Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Social Work Minor

Academics / Departments & Programs / Social Work / Academics Social Work (BSW)

Degree Overview

Develop a compassionate heart for our broken world—and gain the skills you need to do something about it.

In Calvin's accredited bachelor of social work (BSW) program, you'll wrestle with some of society's greatest concerns, like child abuse, drug addiction, homelessness, aging, and mental illness. Through your studies and experiences, you’ll learn what it means for people and communities to flourish.

You'll learn from expert faculty who are actively involved in research on contemporary issues. You'll take your learning even further with a field placement, where you'll get critical hands-on experience. You could even do research at Calvin's own Center for Social Research. When you graduate, you'll know how to connect groups of people, bring clarity to difficult situations, and improve everyday lives.

Program Distinctives

Practical experience - Every BSW student gets a 400-hour placement in a social service agency. You could get your field experience at a local organization or even during a semester program in Washington, D.C.
Scholarship support - BSW students can be considered for over a dozen donor-funded scholarships—and that's in addition to other academic and need-based financial aid for which they qualify.
Excellent record - Our graduates are prized by both human service agencies and master of social work programs. 95% of BSW students who apply to MSW programs are accepted.

Degree Information

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
  • Overview

    The bachelor of social work degree is designed for students who want to prepare for a career of Christian service as a professional generalist social worker. The program is carried out in the context of the mission of Calvin, which is to offer a Christian education enriched by the insights of the Reformed heritage. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared for entry-level professional social work positions. The BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

    For more information about the BSW program at Calvin, download and view the 2022–2023 handbook.

    Form AS 4(B) provides a summary of program assessment results.

  • Courses
  • Admission

    For complete details on admission to this program, see the Program Admission page.

  • Field Education

    Field education is a critical component of the BSW program at Calvin. It should:

    • help you grow personally and professionally in an agency setting, with supervision from your field education instructor and feedback from weekly small group seminars.
    • help you take what you've learned in the classroom and get feedback on your implementation. This process will include evaluation and testing.
    • help you to integrate your worldview and the ideals and realities of educational theories with the needs of your clients.

    The 2022–2023 Field Education Handbook is available to read online.

    Field education placement

    You will be placed with an agency in which you will have the opportunity to practice generalist social work skills, including interviewing, contracting, intervention, networking, advocacy, group work and organization of community resources.

    With the number of social work settings available in the Grand Rapids area and off-campus, we will find an agency whose needs are well-matched to your interests and skills.

    Agencies with whom we place students have the following characteristics:

    • they have the volume and flow in programming so that you will have a wide range of learning experiences with multi-level client systems.
    • their programs and intervention methods are clearly defined and implemented.
    • they offer opportunities for practicing generalist social work skills: interviewing, contracting, intervention, networking, advocacy, group work and organization of community resources.
    • they provide services to diverse population groups, including ethnic, racial, religious and gender-based minorities.
    • their philosophy and delivery of service must comply with the NASW Code of Ethics.

    Local field education sites

    17th Circuit Court

    Domestic Matters
      180 Ottawa NW
      Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    Juvenile Matters
      1501 Cedar NE
      Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Affinity Mentoring

    Office Headquarters
    818 Butterworth St. SW
    Grand Rapids MI 49504

    Arbor Circle

    1115 Ball Ave. NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49505

    Bethany Christian Services

    901 Eastern Avenue NE
    P.O. Box 294
    Grand Rapis, MI 49501

    Calvin University Sexuality Series

    3201 Burton St SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49546

    Catholic Charities

    40 Jefferson Ave. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Cherry Health

    550 Cherry Street SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    D.A. Blodgett for St. Johns

    805 Leonard NE OFC
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503-1184

    Disability Advocates

    3600 Camelot Drive SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49546

    Family Futures

    678 Front Ave NW #210
    Grand Rapids, MI 49504

    Family Promise

    516 Cherry Street, S.E.
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Fresh Coast Alliance

    Fresh Coast Alliance Business Office
    1190 Apple Ave.
    Muskegon, MI 49442

    Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan

    1545 Buchanan Ave SW Ste #2
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507-1650

    Holland Home

    Corporate Office
    2100 Raybrook SE, Suite 300
    Grand Rapids, MI 49546


    320 State Street SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Inner City Christian Federation

    515 Jefferson SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Jim Banks’ Congressional Office

    Fort Wayne Office
    1300 S Harrison St
    Fort Wayne, IN 46802

    Justice For Our Neighbors

    Grand Rapids Location
    207 Fulton St E,
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Kent Intermediate School District

    2930 Knapp Street NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49525

    Kent School Services Network

    Administrative Office
    1633 East Beltline NE, suite 205
    Grand Rapids, MI 49525

    Garfield Park Neighborhood Association

    334 Burton St SE
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507

    The Hispanic Center of West Michigan

    1204 Grandville Ave SW
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503

    Mel Trotter Ministries

    225 Commerce Avenue SW
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    The National Museum of African American History and Culture (Smithsonian)

    1400 Constitution Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20560

    New City Neighbors

    P.O. Box 1609
    Grand Rapids, MI 49501

    The Pride Center of West Michigan

    343 Atlas Ave SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49506

    The Red Project

    401 Hall St SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507

    Safe Haven Ministries

    3501 LK Eastbrook Blvd SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49546


    8131 E. Jefferson Ave.
    Detroit, MI 48214

    Senior Neighbors

    820 Monroe NW #460
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    SGA Youth and Family Services (Chicago)

    11 E. Adams, Suite 1500
    Chicago, Illinois 60603

    Sojourners (Washington DC)

    408 C St. NE
    Washington DC, 20002

    Solutions to End Exploitation

    2007 Division S.
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507

    Spectrum Health

    Dept of Social Work
    100 Michigan NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503

    Wellspring Lutheran Services

    4100 Pier North Blvd.
    Suite A, Flint, MI 48504

Social Work Minor
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