Social Work

Program Overview

School of Social Work
Summit Classroom Building 201, (651) 962-5800
Aspholm, Chigbu, Hepperlen, Hill, Hollidge, Horn, Lundquist, Marrs, Fuchsel, Moua, Nesmith, Peterson, Powers, Rand, Roseborough, Solomonson, Theisen, Whitebird

Department website

At the University of St. Thomas, social work is seen as a critical part of healthand well-being for individuals, communities and society. Social work is one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. We prepare you to become a licensed professional, equipped to work in direct practice with children or adults, families, groups and organizations, or as an advocate for policies to advance the common good. Our graduates are committed to social justice and to helping people make positive changes in their lives

Why Study Social Work at St. Thomas?

With an increase in jobs estimated at 16 percent or higher in the field over the next decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), social work offers vast career opportunities. Health care social work, along with mental health and substance abuse social work are among the fastest growing areas, while opportunities to work with children, families and schools are also growing faster than average. With a bachelor’s degree in social work, you can begin work upon graduation or enter a master of social work (MSW) program as an “advanced standing” student, and save a year of time and investment achieving your MSW.

With our bachelor’s degree in social work, you’ll be prepared to work with diverse populations across a wide variety of settings such as schools, health systems, nonprofits, and social services agencies including child welfare agencies. You will gain real-world practice experience during 475 hours of fieldwork (internships), and graduate prepared to take the bachelors-level social work licensure exam in any state.

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. 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 human biology, introduction to sociology, general psychology and lifespan developmental psychology.

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 475 hours of field practice experience (75 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, community education and organizing, school social work, medical social work, research and grant writing, and county social work.

The School of Social Work includes 18 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, social work with immigrants and refugees and counseling and mental health. Your professors will enthusiastically challenge you and encourage you to reach your full potential.

The School 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.

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.

There are three social work minors available to all majors: Social Welfare, Chemical Dependency Counseling: Addiction and Recovery, and Social Services Management. These minors are not accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and do not qualify graduates to sit for the Minnesota Board of Social Work examination for State of Minnesota licensure at the licensed social worker level.

Co-Major With Social Work and Criminal Justice

Co-Major With Social Work and Psychology

Co-Major With Social Work and Sociology

Minor in Social Welfare

A minor in social welfare is available through School of Social Work. A minor in social welfare is not accepted by the Council on Social Work Education as preparation for beginning-level generalist social work practice. A minor is offered for your own learning in the area of social welfare.

  • SOWK 181 Introduction to Social Work (4 credits)
  • SOWK 240 People and the Environment: Theories of Justice, Behavior, & Impact
  • SOWK 391 Social Policy for Social Change (4 credits)

Plus eight credits from the following:

  • PSYC 202 Lifespan Development (4 credits)
  • PSYC 207 Drugs and Behavior (4 credits)
  • SOCI 251 Race and Ethnicity (4 credits)
  • SOWK 291 Anatomy of Violence (4 credits)
  • SOWK 380 Social Work Research Methods

Chemical Health & Dependency Undergraduate Courses


Social Work Undergraduate Courses