Course Substitution Policy for Transfer Students

[Note:This section outlines the general transfer policy.  For help with individual transfer planning, see "Transferring to NMU" in the "Students"area of this site.] The courses in the BSW program have been selected and sequenced into a curriculum in accordance with the accreditation requirements of the Council on Social Work Education. The required courses have been selected because they provide content that is considered essential for accreditation. Not only are we expected to provide certain content, but we must assure that all students in the BSW program receive equivalent content, and that the content be sequenced so that students obtain the required liberal arts content before moving into the professional foundation courses.

Transfer credits are a special challenge. On the one hand, we seek to be as accommodating as possible so that transfer students may integrate smoothly into the curriculum and receive their degrees in a timely manner. On the other hand, the need to assure that all students have equivalent content necessitates that course substitutions meet the content criteria for the required course. 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 courses that we have included in our required pre-admission core must be completed by all students. The courses are the base upon which the upper level, BSW social work courses are built. To count as a course substitution, one must be able to demonstrate that the student has mastered the targeted competencies of the course for which the substitution is being considered.  Having covered the required content is the only basis for a course substitution in the Liberal Studies and Cluster Minors. In addition to specified content, the institution from which courses are being transferred must be accredited by CSWE in order for courses in the major above the 200 level to be accepted.

  1. PY 100 GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY - We will accept any introductory general psychology class in terms of filling the General Psychology requirement of the Cluster Minor.  However, to count for Liberal Studies-Natural Science, the course must have transferred in as PY 100L or PY 100S. If not, the student will need to have or take an additional course that fits in the Natural Science/Math category.
  2. HUMAN BIOLOGY - For our purposes, the course must be human biology and must provide the student with a background in how biological factors determine, influence, and limit human behavior. At NMU, the best course is BI 104 because it covers both anatomy and physiology and it is also a Liberal Studies course.  We also accept BI 100 Biological Science and BI 201 Anatomy and BI 202 Physiology.  The latter are accepted because many students transfer into our program from nursing where BI 201 and 202 are required. Transfer courses need not be exactly the same as NMU offerings. A course in either anatomy or physiology can meet the requirement. The primary content of the courses should be on providing an understanding of the biological basis of human behavior and functioning. Courses that transfer in as BI 111 Introductory Biology would not meet this requirement; neither would BI 205 Ecology and Man. The ideal course provides broad coverage of human biology in contrast to something like BI 206 Human Genetics.
  3. ECONOMIC JUSTICE ELECTIVE The intent of this requirement is to provide students with a basic background in economic principles as they relate to understanding social welfare policy. In meeting this goal, a course such as EC 201 Microeconomics or EC 202 Macro Economics would be suitable, but a broader course is preferred. An ideal course would cover issues of labor markets, discrimination, measurement of poverty, and economic cycles.
  4. STATISTICS - We require SO 208, PY 305, or MA 171. SO 208 is the best statistics option for our students because: 1) the course applies statistics to social science problems that are relevant to social workers; and 2) it uses the statistical package SPSS, which are used in upper division courses such as SO 308. If a student transfers in a statistics course, it should cover parametric statistics up to ANOVA and simple Regression. If not, the student would be well advised to take SO 208 anyway because the content will be used heavily in subsequent courses. Statistics is also often designated as an admission requirement for MSW programs.
  5. SOCIAL JUSTICE ELECTIVE - The course must be a social science course which covers common minority groups in American society such as people of color, gays and lesbians, and other disadvantaged groups. There must be an emphasis on appreciation of human diversity and issues of discrimination and oppression.
  6. SW or SO 308 RESEARCH METHODS II- Students must attain proficiency in basic social science research methods. To be equivalent, the course must include such topics as problem formulation, research ethics, sampling, design alternatives such as observation, surveys, experiments and single-system design. An equivalent course not only teaches students to be consumers of research but must emphasize conducting research as well.
  7. PRE-ADMISSION SW COURSES - SW 100 and SW 230 provide introductory level content about Social Work values, services, and professional roles. They help the student to explore career options, to clarify personal values, and to develop a beginning understanding of policy issues. If the transfer course is not from an accredited BSW Program, the student may be required to provide a college catalog description and syllabus before transfer credit is approved. 
  8. REQUIRED 300 AND 400 LEVEL SW COURSES - To be used as substitute courses for 300- and 400-level required Social Work courses, transfer offerings will NORMALLY be accepted if they were completed in another CSWE-accredited program. This requirement applies to: SW 331 Human Behavior and Soc Environment II SW 341 Social Welfare Policy, SW 370 Practice Methods I, SW 372 Practice Methods II, SW 473 Integrative Seminar I SW 474 Integrative Seminar II SW 440 Social Work Policy Analysis, SW 472 Practice with Diverse Populations SW 480/481 Field Instruction. 
  9. SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE ELECTIVES - Courses numbered SW 401 through SW 431 are supposed to reinforce the theme that social workers intervene on behalf of vulnerable populations as individuals, in groups, through formal organizations, and through community systems. Social workers not only change individuals, we create resource systems, we link people to systems, and we intervene to make systems responsive to the needs of people. These courses extend the coverage of populations at risk to groups that are considered relevant to our service area, so they must be offered from a Social Work perspective.