Social Work Degree Programs in West Virginia

Students searching for social work degrees in West Virginia will find there are 10 great programs approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

As America’s 38th most populous state with 1.84 million residents, West Virginia is nestled in the Appalachian Region of the East Coast.

Although West Virginia’s economy is popularly linked to coal mining, there’s also a growing social services sector. For five straight years, a Gallup Poll has rated West Virginians as more miserable than other state citizens. Rural Appalachia is known for having high poverty rates, health disparities, and economic strife. Since 2013, drug deaths in West Virginia have increased by 47 percent and low birth weight grew by 31 percent.

Around 1,200 social workers are employed in the “Mountain State” with an average annual salary of $45,360. Start giving back to your community by pursuing one of these West Virginia social work degrees.

Bethany College

Department of Social Work

Affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, Bethany College is the state’s oldest private, non-profit Christian liberal arts institution founded in 1840 by Alexander Campbell during the American Restoration Movement. Nestled on a scenic 1,300-acre rural campus in the Allegheny Plateau in Bethany just a 50-minute drive from Pittsburgh, Bethany College enrolls approximately 975 students. High school counselors surveyed by the U.S. News ranked Bethany as America’s 193rd best liberal arts college. The Department of Social Work follows the NASW Code of Ethics to develop students’ respect for human dignity, diversity, and integrity.

Major in Social Work

Celebrating 27 years, the Major in Social Work program at Bethany College is accredited by the CSWE to award bachelor’s degrees to undergraduate students interested in advocating for equality and social justice. From a generalist model, the program uses a liberal arts foundation to develop the attributes required for working with diverse populations affected by oppression. The four-year major requires two 50-hour service learning projects and a capstone, 500-hour senior field placement. Students can participate in the Social Awareness Club, pledge Phi Alpha, and attend the West Virginia NASW Conference. There’s an Equine-Facilitated Therapy Certificate and Minor in Criminal Justice offered. It’s also possible to declare a dual major in Psychology with a Human Services Emphasis.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

31 East Campus Drive
Bethany, WV 26032
(304) 829-7150
socialwork@bethanywv.edu
Program Link

Concord University

Department of Social Work

Established in 1872 by the West Virginia State Legislature, Concord University is a premier regional public state-funded liberal arts institution enrolling over 2,800 students on its 123-acre rural campus in Athens within the Bluefield Micropolitan Area. Featuring nearly 200 on-campus organizations like the Phi Alpha Honor Society, Concord is currently ranked the 47th best regional college and 6th top public school in the South by the USNWR. The Department of Social Work has the mission of training students the practical techniques for eradicating discrimination from today’s society.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Fully accredited by the CSWE for 40 years, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program has a distinguished history of preparing Concord students for professional generalist social work practice, especially in rural Appalachia communities. The 120-credit program fulfills NASW membership requirements and qualifications for the Social Work Licensure Exam. Starting in the introductory course, BSW students are actively involved in fieldwork. Past placement sites have included Genesis HealthCare, Family Refuge Center, SWVA Regional Jail Authority, and New River Ranch. Students can select from various electives ranging from school social services and corrections to gerontology and human resources. All major courses must be completed with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Using a strengths-based perspective, the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Concord University aims to prepare graduate students for advanced social work practice. The program emphasizes a systems approach to address issues of social and economic injustice that are unique in rural settings. The traditional, 60-credit program takes two years of full-time study or four years of part-time study. Eligible graduates with an accredited BSW and 3.0 major GPA could qualify for the 36-credit Advanced Standing track. Coursework will delve into rural practice, Appalachian culture, human behavior, social diversity, and field research. Some courses in the CSWE-accredited program are offered online via Blackboard for convenience.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

Marsh Hall Room A107
Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6260
socialwork@concord.edu
Program Link

Marshall University

College of Health Professions

Headquartered on a main 114-acre urban campus in Huntington with extension centers in South Charleston, Beckley, Point Pleasant, Logan, and Williamson, Marshall University is a public state co-educational research institution educating over 16,700 students. With an acceptance rate of 88 percent, Marshall is currently ranked the 45th best regional college, 17th top public school, and 34th best university for veterans in the South by the USNWR. The College of Health Professions is one of Marshall’s largest divisions with bachelor’s degrees from dietetics and public health to social work and nursing.

Baccalaureate Social Work Program

Centered on key social issues like racism, homelessness, child abuse, juvenile delinquency, AIDS, and addiction, the Baccalaureate Social Work Program at Marshall prepares entry-level social workers capable of improving community well-being. Nationally accredited by the CSWE, the program covers the core professional values need to advocate for Appalachia. Students can pursue the program in Huntington or at the Mid Ohio Valley Center in Point Pleasant. The four-year plan consists of 120 credits, including general education in speech, critical thinking, math, biology, sociology, writing, and fine arts. Two field practicum semesters are required at any community-based center in the Tri-State area. Starting in fall 2016, there’ll be a Master of Social Work program with a Behavioral Health Services emphasis.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

1 John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755
(304) 696-2791
gottlieb@marshall.edu
Program Link

Shepherd University

Department of Social Work

Opened in 1871 as the State Normal School, Shepherd University has been reshaped into a four-year comprehensive public liberal arts institution serving more than 4,400 students annually from its luscious 325-acre rural campus in Shepherdstown near the Potomac River. Along with being in the Princeton Review’s “Best Southeastern Colleges,” Shepherd is ranked the 265th top master’s-level university for social mobility in Washington Monthly. The Department of Social Work enrolls students with a passion for bettering the lives of poor, oppressed, and vulnerable populations.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Named a “Program of Distinction” from 2007 to 2012, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Shepherd excels at producing competent, effective entry-level practitioners to intervene on behalf of diverse clients. Students benefit from a blend of classroom instruction, audiovisual labs, fieldwork, and community workshops. Annually, the Department spearheads an Aging Well Workshop at the Byrd Center for those interested in gerontology. Within the 120-credit curriculum, students will take courses in psychology, sociology, family systems, research methods, social theory, human behavior, lifespan development, and gender studies. Students can also complete the 27-hour Title IV-E Program for Child Welfare. Popular fieldwork sites have included Jefferson Memorial Hospital, VA Medical Center, Safe Haven, and Shenandoah Women’s Center.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

301 North King Street
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
(304) 876-5176
cames@shepherd.edu
Program Link

University of Charleston- Beckley

School of Social Work

Initially established as Barboursville Seminary in 1888, the University of Charleston is an accredited private, non-profit Methodist higher learning institution serving around 1,700 students from its main urban campus in Charleston as well as satellite locations in Beckley and Martinsburg. Named among the Princeton Review’s “Best Southeastern,” UCWV is crowned the South’s 24th best regional college and 17th top school for veterans by the U.S. News. The School of Social Work draws on traditional Christian values to empower students for creating an equitable, socially just society.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

UCWV Beckley’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program offers small class sizes and world-class faculty to help undergraduate students achieve their vocational goals in securing social justice for individuals, families, groups, or organizations. Granted CSWE approval through 2023, the program strives to enhance social functioning in rural Appalachia by training competent, resilient generalist social work practitioners. Within the 120-credit curriculum, students engage in a series of field practicum experiences in approved agencies across the Southeast. Students can also join the Phi Alpha National Honor Society with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5. Graduates with the BSW are qualified to become West Virginia licensed and participate in the NASW.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

158 Dye Drive
Beckley, WV 25801
(304) 929-1376
arnoldsimonse@ucwv.edu
Program Link

West Liberty University

Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Enrolling around 2,600 students, West Liberty University is the state’s oldest public four-year, co-educational teaching institution located on a beautiful 290-acre rural campus near Wheeling at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Crowned the nation’s 68th best baccalaureate university in Washington Monthly magazine, West Liberty is ranked the 60th top regional college and 8th best public school in the South by the USNWR. The Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences offers nine insightful majors, such as criminal justice, psychology, geography, political science, social work, and history.

BSW Program

The BSW Program at West Liberty confers a Bachelor of Social Work degree to undergraduate students who develop the knowledge and skills to effectively organize the liberation of oppressed peoples for improved social functioning. Using a generalist approach, the four-year program is ideal for students interested in child welfare, nonprofit management, corrections, gerontology, healthcare, mental health, military service, and school social work. The CSWE-accredited curriculum requires completing at least 128 credits, including 400 clock hours of field practicum. Additional service learning projects are offered through the Social Work Club. BSW students are encouraged to declare an Appalachian Studies Minor to gain perspective into the social welfare of rural villages.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

208 University Drive Box 134
West Liberty, WV 26074
(304) 336-8089
shawranick@westliberty.edu
Program Link

West Virginia State University

Department of Social Work

As part of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, West Virginia State University is a public historically black land-grant institution educating around 2,800 students from its 91-acre suburban campus in Institute just nine miles from downtown Charleston near Shawnee Reservation Mound. Washington Monthly magazine honored WVSU as America’s 209th best liberal arts university for research, service, and social mobility. The U.S. News also ranked West Virginia State as the 46th best HBCU nationwide. Within the Department of Social Work, students can receive affordable, accredited training for alleviating societal problems.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work

Boasting a strong alumni base over 600, the Bachelor of Science in Social Work program at West Virginia State helps undergraduates build an interesting, fulfilling career in generalist social work practice to fight against inequalities and disparities. After completing 45 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.3, students can apply for the upper-division program. The curriculum will develop a strong foundation in social work studies and at least 480 clock hours of real-world experience. Full-time students who contract with West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV-DHHR) can receive Title IV-E Grants. Students could join the Alpha Delta Mu Honor Society or Social Work Students Organization. Beginning in August 2016, there’ll be a Collaborative MSW program.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

916 Wallace Hall
Institute, WV 25112
(304) 766-3307
wamsleyb@wvstateu.edu
Program Link

West Virginia University

School of Social Work

Under the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, West Virginia University was founded as a premier public state research institution and now enrolls over 29,100 students from its main 913-acre urban campus in Morgantown overlooking the Monongahela River. Recognized for having America’s sixth most affordable in-state tuition, WVU is named the 175th best national university, 98th top public school, and 139th best college for veterans by the U.S. News. The School of Social Work is also distinguished for the 103rd best graduate social work program in the United States.

Undergraduate BSW Program

Meeting the accreditation standards of the CSWE, the Undergraduate BSW Program allows WVU to build a liberal arts foundation for entry-level, generalist social work practice. The program develops an appreciation for human diversity to equip students for serving at-risk, vulnerable populations. Before gaining admissions, pre-majors must complete at least 100 hours of human service volunteer work. BSW majors then complete a block of field practicum to gather 450 contact hours. There’s the option to add an Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology through the Beatrice Ruth Burgess Center. Students can also save money with the Schneider-Langlois Social Work Scholarship, Pay It Forward Scholarship, and Department of Welfare Scholarship.

MSW Social Work Program

Available at the Morgantown, Wheeling, Martinsburg, Keyser, Beckley, or Charleston sites, the MSW Social Work Program at WVU trains effective practitioners for advanced practice with diverse populations in small Appalachian towns. MSW students can select a focus in Direct Practice or Community Organization and Social Administration (COSA). The 52-credit program can be completed in five semesters full-time or nine semesters part-time. Advanced Standing students with an accredited BSW only complete 39 credits, including 600-hour advanced field practice placements. If desired, there’s a dual MSW/MPA program available for public administration. Students are encouraged to join the Graduate Social Work Organization (GSWO). Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or submit GRE scores.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA)

Contact

105 Knapp Hall
Morgantown, WV 26506
(304) 293-3501
SWAdmissions@mail.wvu.edu
Program Link

Do you want to touch the lives of many by addressing concerns like stress, discrimination, gender inequality, bullying, domestic violence, and poverty? Social workers are trained advocates who help individuals or communities cope with these problems daily. Practitioners in social work also develop policy changes that uplift our societal conditions for enhanced well-being. Now’s a great time to become a social worker because job growth is poised to grow 12 percent, thus creating over 74,000 jobs before 2024. Demand is especially high in healthcare, military, mental health, and substance abuse social work. If you’re studying in the “Mountain State,” these are the respected, CSWE-accredited social work degrees in West Virginia to choose from.

See also: What are the Unique Differences Between Urban and Rural Social Work Practice?

Find Your Degree
Sponsored Schools