St. Kate's - St. Thomas Partnership Updates & FAQs

In late-May 2018 the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University announced the end of their formal collaboration on their joint social work programs. This change took effect in late-August, 2019. Both institutions have now established independent offerings. St. Catherine University continues to offer both the bachelor of social work (BSW) and masters of social work (MSW) in formats that meet the needs of working adults. St. Thomas continues to offer the doctorate in social work (DSW), in addition to the BSW and MSW, in both its weekday/evening and hybrid formats.

Both St. Thomas and St. Kate’s are pursuing independent accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which accredits both the BSW and MSW programs individually. Both universities are following an abbreviated one-year candidacy process that CSWE has customized for independent programs following the closure of a joint program relationship. (Note: CSWE does not currently accredit doctoral programs, so the DSW program is unaffected by this change and is now offered by the University of St. Thomas). The BSW and MSW programs at each university are currently listed as "in candidacy" with CSWE with a February 2020 review date.

We are committed to keeping our community informed, so have created the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) that provide the most current information available regarding accreditation and other considerations for our students, partners, and all other stakeholders.

If you have questions or comments about this process, please contact Dr. Corrine Carvalho, Interim Dean of Social Work at clcarvalho@stthomas.edu.


General information

St. Catherine University continues to offer both the bachelor of social work (BSW) and masters of social work (MSW) and St. Thomas offers the doctorate of social work (DSW), MSW and BSW. Information for prospective students in 2019 and beyond will be housed on the university’s respective web pages.

The main landing page for each university’s social work programs is as follows:

Accreditation FAQs

Both universities are working closely with the Council and Social Work Education (CSWE) to do all that we can to ensure a seamless transition from being accredited as a collaborative to being accredited as independent programs. To this end, here is a link to the complete process of accreditation as outlined by CSWE.

CSWE Statement on the Dissolution of Collaborative Programs (PDF) - Retrieved from https://cswe.org/Accreditation/Standards-and-Policies/EPAS-Handbook

OVERVIEW OF NEXT STEPS RELATED TO DISSOLUTION OF THE COLLABORATIVE AND INDEPENDENT ACCREDITATION:
The BSW and MSW programs at each university are currently listed as "in candidacy" with CSWE with a February 2020 review date. Because we were accredited as collaborative programs, both the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University programs are eligible for a one-year period of candidacy rather than the full three-year candidacy typically required of new programs. During 2019-2020, we will continue to work closely with CSWE on the documentation needed for full accreditation, including completing our self-studies and budgets. Site visits from CSWE and review of assessment data for all programs will occur in fall of 2019.  If the programs are successful in attaining accreditation, all students who successfully complete the program will graduate from an accredited program.

No, the process is quite similar. In 2012, the St. Kate's - St. Thomas BSW and MSW programs received re-accreditation as a collaborative through 2020. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the programs were already starting to prepare for the re-accreditation process for 2020. For re-accreditation, programs also create self-studies and budgets, and the process includes a site visit and assessment review from the Commission on Accreditation (COA). The abbreviated one-year candidacy process for formerly collaborative programs has a similar timeline to the re-accreditation process and requires the same documentation to be provided to the CSWE Commission on Accreditation (COA). Just as programs in candidacy cannot guarantee initial accreditation, re-accreditation can never be guaranteed by any program.

FAQs for Current MSW Students

Students can apply for a temporary license while a program is in candidacy status and that temporary license is valid for 12 months. This is longer than you would need as each independent program expects to receive a decision regarding accreditation by the end of summer 2020. If an independent program receives accreditation PRIOR to May 2020, those graduating in May would not need to apply for a temporary license and can apply for a permanent license immediately after you graduate.

As long as the university receives accreditation by Sept 1, 2020, all students who graduate prior to that point will be considered graduates of an accredited university.

FAQs for Current BSW Students

Both universities have stated that BSW students who graduated under the collaborative structure (through summer 2019) will be considered alumni of both universities for the purpose of graduate alumni grant awards, as structured, for the foreseeable future. For students graduating after the separation, each MSW program may choose to extend “alumni grants” or similarly structured awards to students from the non-home institution. Please check with each school for additional details.

With respect to courses starting in fall 2019, students will take the BSW courses offered at their home institution by its respective faculty. If you want to explore taking a course at another ACTC institution (which includes a St. Thomas student taking a course at St. Kate’s and a St. Kate’s student taking a course at St. Thomas) you will work with your advisor and program director to ensure that the course meets the ACTC Cross-Registration Policies & Procedures requirements. You can find more information about the ACTC policies and procedures through the registrar at your home institution.

Students can apply for a temporary license while a program is in candidacy status and that temporary license is valid for 12 months. This is longer than you would need as each independent program expects to receive a decision regarding accreditation by the end of summer 2020. If an independent program receives accreditation PRIOR to May 2020, those graduating in May would not need to apply for a temporary license and can apply for a permanent license immediately after graduation.

As long as the university receives accreditation by Sept 1, 2020, all students who graduate prior to that point will be considered graduates of an accredited program.

FAQs for Alumni

All MSW and DSW students who graduate under the collaborative structure (through summer 2019) will always be considered alumni of BOTH universities!* Each university will manage its alumni records independently, so plan to keep both schools up-to-date on your preferred contact information and professional updates:


*Note that graduate student records are currently housed at St. Thomas, so graduates of the collaborative program (through summer 2019) should request transcripts from, and send LICSW forms to, St. Thomas, as necessary.

Yes! Both universities have stated that BSW students who graduate under the collaborative structure (through summer 2019) will be considered alumni of both universities for the purpose of graduate alumni grant awards, as structured, for the foreseeable future. For students graduating after the separation, each MSW may choose to extend “alumni grants” or similarly structured awards to students from the non-home institution, so plan to check with each school for details.

Many ways! Here are just a few…

  • Join the SCU-UST School of Social Work Student/Alumni group on LinkedIn. This group will continue to function as a student/alumni group for networking even after the SSW is no longer a joint program. All BSW, MSW and DSW students and alums, and faculty from both universities – now and in the future – are encouraged to join.
  • Engage as a field instructor! For the 2019-20 academic year, MSW field placements will be done collaboratively between the two schools, and there will likely be on-going collaboration in some form into the future. Field instructors benefit from professional development opportunities, including free continuing education workshops. There is no better way to “pay it forward” than to host a student.
  • Attend events hosted at each university. After the separation, both schools’ social work programs will once again host an array of community events and professional development opportunities. Be sure you stay in-the-loop by updating your contact information at each school, periodically checking each school’s main web page for upcoming events.