Social Work, B.A.

Program Overview

Are you known for your compassion and service? Are you passionate about social justice and making the world a better place? Are you curious about diversity, where it comes from, and how it impacts people? Social work can combine your passion for people with your desire to serve, and help you meet the emotional, physical, economic, and social needs of others.

A Bachelor of Arts in Social Work prepares professionals who are motivated to gracefully serve others as an expression of their faith. A unique blend of theory and action-oriented classes will help you develop skills to promote social and economic justice, empower diverse populations, and understand human interactions in social and cultural environments. From sociology, psychology, biology, and economic theory to specialized knowledge in child welfare, policy, race and ethnicity, or human behavior, you’ll be equipped to implement social work practices within systems of all sizes.

Student Profile

Headshot of Lindsay Gumm

Lindsay (Harlin) Gumm

Lindsay (Harlin) Gumm is a clinical social worker at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego. Her work changes daily, depending on patients’ needs. She works with patients and their families to coordinate access to resources and programs, facilitate safe hospital discharges and provide supportive counseling. She works on an interdisciplinary team with a network of healthcare and other social service providers. Read more


As a PLNU social work major, you will complete 400 internship hours of hands-on practice in the community. Each internship practicum is tailored to your interests and passions, and serves as a bridge between classroom learning and professional life. Internships provide the opportunity to apply skills and test theories and principles under the care and supervision of an experienced social worker. As you learn, you will create a professional portfolio, resume, and credentials that demonstrate what you believe and how you want to serve. This combination of professional development alongside personalized and intentional learning opportunities will equip you to confidently step into employment or graduate school.

PLNU's social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which emphasizes service-oriented, evidence-based learning that prepares students for professional practice. CSWE accreditation gives you the opportunity for advanced standing in master of social work (MSW) programs. Having advanced standing leverages your bachelor’s degree in social work, and allows you to earn an MSW in about one year.

Students in the Department of Sociology & Social Work apply their passions in unique and deeper contexts by engaging in student ministries, networking events, and the Center for Justice & Reconciliation. 

Course List

Department Faculty

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

Social work is about caring for, curing, or changing the world to make it a better place. PLNU social work graduates are men and women who serve a variety of social structures, function competently in their professions, bring innovative thoughts into great cultural dilemmas, and possess an inner drive to discover truth and permeate everything they touch with life and hope.

Student Profile

Todd Vance Headshot

Todd Vance

Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression are at an increased risk for homelessness. Todd Vance, PLNU social work alumnus and Iraq War veteran, has come up with his own method of fighting PTSD. Vance, who is experienced in Muay Thai kickboxing, teaches a mixed martial arts (MMA) class that meets on Saturday mornings at a gym in the North Park area of San Diego. Read more

Depending on your specific interests, you may pursue a social work career in:

  • Child, Youth, and Family Welfare (including Adoption and Foster Care)
  • School and Education
  • Counseling and Group Work
  • Medical and Public Health
  • Drug Rehabilitation
  • Organizational and Community Development
  • Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Intervention
  • Legislation and Politics
  • Human Rights and International Affairs