George Williams College

Social Work (BSW)

Why study Social Work?

Do you want to serve populations in need and contribute to improving lives? Majoring in Social Work will prepare you for the important work of empowering individuals, families, and communities. Social workers help people solve and cope with problems. They have a unique combination of intelligence and emotional strength. They care about human dignity and social justice, and work to make the world a better place.

Social work is a challenging, dynamic, high-growth profession. It encompasses a wide range of practices, including child welfare, addiction treatment, mental health, advocacy, aging, family services, education, community organizing, and public policy. For most social workers, a bachelor’s degree is the first step on their social work career pathway. Many BSW graduates continue on to earn a master’s degree. They may need other credentials as well, such as licensing and certifications, depending on their field.

Why study Social Work at GWC?

At George Williams College, our social work programs are recognized among the best in the region. Together, GWC students, faculty, and staff comprise a distinctive community, dedicated to a century-old mission of “serving those who serve others.” We prepare graduates to lead in fields where society’s needs are the greatest, including Social Work.

In GWC’s Bachelor of Social Work program, you will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to effect change in your community. Our Social Work program begins with a solid academic core in the liberal arts, where you will hone your organizational and communications skills and lay the foundation for success. Starting in your junior year, you will be immersed in the professional and clinical side of social work, exploring social welfare and social justice issues, as well as strategies for working with diverse populations in need. At GWC, you’ll be prepared to pursue Social Work licensure in both Wisconsin and Illinois.

You can also expand your career opportunities with a double major in Business Management or Psychology. Even with a second major, you will still be able to graduate in four years.

Upon graduation with your Bachelor of Social Work degree, you can pursue a job in case management in nonprofit organizations, hospitals, or social service agencies. Graduates with the BSW degree are eligible to take the Illinois State Social Work license exam after completing two years of work experience. Students are also eligible to pursue the Wisconsin Certified Social Worker exam upon graduation.

For those wishing to take on more supervisory and clinical roles, you can apply for advanced standing in AU's Master of Social Work program, which is offered on the main AU campus, at AU Woodstock Center, and through AU Online.

Application to BSW Major

The Bachelor of Social Work program requires a special application, which you can complete online. The program takes place at GWC in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. There is also a program for transfer students at the Woodstock Center in Woodstock, Illinois, and through AU Online. To learn more about the transfer program at Woodstock, fill out this inquiry form.

Accreditation and Licensure

The baccalaureate degree program in Social Work at George Williams College of Aurora University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This accreditation enables students to apply for the state licensure exam in Illinois or Wisconsin and to apply for “Advanced Standing” consideration for graduate studies.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world. Anne Frank
Curriculum Highlights
  • Human behavior
  • Research
  • Social welfare policy
Student Organizations
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Phi Alpha Honor Society (Social Work Honor Society)
  • Responsible Solutions
  • Social Work Association
  • Spiritual Advisory Council
GWC prepared me for my career in so many ways. The classes are designed to be hands-on, so I was learning and practicing every skill that a social worker would need for a job. I made long-lasting relationships with peers, professors, and staff members who worked with me one on one to succeed. Lorena Villagomez Corona, BSW ’19, MSW ’20, School Social Worker at Harvard Community Unit School District 50
Career possibilities
  • Addictions treatment counselor
  • After school program facilitator
  • Case worker
  • Child welfare/children’s services worker
  • Criminal justice/corrections specialist
  • Health care social worker
  • Mental health or crisis response intake worker
  • Policy advocate
  • Policy and planning specialist
  • Prisons and correctional facilities social worker
  • Probation officer
  • Research analyst
  • Youth mentor
Career options with additional education or experience
  • Executive director of a social service agency
  • Forensic social worker
  • Hospice social worker
  • International social worker
  • Mental health social worker
  • Occupational social worker
  • Policy analyst
  • Private practice therapist
  • Program manager
  • School social worker
  • Substance abuse counselor
In Our Own Words

In Our Own Words: Dean of the College of Education and Social Work Brenda Barnwell on why demand for social workers is soaring

Corporations, school districts, and other organizations are finding ways to help alleviate higher levels of stress and anxiety by hiring social workers to make a difference. At George Williams College of Aurora University, your professors will help you choose the track that is right for you so you are ready to start work when you graduate.

Experiential learning

Experiential learning

Field placements in social service agencies working with individuals, families, and groups are an integral part of the learning experience. An internship in a social service agency, coordinated by our faculty and staff, prepares you for your career by letting you work with people and groups. You will be required to complete one field placement during fall and spring semesters consecutively of your senior or final year of studies. And many courses include role playing, simulations, and guest speakers.

Internships sites

  • Association for the Prevention of Family Violence
  • Beloit Domestic Violence Center
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
  • Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists
  • Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • Racine Interfaith Coalition
  • Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services

Where our graduates work

  • Ascension/Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
  • Aurora Psychiatric Hospital
  • Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Love, Inc.
  • Mercyhealth
  • Northern Illinois school districts
  • Northwestern Medicine
  • Pioneer Center for Human Services
  • Rosecrance
  • TLS Veterans
  • Waukesha Memorial Hospital - ProHealth Care