Our mission is to prepare students for generalist social work practice that is grounded in community involvement, diversity-informed practice, social and economic justice, professional values and ethics, critical thinking and global interconnectedness.


Developed in 1971, the Department of Social Work was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 1974. The program was awarded re-accreditation in 1979, 1985, 1992, 2000, 2008 and most recently, 2016. The accreditation process is accomplished through an intensive self-study evaluation by the social work faculty, an in-depth evaluation by social work educators that visit the campus and finally, a review and approval by the Commission.

What Social Workers Do

Social workers focus on helping their clients cope with and solve problems in their daily lives. Social work jobs cover a variety of specialization areas, such as clinical, school and healthcare social work roles. Social workers emphasize advocacy, spending much of their careers raising awareness with and on behalf of, their clients at local, state and national levels. As licensed professionals, social workers assist in a variety of situations, including terminal illness diagnoses, child abuse situations and adoption.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) put together this video describing what, exactly, social work professionals do!


With liberal arts as its foundation, by completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Engage in models of ethical social work practice.
  • Engage in diversity-informed practice at all levels; local, tribal, state, national or international.
  • Engage in models of bio-psycho-social, cultural and spiritual human development and behavior.
  • Engage in life-long learning and critical thinking.
  • Engage in research inquiry in order to facilitate implementation of evidence-based and diversity-informed practice.
  • Engage in policy analysis and advocacy to address social and economic justice.


Bemidji State University and the social work program are committed to a policy of non-discrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices or access to and participation in programs, services and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation or membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law.

Inquiries regarding compliance, rights and other information may be addressed to the Affirmative Action Office.

Current Events

50th Anniversary of Social Work Conference Hosted April 22