Social Work Major | Capital University


Social Work Major

  • A major in social work prepares you for generalist professional social work practice in a variety of settings. It will give you the values, knowledge and skills you need to help people in your community.

    Field instruction is in your senior year when you will have a field placement in a social service agency for two days a week. This hands-on experience will give you additional skills and values to help you succeed in generalist practice.

    Goals of our Social Work Program

    • Prepare students for generalist social work practice in rural and urban settings with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
    • Prepare students with a foundation for lifelong learning, including graduate education, and an awareness of their responsibility to continue their professional growth and development.
    • Prepare students with a broad liberal arts foundation that emphasizes development of critical thinking skills and a liberal arts perspective.
    • Prepare students to practice within the values and ethics of the social work profession with an emphasis on service to vulnerable populations and the promotion of social and economic justice and empowerment worldwide.
    • Prepare students to understand a scientific, analytic and ethical approach to building knowledge for practice, and to develop the skills to evaluate their own practice.
    • Prepare students to integrate technological advancements in their practice.

    Generalist Practice Defined

    Capital University is committed to preparing social work students for generalist social work practice.

    The basic principle of generalist practice is that social workers are able to utilize a problem solving process to intervene with various size systems including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (Zastrow, 1999). Generalist social workers operate within a person-in-environment framework that includes conceptualizing prevention and intervention within a process-oriented, systems model in lieu of traditional models that often limit interventions to the individual (Shriver, 1998). For example, an intervention plan with a troubled adolescent might include his/her family, school, and others in the mezzosystem.

    The client and client system may require the social worker to fulfill several roles, such as facilitator, advocate, educator, broker, case manager, and/or mediator. In addition, generalist level social workers may lead or facilitate task groups, socialization groups, information groups, and self-help groups. They are capable of conducting needs assessments, drafting intervention plans, and evaluating program effectiveness. They often refer client/client systems to other sources for continuity of care. Finally, generalist level social workers incorporate the use of supervision, continued education, and ongoing self-evaluation in their professional development (Zatrow, 1999).  

    Generalists operate within the ethical guidelines put forth by the profession (NASW, 1996), and must be able to work with diverse clients, families, groups, communities, and professionals. Finally, the knowledge and skills of the generalist social worker are transferable from one setting to another and from one problem to another (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 1997).


    Kirst-Ashman, K. & Hull, G. (1997). Understanding generalist practice. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

    NASW (1996) Social Work Code of Ethics. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers.

    Shriver, J. M. (1998). Human Behavior in the Social Environment (2nd Edition). Itasca, Illinois: Peacock Publishers, Inc.

    Zastrow, C. (1999). The practice of social work. Pacific Grove, CA: Books/Cole.