area.

SSWO has its own officers and Constitution, and has representation on the Community Advisory Committee to the social work department. All students who are in the social work program, or who have an interest in social and service action programs, are eligible to participate. You are encouraged to become involved in this organization.


Many campus-wide committees and organizations also seek student membership and involvement.  Some that may be of interest to developing social work professionals include:

  • Gay – Straight Alliance (GSA)
  • Organization of Black Unity
  • Ablers Club (for students with disabilities)
  • International Students Club

Student Life has more information about student organizations on campus that may appeal to you as a social work major.

Phi Alpha Honor Society

The social work program hosts the Delta Omega chapter of Phi Alpha, the national leadership honor society of social work.  The purpose of Phi Alpha is to promote high standards of education for social workers, facilitate bonds between social work students, and promote service.

Criteria for admission to Phi Alpha include:

  • Full admission to the social work program
  • At least sophomore status
  • Completion of a minimum 9 credits of social work courses
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or better
  • GPA of 3.25 or better in social work courses
  • Documentation of minimum 10 hours of service to the community or campus (could include Student Social Work Organization).

Induction into Phi Alpha is held in fall and winter semesters at the end-of-the-semester department meetings.

Study Abroad

Social work students have been exposed to international social work, human services, social work and education in Costa Rica and Senegal. They develop an appreciation for differences in culture and social systems around the world.

Field Placement

During the first two years, students work on general education requirements and prerequisites. In the junior year, students begin the core BSW curriculum in preparation for field placement. Along with advanced courses during senior year, students are placed in an agency two days a week for two semesters to learn to provide social work services to clients under the supervision of a field instructor. This is unique to social work and provides the student with professional experience prior to graduation. This gives BSW graduates a tremendous advantage when seeking a professional position after graduation.

The Social Work Program is blessed with many fine field agencies located throughout the region. Students take an active role in selecting a site that meets their interests and learning needs. Commuting students may select an agency that is closer to home. Students residing on campus can find numerous agencies within a short commute from campus. Placement options include: schools, hospitals, nursing homes, mental health, family and youth services, prevention services, residential facilities, domestic violence programs, Department of Human Services sites, protective services, foster care, adoption, aging services, substance abuse, hospice, family court, and Head Start.