Social Work

Learn to build on the strengths of individuals, families, and communities to design solutions for an array of pressing societal issues while earning a Bachelor of Social Work. Apply Today



Why study Social Work? The main goal of social work is to improve human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people. Social workers help empower individuals, especially those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. Social workers are committed to social justice and enhancing the quality of life for individuals, families, groups, communities, and systems.

MBU’s department offers: small classes, student selected field placement options, active community service opportunities through Social Work Club, Phi Alpha Honor’s Society for social work students, concentrations in both medical and school social work, international field work and opportunities to study across the state in a flexible online program.

For working adults in the Charlottesville, Roanoke, Richmond, South Boston, and Staunton areas, Mary Baldwin’s BSW program can be particularly attractive. MBU helps you fast-track your path to a Social Work degree with the opportunity to transfer up to 36 credits (12 courses) through direct course equivalents from the Virginia Community Colleges System. Baldwin Online and Adult Programs’ flexibility and convenience makes a BSW accessible and achievable.

Students gain extensive hands-on experience in the social work field while completing a field placement of 450 hours during the spring semester of their senior year, preparing them for their professional career.

Mary Baldwin University’s BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.




Student Handbook

Application for Social Work Program

Accreditation Assessment Results

Course List

Advising Form


Mary Clay Thomas, Program Director,

Doris Dodson, Field Director,


Social Work Advisory Board Members

Anna Van Hoy, LCSW, private practice

Barb Shue, MSW, retired, Director of Social Work at Commonwealth Center for Children and Families

Rebecca Simmons, MSW, Executive Director, Valley Children’s Center

Pat Higgins, MSW, Director of Social Work at Western State Hospital





Students in the BSW program are required to complete a field practicum during the spring semester of their senior year.

The field practicum consists of 450 hours of field work over a thirteen-week period in a placement approved by the Mary Baldwin social work department. Students attend the class SOWK 400 Social Work Field Instruction, also known as Field Seminar, while simultaneously participating in their field practicum. Fifteen semester credit hours are awarded for successful completion of field instruction. Students’ time while in class will count toward the 450 hours of field work. An orientation to field will be held for students eligible for field placement each fall to discuss requirements for the practicum, steps necessary to initiate placement and other considerations, as appropriate.

Applications for Field Practicum are submitted to the Field Director at the beginning of the fall semester preceding the spring in which field will be completed and will only be considered for students who have both declared their major and who have been accepted into the social work program.

An orientation for field instructors will be offered to orient new field instructors and to facilitate information sharing regarding any changes within the social work program, as appropriate. Field Instructors (as well as students) will be provided a copy of the current Field Instruction Manual for their review and to serve as their guide to field instruction in Mary Baldwin’s social work program.

During field practicum, students are required to receive a minimum of one hour of clinical supervision weekly by a bachelor’s or master’s level social worker at the field placement. The Field Director must approve any exceptions to this credentialing requirement and may require additional documentation from the placement agency.

A minimum of two site visits will be made during the field practicum by the Field Director. This will provide an opportunity for the Field Director to further assess the student’s performance in the field practicum as well as the placement resource’s ability to provide learning opportunities as outlined in the Field Instruction Manual while receiving the support and consultation desired from the social work program.





The Social Work Club is a student organization recognized by the Mary Baldwin University Senate. The club was established in 2002 and chartered in 2011 by an enthusiastic group of sociology and social work students who wished to formalize the community service efforts and social activities of their peers and professors.

The club is open to all students, faculty, and staff with interests in service to the campus and community. Club members meet monthly to socialize, plan, and engage, and are involved with three to four service activities and fundraisers each semester.

Club events and community service include:

  • Participation and organization of the annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
  • Halloween celebration for children in the Staunton Community
  • Thanksgiving dinner at a Staunton’s homeless shelter
  • Apple Day fundraising
  • Help at the Staunton Senior Center
  • Speakers from the Social Work Profession
  • Easter Egg Hunt for Staunton families


The main purposes of the Social Work Club are to provide for the enrichment of our community; to motivate students to become involved in their campus environments, as well as the surrounding community through social work-based service; to provide specific peer mentoring opportunities in the practice of Social Work, to provide opportunities for those interested in Social Work to gain tactile information regarding future Graduate studies and occupational opportunities; to bring lecturers and informational events to the campus with a social work influence; and to promote good fellowship and high scholarship.


The club plans and holds a Halloween Party for the children in the Staunton Community. The party is open to any child who wishes to attend and meet other children and socialize. This party is a way for parents and children to meet students from Mary Baldwin University as well as an opportunity for Mary Baldwin student to interact with those in Staunton. The party has included face painting, art & crafts, snacks, movies, and many other activities.

Social Work Club helps organizes and participates as part of the annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. It includes activities such as preparing and serving Thanksgiving Dinner at the local Homeless Shelter.

During the Spring Semester the Club organizes and plans and organizes an Easter Egg Hunt for all the Children in the Staunton Community. While the egg hunt is the main activity the club has many other activities to make the day memorable for the children and their families. There is an egg race, coloring eggs, and arts & crafts.



The Phi Alpha Honor Society provides a closer bond among students of social work and promotes humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work. Phi Alpha’s slogan that embraces their purpose is “Through Knowledge-the Challenge to Serve.”

The concept of a national social work honor society came from a group of undergraduate social work students at Michigan Sate University in 1960. Investigation revealed that local chapters existed at three schools. Those three schools along with a few other schools formed a National Honor society Committee in November 1960. For more than a year this committee worked on the constitution and other administrative matters. The name Phi Alpha and the key were adopted from the local chapter which existed at Florida State University. The constitution and formal organization were completed in 1962, and six chapters quailed to become” charter chapters.” They were Florida State, Michigan State University, Ohio Northern University, Central State College, University of Dayton and the University of Tennessee. Over 110 chapters are now in existence, and the addition of new chapters is continuing. The Mary Baldwin University Sigma Phi Chapter was added in April 2011.

Phi Alpha holds an annual induction ceremony in Miller Chapel each spring.

Membership Requirements:
An undergraduate student is eligible for active membership after achieving the following National minimum requirements and meeting local Chapter requirements:
a. Declared social work as a major.
b. Achieved sophomore status.
c. Completed 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of required social work courses.
d. Achieved an overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
e. Achieved a 3.25 grade point average in required social work courses.
f. Local chapter may establish higher eligibility requirements.


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