Undergraduate Goals

Students who earn a BSW degree are trained as social work generalist practitioners. This means that they are provided with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, and skills required to intervene with individuals, families, organizations, and communities. They can work with clients of all ages and assist them in facing an array of life challenges.

Contemporary Vision

The new Simmons College BSW Program embraces the history of the School of Social Work while focusing on the needs of contemporary students, the changing social work profession, and our diverse community. The Program has been designed to maintain the educational standards set forth by its accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), while offering students enhanced options for completing their social work education and training.

View our Student Learning Outcomes Assessment.

Program Mission Statement

Consistent with the mission of Simmons College, ideals of the School of Social Work, and standards set forth by the Council on Social Work Education, the Simmons College BSW Program's Mission is:

to prepare baccalaureate-level students for professional generalist social work practice and lifelong professional and personal learning. Consistent with the mission and vision of Simmons College, the School of Social Work, and professional social work tradition, the Program seeks to develop competent, ethical social work practitioners who are attuned to the values of the social work profession, embrace a professional social work identity, value diversity, and seek social justice through effective advocacy and social change efforts.

Program Goals

Within the liberal arts tradition and guided by the purpose and values of the social work profession, the Simmons College BSW Program aims to:

  1. Contribute to the fulfillment of the mission and goals of Simmons College and the School of Social Work by contributing to a liberal arts foundation and providing strong social work career preparation at the baccalaureate level;
  2. Prepare students for generalist social work employment and graduate level education;
  3. provide students with instruction, field experiences, and opportunities to develop the knowledge, values, and skills and master the core competencies needed for effective, culturally sensitive, evidence-based, ethical social work practice;
  4. Provide students with instructional opportunities that will facilitate the development of critical thinking and writing skills necessary for effective social work practice;
  5. Prepare students to become competent practitioners, social justice advocates, policy analysts, and agents of social change;
  6. Provide a foundation for students' professional futures, emphasizing life-long learning, growth, and professional development
Core Competencies and Practice Behaviors

In alignment with the 2008 Council on Social Work Education's Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, the Simmons College Baccalaureate Social Work Program utilizes a competency-based educational model whereby student abilities and Program success are demonstrated by measurable outcomes. Like the Simmons College MSW Program, the BSW Program's pedagogical philosophy is structured around a commitment to ensuring that its graduates are capable of demonstrating their ability to integrate and apply what they have learned in practice that is of high quality. The Program strives to prepare its graduates for generalist social work through the demonstrated mastery of the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for effective, competent, ethical practice.

By the completion of their baccalaureate education and training, the Simmons College BSW graduate will demonstrate the following Core Competencies, operationalized by their Practice Behaviors:

1) Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly

  • advocate for client access to the services of social work
  • practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development
  • attend to professional roles and boundaries
  • demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication
  • engage in career-long learning
  • use supervision and consultation

2) Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice

  • recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice
  • make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics
  • tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts
  • apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions

3) Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments

  • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom
  • analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation
  • demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues

4) Engage diversity and difference in practice

  • recognize the extent to which a culture's structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power
  • gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups
  • recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences
  • view themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants

5) Advance human rights and social and economic justice

  • understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination
  • advocate for human rights and social and economic justice
  • engage in practices that advance social and economic justice

6) Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

  • use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry
  • use research evidence to inform practice

7) Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment

  • utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation
  • critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment

8) Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services

  • analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being
  • collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action

9) Respond to contexts that shape practice

  • continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services
  • provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.

10) Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities


  • substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups,organizations, and communities
  • use empathy and other interpersonal skills
  • develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes.


  • collect, organize, and interpret client data
  • assess client strengths and limitations
  • develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives
  • select appropriate intervention strategies


  • initiate actions to achieve organizational goals
  • implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities
  • help clients resolve problems
  • negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients
  • facilitate transitions and endings


  • Critically analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions

Social Work (MSW)

Learn more about our Master of Social Work program.