About the BASW Program

photo: King Library across Tower Lawn

Social Work Practice

BASW graduates have gained the knowledge, skills, and a value base that has been augmented by professional social work supervision in social services. Unlike many of their counterparts in other disciplines, BASW graduates are required to undertake as part of their education extensive agency field internships to prepare them for practice upon graduation. A liberal arts foundation provides students the necessary knowledge and skills to engage in critical thinking about social programs and understanding the social structures of American Society. Graduates develop the skills in social work practice to work with children, youth, families, adults and the elderly.

BASW graduates are employed in many different work settings under public and private agencies and programs that may include: family service agencies, children and youth services, juvenile justice agencies, elementary and/or secondary schools, ethnic oriented service agencies, residential treatment programs, substance abuse programs, domestic violence programs, homeless shelters, mental health services, aging services, nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, home care agencies, mental retardation/developmental disabilities services, vocational rehabilitation services, public health agencies, community action agencies, child and adult day care centers, income maintenance programs, and legal services agencies.

Service Area of the School of Social Work

The service area of the School of Social Work includes the counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito. These counties have significant minority and rural populations that require qualified professionals with the social work values, knowledge, and skills to address individual, family, and social problems. The MSW program offers classes only at the main campus in San José; field placements are available in the six South Bay counties surrounding the University. The student body of the MSW program is approximately 45-55% ethnic minority in composition and the BASW program has approximately 75% ethnic minority students.Social Work Education At San José State University


Social Work education at San José State University has existed since 1939 when the first faculty member was hired in the Department of Sociology.  The program appealed to students through the 1950's and 1960's, but received limited support from the administration and from the Sociology Department.  It was not until the BASW program was established in 1969, with a special mission of educating social workers to work with and on behalf of Spanish speaking populations, that social work education had sufficient visible professional and minority community support. The mission of both the BASW and MSW programs was expanded during the 1990s to include other disenfranchised and marginalized groups in addition to the Latino population. The Graduate Social Work Department became a School of Social Work in 1972.  The Sociology Department transferred responsibility of the Social Service major to the School of Social Work in the same year.  Resources were allocated, the curriculum was revised and the field education program was expanded. 
The Bachelor of Arts in Social Services was re-titled the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) to be consistent with the BA social work programs at other California State University campuses.  Between the 1980's and 2005 both the BASW and MSW programs at San José State University were housed in the College of Social Work.  Since 2005, both social work programs have been housed in the School of Social Work under the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.  The BASW program has witnessed growing interest among students for both the major and the minor in social work. The program prepares its graduates for entry level social work practice and for successful entry into graduate social work programs anywhere in the country.
The BASW program has been continuously accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1976.


Demographic Changes

The service area of the School of Social Work includes the counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito, although students enroll from neighboring northern counties; Alameda, San Mateo and San Francisco. The service community of San José State University has become increasingly diverse and socio-economically includes the high technology industries of Silicon Valley, high housing costs of a metropolitan community, and rural areas that maintain an agricultural economic base. Like much of California, the region, known as the South Bay Area, hosts a number of immigrant groups from around the world, but predominantly from Southeast Asia, from Mexico and other Latin American countries, and more recently, from Middle Eastern and European countries.

The increase in the number of immigrant populations from all over the world has challenged health, education, housing, and social services, and created a tremendous demand for professional service providers who are culturally competent practitioners. It is within this framework of changing population demographics in the region and in the State that the transcultural perspective of the combined School of Social Work remains contemporary and essential. Bilingual ability has become highly desired by agencies seeking to hire professionals to serve the diverse populations in California. While many of our students and graduates are themselves bilingual, all students are expected to develop generalist practice skills from a transcultural perspective in order to meet the needs of the diverse population groups in our service are and in the State of California.