Sociology and Social Work
Contact Information
Phone: 906-227-2706
Fax: 906-227-1212
Department Head: Ira Hutchison
Social Work Program Director: Timothy Hilton
Sociology and Social Work at NMU

The Sociology and Social Work Department offers major programs in sociology, sociology in liberal arts and social work. The department offers minor programs in anthropology, gerontology, sociology, social service and research analysis. The department also participates in the interdisciplinary minors in gerontology and international studies. (See the “Interdisciplinary and Individually Created Programs” and “International Studies” sections of this bulletin.)

The sociology program at Northern is designed to increase the understanding of human social behavior. The program emphasizes both theory and methodology, particularly as these may be brought to bear on the study of human interaction, social institutions, or analysis of contemporary social problems. Students have the opportunity to investigate a variety of areas such as crime and deviance, family, minority groups, religion and social change.

The mission of the social work program is to prepare students for entry into beginning social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students completing the social work program are uniquely prepared for generalist practice in the region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and have developed a generalist practice base to continue their professional development through graduate study.

The BSW program has seven primary goals: (1) every BSW graduate shall be prepared for beginning generalist practice. All BSW students will be versed in content about practice with client systems of various sizes and types; (2) students shall be prepared to practice with diverse populations; (3) the program shall provide content about the contexts of social work practice, the changing nature of these contexts, the behavior of organizations and the dynamics of change; (4) the values and ethics that guide professional social work practice shall be infused throughout the curriculum and made evident in the operation of the social work program; (5) students shall be educated with an awareness of their responsibility to continue their professional growth and development; (6) the program shall provide educational opportunities that reflect regional needs related to substance abuse and gerontology; and (7) the program shall promote an understanding of and application to a knowledge base in social welfare for students in other human service fields.

Northern’s bachelor of social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Student Organization
  • Student Social Work/Sociology Organization
Department Facilities and Resources

Department faculty have expertise in a range of areas within said fields. A full complement of library resources and audiovisual materials is available to students. The department also has microcomputer hardware and software enabling faculty and students to conduct complex applied research projects involving sophisticated data analysis and statistical procedures.

Social work program faculty members are fully qualified professionals with both practice and teaching experience. A wide range of community social work agencies cooperate with the program by serving as field instruction settings.

Department/Program Policies



Students must earn at least a "C-" in any sociology course counted toward the sociology major and the sociology in liberal arts major and achieve at least a 2.50 grade point average in all sociology courses (NMU and transfer) counted toward any of these majors


Social Work Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for practice method and field placement courses at the 300 level and above will be granted only for course work completed at other Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited schools. As stipulated by the Council on Social Work Education, NMU’s program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.


The social work curriculum culminates in a BSW degree with an inherent “Human Behavior Cluster Minor.” Many courses may double-count as liberal studies requirements. All courses in the human behavior cluster must have been completed or be in the process of being completed at time of admission into the social work program. A student must have a 2.50 grade point average in the cluster minor.


Social Work Admission Requirements

The social work curriculum contains two “lower-division” courses (SW 100 and SW 230) that also must be completed (or be in the process of) prior to being admitted into the practice methods courses. A student must have a 2.50 grade point average in these courses and must maintain this minimum GPA for all social work courses (SW prefix).


Although a student may enroll in a few social work courses (SW 308, SW 331, SW 341) prior to applying for the upper division practice methods courses, the sequencing of courses becomes paramount. Practice methods courses (SW 370 and SW 372) are only offered in the winter semester prior to a student’s senior year. Consequently, application into these two courses only occurs in the fall semester (no later than Oct. 1). Admission is restricted to qualified applicants and limited by faculty and field placement resources. Application forms will be provided through the social work program and may also be downloaded from the program’s Web site at A minimum grade of “C” must be earned in both practice methods courses. After the completion of these courses, students then enter the senior social work curriculum, where courses are scheduled into a one-day block, allowing ample time to complete the necessary field practicum requirements.


Retention Policy

Students in the bachelor of social work degree program must meet a set of criteria for continuous retention in the program. Students must maintain a 2.50 grade point average in all course work applicable to the social work curricula, defined as all courses in the major, required minor(s) and other required courses. Students must provide evidence of compliance with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics and show progress toward possession of personal characteristics and competencies that personify the professional social worker.


Field Instruction

While completing the practice methods courses during the winter semester, students will also be required to submit their application for field placement (March 1). Necessary forms may be downloaded from the Social Work Web site at They may also be obtained from the social work field coordinator. Students must complete a minimum of 400 clock hours of field instruction in their senior year (SW 480 in the fall and SW 481 in the winter). Schedules should be planned to allow for approximately 16 hours per week at the field site each semester. Students are expected to complete two consecutive semesters of senior field placement and will be admitted to placement in the fall term only.


Program Completion

Students must complete all course work comprising the social work curriculum as defined above with a minimum 2.50 grade point average, show evidence of compliance with the NASW Code of Ethics, be recommended by the BSW faculty and meet all other requirements established by the university for graduation.

Bachelor Degree Programs

Liberal Studies: Complete information on the liberal studies requirements and additional graduation requirements, including the health promotion requirement, is in the “Liberal Studies Program and Graduation Requirements” section of this bulletin.

Courses within each major that can be used to satisfy liberal studies requirements are listed with the Roman numeral (in brackets) that coincides with the liberal studies division the course falls under.

Minor Programs
Courses within each minor that can be used to satisfy liberal studies requirements are listed with the Roman numeral (in brackets) that coincides with the liberal studies division the course falls under.