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, domestic abuse shelters, nursing homes and mental health centers. Other graduates find work in private industry, nonprofits, state and local government, chemical dependency programs, programs for the elderly, and privately supported family and children’s agencies, just to name a few.

Our curriculum is rooted in a philosophy that promotes social justice and community engagement while recognizing and honoring the differences inherent in our local, national, and global communities.  In this spirit, we prepare generalist social workers to lead and influence through a commitment to professional ethics of service, social justice, and the importance of human relationship. Students will learn how to use their social work knowledge, values and skills competently, with integrity, for the dignity and worth of all people.  

Courses in the social work major will prepare students for generalist social work practice and for graduate study. 

Majors will expand their knowledge of social work beyond the boundaries of the classroom through a field education placement in a social service agency. 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, research and practice. Social work majors also take courses in biology of women, introduction to sociology, general psychology and lifespan developmental psychology.  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 anti-racist and multicultural practice, chemical dependency counseling, child welfare, community organizing, LGBTQ rights, mental health, and social welfare policy.  Our professors will enthusiastically challenge students and encourage them to reach their full potential.

The Social Work program requires students to be formally admitted to the major. This process takes place during a student's junior year. Prospective majors must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.25 and must be approved by the BSW program social work faculty.

St. Kate's master's and bachelor of social work programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education's (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation.

Accreditation of a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited program has sufficient resources to meet its mission and goals and the Commission on Accreditation has verified that it demonstrates compliance with all sections of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.

Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

St. Catherine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association:

The Department of Social Work offers three minors: Social Welfare (for non-social work majors), Chemical Dependency Counseling: Addiction and Recovery, and Nonprofit Strategies and Operations (offered through the Department of Economics). The minors are not accredited by the Council of Social Work Education. Students who with a undergraduate degree in Social Work are eligible to apply through the Minnesota Board of Social Work to take the ASWB Licensing Exam for licensure as an 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.

Social Work Club

The purpose of Social Work Club is to encourage social change through advocacy, community engagement, and knowledge through a social work lens. Members of the Social Work Club will be provided with opportunities for academic and professional development within the St. Kate’s community (ex. resume building, study hours, service opportunities, etc). Social Work Club also looks to be a place of peer to peer engagement and community for all those in and interested in the Social Work program. 

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 3780Senior Fieldwork Preparation4
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
WOST 2910The Anatomy of Violence4
NPSO 4300Development and Fundraising for Social Service Organizations4
or SOWK 4300 Development and Fundraising for Social Service Organizations

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 the integration of theory and practice.

Junior year: One semester of approximately 5-8 hours per week learning about and working with social service agencies.  Preparation for Senior level internship includes weekly seminar groups on campus.

Senior year: Two semesters of approximately 12-15 hours per week interning in a social service agency off campus.  400 hours required, including 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).