Social Work Major

Social Work Major

Your spark of idealism, belief in social justice and love of working with people, together with a degree from our accredited social work program, will prepare you for one of the fastest growing careers of the future. At St. Kate's, you'll acquire professional knowledge, values and skills that will empower you for a challenging and rewarding career in social work.

St. Kate's social work program prepares students for work in a wide range of settings. Recent graduates have been hired in such diverse places as hospitals, community centers, human services departments, public schools, women's shelters, nursing homes and mental health centers. Other graduates find work in private industry, group homes, chemical dependency programs, programs for the elderly, and privately supported family and children's agencies.

The social work major is a joint offering of St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas. The curriculum is rooted in a philosophy of social responsibility and respect for individuals' rights. Drawing from the Judeo-Christian traditions of social caring, we prepare students to use social work knowledge, values and skills to demonstrate the intrinsic value of all humankind as they serve those in need and promote social justice and human rights. Rooted in educational justice and community engagement, our program prepares generalist social workers committed to professional ethics and values, service, social justice and human rights. Our comprehensive program integrates theory, research, fieldwork and personal growth components. As a social work major, you'll also take courses in the biology of women, principles and concepts of sociology, general psychology and lifespan developmental psychology.

Courses in the social work major will prepare you for beginning level social work and for graduate study. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education at the baccalaureate level and qualifies graduates to take the examination for licensure at the licensed social worker level.

You will expand your knowledge of social work beyond the boundaries of the classroom by completing a fieldwork practicum. During your junior and senior years, you will complete 600 hours of fieldwork, giving you the opportunity for hands-on experience in a variety of settings. Approximately 50 social service agencies come to St. Kate's to interview students for fieldwork placements, and nearly 80 percent of our students receive their first choice for fieldwork. Local agencies, such as the Wilder Child Guidance Center, Catholic Charities, Shriners Hospital, the American Red Cross and the St. Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools will be potential sites for you to apply theory to real-life situations.

The fieldwork experience also gives you the opportunity to explore your perspectives about people and the challenges and potential they bring to a social service agency. These experiences will complement your academic work through integration of theory and practice. With this excellent on-the-job training and meaningful course work, nearly 80 percent of St. Kate's social work graduates secure positions in their field within six months of graduation.

The School of Social Work includes 29 St. Kate's and St. Thomas faculty who are known for their teaching excellence and scholarship and are eager to lend their expertise concerning academic and professional issues. Our faculty members hold leadership positions in local, regional and national professional organizations and have expertise in areas such as medical social work, school social work, social policy, child welfare, AIDS and international social work. Your professors will enthusiastically challenge you and encourage you to reach your full potential.

The School of Social Work has been recognized as a national leader for its strong commitment to social justice. Social Wo rk for Social Justice: Ten Principles, developed by the program and used in the baccalaureate and graduate programs, have been adopted by programs across the country.  The social work program also has an active Social Work Club and Honor Society, Phi Alpha.

The social work program requires students to be formally admitted to the major. This process takes place in February of the junior year. Prospective majors must have a grade point average of 2.25 and must be interviewed by the School of Social Work faculty.

The program described below is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education at the baccalaureate level and qualifies graduates to take the Minnesota Board of Social Work examination for State of Minnesota licensure at the licensed social worker level.

Major Requirements

Required courses:

  • SOWK 2810 Introduction to Social Work
  • SOWK 3400 Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • SOWK 3550 Communication and Interviewing Skills
  • SOWK 3750/3760 Junior Fieldwork in Social Work (or SOWK 3780)
  • SOWK 3800 Social Work Research
  • SOWK 3850 Group Work Skills
  • SOWK 3910 Social Policy for Social Change
  • SOWK 4010 Generalist Practice I: Small Client Systems
  • SOWK 4020 Generalist Practice II: Large Client Systems
  • SOWK 4050/4060 Senior Fieldwork in Social Work

Required supporting courses:

  • BIOL 1120 Biology of Women¬†
  • PSYC 1001 General Psychology with Lab
  • PSYC 2025 Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • SOCI 1000 Principles and Concepts of Sociology

Recommended courses:

  • CDC 3000 Introduction to Chemical Dependency
  • CDC 3050 Chemical Dependency and the Family
  • INDI 2910 The Anatomy of Violence
  • INDI 2930 Grief, Loss and Coping
  • SOWK 2100 Relationship, Intimacy and Sexuality
  • SOWK 4410 Family Resilience and Diversity
  • IDSC 490Y Study Abroad - Bristol, England (offered through UST) Semester Abroad - Cuernavaca, Mexico (offered through UST)
  • SOWK 490 Topics: Practice with Older Adults and Their Families (offered through UST)
  • SOWK 490 Topics: Working with Immigrant Populations (offered through UST)

Required fieldwork experience:

These experiences, arranged by the School of Social Work, provide practical learning in social work agencies to complement your academic work through integration of theory and practice.

Junior year: Two semesters of approximately 8-10 hours per week off campus totaling 200 hours, plus weekly seminar groups on campus.

Senior year: Two semesters of approximately 15-20 hours per week off campus totaling 400 hours, plus weekly seminar groups on campus.

Social work majors satisfy the Writing Requirement for Majors in course assignments throughout the program curriculum, rather than in a single course. You complete the Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Writing Requirement with three other writing-intensive courses (CORE 1000 or 2000, CORE 3990, and any other writing-intensive course in another department).