The Social Worker: Dedicated to Service

A time-honored profession that is vital to enhancing human well-being, social workers improve societal conditions by promoting social justice and addressing the needs of those who are vulnerable and affected by poverty. Social workers primarily assist families, disadvantaged children or elderly citizens who are in transition. Alvernia's Bachelor of Social Work program offers a rigorous, caring and inclusive learning community, preparing you for employment or for graduate studies.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) graduates who meet the criteria are eligible for Advanced Standing, meaning they can complete an accelerated curriculum to earn a master’s degree in social work from CSWE-accredited MSW programs.

Estimated Program Length2-4 years
Credit Hours123
Course Length7 weeks
Transfer Credits Accepted75
Cost per Credit$650*

*Tuition discount available. Ask for details!


In This Section
Adult Education Programs

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Bachelor of Social Work program is available at the following Alvernia University campuses:

Application Instructions

Along with your completed application accompanied by $25 non-refundable application fee, you’ll need to provide a few supporting materials.

  • Complete your online application: Begin your online application, which lets you build, edit and save sections of your application along the way.
  • Order your college transcripts: Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions where coursework was attempted. Transcripts should be dated within a year of your application. They must be sent through the mail, Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Alvernia from the college/university where coursework was attempted. If your school requires an email address to send a transcript electronically, please use Sealed transcripts can also be mailed from the college/university to: Alvernia University, Graduate & Adult Education - Admissions, 400 St. Bernardine St., Reading, PA 19607. Transcript requests may take several weeks. We recommend that you order any transcripts as early as possible
  • Provide evidence of high school completion/graduation: Documentation may include high school transcript, diploma, GED scores or equivalent. This admission requirement may be waived if an official college transcript is provided to validate completion of 15 credits or more from an accredited school. Please note that proof of high school completion may still be required for financial aid purposes. Documentation should be uploaded to your online application or mailed to: Alvernia University, Graduate & Adult Education - Admissions, 400 St. Bernardine St., Reading, PA 19607.
  • Upload your Social Work essay, including the following prompts:
    • Describe your view of the role of Social Work in society. 
    • Describe the experiences in your life which have directed you to the Social Work profession. 
    • What individual or individuals have had the greatest influence in your life? Why?
    • Describe yourself and why you would make a good Social Worker.
    • List three areas of Social Work that you would consider choosing as a career. Why would you choose each of these areas of Social Work?
  • Scores from the SAT or ACT are not required
Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our Student Financial Services page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about tuition, the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email

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Philadelphia campus student
Why Alvernia?
• Alvernia University is a nationally ranked comprehensive regional university that has been a leader in adult education for over 35 years.
• Flexible scheduling with evening classes and in-person, hybrid and online formats meets the needs of the busy adult learner.
• Programs are offered at a growing number of convenient locations in Reading, Pottsville, and Philadelphia.
• With world-class facilities and resources and a dedicated advisor team to help you balance your studies, family, financial and work demands, Alvernia is the ideal choice for your personal and educational comeback.

Program Overview


Social Work Major Requirements (43 Credits):

  • SW 201 Introduction to Social Work
  • SW 301 Social Welfare
  • SW 302 Social Policy
  • SW 303 Human Behavior/Social Environment I
  • SW 304 Human Behavior/Social Environment II
  • SW 305 Social Work Practice I
  • SW 306 Social Work Practice II
  • SW 316 Introduction to Field Education
  • SW 401 Social Work Practice III
  • SW 402 Social Work Practice IV - Capstone
  • SW 403 Senior Field Education I
  • SW 404 Senior Field Education II
  • SW 405 Methods of Social Research
  • SW 407 Senior Field Education I Seminar
  • SW 408 Senior Field Education II Seminar


*All Alvernia University students are required to complete between 31-55 credits toward the Liberal Arts Core. Transfer work may be applicable for this area. As part of the application process, students receive specific information regarding remaining credits.

**A total of 123 credits including 3 credits in a human diversity course are required to complete a bachelor’s degree. To adhere to Franciscan Values, community service hours are also required. In addition, at least 30 credits at the 300/400 level must be taken at Alvernia University.

Child Welfare Concentration:

  • SW 201 Introduction to Social Work
  • SW 202 Social Services to Children
  • SW 301 Social Welfare
  • CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CJ 175 Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation
  • CJ 272 Probation and Parole  -OR- CJ 274 Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • BH 300 Case Management
  • BH 411 Counseling Special Populations -OR- BH 413 Special Issues Seminar

Required Courses in Related Areas:

  • BIO 109 Human Biology
  • MAT 208 Introductory Statistics or MAT 209 Probability and Statistics Psychology course (3 credits)
  • Sociology course (3 credits)

Choose Three Courses (9 elective credits):

  • SW 202 Social Services to Children
  • SW 203 The Process of Aging
  • SW 207 Intervention Strategies for Families
  • SW 209 Death, Dying and Bereavement
  • SW 231 Culturally Sensitive Human Service Practice
Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Students participate in internships, interprofessional learning opportunities, community service and engagement activities.
  • Phi Alpha Honor Society provides leadership opportunities and service initiatives for the community.
  • Social Work Clubs in Reading and Philadelphia hold annual initiatives to meet the needs of the underserved.
Program Accreditation

Alvernia University’s social work programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2021 was $50,390.

  • Addiction counselor
  • Agency director
  • Caseworker
  • Child or family counselor
  • Child welfare worker
  • Crisis intervention worker
  • Foster care and adoption specialist
  • Criminal justice prevention and rehabilitation
  • Foster care and adoption
  • Department of Public Welfare employee
  • Hospice worker
  • Mental health rehabilitation specialist
  • Nursing home social worker
  • Religious social worker
  • Therapeutic support staff


Ann Marie Stout
Bachelor of Social Work graduate returns to pursue MSW
Ann-Marie Stout graduated from Alvernia in June 2019 with her Bachelor of Social Work degree. Stout’s focus during her undergraduate work was to address the needs of the local community, tackling poverty, drug addiction, limited education and poor resources. Her ties to Reading and her faith remained a priority as she pursued further goals, which included returning to Alvernia for her Master of Social Work.

Get to Know Your Faculty

For more information about Alvernia’s Adult Education Social Work program contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 610-796-5187 or Or reach out directly to Social Work Program Director Michael Hassler at 610-568-1490 or