BASW Degree Requirements

Social Welfare Undergraduate Major Requirements

To earn the Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Welfare, students must satisfy all requirements of the University of California, the Berkeley campus and the College of Letters and Science. See the College's Summary of Degree Requirements for information on those and other residence and unit requirements.

  • Social Welfare majors must complete four required upper-division Social Welfare courses and a minimum of five approved social science electives, totaling at least 18 units, from other departments.
  • All courses used to fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
  • In order to graduate, Social Welfare majors must earn a minimum GPA 2.0 average in all courses taken to fulfill major requirements.

**UPDATE 3/29/2020: All Social Welfare core classes and approved primary and secondary electives taken in the Spring 2020 semester will be permitted to be taken Pass/No Pass and will still satisfy major requirements.  For the full L&S policy, please see here.

Upper-division Requirements

Social Welfare majors must successfully complete all of the following required upper-division courses:

  • SOC WEL 110: Social Work as a Profession (3 units, Lecture + Discussion)
    Prerequisite: Declared as a Social Welfare major (enrollment restricted to declared majors)
    This first core course required for undergraduate Social Welfare majors introduces the field of social welfare and the profession of social work. Students explore the social, political, and historical contexts in which social welfare and social work have developed. Current social welfare issues are critically examined within the context of social work practice and in terms of their effectiveness in meeting needs of diverse clients and communities.

  • SOC WEL 112: Social Welfare Policy (3 units, Lecture + Discussion)
    Prerequisite: SOC WEL 110
    This required course for undergraduate social welfare majors is designed to enhance understanding of social policies and programs in the United States, including public assistance, social insurance, social services, health and mental health. Its focus is on the circumstances of the disadvantaged and impoverished. Students explore and begin to analyze major social welfare policies and programs, the choices involved in their formulation, and the nature of their implementation and results.

  • SOC WEL 114: Practice in Social Work (3 units, Lecture + Discussion)
    Prerequisite: SOC WEL 110 or consent of instructor
    This course introduces students to basic social work practice skills through the generalist intervention model. Both direct and indirect practice methods are introduced. Students are exposed to both theory and research that informs understanding of client system's strengths, problem development, and intervention. Biophysical, psychological, environmental, social, and cultural contributions to effective and ethical social work assessment and intervention with individuals, families, and communities experiencing a range of challenges are examined.

  • Focused Topic Core Course: SOC WEL 116 or Approved Alternative (at least 2 units)
    Prerequisite: SOC WEL 110
    The Focused Topic Core Course requirement may be satisfied by taking a SOC WEL 116: Current Topics in Social Welfare course; or by taking ANY upper-division Social Welfare elective class (any class other than the core classes), or approved graduate (200-level) elective course in Social Welfare. Sections of SOC WEL 116 or approved alternative courses are generally offered each Fall, Spring and Summer.

Social Sciences Elective Requirement

Social Welfare majors must complete a minimum of FIVE approved social science electives, totaling at least 18 upper-division units. At least three of the five must be selected from a Primary Social Science department. The remaining two electives may come from either a Primary or Secondary Social Science department. For a list of courses that are currently approved to satisfy the elective requirement, please see the Master List of Approved Social Sciences Electives.

Supplemental Elective Units

Students who choose five Social Science Electives that do not total 18 units will need additional coursework to supplement the required five elective courses. Supplemental units can be chosen from the approved courses in either a primary or a secondary social science department; from Social Welfare elective coursework; or Special Studies course units (e.g., group study or community service units). Courses taken to fulfill supplemental units may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.

Enrollment Rules for Social Welfare Majors

  1. Students must be declared in the major in order to enroll in the core classes. Social Welfare majors should plan to begin taking the core classes the semester after they are declared.

  2. Social Welfare majors must begin the core series by taking Social Welfare 110. Students may take core classes concurrently if offered during the same semester with the exception of 110 and 112. Seats in 112 are reserved for students who have completed 110.

  3. Currently, core classes are offered on the following schedule:
    • SOC WEL 110: Fall and Spring
    • SOC WEL 112: Fall and Spring
    • SOC WEL 114: Fall and Spring (Beginning Spring 2021)
    • SOC WEL 116 (Special Topics) or approved alternative: At least 1 special topics course is offered each term. Please note, this course is not called "116". It is an upper division Social Welfare elective and offerings vary by term. For current class schedules and course descriptions, please consult the Berkeley Academic Guide.

  4. Courses from the "Master Elective List" may be taken before being officially declared in the major. Please note, most of the departments from the elective list reserve seats for majors only during Phase I. Questions about enrollment in specific courses from this list should be directed to the major advisor(s) in those offering departments.