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, sociology and social services. 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 sociology major is best suited to students who intend to go to graduate school or to be employed in a position which might require skills in research, data analysis and writing. The sociology in liberal arts major is more general, and does not provide these research strengths.
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).
Department faculty have expertise in a range of areas within specialized 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.
Students with an anthropology minor must earn a minimum of a 2.00 GPA in the minor.
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 cumulative grade point average in all sociology courses (NMU and transfer) counted toward any of these majors. Students with a sociology minor must earn a minimum of a 2.00 GPA in the minor.
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.
Social Work Admission
The social work curriculum culminates in a BSW degree with an inherent human behavior cluster minor. Many courses in the human behavior cluster minor may double count as liberal study requirements. There are two divisions within the social work curriculum, the lower division and the advanced division. Students must apply for admission to the advanced division and meet minimum GPA requirements to enroll in practice methods courses (SW 370, SW 372, SW 472) and field placement (SW 480 and SW 481) and field placement seminars (SW 473 and SW 474).
The lower division contains two social work courses (SW 100, SW 230) that must be completed prior to being admitted to the advanced division. A student must have a 2.50 grade point average in these courses to be admitted into the advanced division, and must maintain this minimum GPA for all social work courses (SW prefix) to earn a BSW degree. Students must also have a 2.50 cumulative GPA in the cluster minor to earn a BSW degree. Students must complete several courses within the human behavior cluster minor before being admitted into practice methods courses and field placement segments of the advanced division. See winter and fall admissions.
Students may enroll in a few courses in the advanced division (300 and 400-level social work courses) including SW 308, SW 331 and SW 341 prior to applying to the advanced division. However, please note the first practice methods courses in the advanced division (SW 370 and SW 372) are only offered in the winter semester prior to a student’s senior year. These must be completed before students can enroll in field placement and field placement seminar. (In other words, course sequencing is important.)
Two Admission Opportunities per Year
Students have two opportunities to apply for admission to the advanced division, which allows them to enroll in practice methods courses. Criteria for admission are slightly different for each admission period. Still, BSW degree requirements are the same regardless of when students are accepted into the advanced division. The rationale for offering two admission opportunities is to encourage students to take challenging courses earlier and to stagger applications.
In addition to GPA verification, the packet requires a narrative document addressing pertinent issues. Admission is restricted to qualified applicants and is limited by faculty and field placement resources.
Early Admission/Winter Semester
Winter semester admission to the advanced division of the social work curriculum will be based on:
Students’ GPA in four or more courses in the human behavior cluster minor, two of which must be BI 104 or BI 100 and SO/SW 208. BI 104/100 and SO/SW 208 must be completed or in the process of being completed at time of application. Please note, early admission does not excuse students from the remaining courses in the human behavior cluster minor. Students who are in the process of completing courses will be accepted on a pending basis until final grades are available. If more than four courses have been completed all courses within the cluster minor will count toward the GPA calculation. The minimum GPA required for human behavior cluster minor courses for winter admission is 2.80.
Students GPA in the two lower-division social work courses: SW 100 and SW 230. The minimum GPA for these courses is 2.50.
An admission essay. The essay will be used to evaluate students’ understanding of generalist social work practice, commitment to the profession, and readiness for practice methods courses and field placement.
Fall Semester Admission
Fall semester admission to the advanced divisions of the social work curriculum will be based on:
Students’ GPA in at least 5 courses within the human behavior cluster minor. There are a total of 7 courses in the cluster minor. Students who have less than 2 outstanding courses in the cluster minor may be accepted into the advanced division after the fall semester. All courses in the human behavior cluster minor will be considered in calculating students’ GPAs. Applications must also include a plan for completing remaining courses in the cluster minor prior to beginning field placement. GPA requirements for the cluster minor are:
A 2.50 if all courses are completed by end of fall semester,following application submission;
2.70 if one course is remaining after fall semester; and
2.80 if more than one courses are remaining after fall semester.
Students GPA in the two social work courses in the lower division: SW 100 and SW 230. Both must be completed by end of fall semester. No exceptions will be made. Minimum GPA for the two social work courses is a 2.50.
An admissions essay. The essay will be used to evaluate students’ understanding of generalist social work practice, commitment to the profession, and readiness for practice methods courses and field placement.
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 cumulative 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 also earn a minimum grade of “C” in both SW 370 and SW 372. 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.
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 www.nmu.edu/departments/sociology. 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.
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.