Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare (BASW)

The BASW program prepares entry level social workers for generalist practice in a multicultural context through classroom learning, community service, and 480 hours of supervised field experience. The BASW curriculum challenges students to think critically about systemic oppression and prepares them to become informed and effective leaders able to take action against injustice and inequalities. Students also gain hands-on skills needed to become a social work professional. All BASW students participate in two social work internships, providing them with a a supportive learning environment, a field instructor to provide encouragement and guidance, and invaluable work experience to add to a resume. 

The School of Social Work has two entry points to the Seattle BASW Program. Traditionally admitted students apply during spring of the sophomore year and receive a decision during spring. Applications are accepted for fall quarter from both UW students and UW transfer applicants. See Apply to BASW for more information. 


Potentially. This works best if you are able to complete a substantial number of credits before or after the two year Social Welfare program, and there are also multiple quarters you will have space to add an additional class on to your Social Welfare coursework. It works best if the other major’s coursework is flexible in scheduling, since the Social Welfare class schedule is relatively set. You’re invited to discuss your specific goals with the Social Welfare adviser.

You have lots of options! You are welcome and encouraged to take SOC WF 200 at some point before you apply to the program. While not required, it can help students have a more nuanced understanding of the social work profession and be more confident that the program is a good fit for your goals and interests.

You can also work on general education courses that would not overlap with the Social Welfare coursework, such as Natural World, language, and English composition. Note that we have up to 10 credits of VLPA as part of our curriculum, if you choose to participate in our Intergroup Dialogue facilitation courses as part of your senior year. These can overlap with your Areas of Knowledge requirements. We usually have an opportunity to earn Writing credit in a Social Welfare course, and our SOC WF 404 Cultural Diversity & Justice course will also satisfy your UW Diversity requirement.

Students often find that being multilingual opens doors in terms of service and employment, enabling them to work with more communities and support access to services for clients who speak languages other than English. Continuing your language learning can be practical and marketable.

This could also be an opportunity to begin coursework toward a second major or a minor.

Social Welfare is a capacity-constrained major, but we are also one of UW's smallest majors. Admission to our program is therefore not as competitive as admission to most capacity-constrained majors at UW. Our admissions committee holistically reviews your application and values a variety of factors including social & human service experience, personal growth, experience overcoming adversity, and more. We admit students with a wide variety of GPAs and life experience, and encourage all eligible applicants to apply, regardless of GPA. While academic preparedness is considered as part of the holistic review process, our committee is most interested in understanding your story, your fit for our program, and your commitment to social justice issues.  Applicants can strengthen their application with a compelling essay and relevant social service experience hours (either volunteering, jobs, social justice and leadership roles, etc.). For information on last year's entering class, please see our 2018 BASW Class Profile.

Some popular and relevant minors for Social Welfare students are:

  • Human Rights

  • Diversity

  • Disability Studies

  • Education, Learning & Society

  • Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies

  • Comparative History of Ideas

  • American Indian Studies

  • Anthropology

  • Law, Societies, and Justice

  • Spanish

  • American Sign Language

These minors tend to connect with social justice content in the Social Welfare program and allow a student to expand on an interest that may relate to their future career. For example, if a student plans to work with Deaf communities as a social worker, knowing ASL will be very helpful. A student could be engaged by thinking about equity issues around technology access, and pursue a minor such as Informatics.

Practicum is a type of social work internship that allows students to integrate the intellectual contribution of the classroom in the field. It offers students a supervised and supportive learning opportunity, where they can apply knowledge from their coursework and gain hands-on skills. To learn more about practicum and how practicum assignments are established, please visit the Field Education webpage:

Unfortunately, due to the structured nature of our program, we are unable to offer part-time or online options.

For BASW advising appointments, please reach out to the Assistant Director of the BASW program, Nicole Guenther, at to set up a meeting.