Social Work Program

Earn your degree in social work in a hands-on program that boasts a 100% employment and graduate school acceptance rate — and become a licensed professional in your graduating semester. When you take home your bachelor’s in social work from Hardin-Simmons University, you’ll be uniquely prepared to help people and communities to solve problems, promote equity and justice, and create positive change.

Social work is a high-demand, fast growing field that involves serving people who are vulnerable, oppressed, or marginalized, and addressing the conditions of society at the very core of injustice. As one of the leading social work programs in the Big Country area of West Central Texas, our students are in high demand by graduate programs and employers throughout the region and across the nation. You’ll also benefit from a supportive, family atmosphere in which faculty and alumni provide personal career advising — both during your time at HSU and after graduation.

Experiential Learning in the Social Work Degree

Hands-on learning is a key part of the bachelor’s in social work at HSU. Our students are highly sought after in the community for a variety of service learning and other field-based projects, and we connect you with experiential opportunities in which you apply academic lessons to real-world challenges.

For example, you’ll complete 30 hours of volunteer experiences as part of your regular coursework. We offer a Community Group Project in which you can work as part of a coalition to identify and address community needs and develop a plan of action. If you’re interested in policy, you can conduct analysis that leads to advocacy work at the local, state, national, and international levels. There’s no limit to what you can do and achieve.

CSWE LogoThe Social Work Program is accredited at the baccalaureate level by the Council on Social Work Education, consecutively since 1985.


Program Contact

Lauren Cantrell

Lauren Cantrell

Department Chair/Director of Field Education/Assistant Professor of Social Work

Request Information


Why Earn Your Social Work Degree at Hardin-Simmons?

A student helps a youngster at Western Heritage day.

Interactive & Service Learning Experiences

Smaller classes provide a more interactive learning environment, opportunities for enhanced service learning experiences locally (like providing prom dresses for local under-served teens), around Texas, nationally, and even internationally. Our faculty and alumni are here to support you at every step, from help with resume building, to mock interviews, to providing professional references to graduate programs and employers.

Social work students at Ring Ceremony.

Exceptional Preparedness

Graduates of our bachelor’s in social work are accepted to graduate schools (100%), professionally employed (100%), and pass the licensing exam (96%) at exceptionally high rates. Graduates seeking the Master of Social Work degree typically will complete the MSW within three semesters of graduating from HSU due to ‘advanced standing’ status, and all of our social work degree alumni are heavily recruited for graduate schools and employment.

Social work students at a table display.

Valuable Connections

Our bachelor’s degree in social work students develop lifelong, close relationships with each other, the faculty, and in the community. Throughout the social work courses, students are developing connections with professional social workers and others in the community through projects, volunteerism, field trips, and field placements.

HSU logo

What Can You Do With a Social Work Degree?

Social workers engage in many fields of practice: mental health, addiction and recovery, children and families, geriatric care, and more. They work in schools, medical facilities, government agencies, the military, and many other settings. Graduates of our program are employed in places like the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Abilene Independent School District, and here at Hardin-Simmons University.

In addition to the incredible sense of personal fulfillment you can gain through this career, social work is a field that offers excellent opportunity, job security, and potential for professional growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is expected to grow 12% over the next decade, much faster than average. Texas also has one of the highest employment levels for social workers in the nation, so this is an ideal place to begin your career.

Applying for Your Social Work License

You can apply for the social work license in the state of Texas in your graduating semester. Almost all of our students pass the exam. Because our program is accredited by CSWE, students who apply to graduate schools of social work will receive advanced standing, making it possible to obtain a Master of Social Work (MSW) within one year. Alumni of our bachelor’s degree in social work seeking employment upon graduation are employed in their professional field 100% of the time.

Top Jobs for Our Bachelor’s in Social Work Graduates

  • Healthcare social worker
  • Mental health social worker
  • Substance abuse social worker
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Social and human services specialist
  • Teaching assistant

Tailor Your Social Work Degree at HSU and Travel the Country

Our bachelor’s degree in social work program offers special topics courses and travel opportunities, and we will help you assess your specialized interests to develop the best curriculum. Examples of special topic courses have included:

  • School Social Work
  • Engaging Diversity and Difference
  • Social Work in Mental Health, Military, and Veterans
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Community Renewal

Some of these courses involve travel, which has included trips to Window Rock, Arizona to study and work with the Navajo and Hope indigenous tribes; to Camden, New Jersey to work with Urban Promise Ministries; and a Civil Rights Tour of five southern states to engage our diverse history and its impact on society today.

Program Details

Service Learning Opportunities

Social Work being an engaging and interactive profession, students are provided opportunities to connect and serve in the community through volunteerism and field education internship.  Courses requiring service learning hours include:

  • Introduction to Social Work
  • Social Work Practice I
  • Field Education I & II


  • No academic credit for life or work experience.
  • Program is open to all qualified applicants without discrimination.
  • Students apply for formal admission to the Social Work program upon completion of the Human Behavior and Social Environment courses in their sophomore year.
  • Students must maintain an overall GPA of 2.0 and earn a “C” or higher in all Social Work courses to continue in the major.
  • In Social Work Practice III, students apply for entrance into Field Education for their senior year.
  • Students can apply for the Social Work license in the state of Texas in their graduating semester. 100% of our students pass the exam.
  • Graduates of HSU Social Work will receive either a BBS or BS degree. As the program is accredited by CSWE, students who apply to Graduate Schools of Social Work will receive advanced standing, making it possible to obtain a Master’s in Social Work within one year.
  • Graduates of HSU Social Work seeking employment upon graduation are employed in the professional field 100% of the time.

CSWE AS4B Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2021-2022

HSU Annual Assessment of Learning Outcomes

CSWE Reaffirmation Self-Study 2021

Our degree in social work offers numerous awards and scholarships that are awarded each year. Recipients are chosen by the social work and sociology faculty based on the respective award or scholarship criteria. If you have questions, please contact the Social Work department at 325-670-1281. We also encourage you to explore other opportunities for recognition and scholarships outside of HSU, for example NASW, CSWE, and AAUW. Learn more about scholarships at Hardin-Simmons University.

If you’re thinking about a bachelor’s degree in social work, here are other programs available at Hardin-Simmons University you might be interested in learning more about:

Through Knowledge – The Challenge is to Serve

The purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

HSU – Sigma Beta Chapter

The Sigma Beta Chapter of Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work was established in November 2011 in order to provide social work students with additional opportunities to promote humanitarianism, human and civil rights, and social and economic justice through participation in Chapter projects, events, and activities. As members in good standing, our students can apply for Phi Alpha awards and scholarships. This is a student lead organization with student officers and faculty advisors to guide and direct the organization. For more information about Phi Alpha, please go to their website

To apply, complete the Sigma Beta Application and send to Melissa Milliorn at

Phi Alpha Sigma Beta Officer’s 2022-23

Beth Ferguson Beth Ferguson – President
Hi! My name is Beth Ferguson, and I’m a senior in the HSU Social Work Program! This is my second year being an officer of Sigma Beta, and I am so excited to transition from the role of Secretary to President! I have so much love and admiration for the community projects our club invests in and carries out to fruition each semester, and I am so excited for our continued advocacy work with the RVCC! I am also involved in the Social Work Club, I’m an Apartment RA on HSU’s campus, and I’m the Chaplain of HSU’s hiking club! Also, for my senior year, I will be interning at Serenity House for my Social Work Field Placement! I am so excited to see what this year brings and give all the glory to God above!
Amy Shelton Amy Shelton – VP
My name is Amy Shelton. I am a junior Social Work major at Hardin-Simmons University. I am married to my wonderful husband, Michael. Together we have two sons, two granddaughters, and a grandson. I have been a volunteer with the Abilene Kairos Outside Ministry since it began in Abilene in 2018. In March of 2021, I was the Weekend Leader of Kairos Outside Weekend #6. I am a current volunteer with Safe Families for Children. I love seeing the Lord work through me and others around me. I have an associate degree in arts from Cisco College. When I was a student at Cisco College, I was the President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. As the PTK President, I was able to get Cisco College involved at the state level earning Cisco College its first two stars. I enjoy working with others for the good of the community. I am happiest when I am serving others. I am excited about being a part of Phi Alpha and the Vice President of Sigma Beta.
Kaylin Bouse Kaylin Bouse – Secretary
Hi! My name is Kaylin Bouse and I am a senior here at HSU and I will be completing my field placement this year with Adult Protective Services. I am really excited to serve you as the Secretary/Treasurer of Sigma Beta, it’s going to be a great year!


Social Work Club LogoThe Purpose of the Social Work Club at HSU

  1. To facilitate communication and fellowship among the social work majors and faculty
  2. To promote interest in social work issues; and
  3. To promote social action and service both within and outside the campus community.

Social Work Club Officers for 2022-23


Triniti Wilson Triniti Wilson – President
Hey guys, my name is Triniti and I’m a senior in the social work program. I am doing my field placement with CPS where I do plan on going into that same field as a potential job in the future. I look forward to serving as your club President and making this one of the best years ever.
Kaylin Bouse Kaylin Bouse – VP
Hi! My name is Kaylin Bouse and I am a senior social work major and honors minor here at HSU. I will be completing my field placement this year with Adult Protective Services. I am really excited to serve you as the Vice President of Social Work Club!
Jesuye Olabisi Jesuye Olabisi – Secretary
Hi everyone! My name is Jesuye Olabisi, I am a junior double major in social work and psychology. I am originally from Nigeria and moved to Fort Worth, Texas. I am excited to serve as your secretary this school year! I will be doing my internship at Communities in Schools of the Big Country and I am looking forward to my experiences there! I am excited to see what God has in store for everyone. It is going to be an amazing year!
Alyssa Hamilton Alyssa Hamilton – Treasurer
Hi y’all! My name is Alyssa Hamilton and I am a Senior in the Social Work Program here at HSU! I am extremely passionate about helping others thus my previous studies in nursing, psychology, and now social work! I will be completing my field placement with the Big Country Aids Resource Center and the West Texas Homeless Coalition, but if you can’t find me, I’m probably hanging with my favorite little girl at Big Brothers Big Sisters! I’m excited for what this year holds for us all and grateful to serve as your Treasurer!
Sarah Harbison Sarah Harbison – Chaplain
Hello! My name is Sarah Harbison! I am from Shallowater, Texas. I am a sophomore Social Work and Psychology major. As your Chaplain, I look forward to pouring into the Social Work Club and our partnering agencies this school year and seeing how God moves through our club! My hope is to work in non-profit management in an agency that serves at-risk youth.

Jaden Hubbard

Jaden Hubbard – Photographer
Hey guys my name is Jaden Hubbard my hometown is Refugio, Texas and I am the first ever Social Work Administration major and play on the football team here as well. I am proud to be serving as Photographer for The Social Work Club. My goal while in Social Work Club is to show the impact of our program to the rest of Hardin-Simmons and the community all while getting to work with these other amazing individuals in the social work club. As I am going to be a male in a female dominant profession I’d love to make my mark starting with social work club and the Abilene community. I can’t wait to see what this year holds for us.

National Association of Social Workers photo of HSU social work club officers.

Social Work Club Newsletter

2021-2022 Newsletter

2020-2021 Newsletter

2019-2020 Newsletter

2018-2019 Newsletter

2022-2023 Social Work Gatherings and Events

Fall 2022

Major Mixer – Friday, August 26 at 2 p.m. in Social Work Conference Room

Fall Orientation – Wednesday, September 7 from 12-2 p.m. in JB103

Social Work Swim Party – Friday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the HSU Pool

Self-Care Meeting – Thursday, October 6 from 12-1 p.m. in Moody 108 East

NASW Texas Conference – October 13-15 in Galveston, TX

Veterans’ Day Cards/Guest Speaker – Wednesday, November 9 from 12-1 p.m. in Moody 108

Christmas Party – Thursday, December 8 – TIME & LOCATION TBD

Spring 2023

Spring Orientation – Wednesday, January 25 from 12-2 p.m.

Club Meeting- Policy Students Presentations – Thursday, February 23 at 12 p.m. in Moody 108

April Club Elections – TBD

Prom Party – Saturday, March 25

Social Work Advocacy Day Events – TBD