Students interested in a degree in social work must apply for admission to the Social Work Program and be an approved social work major before enrolling in courses above the 2600 level.

NOTE: It is very important that all transfer students see the department chair immediately upon acceptance to Carthage. The Social Work Program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

To apply to the program, students must:
  1. Students enroll in SWK 1300 and pass this course with a grade of C or better.
  2. Students enroll in SWK 2400 and, during the same semester, complete an application for the social work major as a part of this course. Students must pass SWK 2400 with a grade of C- or better to be formally admitted into the social work major.
Once students are formally admitted to the social work major:
  1. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale at the time of admission and throughout their academic careers.
  2. In addition, students must earn a C- or better in all social work courses in order to remain in the major.
  3. Juniors are required to attend two pre-internship meetings with the director of field education during their junior J-Term session. These meetings will not conflict with J-Term course schedules.
  4. In addition to completing the pre-internship meetings, students must be approved by the department faculty to enter into senior-level courses and senior-level field placements.
  5. To enroll in senior classes, students must demonstrate social work competencies, skills, values, and ethics in supervisory practice and academic settings. Non-academic standards measure a student’s “likely performance as a social work generalist practitioner.” Termination from the program is based on the student’s failure to demonstrate the social work competencies as outlined by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), and academic/non-academic behavior consistent with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.


Choose references who know you well. It is preferred that they are professional references, which can include former teachers, employers, supervisors, and coaches. Be sure to give them the form early in the application process to ensure they have adequate time to complete it and return it to the school. It may be helpful to include a pre-addressed, stamped envelope with the form to make it easier for your reference to return it.

Declaration of Major Form

These forms are available in the Office of the Registrar, located in Lentz Hall 431.


You must request these from the Office of the Registrar. They will give you an unofficial copy at no charge, which is acceptable for admission into the program.

Writing Skills Assessment

This must be completed prior to the interview. A writing prompt is provided to you prior to your interview date.


You will be notified of interview scheduling by the social work faculty. You must have all of the required documentation prior to the interview. Treat it like you would a job interview, with professional behavior and dress code. At the interview you will discuss with the faculty a variety of factors relating to your academic and professional experience and potential. You will also be encouraged to share your questions and concerns. If you are accepted, you will be notified at the close of the interview.

Prepare for increased reading, writing, presentations, and group work.

Prior to transferring, you may want to:

  • Take a college reading or strategic reading course.
  • Take an English composition, strategic writing, or written communication course.
  • Take a speech, communication, oral/interpersonal communication, or public speaking course.
  • Visit your college’s writing center for an assessment of your writing and valuable assistance.
  • Plan as much availability as possible during the afternoon and late night for group activities once you arrive at Carthage.

Check out field placements in Racine County, Wis.

See 2-1-1 Racine — Human Services in Racine County

Once you are at Carthage:

Do not ignore your Carthage e-mail. Check it frequently!

  • Carthage e-mail is a major source of communication with all Carthage offices regarding academic, campus, and personal matters.
  • Carthage e-mail keeps you up-to-date with various activities and opportunities that you may not otherwise find out about.
  • Keep in close touch with your social work advisor.
  • Visit the Financial Aid, Business, and Registrar’s Offices.
  • Communicate with your professors and classmates.
  • Keep in touch with contacts for letters of recommendation and other assistance from your previous college, two-year college or university.

Who should I ask for a recommendation?

It is preferred that recommendations come from professional sources (i.e. former field placement supervisors, volunteer placement supervisors, or other social work-based professionals). If you do not have experience with volunteering or field placements, your recommendations can come from former teachers, professors, supervisors or coaches. Current social work faculty are not able to provide recommendations to applying students. Also, recommendations from friends or friends of the family are not accepted.

When are the interviews held?

Typically, interviews for the Social Work Department are conducted during the fall and spring semesters. The interviews are scheduled after the 1st seven weeks of the semester are complete, allowing SWK 2300 students to obtain their grade and apply to the major.

Do I have to be accepted in the Social Work Department? Can’t I just declare a social work major with the registrar and take social work classes?

Students must complete the admissions process to be accepted into the major. Students who do not complete this process are not allowed to take social work courses or have a declared social work major.

What do I need to bring with me to the social work major interview?

Students should make every effort to have all of their paperwork submitted to the department prior to their interview. Please see the checklist in the admissions section. If all items are submitted prior to their interview, there is nothing that students need to bring on the day of their interview.

What can I expect in the interview?

The social work faculty will discuss with students what lead them to the area of social work and their interests in the field. Faculty will review with the student their academic performance, writing skills and requirements of the major. Students are encouraged to ask questions about the major.

How do I know that the social work profession is right for me?

You are your own best guide, so follow your instinct. Read through the course listings, field placements ideas, and visit the NASW website to get a feel for the field. Try skimming the NASW Code of Ethics to see if these ethics match your own. Talk to current social work students about why they joined and where you see yourself working in the future. If possible, take Contemporary Social Work Practice, which will give an overview of the field and your possible place in it.

Why should I choose Carthage’s program?

The Carthage BSW program is fully accredited by the National Council on Social Work Education. Because of this accreditation, many of our students are able to enter graduate school with advanced standing, which means they are able to enter graduate school in the second year of the program.

Our curriculum covers work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. Extensive field placements totaling more than 650 hours provide students with the experience and knowledge necessary to enter the social work profession or to continue on to a graduate education.

What are possible careers in social work?

Please refer to the careers page, which includes information on potential salaries, field outlook, and knowledge/skills recommended to become a social worker.

What are the field placements like?

You will have the following placements:

  • Introduction to Social Work — 32 hours volunteer work in a social work agency
  • Practice I — 52 hours volunteer work in a social work agency, focusing on micro (working with individuals) practice
  • Practice II — 52 hours volunteer work in a social work agency, focusing on mezzo (working with groups) practice
  • Practice III — 52 hours volunteer work in a social work agency, focusing on macro (working with organizations/communities) practice
  • Senior Field Placement — 500 placement in area of your choice, done during the spring semester while taking the Senior Integrative Seminar

You will be expected to arrange each of these placements, with assistance from the appropriate social work faculty. By finding these opportunities as undergraduates, students are prepared for finding graduate placements, volunteer work, and paid positions after graduation.

Is it possible to minor in social work?

No. We do not offer a minor in social work.

What are popular minors for students who are social work majors?

Minors in other social sciences, such as sociology and psychology are popular. Modern languages, specifically Spanish are also encouraged. It is not necessary to have a minor to graduate from the social work program.

What opportunities are available to become involved on campus as a social worker?

The Social Work Department has two student organizations, Social Work Advocacy Group (SWAG) and Phi Alpha. SWAG is open to students of all majors, but is primarily composed of social work students. Phi Alpha is the National Social Work Honor Fraternity on campus.