Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University Social Work Programs

western-illinois-universityWestern Illinois University appears in our ranking of the 20 High-value BSW Degrees in Metro Areas with Top Salaries for Social Workers.

The school offers a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program that offers a generalist curriculum in social work that will prepare graduates for entry-level positions. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has accredited the program, which has a mission to ensure graduates can work as advocates for social justice and understand the ethical practices necessary to provide support to those who need it. Program goals include educating students in “CARES,” which is an acronym for Competent, Advocates, Responsible, Ethical, and Service-Oriented. Graduates may work in a variety of environments including hospitals, nursing homes, substance abuse programs, mental health centers, residential treatment facilities, and family counseling services.

Students must complete all social work classes in the program with a grade of “C” or better, as well as have an overall GPA in social work classes of at least 2.5. To complete the program, students must take 120 credits with 60 of those semester hours resulting from time at a four-year college and 40 semester hours resulting from classes numbered 300 or above. The curriculum for the program is based on ten core competencies. Classes in social work the student will take include Introduction to Social Work, Human Behavior & the Social Environment, Social Work Research Methodology, Social Work Research Statistics, and Case Management. Students will be able to take up to 17 credit hours of electives, or they may use those hours to pursue a minor.

Some of the electives a student may take include Medical Social Work, Domestic Violence & Social Work Intervention, Social Work with Aging, and Social Work & Addictions. During the final semester of study, students will participate in a practicum, which features a 32-hour work week that lasts 15 weeks and results in assignment to a social work setting. Over the course of the practicum, students will spend at least 450 hours working, as well as attend bi-weekly seminar classes with other students on campus. The college shares that the purpose of the practicum is to help students become “self-directed learners” who can exercise their own judgment and work with confidence in many roles within the realm of social work.

After graduation, students may opt to complete three years of full-time employment in social work to attain eligibility to become licensed as a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Students may also choose to enter a Master of Social Work (MSW) program instead of entering the work-force immediately to become eligible to take the licensing exam. Students interested in earning a double major may do so at Western Illinois University, but the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) must be chosen as the student’s primary degree that will appear on the student’s diploma.

About Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University is a public university in Macomb, Illinois. The school was originally called Western Illinois State Normal School when it was founded in 1899. As was the case with many colleges of its day, the school was founded as a place to train teachers. There are just over 9,000 students attending school at Western Illinois University, which features a small-town campus of 1,050 acres and more than 60 buildings. The land on which the school stands was donated by the Freemasons of Macomb. The school’s official colors are purple and gold, and the sports teams play as the Leathernecks with two mascots named Colonel Rock and Rocky. Colonel Rock is a live bulldog, and Rocky is a student in a bulldog costume.

Western Illinois University Accreditation Details

Western Illinois University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and was granted re-accreditation in 2011. The school was first accredited in 1913 and has maintained that accreditation since that year. Other programs and schools within the university that have additional accreditation include the teacher licensure programs, which are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the bachelor’s degree in engineering, which is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the Bachelor of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education/Commission on Accreditation.

Western Illinois University Application Requirements

Students interested in attending Western Illinois University as undergraduates must submit the official application, high school transcripts, and standardized test scores. Students may also submit personal statements and letters of support, which may help students with low GPAs achieve acceptance into the university. In addition to completing the general application requirements for general admission to Western Illinois University, undergraduate students must also complete some additional materials when they apply to the social work program at the university. Students who are accepted to the university will be known as “pre-social work majors” until they complete a series of prerequisites that will ensure formal acceptance into the program. Those requirements include a minimum GPA of at least 2.00 in all classes, completion of several basic classes, and completion of the official Social Work Program application.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate students from Illinois will pay $284.70 per credit hour to attend Western Illinois University. Interestingly, the school also charges the same per credit hour for out-of-state students and distance learners. International students pay $427.05 per credit hour. Students will also pay a variety of fees each semester like an activity fee, athletic fee, health center fee, and technology fee. Distance learners will pay an additional $50 for a distance learning fee. Students who choose to live on campus in one of the residence halls will pay between $2,940 and $5,508 per semester. Students who buy a meal plan will pay $1,875 per semester.

Financial aid at Western Illinois University is available form a variety of sources including the federal government, private lenders, the university, and private organizations. Many students receive assistance from the Western Illinois University Scholarship Program, and the school also offers payment plans for tuition, room, and meal plan charges. To qualify for federal student aid, students must submit a FAFSA form before the yearly deadline. Students may receive loans through the federal government’s loan programs, as well as grants when there is a financial need. Students who plan to enroll in the social work undergraduate program at Western Illinois University should explore all options for funding their education.

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