‌Welcome to the St. Thomas School of Social Work! 

Social work has its roots in a tradition of serving at-risk populations. Social workers have been at the forefront of fighting for child labor laws, more humane conditions for workers, voting rights for women and civil rights for people of color. Social reform and social action are at the heart of the social work mission.

Social workers strive to enhance the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities; to support the development of human capacities; to empower at-risk groups; and to promote social and economic justice.

Social work today is an expanding and challenging profession. Our Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW), Master of Social Work (MSW), and Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) programs prepare students for a career in one of the nation’s fastest-growing fields. Our nationally ranked school, formerly a collaboration between St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas (see partnership FAQs), prepares graduates for culturally relevant social work practice in multiple settings with diverse populations.

At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the St. Thomas School of Social Work provides students with exceptional preparation for real-world practice:

  • Our faculty are recognized scholars, researchers, and practitioners who are leaders in their fields. They share a commitment to student development through mentoring relationships, community engagement, and teaching excellence.
  • Our field education programs are well-established and well-respected. Each year, we have over 250 BSW and MSW students in field placements in over 200 practice settings. We are known for our superior field supervisory training and are committed to providing students with experiences that will foster student learning, professional development, and the integration of theory and practice.
  • Our curriculum promotes critical thinking and reflective practice. Building on our university’s strong liberal arts foundation, students are challenged to integrate foundational coursework with applied courses in social work practice. Our strong research curriculum ensures students are guided by evidence and prepared to contribute to the growing body of social work knowledge.
  • Our mission focuses squarely on social justice. The School of Social Work has integrated Catholic Social Teaching with the NASW Code of Ethics to develop Social Work for Social Justice: Ten Principles. This integration acknowledges the universality of these principles across faith traditions and provides a framework for strengthening the way in which we educate for service and justice.

We are extremely proud of our School’s national reputation of excellence. The School of Social Work is ranked in the top third nationally by U.S. News & World Report. Our alumni network includes well-over 3,000 BSW and MSW graduates, many of whom remain active as field instructors and on research paper committees, as well as attend our professional and continuing education programs and special upcoming events to stay connected and continue their life-long learning.

We are delighted that you are considering a career as a social work practitioner!

Katharine Hill thumbnail photo

Katharine Hill, MPP, MSW, PhD, LISW
School of Social Work Director and Associate Professor