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Social Work: A degree you can work with.

What are recent graduates doing now?

Allison (Larson) Rykken '10 got a job coordinating community-based services for clients who would otherwise require the level of care provided in a residential facility. In her work, she has encountered challenging situations, including mental health crisis situations involving hospitalization of a client. Allison believes her education in the School of Social Work prepared her to do the work. She stated, “I have been prepared to do this work by some of the best social work professionals and I could not be more grateful.”

Jackie Powell finished her degree in the CSC weekend program, working full time as well as going to classes and internship. Her work in women's shelters and in schools have led her to an exciting job as a school social worker, reflecting her commitment to helping families succeed against very difficult odds.

What learning opportunities are there outside of the classroom?

Field placement. These experiences, arranged by the School of Social Work, provide practical learning in social work agencies, institutions and departments to complement the student’s academic work. During their junior year, students are placed in an agency to learn about services provided to clients. Senior year, students are placed in an agency to directly apply their skills working with clients. By the time students graduate, they have demonstrated the necessary skills needed to work with vulnerable populations, and will already have a connection to the professional community.

Student organizations and leadership. The Social Work club is a vibrant club that engages both the St. Thomas and the larger community on issues of social concern and justice. Beta Epsilon is the Social Work Honor Society. Students majoring in social work may apply for membership into this honor society in their junior year. Beyond these two organizations, the School Social Work encourages and supports students involvement across campus in various other student organizations and leadership activities.

Study abroad. As part of a consortium of eight Minnesota social work BSW programs, the School of Social Work offers a Mexico semester abroad program in Cuernavaca, Mexico spring junior semester studying Spanish and taking required social work courses. Skills such as bilingualism and competency in working cross-culturally are urgently needed in social work today. This semester long program includes a family home-stay, an exchange with The University of Mexico School of Social Work, intensive Spanish study, as well as three required courses in the major (group work, social policy and field internships). Contact your adviser as soon as possible if you are interested in this global opportunity.

Social Work Licensure. With a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited program, students will be prepared to take the Bachelor Level licensure exam and apply for a social work license.

Faculty Involvement

The Social Work faculty are actively engaged in research and community engagement. The program offers many opportunities for students to be involved in both faculty research and community based projects. Recent scholarly work includes investigating young adults as they emerge from the foster care system, transitions for youth with disabilities, cultural transitions in refugee communities, and mental health in Southeast Asian communities.

What jobs are possible with a Social Work major?

  • Child Welfare Worker
  • Family Case Worker
  • School Social Worker
  • Adolescent Counselor
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Youth Services Counselor
  • Crisis Intervention Worker
  • Policy Advocate
  • Hospice Worker
  • Civil Rights Organizer
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Geriatric Care Manager
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Victim Advocate
  • Primary Care Counselor
  • Guardian Ad Litem
  • Intake Worker
  • Adult Day Services Worker
  • Child Advocate
  • Client Advocate
  • Community Action Worker
  • Community Organizer
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Crisis Intervention Counselor
  • Family Support Worker
  • Group Home Worker
  • Halfway House Counselor
  • Juvenile Court Liaison
  • Life Skills Instructor
  • Mental Health Case Manager
  • Probation Officer
  • Rehabilitation Case Worker
  • Residential Counselor
  • Residential Care Manager
  • Youth Outreach Worker
  • Human Services Case Manager
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