Apr 21, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work and Public Health

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Social Work


The Social Work major is offered through the Department of Social Work and Public Health. Also offered through this department is a major in Public Health.

The Social Work Program at Pacific University provides students with the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for culturally sensitive generalist social work practice. The BSW curriculum is designed to prepare students to provide services that advance the well-being of people; promote social and economic justice; and enhance the social functioning of individuals, families, groups organizations, and communities. It is our desire to provide students with both academic and field based experiences that allow the student to integrate theoretical and applied knowledge in order to engage in the planned change process at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice. These experiences take place in the context of a broad liberal arts foundation. The small class sizes at Pacific allow for individual attention from professors, and our geographic location provides opportunities to explore social work in both rural and urban settings.


  • To prepare students for beginning generalist baccalaureate level social work practice with client systems of all sizes
  • Lay a foundation that prepares students for graduate level social work education or beginning practice with a commitment to life-long learning and ongoing professional development.
  • To promote social and economic justice
  • Develop new social work knowledge and provide service and leadership to the community.

Program Learning Outcomes

Our Student Learning outcomes are set forth from the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Specifically, the bachelor of social work program at Pacific seeks to prepare students to achieve the following competencies:

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Public Health

Don Schweitzer, Chair; Rose Dahl, Jana Peterson-Besse, Rebecca Schoon, Matthew Town  

The public health major is offered through the department of Social Work and Public Health. Also offered through this department is a major in Social Work. The mission of the public health program is to develop emerging public health leaders through an interdisciplinary education rooted in the liberal arts and connected with contemporary public health practice. The curriculum challenges students to understand the intellectual meaning and practical implications of the broad array of influences on population health, emphasizing the social foundations of health.

The study of public health is dedicated to understanding and improving the health and well-being of all people. The public health major is designed to develop students’ abilities to understand, analyze, problem-solve and communicate effectively in a complicated, international and rapidly changing world. Pacific’s public health program integrates health science, social science and humanistic approaches to addressing global health challenges.

Public health students study core courses within public health, such as introductory public health, epidemiology, social foundations of population health, environmental health, and global health. But we know that public health workers need a broad set of skills and abilities to be effective in promoting health and well-being, so our students complete their public health majors with courses in statistics and biology, plus a choice of courses from anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, environmental sciences, ethics, history, media arts, politics, psychology, sociology, social work and the humanities.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Describe interconnected relationships among physical, social, and environmental aspects of health and disease.
  • Appreciate the role of multiple determinants of health across diverse populations and health issues.
  • Identify social injustices and propose strategies for change.
  • Understand and communicate using public health terminology, including epidemiological measures.
  • Interpret quantitative and qualitative information about population health.
  • Synthesize information from a variety of sources to understand and act upon population health problems.

Students studying public health are often interested in pursuing careers in the public sector, working with health departments, policymakers or organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Others are interested in working with nonprofit organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote better health both domestically and abroad. Still other public health graduates will pursue private-sector employment within the insurance or healthcare industries. Public health graduates are prepared for careers in health departments, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, universities, family violence prevention organizations, disaster relief organizations, and state and federal agencies. Many students choose to combine undergraduate public health education with graduate school in public health or the health professions.

Students may earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, or minor in Public Health. Only a grade of C- or above may be used to satisfy major and minor requirements. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in the major or minor.


    Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Social WorkMinor


      Public HealthSocial Work

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