BSU launches blended social work program this fall

Bemidji State University will offer a bachelor’s degree program in social work that can be completed almost entirely online, beginning in August.

The blended-delivery program, called the Social Work Integrated Model, or SWIM, is intended for students who have completed or are within six credits of completing an associate’s degree.

Bemidji State’s program allows students to work towards a social work degree largely online while also developing important interactive skills by coming to campus one Saturday a month. These on-campus sessions will focus on practice skills such as counseling, community organizing and interpersonal communications. Three of these on-campus sessions will be held each semester.

Students enrolled in the program will take between two and three classes per semester for five semesters, with a 480-hour internship during the sixth semester. A tentative course schedule is available online. Students starting the program this fall will graduate in the spring of 2016.

“We have identified a need for a part-time online program for students who cannot attend on-campus classes full time,” said Dr. Cheryl Byers, director of Bemidji State’s social work program. “They are working full time, raising families or are too far away geographically. This program is designed to reach out to these students – individuals who want a social work degree in a format that meshes with their personal or professional life.”

Students enrolling in the program must also complete a five-course core of interdisciplinary courses required for Bemidji State’s social work major. These core courses are human biology, introduction to psychology, abnormal psychology, introduction to American politics, social statistics and a three-credit diversity course. These courses can be taken at other schools, and approval to substitute credit is made by the director of the social work program. If needed, these courses can be taken at BSU; most are offered online and during summer sessions.

Students interested in the blended social work program must enroll before Aug. 9, 2013 through Bemidji State’s Center for Extended Learning, have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.25 or higher in their associate’s degree program, and must be able to pass a criminal background study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Interested students with felony or misdemeanor convictions should contact the social work program office for additional information.

Interested students are encouraged to apply early, as it could take four to six weeks to process an application and accept an applicant into the program. This program is eligible for financial aid. Students are encouraged to contact Bemidji State’s Office of Financial Aid to determine individual eligibility for aid.

For more information about the social work integrated model, contact the social work program at (218) 755-2880.

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