The Online BSW program prepares graduates to promote well-being, empower and invigorate communities, and support a sense of community and family-centric models of service and learning. As a strength-based program, students learn to enhance protective factors and prevent the development of problems in communities, groups, and families. Grounded in Pacific Oaks’ social justice and equity frameworks, students will also learn how to advocate for change in traditionally underserved communities. This practice enables us to prepare entry-level social work generalists who can provide greater access to culturally appropriate practice across diverse populations.
The online social work degree explores both the macro (e.g., policy change and program implementation) and micro (e.g., case management, care coordination, health care, and discharge social work) relevant to the field of social work.
Real-world training is an integral part of the Online BSW program. Practicum placements and hands-on training provide students multiple opportunities to develop and apply professional skills that can help lead to mastery of the professional competencies they will need to position themselves for successful careers. By placing students in actual settings in their own communities under the experienced guidance of staff mentors, students have the opportunity to develop essential competencies in applying social work knowledge, our rigorous social justice values, and skills. Research demonstrates that students consistently remember their field experience as the most important aspect of their social work education and a meaningful relationship with their supervisor is essential for their growth as social workers.
The 120 credit Online Bachelor of Social Work program includes 46 credits of general education courses, 35 credits of lower and upper division general electives, and 39 credits of upper division social work major core courses. Students may be eligible to transfer up to 87 units, depending on prerequisites already taken. Prior Learning Assessment is also available, including Pacific Oaks’ Credit for Learning from Experience program.
This bachelor degree program is offered in an accelerated online modality. Therefore, students should have internet access, a computer, and be prepared to engage in online coursework.
July 2021 Update:
The Online Bachelor of Social Work program is currently approved for candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education. Candidacy means the program has completed at least one year of the Candidacy process and is moving toward full accreditation within two years. The accreditation process offers a competitive advantage for students and their careers, including enrollment into an accredited Social Work Master’s program and eventually achieving their clinical state licensure after graduation with a Master’s in Social Work. Graduating from an accredited social work program is highly desirable and students are at a distinct advantage, by gesturing to employers and social work graduate programs that Pacific Oaks College students graduated from a program that meets high standards in preparing students for the field of social work.
Psychology of Culture, Power, & Inequality
This course on social work examines the role played by culture in explaining persistent inequality in the distribution of resources and power. The course will examine the unique inequity processes across different social groups, such as race, class, and gender as well as the intersection of these statuses. The course will also introduce key social psychological concepts and apply theories to help understand how and why inequalities persists in the U.S. In this class we will cover some of the most important concepts (e.g., stigma) for understanding inequality and examine several key axes (e.g., gender) along which inequality is created.
Principles of Field/Action Research
This course will focus on developing an understanding and knowledge of interdisciplinary methods and approaches to community action research. Additionally, the course will provide an overview of approaches to research with a focus on community-based participatory research design. The content of the course will center on issues related to this topic including an expectation that students will develop an awareness and understanding of themselves as researchers and of their personal biases. It is also expected that students will develop an ability to identify and access legitimate sources of psychological research. Important features of the course will be learning about community research practice within multicultural settings, knowledge about the inclusion of diverse perspectives in research practice as well as develop the ability to address issues of social justice in community research and knowledge about ethical research practices.
Community Mental Health
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the field of community mental health. This course will provide an overview of emerging issues in community mental health counseling and will teach ways in which to address systemic issues within a person’s community and surroundings that affect their mental health.
Factors and materials to be considered for admission:
- Completed application and application fee
- Applicants must provide proof of the qualifying conferral of high school graduation (or the equivalent) or proof of successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester units at a regionally accredited, postsecondary institution. Proof of qualifying academic history must be provided in one of the following ways:
- Official high school transcript recognized by the U.S. Department of Education showing an earned high school diploma, 2.0 GPA or higher, and date of graduation. A copy of a high school diploma, if transcripts are not immediately available, can be submitted with a contingency that original transcripts will be on file prior to day five of the term/semester of entry. Financial aid will not be disbursed until the compliant documentation is received.
- Official college transcript with 24 credits of transferable units with a 2.0 GPA or higher
- Official associate degree transcript from a regionally accredited institution showing degree earned and date conferred
- Official college transcript from a regionally accredited institution that contains the high school name and date of graduation
- Official NACES, ACREVS, or AICE evaluation of an international diploma that contains the high school name and date of graduation
- High school equivalency completed through home schooling as defined by state law
- Official General Educational Development (GED) document. A copy of the student’s GED certificate or unofficial GED score issued by the state can be submitted with a contingency that the official GED document will be on file prior to day five of the term/semester of entry. Financial aid will not be disbursed until the compliant documentation is received.
- Official Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) document
- Official High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) document
- Official documentation showing a passing score on a state-authorized exam that the state recognizes as equivalent to high school graduation
- Applicants must submit a resume showing three or more years of significant professional or life experience or an official transcript confirming 24 transferrable units from a regionally accredited university.
- Personal statement
Applicants with a cumulative high school or undergraduate GPA below 2.0, without three years of significant professional or life experience, or with less than 24 transferrable college units are required to submit additional documentation:
- One letter of support from someone (a nonrelative) familiar with your ability to be successful in this program
- An additional three-page, typed, double-spaced essay (approximately 500-750 words). In your essay, please answer the following questions:
- What life and professional experience do you possess that would enable you to be successful in the Pacific Oaks classroom focused on application of experience to course content?
- Why is it important to you to study this discipline at a school that emphasizes social justice, cultural humility, and respect for every individual? (Refer to the Mission Statement and Core Values of Pacific Oaks College.)
- Interview with a member of the admissions committee
- Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Pacific Oaks College
Please note: Prior coursework will be evaluated as part of the admissions process.
Students are required to submit the Petition for Degree Completion and fee to the Office of the Registrar the semester before they anticipate completing their degree requirements. Students must submit the application, settle all outstanding fees with the Student Finance Office, satisfy any deficiencies, and be in good standing in their program for the bachelor’s degree to be awarded.
Note: A cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation.
Field education requirements
The primary goal of the Field Education Program is to develop competent, beginning generalist (BSW) and advanced generalist (MSW) social workers who demonstrate a reflective and self-evaluative practice guided by professional values of human dignity and social justice.
Interning in the field is often referred to as the “heart of social work education.” The purpose of this Field Education Program is to enable students to receive structured preparation in the discipline of social work practice. Research demonstrates that students consistently remember their field experience as the most important aspect of their social work education and a meaningful relationship with their supervisor is essential for their growth as social workers.
At the bachelor level, students will complete a total of 420 hours of supervised experience. Students will work with the Field Education Department and specifically the Field Education Coordinator to complete this requirement. Students will be enrolled in a number of field education and practicum courses that will support the applied learning and integration of knowledge and skills with theory.
Pacific Oaks College is currently in Pre-Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation.