Social Work


Interim Department Chair


Social Work Program Director

Director of Field Education

Associate Professor

  • Galeai, Kenneth E. BSW (2008) Brigham Young University—Hawaii; M.S.W. 1982, University of Hawaii Manoa; M.A. 1986, San Diego State University; Ph.D. 1992, University North Colorado.

Assistant Professors

  • Hippolite, Andre BSW (2012) Brigham Young University—Hawaii; M.S.W. (2004) Brigham Young University.
  • Kaufusi, Victor BSW (2016) Brigham Young University-Hawaii; M.S.W. (2011) University of Hawaii at Manoa; Ph.D. (2016-Expected Completion) University of Hawaii at Manoa.
  • Kunz, Christian BSW (2012) Brigham Young University—Idaho; M.S.W. (2006) University of Georgia.

Career Opportunities and Graduate Study

Students who graduate with a Baccalaureate Degree in Social Work (BSW) from BYU–Hawaii are prepared as generalist social work practitioners. The beginning generalist practitioner assesses and works with consumer populations including referrals to community resources, guides consumer populations through the planned change process, intervenes with individuals, families, groups, and the community in a range of situations, conducts on-going evaluations, and makes appropriate closure.

BSW practitioners are employed in a variety of direct practice settings such as: state departments of human services, mental health and developmental disabilities services, children's service agencies, halfway houses, nursing homes, area wide agencies on aging, agencies serving battered women, rape crisis centers, child-care centers, etc. At the practice setting, the generalist social work practitioner takes on various roles such as: social broker, case manager, advocate, counselor, mediator, and educator.

The social work program also prepares students for graduate study in social work as well as service within their family, church, and community. The knowledge, skills, values, and ethics gained from a social work education can be well used both professionally and personally, formally, and informally.

The Social Work Profession

The human experience is filled with good fortune as well as challenges and difficulties. Sometimes we are unable to cope with or resolve difficulties such as: poverty, marital conflict, parent-child relationship problems, delinquency, abuse and neglect, substance abuse, and mental/emotional stress. Social work is the profession that helps individuals, groups, and communities enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and work towards social and economic justice and peace.

The underpinnings of the social work profession include but are not limited to: (1) social work values such as autonomy, non-judgmental attitude, and the dignity, worth, and value of all human beings; (2) social work knowledge about human behavior, research, the life cycle, group dynamics, social policy, the ecological framework, human diversity, the environment, etc.; (3) practice skills and paradigms for working with multilevel populations such as preparing, communicating, analyzing, contracting, role taking, and stabilizing; and (4) planned change or an orderly approach to problem solving.



The BYU-Hawaii Social Work Program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) continuously since 1978.  CSWE is the national organization that provides the leadership for social work and monitors the quality for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degree programs in the United States.


Social Work Student Association

Social work majors have the opportunity to be members of the Social Work Student Association (SWSA).  The SWSA provides social work majors with representatives to provide input into the Social Work Program decision-making process that effects students, the faculty, and the curriculum.  In addition, the SWSA helps to meet the bio-psycho-social-spiritual well-being of social work majors.  The Phi Alpha Honorary Social Work Society is also available to social work major who display academic and service excellence.  Students are also encouraged to join a professional organization such as the National Association of Social Workers, the International Federation of Social Workers, or a professional social work organization of their home country.

Mission Statement

The program supports the overall mission of the University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by preparing culturally competent, effective, and ethical social work professionals committed to providing services to the poor, oppressed, and underserved. The department also provides opportunities for students to take leadership roles in supporting and promoting social justice and the social work profession internationally by facilitating peace within individuals, families, communities, and nations.

Program Goals

  1. To prepare students to be social work professionals and competent generalist social work practitioners with individuals, families, groups, communities, and societies.
  2. To prepare students to assist in the promotion of social welfare, social justice, and peace within the appropriate individual, family, political, cultural, and social context.
  3. To enhance personal development and change within students.
  4. To promote the profession of social work in the international arena.
  5. To prepare students for responsible leadership and citizenship, family life, and church and community service.
  6. To prepare students to be effective consumers of research and its application to social work practice.
Visit the Social Work department website

Admission and Retention Standards

All students are required to apply for admission into the social work program. Students are accepted into the social work major if they: a) are at least first-semester sophomores,  b) pass Social Work 160 Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work with at least a C+, c) have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5, d) have submitted an application to major packet, and e) have been successfully interviewed for admission into the major by the Admission Committee.

Social Work Major Application Packet

In order to be recognized as a regular social work major, a student must complete a Social Work Major Application Packet which includes: an Application, a Major Academic Plan (MAP using the online tool MAPPER) completed with the assistance of the Academic Advisor, a signed copy of the Standards for Social Work Students, a letter of recommendation, a resume, and an Autobiography written by the student.
Completed applications are due on the first Friday in March for Spring admission, the first Friday in June for Fall admission, and the first Friday in November for Winter admission.

To download a copy of the application, please go to: or you may get a hard copy from the Social Work Department   Secretary in the MPC room 205. Applications are to be submitted to the department secretary in MPC 205.

When a student applies for acceptance into the social work program, the student must be successfully interviewed by the Admission Committee. During the interview, the Admission Committee will ensure that the application packet is complete and that the applicant has met the criteria for acceptance into the major. If the student does not meet all requirements for admission, a letter will be sent explaining the deficiency (ies) and what needs to be done before the student reapplies. Students may be granted provisional status and will be accepted into the major if all stipulations are met within the specified time frame for full acceptance into the major.

All students who meet the minimum program academic requirements are invited to apply to the major. No student will be denied admission due to age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, culture, or national origin.

Required Curriculum

The student is to successfully complete five pre-requisite requirements before being formally admitted into the Social Work Major. These pre-requisite requirements are:
  1. First semester sophomore status or at least 24 credit hours
  2. Have completed Social Work 160 Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work with at least a C+
  3. Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5
  4. Have submitted an Application to Major Packet
  5. Has been accepted or provisionally accepted by the Admission Committee

Fifty-six credit hours are required to graduate with a major in social work. See Recommended Curriculum for a description of the courses social work majors are required to pass. Only a C- or higher grade in social work classes may be applied toward completion of the Baccalaureate of Social Work (BSW) Degree.

There is also a recommended schedule for taking the required social work classes. It is important that students make an appointment with the social work Academic Advisor as soon as possible to develop a Major Academic Plan (MAP) and to receive a copy of Social Work Degree Requirements. The MAP is a personalized document indicating when the student is to take all courses required for General Education and the social work major for graduation. The student and department are to adhere to the MAP for a timely graduation. The Social Work Degree Requirements can be used to track the courses you have taken and have yet to take to qualify for the BSW.

Field Education

The Field Education Program is an integral part of the generalist social work program reserved for seniors majoring in social work at BYU–Hawaii. Field education is comprised of a practicum and a seminar that give students the opportunity to discuss how they infuse knowledge, values, and skills at their agency. Students are expected to be in their agencies 5 days a week averaging 30 hours per week. Students should plan to not work and not take any other course during their practicum. Regardless of the option selected, students are required to obtain a minimum of 450 practicum hours, be supervised by a professional social worker, be enrolled in a seminar, and be placed in an agency-based social service setting.
Upon successful completion of the practicum and seminar requirements, students receive 12 credit hours. Students are responsible for finding an approved agency with assistance from the Field Practicum Director. For more information concerning field education, please read the Field Practicum Manual found at the following link:

Transfer Students

Students who successfully complete courses at other universities may have their courses evaluated by the University Registrar's office for acceptance at BYU-Hawaii.
Social work major courses are considered for acceptance if the transferring university is accredited with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In the event the university is an international school, transfer courses will be considered IF the accreditation association is equivalent to CSWE. For example, if a student from Australia takes courses in Social Work, their courses will be considered for transfer if the school was accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). The Social Work Program Director will consult with faculty who teach comparable courses. The director will make the final decision.
The burden will be upon the entering student to provide evidence of courses equivalency, such as transcripts, course syllabi, program accreditation, etc.


Life Experiences or Previous Work Experiences

While life experiences or previous work experiences may enhance learning social work knowledge and skills, social work course credit is not granted for these experiences.

Major Requirements

Students who have completed the prerequisites are required to take 56 semester hours within the following areas. No social work course credit is granted for D+ or lower grades, life experience, or previous work experience.

Prerequisites (3 hours)

  • SOCW 160 Intro to Social Welfare & Social Work (3)


Required Social Work Foundation Courses (16 hours)

  • SOCW 357 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I (3)
  • SOCW 359 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II (3)
  • SOCW 366 Social Welfare Policy (3)
  • SOCW 468 Community Mental Health (3)
  • SOCW 486 Social Research Methods and Applied Statistics (4)

Required Social Work Practice Courses (9 hours)

  • SOCW 362 Social Work Practice with Individuals (3)
  • SOCW 364 Social Work Practice with Families and Groups (3)
  • SOCW 462 Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities (3)

Elective Social Work Exploration Courses: Complete 5 courses (15 hours)

  • SOCW 368 Social Welfare in Asia and the Pacific (3)
  • SOCW 463 Social Services for Children (3)
  • SOCW 467 Non-Government Program Development and Evaluation (3)
  • SOCW 469 Aging: A Global Concern (3)
  • SOCW 470 Social Work with Substance Abusers (3)
  • SOCW 390R Special Topics (repeatable) (3)

Required Field Practicum Preparation (Semester Prior to Field Practicum) (1 hours)

  • SOCW 490 Practicum Preparation Seminar (1)

  Practicum-Department Approval Required (12 Hours)

 Field Education (12 hours)

Field Practicum is reserved for seniors majoring in Social Work. Students are required to enroll for a total of 12 hours in:
  • SOCW 491R Field Practicum (8 hours)
  • SOCW 491L Field Seminar (4 hours)
Students are to average 35 hours in the field per week Monday through Friday. 
Note: Students are to spend at least 425 clock hours at a social agency.

Introduction to Social Work Minor (12 Credit Hours)

  • SOCW 160 Introduction to Social Welfare & Social Work (3)
  • SOCW 357 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I (3)
  • SOCW 362 Social Work Practice with Individuals (3)
  • SOCW 486 Social Research Methods and Applied Statistics (3)

Social Work Minor (18 Credit Hours)

  • SOCW 160 Introduction to Social Welfare & Social Work (3)
  • SOCW 357 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I (3)
  • SOCW 359 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II (3)
  • SOCW 362 Social Work Practice with Individuals (3)
  • SOCW 366 Social Welfare Policy (3)
  • SOCW 486 Social Research Methods and Applied Statistics (3)

Sociology Minor (18 Credit Hours)

Sociology includes the study of culture, psychology, and human behavior giving rise to skills in the areas of research, communication and critical thinking. Sociologists find their niche in society in the areas of environment and society, criminal justice, demography, Human services, business, education, social science research, community relations, and/or government.

Sociology undergraduate programs typically begin with introductory courses in the principles of classic and contemporary sociology, sociological research, and move into aspects or classes of sociology (e.g. juvenile delinquency, marriage and family, race and ethnicity, gender and sex, wealth and poverty, diversity in society, interpersonal relationships, deviant behavior, criminology, death and dying, population, environment, movements, social problems, issues in education, social change, social psychology, social statistics, methods of social research, etc.). Courses in Anthropology, Communications, and Psychology are also included along with an internship.

A minor in Sociology requires a minimum of 18 credits and takes a sample of the courses listed above beginning with required introductory courses, moving to a selection of elective courses to complete the credit requirement.

This minor requires each of: (9 credits)

  • SOC 111 Introduction to Sociology (3)
  • SOC 112 Social Problems (3)
  • SOCW 486 Social Research Methods and Applied Statistics (3) or ANTH 322 Ethnographic Skills (3)

And three of the following electives: (9 credits)

  • ANTH 105 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
  • ANTH 310 Anthropology Theory (3)
  • ANTH 445 Issues in Current Anthropology (3)
  • COMM 110 Intercultural Communication (3)
  • COMM 252 Groups, Leadership and Culture (3)
  • COMM 280 Gender and Culture (3)
  • PSYC 350 Social Psychology (3)
  • SOCW 160 Introduction to Social Work (3)
  • SOCW 469/SOC 469 Aging: A Global Concern (3)
  • SOCW 470/SOC 470 Drugs: Use and Abuse (3)
  • SOC 223 Race and Ethnicity (3)
  • SOC 390R Special Topics (3)
  • SOC 399R Internship (3)