Social Work Degree Programs in South Dakota

Social work degrees in South Dakota can change your life and prepare you for a career in helping others. Those with a degree in the field may work for hospitals, the federal, state or local government and for public and private clinics, agencies and organizations. They may also specialize in a specific field. Some work with elderly patients and those of an advanced age, and others work with children and juveniles. Studying at one of the colleges in South Dakota gives you the opportunity to develop the skills to assist others, and you may also gain some practical experience as well.

Oglala Lakota College

Social Work Department

Oglala Lakota College is a small college in South Dakota that focuses primarily on the education of Native American students. Established in the early 1970s as a way to assist those students with obtaining job training, many of its early programs were vocational in nature and culminated with a certificate or diploma rather than a degree. The local tribal council granted accreditation to the college, and it also gained accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Though the majority of students enrolled in its classes come from Native American backgrounds, the college also accepts students from across the country.

Bachelors in Social Work

OLC offers a Bachelors in Social Work degree program for students hoping to gain employment without obtaining a graduate degree or before attending graduate school. The program focuses on providing students with the skills needed to assist the Lakota people and to represent that tribe and the well being of its people. Prior to beginning the program, students must take an introduction to social work class that the college only offers each spring. Students spend their first semester taking core and general education courses and only begin advanced social work studies during their sophomore and junior years. Social work students must also select a concentration in either liberal arts studies or drug and alcohol counseling. Also known as chemical dependency counseling, this concentration allows students to gain a deeper understanding of addiction and how it affects people in different ways. Students may also complete an internship at a local counseling center during their final year in the program.

Accreditation

  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
  • Council on Social Work Education

Contact

P.O. Box 490
Kyle, SD 57752
(605) 455-6000
kkidd@olc.edu
Program Website

Presentation College

Social Work Department

Though officially established in 1951, the history of Presentation College actually dates back to the 1920s. A small college called Notre Dame Junior College opened in Mitchell, South Dakota and continued operating in that city until its founder donated the college to a group of Presentation Sisters. The Sisters took over the daily operations of the college and moved its campus to nearby Aberdeen, which offered more space. Those Sisters expanded the college’s financial aid department in the hopes of giving students more assistance in terms of money. It now ranks as one of the top schools for social work and other social sciences in the state.

Bachelors in Social Work

The Social Work Department at Presentation College is responsible for running its social work degree program. This program consists of nine different areas that all students must study:

  • Professional ethics and values
  • Specific populations of people
  • Social work research
  • Working with diverse groups
  • Economic and social justice
  • How humans act in their environments
  • Social welfare, including the services that social workers perform
  • Practicing social work
  • Field experience

The founders of this program realized that many undergraduate social work programs lack any hands on experience but that students who have that experience do better in their chosen careers. That is why they introduced a field practicum, which asks students to dedicate one or more semester working for a local agency and getting experience working with real people. All students must also complete in-depth research on a current social work topic before graduating.

Accreditation

  • Council on Social Work Education

Contact

1500 North Main Street
Aberdeen, SD 57401
(800) 437-6060
michael.mattison@presentation.edu
Program Website

University of Sioux Falls

Major in Social Work (B.A.)

The University of Sioux Falls can trace its roots back to the early 1870s, but it took more than a decade before the founders officially established the campus. During its early years, it offered both high school and college courses and made it easier for high school students to transition to a college program. Though it later expanded significantly both in terms of size and programs, it still has many of its original buildings still standing on its campus. With a population of less than 1,500 students, the University of Sioux Falls offers a low ratio of professors to students in all its programs and departments.

Social Sciences Department

USF offers its Social Work (B.A.) program for students interested in attending graduate school and those who want to go directly to work. Unlike other schools that offer a B.S. and require that students take a large number of science courses, this B.A. program combines elements of both social work and liberal arts educations. Students typically spend four years in the program and take most of their general education courses in their first two years. They will also need to take 56 semester hours of social work and other required courses. Biology, psychology, research methods and statistics are all required classes. Required social work courses include social policy, human behavior and social welfare. Students must also take four practical thinking courses on topics like working with small groups and family counseling, and they must also complete a field internship or experience during their senior years.

Accreditation

  • Council on Social Work Education

Contact

1101 West 22nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
(800) 888-1047
dcp@usiouxfalls.edu
Program Website

University of South Dakota

Department of Social Work

The University of South Dakota has the distinction of being the oldest and the largest university in the entire state. Established in 1862, this large campus has more than 7,000 undergraduate students and a graduate student population of more than 2,500. The university divided its campus in to seven different colleges that offer more than 200 undergraduate degree programs and more than 60 graduate degree programs. Its students typically score high on entrance exams, and its business school once had the highest average entrance scores in the region. The public university also has its own online program that offers both graduate and undergraduate courses.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work

The Bachelors of Science in Social Work provides students with a strong foundation that will assist them in working for the government and other organizations and agencies. When developing the program, the founders created a four year guideline that showed students what classes they should take each year and each semester to graduate in four years. Completion of the program usually requires completing 120 credit hours or more, which include both general education courses and social work classes. All students must finish 45 hours or required social work classes and receive a grade of “C” or higher in each class. Those who score lower will need to retake those classes. The University of South Dakota also offers a specialization or concentration in child welfare for students planning to work for social work departments focusing on kids. Those students must take three specific classes in addition to their other work.

Master of Social Work

In addition to an undergraduate degree, the University of South Dakota also offers a Master of Social Work. Students can apply for admission with or without a social work degree, but those with an undergraduate degree in another field will need to take several classes and go through different steps before enrolling in the program. Students must complete 36 credit hours of advance work, which includes classes on social policy and working in urban settings. Though the program does not require a thesis, it does have a research project component that students finish in their final semester. Students must also complete two field placement courses. They spend a minimum of 250 hours working in the field and then switch to a different placement and work an additional 250 hours. Supervisors will watch students and give them feedback before signing off on the work they did.

Accreditation

  • Council on Social Work Education

Contact

414 E Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
(877) 269-6837
socialwork@usd.edu
Program Website

South Dakota is home to a handful of schools that offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in social work. Those programs prepare you for working for any agency or organization in the state and across the country. Students should weigh the pros and cons of each program carefully before applying to earn social work degrees in South Dakota.

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