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Skidmore College
Social Work Department

Applying to the Major

Students must apply for the social work major no later than the College-mandated deadline during the spring of the sophomore year (transfer students are evaluated on a case-by-case basis). To be eligible to apply, at a minimum, students must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in SW 241 Research for the Human Services and have successfully completed either SW 222 Introduction to Social Work or SW 212 Social Work Values and Populations-at-Risk. It is strongly preferred that students also complete SW 253 Human Behavior and the Social Environment prior to applying to the major. This sequencing of courses is necessary for students to complete the Department of Social Work’s writing requirement and in addition, these courses lay the necessary foundation for completion of upper-division courses during the student’s junior and senior years.

Students who fail to formally apply by the deadline will not be granted permission to enroll in SW 333 Social Work Practice for Individuals and Families. Students whose applications are rejected may reapply during the fifth semester before the drop add/period ends. Admission to the program is based on demonstrated academic competence, a willingness to abide by Skidmore College’s Department of Social Work Standards for Social Work Education, the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics, and suitability for beginning professional practice. Students planning on going abroad should talk with the department chair as soon as possible so timely and appropriate advising can occur.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the application to the major.

Q: I’ve never heard of applying to a major at Skidmore. Why does the Social Work Department have an application process?
A: Social work is an accredited program of study. Our accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education, mandates that social work programs have an application process. Our majors often work with people who may be vulnerable or oppressed, so we must ensure that social work majors have the personal qualities and professional potential to undertake such work.

Q: Can I declare the major and then complete my application?
A: No. Only students who have been formally accepted into the major can declare social work as their major.

Q: What is the acceptance rate to the major?
A: Almost all of the students who apply to the major are accepted. If there are students whom the social work faculty assess as being inappropriate for the major at this point, the department chair or other faculty let the student know about the concerns before the student submits the application. In some cases, a student is conditionally accepted to the major. They must demonstrate professional readiness to be admitted to the major before they are formally accepted. The faculty work with such students to develop a specific plan to address any concerns.

Q: What does it mean to be “inappropriate for the major”?
A: The social work major has two sets of standards for our students: academic and professional. Academically, students must demonstrate mastery of course concepts and exhibit appropriate behavior in the classroom. Professionally, students must behave as a beginning professional, attending classes regularly, participating appropriately, behaving respectfully, and seeking help when help is needed for either academic or personal difficulties. Students who cannot meet both academic and professional standards are considered inappropriate for the major. See the Standards for Social Work Education at Skidmore College for more details regarding these standards.