Put your values into practice with a career in Social Work.

You’ll advance human rights for marginalized communities, one person at a time. Our graduates work in public health, substance abuse, child welfare, education, mental health and other settings where they help people lead healthier, more meaningful lives.

Prepare to work with diverse groups and understand how race, class, gender, sexuality and disability shape people’s experiences and opportunities. Study with professors doing real-world research about issues like human trafficking, immigrant detention and LGBTQ youth in foster care. You’ll learn professional ethics that will guide you through difficult decisions, as well as strategies for taking care of yourself while you help other people.

As a senior, you’ll complete an intensive field internship at a social justice-focused organization, where you’ll develop your professional skills and learn from experienced mentors. Our students have interned at agencies including Travis County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit, the Girls Empowerment Network, Family Eldercare, the UT School of Law immigration law clinic, and LifeWorks, which serves runaway and homeless youth and young people aging out of foster care.

Because the St. Edward’s Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which requires this extended internship, you’ll be able to skip one of the field placements if you pursue an accelerated Master of Social Work degree. You’ll get a head start on your career and graduate with the skills and values that will help you succeed.

What do our graduates do?

Social Work majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.

  • Social workers at Integral Care, Communities in Schools, Jolt, Austin Independent School District, Lifeworks and Con Mi Madre
  • Licensed social workers — which include LBSW, LMSW and LCSW — for private companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies
  • Serving with the Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Mercy Corps
  • English Teaching Assistant in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program
  • Graduate students at Washington University, Columbia University, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston

Practice Compassion. Thoughtfully.

Practice Compassion. Thoughtfully.

The possibilities for learning at St. Edward’s are practically limitless. Read about Social Work major Bridget MacDonald ’19 and her experiences on the hilltop and what she plans to do next — and read the stories of other students who went big on the hilltop.

Degree Requirements & Application

This major is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In order to meet accreditation standards, students are required to apply for and undertake fieldwork experience, demonstrate competencies in 9 core areas, complete a portfolio, and participate in an exit interview prior to graduation. 

Major Requirements: The Social Work major requires 60 hours of coursework, which include a combination of social work, biology, sociology, and psychology. 

Electives: Students complete 12 hours of elective courses in any area of study they choose. 

General Education Requirements: The degree requires 48 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.

View and download the full degree plan for our Social Work major (PDF).

Our Faculty and Student Support Services

Faculty interact closely with students through classes, advising sessions, fieldwork and program events. Professors have a diversity of research interests and all share a passion for the field of social work and helping students succeed. 

"I am inspired by the opportunity to learn and work alongside students, faculty, and the broader community in generating understanding and action around global-minded social justice initiatives, particularly those related to violence against women, forced migration, human trafficking, and the detention of immigrant women and children fleeing violence."

– Laurie Cook Heffron, Assistant Professor of Social Work

"I view social work education as a collaboration and partnership with my students. I constantly remind students that in a few short years they will be my colleagues in the community combating issues of social injustice and inequality."

Adam McCormick, Assistant Professor of Social Work

Student Support Services

Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage these resources that help them thrive and excel:

  • Academic counseling and advising
  • Supplemental instruction and tutoring
  • Career preparation and advising 
  • Writing Center consultation
  • Health and wellness counseling
  • Student disability support

Learn more about these services.

Outside the Classroom & Field Education

Students majoring in Social Work can explore career paths and practical application of their studies through internships, supervised field placements, and interactions with the greater Austin community. Consult the Field Education Program Manual for additional information.

Internships and Supervised Field Placements

The Baccalaureate Practicum/ Internship will further provide each student with opportunities to:

  • Continuously develop self-awareness during intervention 
  • Enhance the strengths and well being of others
  • Help others identify and address their own opportunities for self improvement
  • Work toward the improving environmental conditions that have a negative affect on others
  • Communicating in language appropriate for the profession of social work
  • Critical assessment, implementation, and evaluation of agency policies and procedures within NASW ethical guidelines
  • Field Learning Experiences

Students will experience two semesters of supervised field placement, where they will have the following practice opportunities:

  • Learn about a specialized body of knowledge unique to the placement setting, client population, and issues addressed
  • Purposeful interviewing techniques
  • Professional growth in developing accountability in terms of time, record keeping, and writing reports
  • Participating in the casework process
  • Facilitating or co-facilitating group(s)
  • Working effectively with diverse clients
  • Interaction with other social workers
  • Gathering information about the agency
  • Appropriate use of various services and resources within the agency and community
  • Identifying gaps or limitations in the placement agency's services in relation to client needs
  • Studying and following agency policy and procedures at the placement agency and potentially influencing policy and/or procedures at the agency
  • Systematic self-evaluation 

Social Work Program Assessment Reports

Social Welfare Minor

Offered through the Social Work Program, the Minor in Social Welfare provides students a foundation in social welfare, focusing on social justice, human behavior and development, diversity and cultural competence. Students will learn about the history of the U.S. social welfare system, the theories of behavior used to support various social programs, and how issues of race, social class and gender intersect in the social welfare system.

Requirements for a Minor in Social Welfare: