Join a profession that changes the world!

Madonna University’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) prepares students to practice social work in for-profit, non-profit, or governmental settings working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, or communities.  

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Accreditation is by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which prepares students for licensure in Michigan or across the United States. 

BSW Learning Objectives

The Social Work bachelor’s degree focuses on preparing practitioners that can enhance people’s problem-solving and coping capacities. In this field, social workers link individuals, families, and communities with systems that provide them with resources, services, and opportunities they may previously not have been able to access. 

To succeed in this field, the coursework and practicum experience in Madonna’s BSW degree builds the knowledge and skills needed to support diverse clients and vulnerable populations. Upon graduation, BSW students possess the following professional competencies:

  • Competency 1: Demonstrate the Ethical and Professional Behavior 
  • Competency 2: Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • Competency 3: Engage Anti-Racism, Diveristy, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice 
  • Competency 4: Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice
  • Competency 5: Engage in Policy Praactice
  • Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Learn more about the program’s mission and standards in the BSW Student Handbook.

"diversity, equity & justice" in text with an icon of a fist
"empowerment and advocoacy" with an icon of two hands holding
"compassion" with an icon of a heart

Flexible Degree Format

The social work courses are designed and scheduled specifically to meet the needs of individuals who are balancing many responsibilities beyond just college. Classes meet in the late afternoon with some being offered in a hybrid or online format. Class sizes are kept small, fostering strong relationships between students and professors who bring a broad range of professional knowledge and experiences to the classroom setting.

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"hybrid" with an icon of a house and another icon of a computer
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Madonna’s Social Work bachelor’s degree consists of a minimum of 120 credit hours of professional core courses, prerequisites, and general education requirements. This mix of course types ensures our social work students receive a well-rounded integrated education grounded in a liberal arts perspective.

Review the complete BSW curriculum.

Field Practicum

Social work students complete a minimum of 400 hours of supervised field work over two semesters during the senior year at a community agency, such as courts, hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters.

The field practicum experience challenges students to put the helping skills they learned in the classroom into action working with real clients. Students are concurrently enrolled in a field seminar that fosters discussion and a shared knowledge between students about the field experience.

"court systems" with an icon of a court
"hospitals" with an icon of a hospital
"nursing homes" with an icon of a nursing home
"shelters" with an icon of a hand holding a home with a heart to represent a shelter for the unhoused


Madonna Social Work enrolls students in a cohort model...Classes are schedule in a manner that accommodates working adult students, and also offers online classes.

  • If you already have earned an Associates degree students can finish a BSW degree in 2 years.
  • If you have earned a BSW and hold at least a 2.5 GPA you are eligible for an MSW in 1 additional year. 

Program Outcomes

The BSW program equips graduates with the knowledge and skills for immediate professional 

A large percentage of BSW students continue on to graduate school, with many students opting to earn both the BSW and MSW in three years when paired with Madonna’s advanced standing MSW program. Those who seek to get started in their social world career find employment in the field immediately after graduation.

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Ready to make a difference?

Empower yourself to create positive change in communities and the lives of others with a social work degree from Madonna University. 


Social Work Needs You!


Growth is expected in the field between 2022-2032


Members are a part of NASW, which provides research, guidance, and other resources for members.


Is the average annual social worker salary. 

Admission Requirements

Students apply to Madonna’s Bachelor of Social Work while in the process of taking or after completion of initial social work classes (SW 2300 and SW 3400) with at least a "C" (2.0) grade. 

Additional program application requirements include:

  • Minimum 2.5 GPA by end of semester in which student applies
  • Completion of at least 45 credits of the Madonna Core Curriculum 
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Reflective personal statement
  • Application
  • Declaration of Social Work as a major

Applicants are accepted yearly in the fall and must demonstrate aptitude for social work practice as evidenced in service learning experiences and recommendations. Please note that only students formally admitted to the program are merited to enroll in 4000-level social work courses.

Connect Those In Your Community to the Resources They Need

Madonna University’s Bachelor of Social Work degree provides extensive preparation for a rewarding career assisting vulnerable populations in your community. Through a commitment to social justice, you will learn the skills of how to connect individuals and families with the vital resources they need to thrive.

Begin your journey improving the lives of others in your community. Request more information about undergraduate admission or start your application!


Social Work Certificate

The diverse range of skills you gain in the Social Work Certificate program prepares you to work in both public and private settings with an array of clients.

Learn More

MSW Degree

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is required for advanced clinical or macro practice and is in high demand for employers seeking social work professionals who can work with clients and provide leadership in the agency and community.

Learn More

Addiction Studies Certificate

The Addiction Studies Certificate program provides a comprehensive overview of the dynamics of substance- and non-substance-related addictions, treatment, and prevention. To a significant extent, the coursework meets the educational requirements of the Michigan Certification Board of Addiction Professionals (MCBAP)

Learn More

Humane Studies Minor

As a student in the Humane Studies minor, you will become part of an exciting, cutting-edge field based on the idea of the interconnectedness of social justice, sustainability, and animal protection.

Learn More

Community Leadership Certificate

This program provides you with the tools needed to promote positive social change in your community and beyond, preparing you for active, lasting, civic engagement, and community leadership roles, as well as a variety of careers in social services, administration, management, and government organizations.

Learn More

Congratulations BSW Student of the Year

Sara Pitchford BSW Student of the Year

Sara Pitchford

"A series of life events led me to seeking a career in social work. All that I have learned along the way has inspired me to be a strong advocate for those that are marginalized by unfair and unjust systems. I'm thankful for finding social work as it's provided me the road map to dismantling those systems and building better." 

BSW Networking

BSW students and alumni participating in a networking event and in Social Work events during Social Worker Month

Social Work Networking Events


Anti-Racist, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Madonna University Social Work Department is committed to teaching and guiding their faculty and students to walk in line with the A.D.E.I. standards: Anti-Racist, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Faculty Bios

Irena Glover

Chair, Social  Work Department Director, MSW Program Associate Professor, Social Work

B.A., University of Detroit Mercy

M.S.W, Wayne State University

Ph.D., Walden University



Irena Glover

Irena Glover (She/Her), Ph.D., LMSW, joined the Social Work Department at Madonna University in August 2017 as an Assistant Professor. She earned a BA in Developmental Psychology from the University of Detroit Mercy in 1998. She went on to earn her MSW in 2000 from Wayne State University. In 2016, Irena earned her Ph.D. in Human Services with a specialization in Family Studies and Intervention Strategies.

Prior to arriving at Madonna, Irena worked in various settings, including Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the Family Reunification Program. She also has experience with nonprofit and program development. Her interests include parenting education, father engagement, working with at-risk children and youth, intergenerational issues such as poverty and teenage pregnancy, and individual and family counseling.

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Sarah Jo TwitchellBSW Program Director, Associate  Professor, Social Work

B.A., University of Toledo

M.S.S.A., Case Western Reserve University

Ph.D., University of Toledo



Sarah Jo Twitchell

Sarah Jo Twitchell (She/Her) holds her LISW-S license in Ohio and joined the Social Work faculty in August 2016 as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Twitchell earned her MSSA from Case Western Reserve University and her doctorate from The University of Toledo. Before arriving at Madonna University, Dr. Twitchell has also taught social work courses at Owens Community College and Glenville State College in West Virginia. In addition to teaching at the college level, Dr. Twitchell serves as a consultant to various non-profits in the areas of development and grant writing. She has held numerous positions in Toledo area agencies focusing on homelessness, poverty, education and faith-based services.

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Cate DesjardinsAssistant Professor, BSW Field Director

BSW, Eastern Michigan University 

MSW, Wayne State University

Ph.D., Institute for Clinical Social Work



Cate Desjardins

Cate Desjardins (They/Them), Ph.D., LMSW joined the Madonna University Social Work Department in August 2023. They are an Assistant Professor and the BSW Field Placement Director. Cate earned a BSW from Eastern Michigan University in 2006. They went on to complete their MSW at Wayne State University in 2015. In 2023, Cate completed their Ph.D. in Clinical Social Workat the Institute for Clinical Social Work. Their dissertation used a qualitative, interpretive methodology that emphasized participant collaboration to study the intersections of gender identity, embodiment, and childbearing.

Cate has been fortunate to have a range of diverse practice experiences, including short-and long-term residential treatment, outpatient psychotherapy for individuals and groups, work with mandated clients, and community-based social services. Between finishing their BSW and starting their MSW, Cate trained and worked as a birth and postpartum doula in Chicago and Detroit. Cate's interests include psychodynamic social work, gender diversity, qualitative research, and trauma-informed practice. 

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Cathryn FabianAssociate  Professor, Social Work

B.A., San Francisco State University

M.S.W & Ph.D., University of Michigan



Cathryn Fabian

Cathryn Fabian (She/Her) joined the Social Work faculty at Madonna University in 2017 as an Assistant Professor. She earned both her MSW (Community Organization/Community and Social Systems) and her Ph.D. (Social Work and Psychology) from the University of Michigan.

Prior to coming to Madonna, Dr. Fabian was a lecturer at the University of Michigan and at Eastern Michigan University, and was also a research associate at the University of Notre Dame. Her practice experience includes working with homeless and elderly populations, and in community-based program development and evaluation. Dr. Fabian also has expertise on the role of service learning in higher education, particularly as it relates to cognitive and career development.

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Samantha HallmanAssociate Professor, Social Work

B.A., M.S.W & Ph.D., University of Michigan



Samantha Hallman

Samantha Hallman (She/Her) joined the faculty at Madonna University in the fall of 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Social Work. Prior to that time, she held a variety of teaching and research positions at the University of Michigan, including a Postdoctoral Assessment and Evaluation position at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching; a Graduate Student Instructor for several courses in both Social Work and Psychology; and Research Assistant positions at the Institute for Social Research, the School of Education, and the Department of Psychology.

In addition to those roles, she was a Research and Evaluation Manager at the non-profit Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. She received a B.A. in Psychology with Honors in 2006, a Master's in Social Work in 2008, and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology in 2015 from the University of Michigan. Broadly speaking, her research interests lie in understanding the "achievement gap" and bio-psycho-social models of intervention aimed at ameliorating it. Her dissertation explored the role of self-regulatory strength, in conjunction with expectancy and value, in explaining differences in levels of homework completion as a function of race and socioeconomic status.

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Janice KingAssistant Professor, Social Work
Program Field Education Director

B.A. & M.S.W., Wayne State University



Janice King

Janice King (She/Her), LMSW, joined the Social Work Department at Madonna University in 2004 as an adjunct assistant professor. Ms. King earned a MSW in Social Work (organizations and communities) and a BA, in Humanistic Studies at Wayne State University. In August 2014 she became the new Field Education Director for the Social Work program and continues to teach practice method courses in groups and families, and organizations.

Ms. King was previously the Program Manager for the National Resource Center for Adoption at Spaulding for Children, supporting States, Tribes and Territories with relevant practice information in the area of public child welfare adoption, child and family well-being, disproportionality and adoption support and preservation services.

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La Toi S. SmithAssistant Professor, Social Work

B.A. Liberal Arts, Wilberforce University 

M.S.W, Wayne State University

P.H.D, Oakland University



La Toi S. Smith

La Toi S. Smith (She/Her) , PhD, LMSW joined the department as an adjunct instructor in the fall of 2019.She joined the department in fall 2022 as an assistant professor. She earned a BA in Liberal arts in Social Work from Wiberforce University in Wiberforce, OH in 2000. She went on to earn her MSW in 2002 from Wayne State University. She has been licensed through the State of Michigan as a micro/macro livel clinician. In 2018, La Toi earned her PhD in counseling from Oakland University. Her dissertation focused on the experiences of African American women who grew up with nonresidential father.

Dr. Smith was previously employed with a local health system working with individual who suffered from end stage Renel Disease. While there she assisted in interviewing in onboarding LLMSW and LMSWs. She was also employed as an Adult Outpatient Supervisor at a local community mental health center in Detroit, MI. 

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