Social Work - BA, BS

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 major prepares students for work in a wide range of settings. Recent graduates have been hired in diverse places such 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, state and local government, chemical dependency programs, programs for the elderly, and privately supported family and children’s agencies, just to name a few.

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, field and personal growth components. Social work majors also take courses in biology of women, introduction to sociology, general psychology and lifespan developmental psychology.

Courses in the social work major will prepare students for generalist social work practice 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 (LSW) level.

Majors will expand their knowledge of social work beyond the boundaries of the classroom by completing two field education placements. During their junior and senior years, students will complete  a total of 600 hours of field practice experience (200 hours as Juniors, 400 hours as Seniors), engaging them in hands-on learning opportunities in a variety of settings. 

We have developed strong agency partners and guide students through the process of interviewing and placement with these agencies. Field placements include opportunities such as case management, shelter advocacy, supervised visitation for families, community education and organizing, school social work, senior housing, research and grant writing, and county social work.

Field placements complement the academic work through integration of theory and practice. With this exceptional hands-on practice experience and meaningful course work, the vast majority of our social work graduates secure positions in their field within six months of graduation.

The Department of Social Work includes faculty who are recognized 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, community organizing, and international social work. Our professors will enthusiastically challenge students and encourage them to reach their full potential.

The Department of Social Work is recognized as a national leader for its strong commitment to social justice. Social Work 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, Delta Epsilon Zeta.

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 cumulative grade point average of 2.25 and must be interviewed by the Department of Social Work faculty.

The Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education at the baccalaureate level and qualifies graduates to take the ASWB Social Work examination for State of Minnesota licensure at the licensed social worker level (LSW). 

There are three social work minors available to all majors: Social Welfare, Chemical Dependency Counseling: Addiction and Recovery, and Social Services Management.  Minors are additional courses that can be completed concurrently with the BSW major. Minors are also available to students outside of the BSW major. The minors are not accredited by the Council of Social Work Education. Students who do not major in Social Work will not be able to apply to take the ASWB Licensing Exam for licensure as a LSW (Licensed Social Worker).

Social Work Honor Society

Delta Epsilon Zeta, the campus chapter of Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society, was established at St. Catherine University in 2002. The purpose of this organization is to advance excellence in social work practice and to encourage, stimulate and maintain scholarship of the individual members.

As a social work major, students are eligible for membership after achieving a junior or senior standing, earning a minimum of six semester hours or equivalent in social work, achieving an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above, and a social work grade point average of 3.50 or above.

Justice Team

The Department of Social Work club supports a student social work club consisting of both Bachelor and Master's students. The club focuses on social justice issues and is called the Justice Team. The club is advised by faculty from the Department of Social Work. 

See also: Master of Social Work (graduate catalog)

This major is offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.


Required Courses
SOWK 2810Introduction to Social Work4
SOWK 3400Human Behavior and the Social Environment4
SOWK 3550Communication and Interviewing Skills4
SOWK 3750Junior Field Placement and Integrative Seminar2
SOWK 3760Junior Field Placement and Integrative Seminar2
CFA students take SOWK 3780 in place of SOWK 3750/3760. CFW students studying abroad fall or spring semester should take SOWK 3780
Junior Field Placement and Integrative Seminar
SOWK 3800WSocial Work Research4
SOWK 3850Group Work Skills4
SOWK 3910Social Policy for Social Change4
SOWK 4010Generalist Practice I: Small Client Systems4
SOWK 4020Generalist Practice II: Large Client Systems4
SOWK 4050
SOWK 4060
Senior Field Placement and Integrative Seminar
and Senior Field Placement and Integrative Seminar
Total Credits44
Required Supporting Courses
BIOL 1120Biology of Women with Lab4
PSYC 1001General Psychology with Lab4
PSYC 2025Lifespan Developmental Psychology4
SOCI 1000Principles and Concepts of Sociology4
Total Credits16
Recommended Courses
CDC 3000Chemical Dependency/Addiction and Recovery - Assessment and Intervention4
CDC 3050Chemical Dependency/Addiction and Recovery - Families and Cultural Diversity4
CDC 3550Practicum and Seminar I2
CDC 4250Addiction and Recovery: Practicum and Seminar II2
CDC 4350Co-Occurring Disorders and Pharmacology4
INDI 2910The Anatomy of Violence4
SOWK 2100Relationship, Intimacy, Sexuality4
SOWK 4300Development and Fundraising for Social Service Organizations4
SOWK 441Family Resilience and Diversity (offered through UST)4
SOWK 490Practice with Older Adults and Their Families (offered through UST)4
SOWK 490Working with Immigrant Populations (offered through UST)4

Required Fieldwork Placement 

The Fieldwork Placements are arranged by the Department of Social Work. They provide practical learning in social work agencies to complement the student's 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 SOWK 3800W Social Work Research. They complete the Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Writing Requirement with three  other writing-intensive courses (CORE 1000W The Reflective Woman or CORE 2000W The Reflective Woman, CORE 3990W Global Search for Justice, and any other writing-intensive course in another department).