Department of Social Work


Students may declare a Social Work major and begin taking Social Work classes prior to admission to the major. When a student is enrolled in SW 352, the student manual containing application procedures is distributed. Before a student can enroll in SW 204, SW 280, SW 495, or SW 496 field agencies often require a criminal disclosure and child abuse screening.

Students will receive a letter in by postal mail and e-mail mid-December regarding their admission status.  Professional development goals will be established in January through individual meetings with all students moving forward in the Social Work Program sequence.  Achievement of these behaviorally specific goals will become a focus in the SW 352 Social Work Practice with Individuals course in the spring semester. 

Either conditionally or unconditionally, formal acceptance into the Social Work major enables students to enroll in upper level Social Work courses. However, students can only enter their Field Education after a conditional status of admission has been removed.  Specific objectives required for a conditional status to become unconditional will be identified collaboratively between Social Work faculty and the student in the January meeting.  Evaluation method(s) and a timeline for completion will also be established.  Planning for Field Education placement may move forward for a student who has been admitted conditionally; however, the student is not allowed to interview for placement until fully admitted to the major.  This must occur prior to April 1st for students entering SW 495 Field Experience I in the fall semester.

Students will be evaluated for admission into the Social Work major according to the following criteria:

  • Acceptance by Avila University.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (Students who have a lower GPA can apply but will only be accepted on a conditional basis and must achieve the 2.5 GPA prior to graduation).
  • Attain a “C” or better grade in all Social Work, and Social Science-related courses.
  • Are enrolled in or have completed the SW 303 Generalist Social Work
  • Satisfactory evaluation by a supervisor of the Shadow Experience assigned in SW 303.
  • Demonstration of an understanding and commitment to Social Work values and ethical standards documented with a signed commitment to uphold the NASW Code of Ethics.
  • Demonstration of social functioning that allows for effective beginning generalist level professional Social Work practice.
  • Demonstration of effective verbal and written communication skills in the Social Work History oral presentation and the Shadow Reflection paper assignments in SW 303.
  • Demonstration of effective analytical skills in the Research Assignment in SW 350.
  • Demonstration of professional attitudes and behaviors evaluated during the Shadow Experience in SW 303 including attendance, punctuality, accountability, effective time management, professional dress and conduct; and student colleague/instructor relationships observed in the Social Work classroom environment.


In order to apply for admission into the Social Work program, students need to create an application packet which includes a copy of each of the items requested below. These application materials need to be submitted to the Office Manager in the social sciences suite, O’Reilly 219, from November 1st through November 15th, to be considered for admission into the Social Work major.

In order to be considered, Application packets must include the following:

  • Personal Statement
  • Signed Commitment to Uphold the NASW Code of Ethics
  • Signed Admission, Retention, Termination Policies and Procedures Statement
  • Student Self-Assessment of Professional Functioning
  • Shadow Experience Evaluation Form
  • Field Experience Planning Worksheet
  • Professional Resume

Additionally, the following materials/information will be gathered and reviewed by faculty members as part of the evaluation of each student’s compliance with admission criteria.  Feedback on these items will be part of the individual student meetings on professional development in January.

  • Faculty Assessment of Student’s Professional Functioning
  • Current cumulative GPA from student advising worksheet.

Guidelines for Preparing Application Materials

  1. Personal Statement

Directions:  Develop a typed essay to be submitted in your application packet that addresses the following items:

  1. Development of Interest in Social Work – What personal values and life experiences/events has led you to the field of Social Work?  Use this section of the essay as an opportunity to explain why you want to become a Social Worker and describe how your life story is linked to your pursuit of a Social Work degree.  Use professional boundaries when describing personal events.  (Approximately 1 page.)
  2. Perception of Personal and Professional Strengths and Weaknesses – As you think about becoming a future Social Worker, what are your areas of strength and areas that need to be developed or improved in order for you to succeed in your upcoming field experience and in your career as a professional Social Worker? This section of the essay is a chance for you to reflect on both your personal and professional skills and needs in relation to your upcoming field placement and future career goals. You should utilize the Student Self-Assessment of Professional Functioning worksheet to assist you with identifying the areas to be addressed in this part of your personal statement. (Approximately 1-2 pages.)
  3. Ethics Pledge

Directions:  Read the Commitment to Uphold the NASW Code of Ethics pledge.  Demonstrate your willingness to apply social work ethical principles to guide your practice and to arrive at principled, informed, and culturally responsive decisions by signing the pledge and including it in the application packet.

  1. Student Self-Assessment of Professional Functioning

Directions:  Complete the Student Self-Assessment of Professional Functioning worksheet by first rating yourself with an “X” or a checkmark for each item in the appropriate column.  Second, place a star by the items of your top three areas of strength, and third, rank your top three areas for improvement with a 1, 2, or 3 in order of priority.  Use this assessment sheet to provide expanded comments for the second section of your personal statement as described below.  Submit the completed assessment sheet as part of your application materials.

  1. Shadow Experience Evaluation Form

Directions:  Ask the supervisor you have shadowed at your shadow agency to complete the Shadow Experience Evaluation Form distributed in SW 303 Generalist Social Work class.  Upon completion of the form, ask the supervisor to a) place it in a  stamped envelope addressed  Office Manager, Department of Social Work, Avila University, 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64145 b) seal it, and c) sign her/his name across the seal it. Also, please request that the supervisor returns the form before November 15th.

If you completed a shadow or practicum experience for a college grade prior to coming to Avila you may also choose to submit the supervisor evaluation form from that experience with your application packet.  This would be supplemental to the current SW 303 Shadow Experience Evaluation Form.

  1. Field Experience Planning Worksheet

Directions:  Complete the Field Experience Planning Worksheet by answering each question carefully, following the directions on the form, and add it to the admission packet.

  1. Professional Resume

Directions:  Develop a 1 -2 page professional resume highlighting your educational, employment, volunteer, and award experiences.  The resume should focus on content that is related to social work and leadership.

Download Application Materials using the links at the bottom of this page.

  1. “C” or better in all Social Science related and Social Work courses
  2. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
  3. Continued adherence to social work values and ethical standards with an increasing understanding of and respect for the positive values of diversity and individual worth and dignity. This includes non-desertion of clients (NASW Code, Standard l.15, Interruption of Services: Students must notify Agency in a timely fashion when they will not be in practicum); avoidance of dual relationships (Standard 1.06c: not taking a client as a peer/friend to a social event); practicing within one’s area of competency (Standard 4.01: notifying Field Coordinator if Agency assigns student to areas not competent in); and avoidance of derogatory language (Standard 1.12.)
  4. Maintenance of social functioning that allows for effective beginning generalist level professional practice. This may include (but is not limited to) handling conflict in an appropriate manner and effectively managing one’s emotions and interactions with colleagues, co-workers, clients, teachers and classmates.
  5. Maintenance of effective verbal and written communication skills
  6. Maintenance of effective professional work behaviors such as professional dress, punctuality, time management, accountability, timely record-keeping, and dealing appropriately with Field Instructor and Field Coordinator feedback

Students are informed of the criteria for evaluating their academic and professional performance through a variety of measures. Individual courses specify the criteria utilized for evaluating assignments and final course grades in their syllabus. Every student is also required to read both the BSW Program Student Handbook and the Field Manual, which outline the criteria for evaluating performance both in courses and in field.

Review and Monitoring Procedures

Social Work Faculty, including Adjunct Faculty and Faculty Advisors, will monitor the behavior of all admitted Social Work majors.  Field Instructors/Proctors and the Field Faculty will monitor Field Education performance. Any concern about a student’s ability to meet, and/or one or more violation(s) of any of the six Criteria for Retention in the major should be immediately reported to the Chair of the Social Work Program. A written memo should be submitted, specifying the area(s) of concern, and documenting adequate evidence for concern. After the Chair’s receipt of the concern(s), the student will be invited, in writing, to participate in a voluntary meeting that would provide an opportunity for the student to present any information  that affects his/her situation. The meeting can include any or all of the following:  the student, the academic advisor, the Chair of the Social Work Program, any other full-time or adjunct Social Work faculty member, and an advocate, if desired by the student.

After investigation of the concern(s), one of the following decisions will be made by the Chair of the Social Work Program, in consultation with the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences as deemed necessary:

  • Non-compliance is of some concern, however the infraction can be remedied in a timely fashion; the students is willing and able to do so.
  • Non-compliance is of considerable concern and the infraction cannot be remedied quickly, however the student’s success with a Behavioral Remediation Plan seems likely.
  • The infraction is serious enough and/or has exceeded a reasonable time limit as to warrant an immediate dismissal of the student from the Social Work major.

Any student who wishes to appeal a decision related to admission and/or retention from the Social Work major should follow the Admission/Retention Appeal Policy/Procedure.

The Social Work Program reserves the right to request that a student withdraw from the Social Work Program if academic performance, ethical or professional behavior, or emotional or physical health indicates that the student may not successfully complete the program or may jeopardize the wellbeing of clients served.

A decision for terminating a student from the Social Work Program will be based when one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • Inadequate academic performance (grade point average below 2.0)
  • The student shows evidence of academic dishonesty (i.e. cheating, plagiarism)
  • The student demonstrates consistent and on-going lack of accountability and responsibility in areas designated as student responsibility
  • The student demonstrates inappropriate behaviors related to emotional instability which hinders professional practice
  • The student demonstrates excessive bias, prejudice and judgmental attitudes in the classroom and/or in the field experience
  • The student shows evidence of a violation of the NASW’s professional code of ethics
  • The student fails to comply with the Behavioral Remediation Plan set by the Social Work Program
  • Completion of all the general degree requirements as stated in the catalog.
  • Completion of at least 128 semester hours of academic work with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Achievement of a minimum grade of “C” in all Social Work major and the majority of the major-related courses. (Credit/No Credit option is not available in the major.)
  • Computer Literacy Requirement: Social Work majors will fulfill this requirement by completion of CS 110 with a minimum grade of “C” or by successfully completing the Computer Science Program’s “opt out” exam.
  • Completion of the following courses:

Social Work Major Requirements (45 hours)

  • SW 205 Social Problems/Social Change (3)
  • SW 225 Introduction to Social Welfare/Social Work (3)
  • SW 303 Generalist Social Work (3)
  • SW 350 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I (3)
  • SW 351 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II (3)
  • SW 352 Practice with Individuals (3)
  • SW 397 Research Methods (3)
  • SW 462 Practice w/Groups/Families (3)
  • SW 463 Practice w/Comm/Orgs (3)
  • SW 465 Social Policy/Program Analysis (3)
  • SW 495 Field Instruction I (4)
  • SW 496 Field Instruction II (4)
  • SW 497 Integrated Field Seminar (2)
  • SW 498 Social Work Capstone (2)
  • Six credit hours from a Special Interest Area (6):
    SW 280, 290, 317, 331, 332, 333, 334, 335, SW/SO 365.

Social Work Major Related Requirements (12 hours)

  • PS 120 American National Government (3) “C” or above required
  • SO/PY 230 Social Statistics (3) “C” or above required
  • PY 316 Social Psychology (3) “C” or above required
  • EC 195 (3) or EC 203 (3) Passing grade required

Avila General Education Requirements for Social Work Major

Level I: Foundations (10 – 14 hours)

  • EN 111 and 112 (6)
  • CO 110 (3)
  • MA 115 or 120 (3)
  • CS 110 (3)

Level II: Heritage, the Contemporary World, and Self (25 – 28 hours)

  • Literature (3)
  • Art, Music, or Theatre (3)
  • History (3)
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies in both areas (9) (PHIL 255 recommended)
  • BI 111 or equivalent, with a lab (4) Passing grade required
  • SO 101 (3) “C” or above required
  • PY 101 (3) “C” or above required

Level III: Applications and Integration (6 hours)

  • 2 interdisciplinary courses (6) must be taken at Avila

For course descriptions, please view the Course Catalog.

Application Materials

Click a link below to download Application Materials:

Transfer Students

Transfer agreements with area colleges

The Social Work department has Transfer Agreements with Kansas City Kansas Community College, Johnson County Community College, Donnelly College, and The Metropolitan Community Colleges. Check Transfer Student Admission Requirements to help determine what classes to take in order to transfer your credits toward a bachelor’s degree in social work at Avila University. Better still, arrange an appointment with a social work faculty member who can help you understand how the Transfer Agreements work. 

Download Policies Concerning Transfer of Credits to read about the Program’s policies and procedures related to the transfer of courses from other universities. There is also information on the linked page about the Program’s Life Credit policy. 

The Social Work department has a significant proportion of transfer students and is accommodating to students of various ages and backgrounds. Students intending to transfer to Avila from other schools are encouraged to contact the office manager at 816.501.3641 to set up an appointment with a faculty member of the social work department. Meeting with a faculty member early in the process facilitates ease of transfer. Our social work faculty are always happy to talk with you about our program and answer your questions. Many students planning to transfer to Avila’s BSW program will meet with a faculty advisor while they are still attending the community college so that they make sure to take the courses they will need here.

Financial Aid

The Avila Transfer Achievement Award provides up to $6,500 annually and is renewable. This award is determined by a transfer student’s cumulative grade point average. Arrange for an official campus visit today in order to learn more about this Award!

Performance grants, work programs, federal Stafford Loans and PLUS/Alternative Loans are all available. In the last few years, several federal acts have been put in place to provide loan forgiveness for social work students. Visit the NASW website to read more.

There are many types of financial aid available to first-year, transfer, and other outside students interested in attending Avila. Explore the affordability of an education at Avila.  To inquire about obtaining scholarships or other financial aid mentioned, please call the Avila University financial aid office at 816.501.3600.

Avila also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist any post-911 veterans, their spouses, or children to attend our university with minimal cost. 

Go back to the top