Current Students | Social Work Department

Apply to the major

Course schema

Policies and procedures

Professional licensing

Field experience

Preparation for graduate study

Sample course schedule

Border trip photos

Course descriptions

Advisory Council

Applying to the Social Work major (Duluth campus only)

Students interested in our traditional-model Social Work program on our Duluth campus must apply for admittance to the program during the second semester of their sophomore year.

Students enrolled in our Accelerated Evening programs do not need to complete this. Accelerated Evening students are accepted into the program at initial enrollment

Application information for Duluth campus students

What classes do I need to take?

Students are encourage to meet with their academic advisors to discuss any questions regarding course scheduling or major requirements. The course schema can be used as reference.

View the course schema (pdf)

Policies and procedures

The Social Work department maintains a student handbook of department policies and procedures

View the Student Handbook (pdf)

Professional licensing

Students graduating from our CSWE-accredited program are eligible to take state licensing exams at the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) level. 

Program Competency Assessment Report


The program curriculum is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching for School Social Worker Licensure. Students seeking licensure as a school social worker are required to take SWK 4555 Senior Field Practicum in a school setting under the supervision of a licensed school social worker, consisting of at least 400 contact hours during one school year.

Field experience

Intended social work majors in their freshman or sophomore year have the opportunity to experience what social workers do by enrolling in the Introduction to Social Work course, which includes community agency presentations, 15 hours of agency site visits and 40 hours of volunteer experience.

In the junior year, students participate in a 120 hour community agency internship. This unique feature of the CSS Social Work Program focuses on skill building and is designed to complement the required junior social work courses.

In the senior year, students complete a 400 hour field practicum that is more advanced than the junior internship. The senior field practicum integrates the skills, knowledge, theory and professional ethics and values necessary for beginning social work practice.

Information about our field program for students and community partners

Preparation for graduate study

Students obtaining their Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work at CSS are eligible for advanced academic standing in many graduate schools of social work within the U.S. This often reduces graduate school curriculum requirements to one year.

Sample Course Schedule

Freshman year

Basic Concepts and Principles of Sociology or Cultural Anthropology; Human Biology; First-Year-Composition or Argumentative and Research Writing; First-Year-Communication or Human Communication, Philosophy and electives.

Sophomore year

Introduction to Professional Social Work, General Psychology, Marginality and Diversity or Human Behavior of American Indians or other diversity classes; Religious Studies and electives.

Junior year

General Social Work Practice, Human Behavior, American Social Welfare Policy, Research Methods, Statistics; Social Work with Individuals and Families, Child Welfare or Psychosocial Aspects of Aging; Junior Field Placement and electives.

Senior year

Social Work with Groups; Social Work with Community Systems; Independent Professional Projects, Social Work Field Practicum; Contemporary Economic Issues or American Government; advanced writing course; and electives.

Border Trip 2013 Photos

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Required Courses

Expand and Collapse SWK 2240 - Intro Professional Social Work

Provides an introduction to the foundation of social work as a profession and outlines the primary knowledge, values, and skills that characterize contemporary practice. This entry level course surveys a variety of professional practice settings allowing students an opportunity for career exploration within the social work profession. In addition, the course reviews the historical and philosophical background of social work. Students demonstrate increased awareness of personal values in exploring both the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, and the Benedictine values. The course emphasizes the experience of populations at risk and analyzes factors that constitute being at risk Through the use of weekly classroom lectures, discussion, readings, audio visual tools, and service learning assignments, students increase awareness of the value of promoting social and economic justice across all levels of practice.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3000 - Integrated Lab

This integrative learning laboratory course facilitates students’ foundation understanding and self-preparation for generalist social work practice with diverse people through critical reflection, dialogue, experiential learning, and small group interactions with faculty and peers. Specific lab curriculum will address topical themes related to content from social work core courses in which students are concurrently enrolled.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3315 - Psychosocial Aspects of Aging

Provides an overview of the aging individual within a social context. The focus is on characteristics of today's older adult cohort, psychological processes in late life, the social context in which older adults live, and society's response to older adults. Topics include: demographics, stereotypes and attitudes, research methods, theories of development, sensing and responding to the environment, cognitive processes, mental disorders and treatment, death and dying, sexuality, intimate relationships, family relationships, care giving, employment and retirement, finances, Social Security, social programs and political power of the older cohort.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3339 - Preparation for Field I

Designed for junior social work students who will be participating in their field placement the following semester. Students have the opportunity to assess their interests and abilities, familiarize themselves with available field placement sites, explore and develop professional interviewing skills, complete necessary placement documentation, and interview with at least two prospective field placement sites. In class and out of class assignments will cover junior placement readiness, personal learning style, how to choose a field placement site, the role of the professional social worker through the lenses of the NASW Code of Ethics, the student application process for agency field placement, interviewing skills, contracting with an agency, developing a learning plan, the effective utilization of agency supervision, and getting the most out of the field placement.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3362 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Provides students with knowledge and understanding of the reciprocal relationships between human behavior and social environments through a social systems approach as affected by biological, cultural, environmental, psychosocial and spiritual factors across the life span. Content includes empirically-based theories and knowledge that focus on the interactions between and among individual, family, small group, organizational and community roles in human behavior as related to social work practice. Course focuses on cultural, ethnic and lifestyle diversity and its effects on achieving health and well-being.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3370 - Generalist Social Work Practice

The first of the four practice courses. This course provides students with the fundamental concepts, principles and skills necessary to engage in beginning generalist social work practice at the baccalaureate level. It explores the unique aspects and challenges of the social work profession, emphasizes the professional commitment and values necessary to provide service to culturally diverse and vulnerable populations, promotes understanding and use of a strength's practice perspective, examines the NASW Code of Ethics, and introduces the generalist intervention problem- solving method for practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Students develop interviewing skills and the professional use of self.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3380 - Child Welfare

Examines the social welfare system as it affects children in American society. Students learn about critical factors that affect the needs of children and families in contemporary society. Child maltreatment, protective intervention, family preservation, family assessment and alternative substitute care are some of the key issues addressed. Students also learn about human service agencies and programs providing services to children and families. Course content includes theory, practices services and research in the field of child welfare.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3383 - Social Work with Individuals and Families

The second course in the social work practice sequence. This course builds on the knowledge and skills taught in SWK 3370. Students continue to demonstrate mastery of interviewing skills and application of the generalist intervention model on amore advanced level working with individuals, couples, and families. This course includes information on and practice with: contemporary social work practice theories, social histories, individual and family assessments; assessment of suicidal potential and Duty to Warn; treatment plans; three generational genograms; and eco-maps and professional documentation skills. Students participate in role playing, client case analyses and ethical practice dilemmas. Prerequisites: SWK 2240 and 3370.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3385 - Social Work Research and Evaluation

Qualitative and quantitative approaches to building evidence-based generalist social work practice. Students acquire knowledge and develop skills necessary for assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of practice interventions and social service programs. Course goals are to prepare students to be competent consumers, producers, and communicators of social science research. Course content includes: steps in practice research; ethnic-sensitive research practice; empirical research strategies for assessing micro, mezzo and macro social work interventions; developing and implementing a research project; and effective use of computer technology as an integral part of both research and human service practice. Recommended Prerequisite: PSY 3331.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3390 - Understanding Immigration/Refugee Issues in Social Work Practice

Through the utilization of "participatory action research" learning, students will be immersed in social work practice issues and methods of service delivery with refugee and immigrant populations in present day Minnesota. Professional helping methods will focus on the unique aspects and challenges necessary for effective, culturally sensitive interventions. A bio-psycho- social-spiritual model of system assessment is infused. Students participate in classroom, community and service-learning opportunities. Students have the option to participate in a more in depth service experience through registering concurrently in SWK 3555 with permission of the instructors. Prerequisites: completion or concurrent enrollment in SWK 3362 and SWK 3370 or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3500 - Integrated Lab

This integrative laboratory course prepares learners for academic, professional, and practical success in emerging areas of academic and professional standards and development. Content relates to topical themes and content from core social work courses. Activities facilitate students' understanding of their learning experience through critical reflection, lecture, experiential learning, small group interactions with faculty and peers, and/or community-centered experiences.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3555 - Field Practicum I

This course is designed to provide students with an entry-level opportunity to work in a social service agency, institution, or organization in the role of a social work intern, approximately 8 hours per week (minimum of 120 hours-2 credits). Performance Plans are individually developed to meet the needs of the student, competency requirements, and opportunities available in the social service agency. Students participate in a group seminar to enhance student learning, personal/professional development, share agency learning with other students. General practice skills will be explored, including values, ethics, professional documentation and engagement strategies. Students will be graded on a P/F basis.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4000 - Integrated Lab III

This integrative laboratory course facilitates students’ understanding of foundation professional social work competencies in applied practice methods with organizational, community-focused, or cross-disciplinary learning experiences. Content relates to topical themes and content from other core social work courses. Activities facilitate students’ understanding of their learning experience through critical reflection, lecture, experiential learning, small group interactions with faculty and peers, and/or community-centered experiences.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4440 - Social Work Intervention with Groups

This course is the third sequenced course of four practice courses required for all Social Work majors. The course incorporates knowledge and skill content developed in SWK 3370 and SWK 3383. Students examine the nature and development of social work group practice within task and treatment groups. Specific attention is given to group dynamics theory, leadership and group facilitation skills, stages of group development, theories and techniques adapted to a variety of treatment and task group settings, ethical standards for group practice, and cultural and ethnic consideration in social work group intervention. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate group facilitation and memberships skills in group labs. In addition, students receive instruction in implementing empirically based interventions in evaluating practice effectiveness. Prerequisites SWK 2240 and SWK 3370.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4441 - Social Work/Community Systems

Fourth course of the social work practice sequence. This course emphasizes the theories and skills necessary for beginning social work practitioners to bring about effectively planned change in community groups, organizations, and institutions. The course content addresses community theory and community practice skills; organizational and inter-organizational practice theory and skills; community organizing in a diverse society; macro social work research; and, theories and skills for professional development and macro-level interventions. It provides students experiential learning opportunities.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4449 - Preparation for Field II

Designed for senior social work students in preparation for their Field II placement. Students have the opportunity to assess their interests and abilities, familiarize themselves with available field placement sites, complete required field documents and interview with a field agency site. Prerequisites: SWK 3370, and SWK 3383.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4470 - Independent Professional Project

Senior project integrating coursework and field placement experience of the student's social work education. The project must address these nine basic foundation areas: values and ethics, diversity, social and economic justice, work with populations at risk, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policies and services, social work practice, research, field practicum and internship. Prerequisite: SWK 3385 and admission to the social work program.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4500 - Integrated Lab

This integrative laboratory course facilitates students’ understanding of their learning experience through critical reflection, lecture, experiential learning, small group interactions with faculty and peers, and community-centered experiences. Specific lab curriculum will address topical themes related to content from social work core courses in which students are concurrently enrolled. Activities support students in identifying their emerging personal-professional identity, perspectives, knowledge and competencies as a professional social worker in a changing society.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4555 - Senior Field Practicum

A 450 hour (minimum of 8 credits)social work internship in a social service agency, institution or organization during the senior year. The practicum provides students the opportunity to integrate direct practice with acquired theoretical knowledge and skills. The student participates in a group seminar to facilitate the integration of practice experience, NASW Code of Ethics, CSWE Competencies, and the personal/professional development of the student. Prerequisites: all social work courses except SWK 4470, and admission to the field sequence.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4777 - Topics in Social Work

Courses not a regular part of Social Work curriculum but taught because of a special need, interest or opportunity. Topics vary.

Advisory Council

Programs must establish and maintain close reciprocal and ongoing relationships with the social work practice community as part of the process of continuous evaluation of curriculum.”  (CSWE Accreditation/BSW Self Study Template, p. 14)

The Social Work Advisory Council exists to partially satisfy this CSWE requirement. More importantly, the Advisory Council helps model the sense of community from our Benedictine values. Members of the advisory council are field supervisors, agency representatives, program graduates, and current and past student representatives.

The advisory council meets a minimum of three times per academic year to provide feedback to the faculty regarding current practice issues. Faculty keeps the council informed of curriculum development needs, gate keeping concerns, faculty/staffing issues and program policy development.

The advisory council provides input on relevant community practice activities, curriculum development, and assists with student’s grievance issues. Members of the advisory council also serve on the Admissions Committee screening and interviewing new applicants to the major, also reaccreditations, and exit interviews.

Advisory Council Members Duluth Campus

Advisory Council Members Brainerd Campus