“The primary purpose of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being. Social workers help meet the basic human needs of all people and empower those who are vulnerable, oppressed or living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s dual focus on the individual in a social context and the betterment of society. Social workers help people identify and manage the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.” National Association of Social Workers (NASW), 2002

Social work, as a helping profession, involves working with people in a variety of situations. Social workers assist individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities in the areas of child and family welfare, corrections, health, mental health and a variety of other social service settings.

The undergraduate social work curriculum at Northeastern is designed to prepare you for entry-level professional social work and for graduate study. You will build knowledge of human behavior, and develop the skills needed for helping individuals, families, small groups, organizations or communities in a diverse society.

Northeastern Illinois University’s Social Work program is fully accredited by the Council of Social Work Education, assuring the program’s excellence in preparing students for future employment in the field.

Because of the program’s national accreditation, students are eligible for membership in the National Association of Social Workers.

Students at Northeastern benefit from small classes and a low student-faculty ratio.

Northeastern hosts the only public undergraduate social work program in the Chicago area. Because of our commitment to the highest-quality social work, education graduates from our program go on to graduate school and excel.

BSW Program Mission Statement

The overarching mission of the Bachelor of Social Work program at Northeastern Illinois University is to prepare generalist practitioners for entry-level social work positions and for admission into graduate schools. We prepare our students to embrace the social work profession’s purpose of promoting human and community well-being and all the social work profession’s values. We prepare a diverse student body to engage with their own strengths and the strengths of diverse communities and to have respect for human diversity and prevent or eliminate conditions that limit human rights. We prepare students to act honestly and responsibly and to promote ethical practices on the part of the organizations with which they are affiliated. Using structured social work curricula and field experiences, our students become critical thinkers, gain social work values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, and the importance of human relations. Our students acquire competence, professional identities and knowledge through self-reflection, service learning, and continued enhancement of their professional knowledge and skills. We encourage our students to aspire to contribute to the knowledge base of the social work profession. We prepare students to value service to others above their own self-interest and to engage clients as partners in the helping process to promote, restore, maintain, and enhance the well-being of individuals, families, social groups, organizations, and communities. We promote diversity, social and economic justice, and human rights across local and global contexts. As the only publicly funded BSW program in the Chicagoland area, NEIU provides affordable, socially responsible and community-based quality undergraduate social work education.

The goals of the BSW program are to:

1. prepare students as generalist practitioners for entry-level social work positions;
2. prepare students to gain admission into graduate schools of social work and other graduate
3. guide students to become critical thinkers equipped with social work values, knowledge, and
professional identities
4. prepare students to enhance the strengths of clients to build capacities with themselves and
their environments 
5. prepare students to promote human rights and social justice across local and global contexts
6. train students to engage in life-long learning to improve their professional skills, values, and

Program Benefits

Completion of the Bachelor of Social Work at Northeastern Illinois University will satisfy standards for social work licensure as required in Illinois by the Association of Social Work Boards. Northeastern Illinois University has not made a determination as to whether the Bachelor of Social Work meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in any of the other of the 54 U.S. states and jurisdictions. Specific requirements for licensure or certification in states other than Illinois vary from state-to-state. In some cases, you may need to take additional coursework or exams to meet individual state requirements and/or you may need to complete background checks.

Academic Catalog Information

Take a closer look at the Bachelor of Social Work and the courses offered toward the degree.

Social Work, B.S.W.

Department and Contact Information

If you are interested in the program or have questions, please contact Social Work.

Social Work Department Homepage

About Northeastern

Northeastern Illinois University is home to students from all corners of the world and is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation. Our small class sizes, flexible schedules and dedicated faculty can help you succeed in your studies.

We offer an education with value.

Apply to Northeastern