Social Work

Care, respond, and empower.

You want to make things better, aiming to relieve suffering and desiring the implementation of programs that make a difference. Our mission is to empower students, as followers of Jesus, to become competent, ethical and professional practitioners in the field. Social work is the ideal conduit to live out your faith in practical, meaningful ways and in a variety of settings.

Equipped for a Profession

Social Work is a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment.

With a major in Social Work, you'll graduate with confidence to engage diverse populations in both local and global settings, gaining an enriched perspective of the global church and growing as a student alongside members of the campus community.


Cornerstone University's Social Work program is fully accredited by the Council of Social Work Education. As such, you will be eligible for state licensure and advanced standing in accredited graduate social work programs. Students in advanced standing programs can often complete their master's degree in one full year.

What distinguishes Cornerstone's Social Work program?

Meredith Powell '15 | Major: Social Work

"The Social Work program has taught me valuable lessons to prepare me for the field. The importance of integrating the love of Christ into our class work has made my learning experience invaluable."

What can I do with a major in Social Work?

A wide variety of employment opportunities exist for graduates with a bachelor's degree in Social Work. Social workers are often employed in child and family service organizations, mental health centers, residential treatment facilities, state and local human service organizations, as well as nursing homes and assisted living centers. Social workers also find employment in community development capacities as well as international social service organizations and hospitals.

For a preview of available job paths and the employment outlook for graduates with degrees in Social Work, explore the Occupational Outlook Handbook compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to transitioning into full-time positions, many of our graduates earn master's degrees in the field.

How can I complete my degree program in four years?

Download a sample degree plan for a major in Social Work.

4 Year Social Work Degree Plan

Where are internships and partnerships available for students in the Social Work program?

A 440-hour field placement integrated within your final year of undergraduate study will allow you to encounter and serve a variety of populations, preparing you to effectively transition into a job role or graduate coursework.

James McCormick '14 | Intern at Spectrum Health Emergency Services in Grand Rapids, MI

"My field placement allowed my understanding of mental health, substance abuse, grief, child abuse and neglect, and suicide assessment to grow exponentially. Shortly after my internship concluded, I was offered a Medical Social Work position in the Emergency Department at Helen DeVos. Through my social work internship and the exceptional social work curriculum at CU, I was given the tools I needed to enter the field of social work with confidence and a deep understanding of theory, research, and assessment."

Eric Walters '14 | Intern at Kent County Department of Human Services in Grand Rapids, MI

"Dr. Scott Sanders and Professor Nola Carew challenged me to grow as a Christian and as a student in the classroom; I learned that being a social worker is a lot like being a missionary. I was able to take these skills into my practicum placement at Child Protective Services, engaging clients, working with a variety of agencies in the community, and gaining valuable experiences. The Social Work department equipped me with the best foundation to go out into the work force and continue to impact the world and God's Kingdom."

What are graduates of the Social Work program doing now?

Our graduates can be found working in residential treatment, child welfare, nursing homes, domestic violence shelters, substance abuse treatment, criminal justice, homeless shelters, churches, low-income assistance programs and mental health centers.

Andrew Sherwood '14 | Senior Caseworker at Access of West Michigan in Grand Rapids, MI

"As the Senior Caseworker at Access of West Michigan, I work with the congregations of Kent County. Access offers supportive services to congregations in meeting needs in our community. I have found great joy and fulfillment in serving the community as I see God at work in the lives of the individuals and families impacted by the work we do. I am excited to see what is ahead as I continue to grow and mature into my role at access and develop my skills as a social worker."

Amy Ferguson '12 | School Social Worker in Kendall County, IL

"Although I frequently miss the support system I had in the Social Work department at CU, I know I am prepared to be a social worker because: I was part of a program where faculty members knew me and cared about me both as a student and as an individual. I knew my classmates and we could challenge each other and support one another. And I was a part of a program that valued the profession of social work and helped me develop into a professional, ensuring I would represent the profession well."

Ashley DeWitt Oosterbaan '10 | Adoption Specialist at Lutheran Adoption Service

"I've been working in child welfare for over four years, and I'm so passionate about it! I know that I'm making an impact every day in the lives of the kiddos and families that I work with. Cornerstone's social work program helped set the stage for the experience I've had out in the field, not only in terms of book knowledge, but also in terms of real-world practical application from a Christian perspective. I'm so thankful for the time I spent at Cornerstone and for the lasting relationships I formed with peers and professors."

Where have Cornerstone grads pursued graduate degrees in Social Work?

Join members of the extended Cornerstone University community by enrolling in graduate courses and degree programs at...

Abilene Christian University
Azusa Pacific University
 Arizona State University

Grand Valley State University
Michigan State University
University of Michigan 

University of Southern California
Wayne State University
Western Michigan University

Does the Social Work program offer off-site and international study opportunities?

While most field placements occur with local agencies, opportunities exist for you to apply for an international practicum with partner organizations and programs such as Bethany Global in Ethiopia, the Romanian Studies Program, and the Ugandan Studies Program.


Alexandra Prus '14 | Ugandan Studies Program

Ali worked on a church project in Uganda assisted by Compassion International. She served as an International Social Work Intern through Compassion International and the Ugandan Studies Program.


With a major in Social Work, what classes will I take?

With rigorous accreditation standards from the Council on Social Work Education, the Social Work program offers a comprehensive degree program, preparing you for practice with individuals, families, and groups as well as community and organizational development. You'll be challenged to develop skills in carrying out original research and working with diverse populations. In addition, a major in Social Work provides opportunities for you to explore specific areas of practice with electives such as Child Welfare, Domestic Violence, Gerontology, and Substance Abuse. Some classes you will take as part of the degree program include:

Human Behavior in the Social Environment | SWK-221 & SWK-222

Study the theories and knowledge of human behavior and bio-psycho-social-spiritual development from birth to end of life, giving attention to the role of culture, race, ethnicity, social class, and gender.

Human Diversity | SWK-417

Conduct a comparative study of ethnic and racial minorities, exploring the history of majority-minority relationships, the current status of minorities and subcultural differences. 

Social Work Practice I: Individuals and Families | SWK-331

Learn direct practice skills essential for working with individuals and families in a variety of helping capacities and participate in hands on practice experiences with professionals from local human service organizations.

Does the Social Work degree program offer opportunities for certification?

Cornerstone University's Social Work degree program is approved by the state of Michigan to offer a Child Welfare Certificate. Students interested in working with children and families may wish to pursue this certificate which provides graduates with opportunities to enter into several child welfare positions without needing to complete a majority of required state training sessions.

May I review the Evaluative Documents Cornerstone keeps on file for the Social Work degree program?

Who can I contact for more information on a major in Social Work?