Department of Social Work & Criminal Justice

Faculty: Steffanie Altenbern, Mary Curran, Kimberly Lowe (Graduate Social Work, MSW Chair), Dean Matlock, Lawanna Pierce, Scott Slater, Janet Stellway, John Stennett, LeAnn Stensgaard (Undergraduate Social Work Chair).

The primary goal of the Bachelor of Arts, Social Work program at Northwest Nazarene University is to prepare students for generalist social work practice in a variety of settings, both domestic and international.  Students are required to complete a minimum of 38 credits of core social work courses and 18 credits of support courses included in the 124 credits needed to graduate.  In addition, students will complete a minimum of 520 hours of supervised field experience in the community in settings such as child welfare, corrections, developmental disability services, health care, mental health, schools, and other agencies.

Northwest Nazarene University's social work program is nationally accredited at the undergraduate and graduate level by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Learning Objectives

  • To nurture in students a Christlike worldview which embraces the values and ethics of the profession, including personal integrity, global diversity, a just society, and spiritual enrichment
  • To cultivate in students a passion for alleviating discrimination, poverty, oppression, and all other forms of injustice for at-risk populations
  • To prepare students for advanced social work practice through the presentation of a comprehensive curriculum  for working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • To provide students with a high-quality education and field experience in a creative learning environment that promotes the development and application of the Council on Social Work Education core competencies at the generalist levels (

Mission of the Department: The primary program mission is to prepare students for beginning practice in the profession of social work.

Admission to Methods Courses: To qualify for entrance into upper-division courses applicable for completion of a degree within the Department of Social Work, students must complete the following requirements:

  1. Be officially admitted to Northwest Nazarene University.
  2. Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5.
  3. Declare a major in Social Work.
  4. Complete SOWK1720 and SOWK2110.
  5. Be enrolled in or have taken SOWK2850 and SOWK2851.
  6. Make application to take methods courses.
  7. Be interviewed by the Department of Social Work faculty.
  8. Be accepted by the Department of Social Work faculty to take methods courses.

The student will be placed on probationary status if a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 is not maintained.

Please note: Academic credit is not given for life or work experiences.