Skip to Main Navigation. Each navigation link will open a list of sub navigation links.

Skip to Main Content

Apply to the University of Wyoming apply now

Global Resource Navigation

Visit Campus
Download UW Viewbook
Give to UW

University Catalog

Division of Social Work

Director: Mary Burman
Health Sciences Building
Phone: (307) 766-6112, FAX: (307) 766-6839


MARY BURMAN, B.S. University of Minnesota 1983; M.S. University of Michigan 1986; Ph.D. 1990; Professor/Director of Social Work 2016.

Associate Professors

DONNA LEIGH BLISS, B.A. University of Maryland College Park 1989; M.S.W. University of Maryland Baltimore 1991; Ph.D. 2005; Associate Professor of Social Work 2013.
B.A. Columbia College 1968; M.S.W. Florida State University 1970; Ph.D. University of South Carolina 1998; Associate Professor of Social Work 2010.
NEELY MAHAPATRA, B.Sc. Utkal University, India 1991; M.Sc. 1993; M.S.S.W. University of Texas-Austin 2003; Ph.D. 2008; Associate Professor of Social Work 2016.
VALERIE THOMPSON-EBANKS, B.Sc. University of the West Indies 2002; M.S.W. 2007; Ph.D. Colorado State University 2012; Associate Professor of Social Work 2018, 2012.

Assistant Professors

TRAVIS LABRUM, B.Sc. University of Utah 2004; M.S.W. 2007; Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 2017; Assistant Professor of Social Work 2017.
KIRSTEN HAVIG, B.A. University of Missouri 1994; M.S.W. University of South Carolina 1998; Ph.D. University of Missouri 2010; Assistant Professor of Social Work 2016.

Assistant Lecturers

KYM CODALLOS, B.A. California State University, Sacramento 1999; M.S.W. California State University, Stanislaus 2006; M.A. 2011; Assistant Lecturer of Social Work 2018.
B.S.W. University of Wyoming 2007; M.S.W. Walla Walla University 2008; Assistant Lecturer of Social Work 2017.

Social Work

Social workers are uniquely qualified to help people in their own environments by looking at different aspects of their lives and cultures. We work to ensure the client's personal well-being, prevent crises, counsel individuals, support families, and strengthen communities. We make sure people get the help they need, with the best resources available.

For more than 100 years, social workers have cared for people in every stage of life. Social workers help others overcome life's most difficult challenges and manage the troubles of everyday living, including the troubles that exist due to poverty, stress, addiction, abuse, unemployment, mental illness, family change, and social violence.

Undergraduate Study

The Division of Social Work prepares students for entry-level generalist social work practice. Two locations offer the social work program: the Laramie campus and the University of Wyoming-Casper campus. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and are prepared to work as generalist social work practitioners with individuals, groups, families, organizations, communities, and institutions to achieve more effective and efficient social functioning.

Our program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The curriculum is designed to help students acquire important knowledge and skills in the areas of values and ethics, diversity, social and economic justice, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, and research. A competency-based curriculum prepares students to meet an "initial level" of competence in 10 core areas (CSWE, 2008). Students also select elective courses in areas such as aging, child and adolescent services, health and mental health, and disability services. The program culminates in a 450-hour supervised field practicum, which allows students to work as social workers in one of Wyoming's many human service agencies.

Social Work Major

Social work is a professional degree program. Prior to admission to the professional degree program, declared social work majors are considered Tracking Majors. Typically students apply to the professional degree program the spring semester of their sophomore year. Acceptance to Admitted Major (professional degree program) is competitive and requires an application. Please see application requirements on the Division of Social Work website. Students accepted into the professional degree program are expected to complete their degree in a timely manner. Students who have not completed social work classes for one year or more must reapply for Admitted Major and submit a plan for readiness to continue in the social work degree program. A plan may include, but is not limited to, repeating or auditing a course taken at an earlier point in the student's academic experience, completing an independent study that may provide updated social work content for the student, demonstrating knowledge or practice skills. Readmission is not guaranteed.

Criteria for Admission as an Admitted Major

The admissions process is competitive. Students must meet the following minimum criteria to be considered for Admitted Major status.

1. Students must earn a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.50 on all UW course work as well as all course work transferred into the University of Wyoming from other academic institutions.

2. Complete the following prerequisites:

  a. SOC 1000
  b. PSYC 1000
  c. POLS 1000
  d. SOWK 2000
  e. Human Biology (KIN/ZOO 2040 or PSYC 2080)
  f. STAT 2050 or 2070
  g. ECON 1010

3. Students must earn a grade of C or higher in all SOWK prerequisite classes.

4. Students must adhere to the UW Student Code of Conduct and the NASW Code of Ethics.

5. Students cannot exhibit behavior that will  impinge on the student's present or future ability to fulfill professional responsibilities as a social work professional.

6. All students seeking admission to programs in the College of Health Sciences are required to undergo a background check as specified by college policy. Criminal convictions may result in rejection of the candidate for admission to Admitted Major.

7. Students must submit an application and an application fee. (See UW Fee Book)

8. Applicants to the social work program cannot receive credit for life experience.

Requirements for Admitted Majors

Once admitted, social work students must:

1. Achieve a C or better in all social work prerequisites.

2. Achieve a C or better in all social work courses, including six hours of required social work electives.

3. Social work classes are offered and must be completed in sequential order.

4. Maintain a 2.500 or above GPA overall every semester after admittance to Admitted Major.

5. Maintain a 2.500 or above GPA overall in all social work course work every semester after admittance to Admitted Major.

6. Registration is restricted and students must meet with their advisor each semester for enrollment.

7. Complete SOWK 4990 with a satisfactory.

8. Students must adhere to the UW Student Code of Conduct and the NASW Code of Ethics.

Individuals failing to meet any of the above requirements will be reviewed by faculty and one of the following actions may be taken: remediation, probation, suspension, sanction, and/or dismissal from the program. Because many social work courses have prerequisite requirements, receiving a grade lower than a C in a social work course may prevent the individual from moving forward in the social work program.

BSW Field Practicum

All students complete a 450-hour (10 credit hours) field practicum experience in a community-based social agency or social program. Field practicum sites exist throughout the state of Wyoming and students may be placed outside Laramie. Students apply for this program the semester before their actual placement. Students must complete a Field Placement Application and meet with the Field Coordinator prior to determining a practicum site (please review Field Practicum Manual). Background checks and drug screenings may be required by some agencies even though the College of Health Sciences has received a background check during admission to the major.

For the practicum, a grade of U is interpreted as performing below expectations and will not be considered satisfactory completion of the practicum, hence of the BSW program. Based on input from the student, the field instructor, and the faculty liaison during the field evaluation, the field coordinator will determine what remediation would be required. The plan will clarify course objectives and professional skills upon which the student needs to improve. A student wishing to continue in the program would need to reapply for a field placement. Upon the field committee's approval of the request for placement, the student may then repeat the practicum experience. Consistent with University policy, the most recent grade would be the grade calculated into the GPA. The grade of U is interpreted as not meeting minimal requirements of the course; failure to complete the minimum clock hours in the field placement; failure to complete written assignments in a satisfactory manner; violation of one or more of the tenets of the NASW Code of Ethics (see Appendix B and Termination of Practicum section in the practicum manual); and/or failure to withdraw formally or to terminate the course.  A student receiving a U in the practicum will be automatically dismissed from the BSW program with no opportunity to reapply or re-enter. Grades and dismissals may be appealed. (See most current BSW Student Handbook for appeal procedures.)

Requirements for Graduation

The program requires 120 credit hours to graduate. Students must have completed all social work requirements, 42 upper-division hours, maintain a 2.500 GPA overall, a 2.500 GPA in social work coursework, and have achieved a grade of C or better in all social work courses. Courses must be taken for a letter grade unless offered for S/U only. USP H and PN courses must be taken outside the major subject, but can be cross listed with the major.

Four Year Plan of Study

Freshman Year: Fall


PSYC 1000 (H)


MATH 1000 (Q)


ENGL 1010 (COM1)


USP FIrst-Year Seminar (FYS)


USP Human Culture (H)
SPAN 1010 recommended


Total Hours


Freshman Year: Spring


LIFE 1003 (PN)


POLS 1000 (V)






SOC 1000 (H) 3
Total Hours


Sophomore Year: Fall


SOWK 2000


STAT 2070 (Q)


PSYC 2080


USP Communication II (COM2)


USP Physical and Natural World (PN)


Total Hours


Sophomore Year: Spring


ECON 1010 (H)


RELI 1000 recommended
WIND 2100 recommended


SOC 2350 recommended


PSYC 2330 recommended


Total Hours


Application for Admitted Major Submitted

(acceptance as Admitted Major needed
to proceed in the professional program)

Junior Year: Fall


SOWK 3530


SOWK 3630


SOWK 3645


SOWK 4060


FCSC 2131 recommended

Total Hours


Junior Year: Spring


SOWK 3540


SOWK 3640


SOWK 3650


SOWK 4850


FCSC 3110 recommended


Total Hours


Senior Year: Fall


SOWK 4560


SOWK 4990


SOWK 4991


SOWK Elective*


FCSC 4112 recommended


Total Hours


Senior Year: Spring


SOWK 4570 (COM3)


SOWK 4990


SOWK 4992


SOWK elective*


Total Hours




*Work with your advisor to determine the best free electives for your particular career path. Consider adding a minor to your degree.

Graduate Study

The Master of Social Work (MSW) is designed to prepare graduate students for advanced level social work practice and leadership positions in rural human service organizations. The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The MSW program is focused on an advanced generalist curriculum and rural social work that relies on the problem-solving method, and is based on the values, knowledge, and skills of the profession. The MSW is a full time, campus-based program that utilizes different course delivery methods to accommodate its widespread student population.


School Social Work Concentrations

The Division of Social Work has an agreement with the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board to meet the requirements for individuals applying for certification as a School Social Worker in the State of Wyoming. The completion of either the School Social Work Graduate Concentration or the School Social Work Graduate Preparatory Concentration allows students to demonstrate that they have achieved the requirements needed for certification.

School Social Work Graduate Concentration

Application process required. Must be enrolled in an MSW program in good standing and completed the Foundation year or have a BSW.

In addition to the MSW curriculum students must:

  • complete SOWK 5810 with a C or better;
  • complete SOWK 5850 for 10 credit hours in a K-12 school setting; and
  • complete SOWK 5755 or SOWK 5960 on a K-12 school related topic.

School Social Work Graduate Preparatory Concentration

Application process required. Students must have received an MSW from a CSWE accredited program.

Students must complete the following elements:

  • complete SOWK 5810 with a C or better (3 credit hours); and
  • complete SOWK 5975 Independent Study Practicum School Social Work Practicum (3 credit hours).

SOWK 5975 Independent Study Practicum School Social Work Practicum consists of 120 hours in a K-12 school setting and a completion of a project based on the schools needs.

Graduate Admissions Requirements

The Division of Social Work's Graduate Admissions Committee bases its decisions primarily on the evaluation of previous undergraduate and graduate work, recommendations, experience in human services (paid, volunteer, research, and internship), the applicant's personal statement, and an academic essay.

Requirements for the Standard MSW Program

  • A baccalaureate degree from a nationally accredited college or university that reflects a broad liberal arts preparation. This consists of having completed at least 21 credit hours in social and behavioral sciences and 6 credit hours each in natural sciences, humanities, visual and performing arts, and quantitative reasoning;
  • A human biology course, receiving a grade of C or better;
  • A statistics course, receiving a grade of C or better;
  • An undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.000 or above on a 4-point scale;
  • Applicants are encouraged to have engaged in human services or social services work as a volunteer or paid employee. These hours must be documented on a resume.

Requirements for the Advanced Standing MSW Program

  • A bachelor's degree in Social Work from a Council on Social Work Education accredited social work program;
  • An undergraduate social work GPA of 3.250 or above;
  • An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.000 or above;
  • Received a B or better and/or a Satisfactory grade in BSW Field Education Practicum;
  • Applicants are encouraged to have engaged in human services or social services work as a volunteer or paid employee. Applicants must document all volunteer and work hours on the resume.

*International students have special requirements for admission to UW.  All are encouraged to contact the International Programs office for details before applying.

All Applicants

All applicants will be evaluated on the their:

  • Intellectual and personal qualities essential to the successful practice of social work, such as sensitivity and responsiveness in relationships, concern for the needs of others, adaptability, good judgment, creativity and integrity;
  • Commitment to social justice and equality;
  • Written and verbal communication skills;
  • Professional references and
  • The compatibility of career goals with the MSW program's advanced generalist perspective.

All applicants meeting minimum criteria will be considered for admission interviews. Admitted applicants will be required to complete a criminal background check through the College of Health Sciences.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

All students entering the MSW program do so in the summer semester of their first year, completing introductory and/or bridge courses as needed for their specific program phase. The MSW program is divided into two phases: foundation and advanced standing. The foundation year of the MSW program prepares students without a BSW degree for the advanced generalist curriculum in the second year. Students who have already obtained their BSW degree may apply for Advanced Standing in the MSW program. 

Master of Social Work Field Practicum

All students, regardless of status, participate in a field practicum experience, starting in their first fall semester. New students submit an initial application for placement during their first summer of classes. 

Foundation students will complete 900 hours in practicum over the course of their two years of study, 400 and 500 hours respectively. Advanced Standing students will complete 500 hours in their one year of study. All students in practicum will take a corresponding field seminar class each semester.

Grading is done as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Receiving a grade of U is considered a failing grade and can result in termination from the practicum. If the practicum is terminated, the student may be offered a remediation plan to retake the required hours. This opportunity is only offered one time. The student may also be referred to the DOSW faculty for review according to the Student Academic and Professional Performance policy.

Specific information and procedures relating to all aspects of the field practicum experience can be found in the Field Practicum Manual located on the Division of Social Work’s website.

Master of Social Work Plan A - Thesis

Students complete all SOWK required courses except SOWK 5755.  Plan A students register for SOWK 5960 Thesis Research.  Students registering for the Plan A option are required to carry out original research.  Thesis proposal defense, thesis implementation, and final defense are required.  Plan A students may write a monograph fully detailing their research or a publishable peer-refereed journal article, determined in consultation with the student's Research Chair and in accordance with the UW Thesis requirements. 

The thesis requires a minimum of 4 credit hours, usually taken as 2 credits in the fall semester and 2 credits in the spring of advanced year.

Plan B - Practice Evaluation

Students complete all SOWK required courses except SOWK 5960. Plan B students register for SOWK 5755. Students registering for the Plan B option will conduct a practice evaluation which correlates to their advanced year practicum setting. Proposal defense and a final written paper with oral defense are required. 

The practice evaluation requires a minimum of 2 credit hours, usually taken as 1 credit in the fall semester and 1 credit in the spring of the advanced year.

Social Work (SOWK) Courses

Share This Page:

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Twitter Icon Youtube Icon Instagram Icon Facebook Icon

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Gainful Employment | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon