Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare (BASW)

The BASW program prepares entry level social workers for generalist practice in a multicultural context through classroom learning, community service, and 480 hours of supervised field experience. The BASW curriculum challenges students to think critically about systemic oppression and prepares them to become informed and effective leaders able to take action against injustice and inequalities. Students also gain hands-on skills needed to become a social work professional. All BASW students participate in two social work internships, providing them with a a supportive learning environment, a field instructor to provide encouragement and guidance, and invaluable work experience to add to a resume. 

The School of Social Work has one application deadline for the Seattle BASW Program. Traditionally admitted students apply in April, generally as sophomores, and receive a decision during spring. Applications are accepted for fall quarter from both UW students and UW transfer applicants. See Apply to BASW for more information. 


Potentially. This works best if you are able to complete a substantial number of credits before or after the two year Social Welfare program, and there are also multiple quarters you will have space to add an additional class on to your Social Welfare coursework. It works best if the other major’s coursework is flexible in scheduling, since the Social Welfare class schedule is relatively set. You’re invited to discuss your specific goals with the Social Welfare adviser.

You have lots of options! You are welcome and encouraged to take SOC WF 200 at some point before you apply to the program. While not required, it can help students have a more nuanced understanding of the social work profession and be more confident that the program is a good fit for your goals and interests.

You can also work on general education courses that would not overlap with the Social Welfare coursework, such as Natural World, language, and English composition. Note that we have up to 10 credits of VLPA as part of our curriculum, if you choose to participate in our Intergroup Dialogue facilitation courses as part of your senior year. These can overlap with your Areas of Knowledge requirements. We usually have an opportunity to earn Writing credit in a Social Welfare course, and our SOC WF 404 Cultural Diversity & Justice course will also satisfy your UW Diversity requirement.

Students often find that being multilingual opens doors in terms of service and employment, enabling them to work with more communities and support access to services for clients who speak languages other than English. Continuing your language learning can be practical and marketable.

This could also be an opportunity to begin coursework toward a second major or a minor.

Social Welfare is a capacity-constrained major, but we are also one of UW's smallest majors. Admission to our program is therefore not as competitive as admission to most capacity-constrained majors at UW. Our admissions committee holistically reviews your application and values a variety of factors including social & human service experience, personal growth, experience overcoming adversity, and more. We admit students with a wide variety of GPAs and life experience, and encourage all eligible applicants to apply, regardless of GPA. While academic preparedness is considered as part of the holistic review process, our committee is most interested in understanding your story, your fit for our program, and your commitment to social justice issues.  Applicants can strengthen their application with a compelling essay and relevant social service experience hours (either volunteering, jobs, social justice and leadership roles, etc.). For information on last year's entering class, please see our 2020 BASW Class Profile.

Some popular and relevant minors for Social Welfare students are:

  • Human Rights

  • Diversity

  • Disability Studies

  • Education, Learning & Society

  • Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies

  • Comparative History of Ideas

  • American Indian Studies

  • Anthropology

  • Law, Societies, and Justice

  • Spanish

  • American Sign Language

These minors tend to connect with social justice content in the Social Welfare program and allow a student to expand on an interest that may relate to their future career. For example, if a student plans to work with Deaf communities as a social worker, knowing ASL will be very helpful. A student could be engaged by thinking about equity issues around technology access, and pursue a minor such as Informatics.

Practicum allows students to integrate the intellectual contribution of the classroom in the field. It allows students to partake in a supervised and supportive learning opportunity, where they can implement their coursework. To learn more about practicum and how practicum assignments are established, please visit the Field Education webpage:

Unfortunately, our program does not offer a part – time option for our BASW Program because our classes our structured in a very specific sequence and require a lot of time in person during our class sessions.

For BASW advising appointments, please reach out to the Assistant Director of the BASW program, Nicole Guenther, at to set up a meeting.

After being admitted into the program, our program adviser will code the course to show that it is fulfilling the prerequisite. This does not occur automatically in the system - it is something that needs to be updated by someone in a different department. Please know that the courses that are listed as pre-approved will count towards your pre-requisites. 

  1. A 2.0 cumulative minimum GPA or higher

  2. A minimum of 65 college level credits by start of program 

  3. Completed two BASW prerequisite courses with a 2.0 ("C") grade or higher in each course. These courses do NOT have to be completed at time of application, but must be completed before you start the program in September.

    We require one introductory course in each of the following categories: Psychology and Sociology. Introductory courses refer to all 100 and 200 level psychology and sociology courses at UW. The Equivalency Guide shows how courses from a Washington State community or technical college will transfer to the UW.

*Note that transfer courses listed as 1XX or 2XX do not necessarily satisfy the BASW prerequisites, though they are accepted as general transfer credit. See details here. If you have questions about how credits will transfer from a four-year or out-of-state college or university, contact Nicole Guenther. 

Please note: The BASW Program has removed the human biology and economics/political science prerequisites for students entering Autumn 2019. 

Notice Regarding Statistics and Foreign Language:

  • Though not a requirement for BASW admission, an approved introductory Statistics class is a required prerequisite of senior year BASW courses and is recommended prior to admission. Approved UW courses include STAT 220/221, STAT 311, and EDPSY 490. If you are considering taking any other statistics courses, please contact Nicole Guenther. 

  • Though not a requirement for BASW admission, BASW students must fulfill the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement (third year of high school foreign language or third college quarter of a foreign language, or equivalent) in order to graduate.  This graduation requirement is different from the UW foreign language admission requirement. It is helpful but not required to complete your language requirement before starting the BASW program.  

College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR)

All applicants must complete a minimum level of preparation in six subject areas. This requirement ensures that students entering the University have an academic foundation and are adequately prepared to succeed in college. CADR are UW admission requirements and generally must be completed before the first quarter of enrollment at the UW.

The Equivalency Guide shows how courses from a Washington State community or technical college will transfer to the UW. If you have questions about how credits will transfer from a four-year or out-of-state college or university, contact Nicole Guenther at

Students that are applying for Regular Admission DO NOT have to have the prerequisites completed at the time of application, but must all be completed before you may begin the program in the Autumn.

You will find more useful information about the BASW program on our Apply to BASW page (  You will find the application, prerequisites, as well as application process on this webpage.