News Articles

Story features School of Social Work’s innovative iBSW and iMSW programs


social work

The School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is helping to increase access to social work careers—and in turn, meet the demand for these highly-sought after professionals—with two innovative programs.

The iBSW and iMSW programs were recently featured in an Illinois News Bureau article. “U of I online social work degree programs address diversity needs.”

The article highlights a study, “Reimagining social work education: A systems-thinking approach to a BSW/MSW program for community college students” (Journal of Social Work Education), which examined the need for removing barriers to transfer students’ experience, particularly students from underrepresented populations, and how the school developed the Bachelor of Social Work degree-completion program to remove some of those barriers.

“We’ve seen an increase in need for social workers, and we’ve seen in Illinois that there’s been a call for an increase in behavioral health workers,” said Carol Wilson-Smith, the director of the BSW program and a clinical professor in the School of Social Work.

“There just aren’t enough to meet the need. This is another way to reach some of the communities and prospective students that we might not be able to reach otherwise, and in turn, increase access to social work services. The other opportunity it presents is diversifying our profession and the number of social work professionals in the community to serve the diverse needs of the state.” (News Bureau)

The undergraduate iBSW degree-completion program was designed to give community college graduates and transfer students with junior standing a comprehensive educational experience that prepares them for a career in social work, advanced standing in a graduate program in social work, or career opportunities in health care, business, education, government, public service, among other areas.

The coursework is 100 percent online. And while students are required to do in-person field work, their placement is based on their location.

The school had already created the iMSW Program. Unlike traditional on-campus programs, this fully online master’s program allows students – many of whom are working professionals or non-traditional students – to earn a Master of Social Work wherever they are and without leaving their job.

Read the full News Bureau article.

Learn more about the iBSW Program.

Learn more about the iMSW program options, including the Advanced Clinical Concentration and the Leadership and Social Change Concentration.