Declaring a Major in Social Work

Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) Program

Essential Abilities and Attributes for Admission

The path to becoming a competent social worker is a lengthy and complex process that can be derailed when a student is unable to fully participate in the full spectrum of the experiences and requirements of the BSSW curriculum. Students in the Syracuse University School of Social Work BSSW Program are expected to possess the following abilities and attributes at a level appropriate to their year in the program. Students are expected to meet these standards in the classroom, in their professional behavior, in practice and elsewhere. Attention to these standards will be considered by faculty reviewing the Statement of Intent to Major form, as well as faculty responsible for evaluating students’ classroom and practicum performance.

Motor Abilities

Social work students must have sufficient motor abilities to attend class and practicum placement with or without reasonable technical accommodation. The Office of Disability Services may be consulted regarding reasonable accommodation.

Sensory Abilities

Social work students must have the ability through their senses to participate in classes and field practicum, as well as acquire and integrate data through use of their senses with or without reasonable technical accommodations. The Office of Disability Services may be consulted regarding reasonable accommodation.

Communication Skills

Social work students must communicate effectively and sensitively with other students, faculty, staff, clients and other professionals. They must be able to express their ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to listen to others. Students need sufficient skills in spoken and written English to understand the content presented in program.

Self Awareness

Social work students must know how their values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions and past experiences affect their thinking, behavior and relationships. Student must demonstrate a willingness to change his/her behavior when it interferes with working with his/her clients and other professionals.


Social work students must be sufficiently objective enough to systematically evaluate clients and their situations in an unbiased, factual manner.


social work students must exercise appropriate selfcare, develop cooperative/facilitative relationships with colleges and peers to prevent stress.

Professional Behavior

Social work students must demonstrate professional behavior by knowing and practicing within the scope of social work, adhering to the NASW Code of Ethics, respecting others, being dependable and punctual, and responsible.


Social work students must seek to comprehend another individual’s values and way of life. The student must be able to communicate this empathy and support to the client as a basis for a productive professional relationship.

Professional Commitment

Social work students must have a strong commitment to the goals of social work, the ethical standards of the profession, and be committed to the social work value of dignity and worth of every individual and his/her right to a just share of society’s resources.

Acceptance of Diversity

Social work students must value human diversity. They must serve in an appropriate manner all persons in need of assistance, regardless of the person’s age, class, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation (or lack of), gender, ability, sexual orientation and value system.

Interpersonal Skills

Social work students must demonstrate the interpersonal skills needed to relate effectively to other students, faculty, staff, clients and other professionals. These skills include compassion, altruism, integrity, and the demonstration of respect for and the consideration of others.

Knowledge Base for Social Work Practice

social work students’ professional activities must be grounded in relevant social, behavioral and biological science, knowledge and research. This includes relationship-building, data-gathering, assessment, intervention, and evaluation of practice.

Statement of Intent to Major in Social Work

Your signature on the form linked below indicates your interest in and intent to major in Social Work and complete the BSSW degree requirements. Please answer the questions provided on the form, print out the completed form you will receive in your email, obtain the appropriate signatures, and turn this form into the Office of the School of Social Work, Suite 244 White Hall (2nd Floor), Falk College Complex. This form will be placed in your student file and a copy given to your Social Work faculty advisor. This form must be completed prior to completion of SWK 202. (Note: If you are not currently a Social Work Student, you must also complete an intra-university transfer (IUT) and a Declaration of Major form. See the BSSW Program Director for details.)

Statement of Intent to Major in Social Work