The University of St. Thomas

Missions, Goals & Objectives

Graduate Program - Mission, Goals, and Objectives

The Master of Social Work program provides advanced professional study for women and men in social work. The program prepares social work practitioners for clinical social work practice and leadership with a focus on direct clinical services or clinical supervision and program management. The MSW program is offered jointly by St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas.

The MSW program emphasizes the development of the individual student. The curriculum through its focus on clinical social work practice, direct practice with individuals, small groups and families, deals with problems including poverty, discrimination, mental illness, developmental disability and oppression. It emphasizes demonstrated mastery of knowledge as well as practice skills. The curriculum is rooted in a philosophy of social responsibility and respect for individuals' rights. The development of a specific area of expertise is encouraged through the careful planning of a systematic program with individualized focus that incorporates the student's practice experience, and reflects the student's needs, practice and research interests.

Mission Statement for the Master of Social Work Program

We prepare ethical, culturally-responsive  social workers for clinical practice, supervision, leadership, program development and practice-based research with a commitment to social justice and human rights.

Overall Goals of the Program

As a reflection of this mission, the overall goals of the program are:
  1. To provide students with the analytical skills and substantive knowledge essential for clinical social work practice, for assessing the effectiveness of current social work methods, and for developing more effective practice procedures.

  2. To develop in students the knowledge and understanding of how to work with diverse cultural, class and ethnic groups and to adapt one's own social work practice to the needs of specified groups.

  3. To develop in students the capacity and capability for leadership in public and private social service agencies.

  4. To promote and support research and knowledge development to improve the effectiveness of social work practice, policies and programs.

Program Objectives

Derived from its statement of mission and goals, the MSW has identified the following objectives for the MSW program:
  1. Apply critical thinking skills to social work practice.

  2. Support and uphold professional values, standards and ethics.

  3. Understand the history of the social work profession and its current structures and issues.

  4. Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination.

  5. Apply to practice the strategies and skills of change that advance social and economic justice.

  6. Apply the knowledge and skills of the generalist social work perspective to practice with systems of all sizes.

  7. Employ intervention methods sensitive to diverse and oppressed populations and with all levels of client systems.

  8. Use communication skills differentially with a variety of client populations, colleagues and members of the community.

  9. Use theoretical frameworks to understand and assess the interactions among individuals and between individuals and social systems (i.e., families, groups, organizations and communities.

  10. Contribute to development of and analyze the impact of social policies on client systems, workers, and agencies.

  11. Use research (knowledge and skills) in problem formulation, data collection, data analysis and interpretation of results using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

  12. Demonstrate professional use of self.

  13. Apply knowledge of bio-psycho-social and spiritual variables that affect individual and group development and behavior.

  14. Use differential assessment and diagnosis in treatment planning.

  15. Evaluate and apply existing research (knowledge and skills) in one's own clinical practice.

  16. Evaluate one's own clinical practice activities and those of relevant systems.

  17. Identify one's own leadership and supervisory skills.

  18. Use supervision and consultation in clinical practice.

  19. Work effectively within the structure and function of an agency delivery system and seek organizational change where appropriate.

  20. Evaluate and pursue one's own professional growth and development.