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.

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

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

Application Instructions

Through a rolling admission process, prospective students may apply to Alvernia at any time. Multiple start dates throughout the year allow accepted students to begin a program of study at an accommodating time. We continually review applications and accept students for each of the six term starts (August, October, February, March, May, and July).

Keeping on track is important throughout the process. We encourage you to work with an admission team member to submit all materials and meet all deadlines. Our dedicated team will work directly with you to identify the best options that work for you and your unique situation.

Once your application is complete, you will not have to wait long for a decision. We continually review applications and notify students as soon as a decision has been made.

To get started, visit our Adult Education Application page for a list of instructions and documents needed.

Financing Your Eductation

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our financial aid page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about 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 (Alphabetical)