The Social Work Program is nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Social work is a profession committed to collaborating with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and the community to maximize the potential and well-being of all of these client systems and to help resolve and/or prevent challenges in living. In order to achieve this, social work prepares students to become agents of change so that they can change the world in a myriad of ways, including, but not limited, to the following:
Graduates of the Social Work Program possess theoretical and practice competencies required of the professional social worker and have integrated the underlying values of the profession. Content areas emphasized within the social work curriculum include:
The degree offered is a Bachelor of Social Work.
The gerontology minor at Saint Mary’s College educates students about complex issues that equip them to respond constructively to the individual, family, community, societal, and global challenges of aging. Due to dramatic increases in the older population, graduates with a minor in gerontology have an advantage in the job market and are well prepared to make a difference in the world. This minor requires 15 credit hours and integrates well with requirements for most majors. A portfolio is required for completion of the minor.
Saint Mary’s has a long history of providing quality international programs as an essential part of our educational mission—forming women leaders who will make a difference in the world. As this world becomes increasingly interdependent, the College offers an expanding range of semester, year, semester break, and summer study and service programs in a wide variety of countries, and encourages students to take advantage of them. Learn more about the various Study Abroad opportunities.
Courses taken outside the major may be chosen to complement the Social Work major or to provide the student with a second area of concentration.
The Social Work Program at Saint Mary’s College is accredited as a baccalaureate degree program by the Council on Social Work Education that qualifies students for state licensure examinations.
Students are encouraged and recommended to pursue the M.S.W. and a doctoral degree in Social Work (Ph.D. or DSW). By completing the Social Work major, students may be eligible for advanced standing in nationally recognized graduate schools that actively recruit graduating Social Work seniors from this professional program. Advanced standing in M.S.W. programs allows student to complete their graduate M.S.W. degrees in one instead of two years through completing two to three semesters of graduate M.S.W. education.
The Social Work Program mentors women into career trajectories for leadership in a variety of fields, including psychotherapy with children and families, medical social work, law and social policy, administration, global/international social work, organizational social work, gerontology, community social work, school social work, government social work, peace building, and forensic social work/criminal justice. The field practicum in completed in the senior year at a local social service organizational setting. Practicum placements may include:
Some professions (e.g. nursing, teaching, social work, speech therapy, accounting, etc.) require specific requirements for licensure and/or hiring (e.g. acceptable criminal background check, sex offender check, drug and alcohol testing, citizenship or permanent resident status documentation, valid immigration status for non-US citizens, valid social security number, etc.). Such requirements may also apply to required clinical and fieldwork, or other out-of-class room experience necessary to complete degree requirements in the majors related to these professions. These requirements are determined by laws and regulations at both the state and federal levels and are subject to change. Saint Mary’s College strongly urges all admitted and current students to research and understand the appropriate requirements for their intended course of study and profession. Compliance with these requirements is the responsibility of the student and the graduate. You should become informed and continue to monitor such requirements as laws and other legal requirements are subject to change.
Frances Bernard Kominkiewicz
256 Spes Unica Hall
F. Kominkiewicz, K. Lyndes, L. Sanchez
Note: Visit www.cswe.org for more information.
This course is an introduction to the knowledge and skills of the generalist practice of social work. It includes an examination of the history, principles, practice, research, and literature in the social welfare field. Theoretical and professional foundations, diverse client systems, areas of practice, contemporary social policies, and social work values are examined. The student is given opportunities to dialogue with community agency representatives.
This course examines human behavior and the social environment using the generalist social work theoretical framework to explain the interactions of individuals, families, and groups. Special emphasis is given to the biological, social, psychological, and cultural factors that affect human behavior within these micro and mezzo systems.
This course examines human behavior and the social environment using the generalist social work theoretical framework to explain the interactions of communities, organizations, and society. Special emphasis is given to the biological, social, psychological, cultural, and spiritual factors that affect human behavior within these macro systems. Pre or corequisite: SW 235.
Peace Studies seeks to understand and address persistent conflict and violence in the world. Peace Studies integrates knowledge from the thought traditions of multiple disciplines. It engages in building understanding of how those involved in the violent conflict and those external to the violent conflict can build stable peace. This course is designed to provide a cross-disciplinary examination of violence and Peace Studies to develop a firm grounding in addressing violence of a direct physical and structural kind by policymakers, professional peacebuilders, and peace researchers. This leads us to focusing more on peace than on violence so that we deal with the patterns of violence assessed in global, national, and local environments.
The basic class in social work helping methods, this course applies the generalist approach to social work practice with individuals and families. Discussion of case studies with emphasis on systems theory and the ecological method. While this course focuses on micro level practice, the methods introduced are applicable to all types of social work practice. Prerequisite: social work major; pre or corequisite: SW 202 and SW 235.
This focus of this course is the generalist approach to problem solving and intervention practices at the small and large group levels, introducing the function and role of the social worker in these settings. The class examines the dynamics that occur when clients with common concerns are brought together for the purpose of helping one another. Prerequisite: social work major and SW 202; pre or corequisite: SW 238.
This course introduces the function and role of the social worker in organizations, communities, and societies. While many of the processes used in micro, mezzo, and macro practice are similar, there are unique features involved in the macro context which are examined and illustrated. Organizational and community theories are linked to practice applications. Prerequisites: social work major and SW 202; pre or corequisite: SW 238.
Development of social welfare policy and service in response to changing social conditions. Focuses on the theory, history, scope, nature, organization, and implementation of current programs on local, state, and federal levels and in the private sector. Prerequisite: social work major or permission of instructor.
This course is designed to increase student knowledge of diversity in individuals, families, groups, communities, organizations, and societies. Addressing issues and exploring values necessary for successful interaction with diverse individuals, their families, and the communities and organizations with which they interact. Groups to be addressed include ethnic, racial, cultural, religious; socioeconomic/class distinctions; individuals with physical, mental and emotional challenges; women; older adults and youth; and sexual orientation. Designated theoretical frameworks that explain the interaction in the social systems of diverse individuals, families, groups, communities, organizations, and societies will be discussed. The course also focuses on the relationship between diversity issues and human behavior, including prejudice and discrimination. Specific frameworks will be explored to understand the relationship between diversity and cultural, historical, biological, social, psychological, and spiritual variables.
This course is designed to increase student learning in relationships through a discussion of sexuality and intimacy. Students will address these topics through knowledge of the biological, social, spiritual, and psychological aspects of relationships, sexuality, and intimacy. Knowledge of and competence in understanding populations-at-risk who are experiencing issues with intimacy, sexuality, and relationships will be explored.
This course provides students with an opportunity to develop leadership skills using a community based learning model. Students will participate in leadership learning experiences in community social service organizations. Leadership skills will be increased through actively participating with community leaders involved in a wide variety of programs that target services for populations at risk and diverse groups.
Loss, grief, and death are universal and inescapable aspects of the human experience. Loss occurs throughout life from minor daily occurrences to life changing events. Death is a primary loss, but other events in life are losses too; divorce, job loss, disaster, loss of security/safety as a victim of a crime and many others. These experiences are frequently complex and affect how one lives. We learn about loss, grief and death so that we can know better how to live. Personal awareness, experience, and attitudes about loss, grief, and death influence how social workers care for the bereaved and those at end of life. It is important that conscious and thoughtful study is given to these topics. This interdisciplinary course examines the biopsychosocial, spiritual, and cultural aspects of loss, grief, dying, and death within the context of historical and current grief and loss theory, human development, culture, and types of loss. Examples of losses examined include perinatal loss, death of a child, spouse, parent, friend, and others. The impact of how one dies, such as suicide, violent death, terminal illness and the impact on survivors is also examined. Practice models of coping with chronic and terminal illness are also considered.
This course is a real world introduction to the administration of health and human service organizations. Learn how to effectively manage interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, and inter-organizational situations in and among health and human services organizations through real life and applicable learning techniques, such as case scenarios. Examine the principles and practices of health and human services administration including ethics and values, leadership styles, theories of health and human services administration, and policies related to the management of health and human services are examined. Diverse client systems and developing sensitivity and understanding of various cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and spiritual backgrounds of individuals and groups in health and human services are emphasized.
This is an introductory module designed for students who have little or no background in budgeting and financial management. The focus of this course is on the budget process for health care and human service organizations. Participants are exposed to specific techniques of health care and human service organization budgeting and variance analysis. The objectives for this course are for participants to improve their understanding of the budget process as it applies to health care and human service organizations and to learn valuable specific techniques of budgeting and variance analysis. Students learn to create, execute and analyze the basic types of budgets used in public, non-profit, and for-profit organizations. The course will teach specific tools using the case method and exercises. The course covers budget analysis, budget formulation, budget execution, budget strategies, evaluation of operating and capital budgets, and cost accounting. Special emphasis is placed on gerontological health and human services financial management.
This course provides an overview of issues related to older adults and their families and constitutes a core course for the interdisciplinary course of study of gerontology at this College. It examines the nature of the aging process, the ways in which persons adapt to changes, and the ways in which the interventions/services may assist with these adaptations. Special emphasis is given to the ways in which physical, social, and psychological factors interact to impact how persons age. The needs and issues encountered by older persons both within the community and in institutional settings will be examined. Work with caregivers will be considered. Students will examine ways to work with individuals, families, and groups. The course includes material addressing special populations and ethical issues.
This is an introductory module designed for students who have little or no background in grant writing. The focus of this course is on the grant writing process for health care and human service organizations. Specific techniques of health care and human service organization grant writing are presented. The objectives for this course are for participants to improve their understanding of the grant writing process as it applies to health care and human service organizations and to learn valuable specific techniques of grant writing. Students learn to research, create, and analyze the grant writing process in health and human service organizations. Special emphasis is placed on gerontological health and human services grant writing.
This course will focus on the application of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS-5) for assessing and understanding mental health issues affecting human behavior across the lifespan with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Students will learn models of DSM-5 assessment to evaluate human functioning across the lifespan with emphasis on women and gender, vulnerable and diverse populations, and mezzo-macro issues.
This course introduces students to issues of family violence and sexual abuse across the lifespan. The different types of family violence and sexual abuse will be discussed, including domestic violence, global/international violence against women, rape, courtship violence and date rape, sexual assault, cultural issues related to abuse, bullying, school violence and abuse, child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, abuse against parents, elder abuse, sexual harassment, and abuse among vulnerable populations. Ethics and values, as well as criminal justice issues regarding family violence and sexual abuse, are emphasized. The history, policy, effects, and practice regarding family violence and sexual abuse will also be examined.
A workshop course designed to assist students in learning interviewing techniques. Discussion and practical exercises will be used as well as video and audio facilities. Identification, observation, understanding, knowledge, demonstration, and student practicing of interviewing methods are utilized. Prerequisite: junior or senior status or permission of the instructor.
A seminar focusing upon a selected area of interest in social work. Topics may include such areas as social stress, poverty, mental health, substance abuse, women in society, occupations and professions, conflict, peace studies, social psychiatry, criminal justice, homelessness, and veterans. May be repeated for credit with a different topic and the consent of the advisor. Prerequisite: SW 202 or permission of the instructor.
Independent readings and seminar discussions in selected areas of interest. This course is not intended as a substitute for an existing course. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of six hours, only three of which apply to the hours required for the social work major. Prerequisites: Nine hours in SW, junior or senior status, and permission of the instructor and the Social Work program director.
Social Work Research Methods and Statistical Concepts I is designed to provide a foundation for research competencies and statistics in social work practice. The course focuses upon knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods, a significant component of practice knowledge. Practice and program effectiveness, imperative in social work practice, will be addressed. Students will learn to understand and apply social work research and basic statistical concepts in order to analyze the quality of research studies, to evaluate their own practice, and to conduct evidence-based research. SPSS is introduced. Ethical aspects of research are considered in terms of the values of the social work profession. Corequisite: SW 332 and SW 333.
Social Work Research Methods and Statistical Concepts II helps students achieve basic research methodology and statistics skills to achieve social work competence in research design, data collection, and data analysis. SPSS is applied. Students learn to analyze exemplary social work research and present research projects that build theoretical and methodological knowledge appropriate for social work education. Students will review basic statistical methods (descriptive and inferential statistics; measures of association), and become familiar with basic parametric and nonparametric techniques. Prerequisite: SW 484 with a grade of C or better; corequisite: SW 486 and 488.
Professionally supervised agency placement for the student so she may relate classroom learning to the practice setting. This experience provides the student with an opportunity to integrate knowledge, values, and practice, to deepen her understanding, and to develop proficiencies for beginning professional practice. A minimum of 480 hours of direct field experience is required for the major in social work. Graded S/U. Corequisite: SW 485 and SW 488. Prerequisites: SW 331, SW 332, SW 333, and SW 334. Fee: $10 per credit hour.
Professionally supervised agency placement for the student so she may relate classroom learning to the practice setting. This experience provides the student with an opportunity to integrate knowledge, values, and practice, to deepen her understanding, and to develop proficiencies for beginning professional practice. A minimum of 480 hours of direct field experience is required for the major in social work. Graded S/U. Corequisite: SW 489. Prerequisites: SW 486 and SW 495. Fee: $10 per credit hour.
A seminar designed to help the student integrate knowledge, practice approaches, and social work values and ethics from course work and field experience. The field placement is the focus for discussion and analysis. Growing self-awareness and a beginning frame of reference for professional practice are emphasized. Corequisite: SW 485 and SW 486. Prerequisites: SW 331, SW 332, SW 333, SW 334.
A seminar designed to help the student integrate knowledge, practice approaches, and social work values and ethics from course work and field experience. The field placement is the focus for discussion and analysis. Growing self-awareness and a beginning frame of reference for professional practice are emphasized. Corequisite: SW 487. Prerequisites: SW 488 and SW 495.
The social work program comprehensive seminar providing the student an opportunity to examine, in detail, her integration of the knowledge, values, and skills of the profession. Seminar presentations, discussions, and papers are required of each student. Prerequisites: Declared Social Work major, junior status, and permission of the Social Work program director.
Specialized research in social work supervised in a tutorial setting. Only six hours in independent work, including SW 397, may apply to the hours required in social work for the major. Prerequisite: Nine hours in SW, junior or senior status, and permission of the instructor and Social Work program director.
An overview of programs and policies designed to enable older adults to obtain necessary services, enhance their health, improve or maintain their economic well-being, and provide support to families of the aging. Trends in the aging programs, services, and policies are discussed. Topics include work, retirement, and income maintenance; delivery and regulation of health care; and social or community services that promote well-being in older adults. Visits are made to providers serving older adults and their families, and an experiential learning component is integrated into the course.
An introduction to the factors affecting the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers: the cultural, social and physical environments, social support, societal attitudes and intervention, and management strategies. Attention is given to the diagnosis of dementia; types, prevalence and course of the illness; behavioral, cognitive, and physical symptoms; ethical and legal issues; professional management and treatment issues; family care-giving issues; and implications for health and social policy.
May be repeated.