Why study Social Work?

Social work promotes human well-being by strengthening opportunities, resources, and capacities of people and communities and by creating policies and services to correct conditions that limit human rights and quality of life, with a special focus on ending poverty, discrimination, and oppression. Using a person-in-environment perspective and respect for human diversity, social work promotes social justice on behalf of individuals, families, groups, and communities. 

Social workers practice in a wide range of fields providing a variety of services, as the following description illustrates. They work with families in economic distress, offering help with basic needs such as food and housing. They work with persons with physical and mental disabilities and with older adults, providing care management to connect these clients to resources in the community that promote their ability to live independently. They investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, and provide counseling to families to correct these problems. They work with children in foster care, helping them adjust to new families and schools. They work with people with substance abuse problems, helping them find ways to recover from addiction and to become productive members of their communities. They work with communities to help members organize and advocate for changes that will promote a better quality of life for all. In all of these settings, social workers use the knowledge and skills acquired in undergraduate education for social work.

Admission Requirements

The University of Cincinnati Online BSW program admission requirements are as follows: 

Students need a transfer in GPA of at least 2.75. 

Students must have a minimum of 25 credit hours in social work, pre-social work, or similar major or associate degree program, including program pre-requisites or their equivalents (speak with an enrollment advisor at 888-628-3334 about transferring your credits). 

Students must have completed introductory social work courses prior to beginning the program. If they don’t have these courses, you may be eligible to enroll in our free targeted open online course (TOOC)* that provides this introductory information. Students can complete the course during the recruitment window and prior to registering for courses in the Online BSW program.  

*The School of Social Work in the College of Allied Health Sciences offers a targeted open online course (TOOC), Introduction to Social Work. This online course allows participants to not only test drive a bachelor-level course but also earn prerequisite semester credit hours toward the UC Online BSW program. The (TOOC) course is free to test with an applicable transfer fee if used toward credit hours. 

Successful social workers are problem-solvers who like working with people and who are flexible, resourceful and tenacious. The helping process is rarely linear. Social workers must be willing to change their ideas to accommodate clients' experiences, aspirations, and goals. They need to understand the community where they are employed in order to make the best use of available resources. Finally, social workers need to confront bureaucratic obstacles and become vocal advocates for their clients. 

Social workers are employed in both the public and private social service sectors. Social workers work in community-based agencies that provide resources to meet basic human needs. They work with people facing difficult life situations, such as homelessness and domestic violence in shelters. They provide counseling and case management services for people with mental health problems in community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers, corrections,and family service agencies. They work with people experiencing disability and health problems in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, and agencies established to promote community living. They provide support to children and their families in schools and agencies serving youth. In the child welfare field, they are employed by adoption, foster care and family preservation agencies, and protective service agencies dealing with neglect and abuse of children. Other social workers work on policy and program development in government agencies. They may advocate on behalf of causes and communities in a variety of voluntary agencies. 

The University of Cincinnati Online (UC Online) has enrollment advisers to help students get started in the Online Bachelor of Social Work program.  Additional program staff are available to assist students while in the program and to help students achieve their academic goals. 

The Online BSW program is ideal for students who have previous coursework in pre-social work or a similar major. Students can be admitted to the program in fall or spring semester.  All class work is online. Students receive support from UC Online advisors and program staff to help them achieve their academic goals.  Program faculty and staff work with students to find a qualified field placement in their own communities, where students work alongside a professional social worker in the final two semesters of study.   

The Online BSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The UC BSW degree will be recognized by every master's in social work (MSW) graduate programs in the United States. Students can receive advanced standing credit toward the MSW degree in programs that offer this option.  

Graduates of online BSW social work program are qualified to sit for the Bachelor’s examination offered by the Association of Social Work Boards and to apply for licensing in states which offer social work licenses to BSW graduates. Licensing requirements are state specific and applicants should check with their state licensing board for specific requirements. 

Through a partnership with the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services at the University of Cincinnati, students in the Online BSW program can gain additional credentials in Substance Abuse Counseling. Through special electives, students will fulfill the educational requirements for the Ohio Chemical Dependency Counseling Assistant Phase 1 (CDCA Phase 1) Exam or a similar exam in their home state. Students should check with their home state’s addictions counseling credentialing board for specific requirements. 

Certification for graduation requires an overall university GPA of 2.5 and a 2.5 GPA in all social work courses.

Students can transfer into the Online BSW Program from another college or University if they have completed 25 credit hours and have a minimum GPA of 2.75.  General education requirements are below. 

The general education requirements can be fulfilled at another institution or once enrolled at the University of Cincinnati.  If the pre-requisite courses are completed at UC, the student may be admitted to the Online BSW Program under the condition that all pre-requisites be completed in accordance with an agreed upon Plan of Study.  Once the student is offered admission and has confirmed, an official credit evaluation will be completed.  Please contact an enrollment advisor at 833-556-7600 for a course planning guide. 

For more information, visit the Transfer Center within UC Admissions.

Transfer students should apply using our transfer student online application

Transfer Articulation Agreements & Pathways 

UC has developed clear pathways (articulation agreements) between select associate degrees at partner institutions and compatible bachelor’s degrees at UC. Each pathway includes a Transfer Degree Map that offers a semester-by-semester course comparison to assist with your transfer planning. 

The following institutions have Transfer Degree Maps for this major:

  • Cincinnati State Technical & Community College 
  • Columbus State Community College 
  • Lorain County Community College 
  • Sinclair Community College 
  • Clark State Community College 


BIOL1021              Introductory Biology I 

ECON1001            Microeconomics or ECON1002 Macroeconomics 

ENG1001               English Composition

ENGL2089             Intermediate Composition 

HIST1002               US History II

POL1010                Introduction to American Politics

PSYC1001              Introduction to Psychology 

SOC1001                Introduction to Sociology 

STAT1031               Statistics for Health Sciences 

FINE ARTS             3 Credit Hours

FREE ELECTIVE    3 Credit Hours

HUMANITIES          3 Credit Hours



SW1050     Introduction to Social Work

SW1051     Introduction to Social Welfare

*We offer an online course, SW3030, Introduction to Social Welfare, Institutions and the Social Work Profession, for transfer students to meet the SW1050 and 1051 requirement, provided a passing grade is earned.  

SW2050    Families in America or SOC2075 Sociology of the Family

SW2055    Poverty in America or SOC2043 Contemporary Social Problems

*Transferology can be used to pre-determine how previous coursework will transfer. 

Students can transfer into the Online BSW program from another UC program if they have completed 60 credit hours and the required general education curriculum, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.75. 

Application Deadlines

The University of Cincinnati Online BSW program has application deadlines for each semester.  Students applying to the Online BSW rogram can find these deadlines for the next start date by visiting the BSW Academic Calendar

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


The BSW and MSW programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Contact Information

Online Bachelor of Social Work Program
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45219
(833) 556-7600

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Program Code: 35BAC-SW-BSW-.SW-DL