Why major in Social Work?
Social work focuses on helping people and empowering them to make changes in their lives and communities. Mount Mary University’s accredited social work bachelor’s degree program has prepared students for successful and fulfilling social work careers since 1974.
Social work might be a good major for you if:
- you want to help people and are excited about working with people
- you want to make a difference in the world
- people turn to you with their problems and you enjoy helping them
- you enjoy learning about human behavior, social justice, and interpersonal and family problems
- you want a career that will support you financially and add meaning to your life
Scholarships for Social Work Majors
Through the generosity of alumnae and friends, three named scholarships are available to social work majors:
- Janet Mary Trutwin Elkouh Endowed Scholarship
- Catherine Brophy Swinnell Scholarship
- Social Work Alumnae Scholarship
Accreditation and Social Worker Licensure
Mount Mary was the first private college in Wisconsin to have a baccalaureate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program must fulfill strict procedures and practices in order to be accredited. Mount Mary’s social work program has been continuously accredited since 1974.
All social workers must be certified or licensed. Students who wish to take the licensure exam in Wisconsin must graduate from an accredited program. In addition, some employers may be required to hire graduates from accredited colleges and universities.
Because Mount Mary’s program is accredited, graduates are eligible to take licensure exams necessary for entry-level employment in the field.
Learn more about Mount Mary's Social Work Degree
Mount Mary University offers an accredited four-year Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree. You can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis (though the part-time option will lengthen the program completion time). The program offers courses during the day and evening.
A minimum of 72 credits in social work are required for this major. You also must complete the university’s core curriculum requirements per social work curriculum sheet. Nine professional classroom courses are required, in addition to supervised fieldwork. Most classes include discussion, group projects, role-playing, field trips and sharing of fieldwork experiences, along with traditional lectures.
Complete degree requirements and a listing of courses are available in the Undergraduate Bulletin (PDF).
Gain Experience Through Required Fieldwork
Social work majors must complete 500 hours of supervised fieldwork before graduation. Fieldwork allows you to gain hands-on experience in a real-world environment. Field placements are completed over three semesters during junior and senior year at two different agencies. You will work with social work faculty to select your placements.
These placements provide you with a greater understanding of the social work profession, give you opportunities to get professional experience working with persons of all ages and diverse cultural backgrounds, and develop a rich professional network. Several Mount Mary students recently received job offers from their field placement organization before graduation.
Fieldwork placements are located in the Milwaukee metro area. Milwaukee’s strong ethnic communities offer rich learning experiences for social work students.
Make a Difference Through Social Action Projects
During your senior, you will complete a social action project to educate specific communities about pertinent issues such as co-sleeping, budgeting for persons in transitional living, the process for teen mothers to apply for and attend college, nutrition for young children or job seeking skills for incarcerated women.
Complete a Senior Capstone Project
During your senior year, you’ll take a social work capstone course, where you will complete a comprehensive portfolio displaying achievement of required skills for beginning practice. In the course, you also will prepare for the state certification exam for entry-level social work practice, sharpen your professional job seeking skills and learn from potential employers about their expectations of new employees.
Participate in Research
Throughout your coursework, you will get to participate in research projects ranging from library research-based term papers or family genograms to formal research projects. Projects may include term papers on a global social justice issue, preparing a single system design research paper based on a personal goal or fieldwork experience, and critiquing social work research articles pertaining to at risk populations.
Understand Social Work Program Procedures and Objectives
The social work program provides two handbooks—one for students majoring in social work and the other for field instructors who teach and monitor our students during field placements—to aid in understanding program policies and procedures.
- Social Work Student Handbook
- Social Work Field Instructors Manual
See the social work program’s mission, learning goals and outcomes assessment.
The School of Natural and Health Sciences and Education at Mount Mary is rich with talented faculty who care about their students.
Mount Mary offers two student organizations specifically for social work majors.
Social Work Club
The Social Work Club sponsors events for students and their families and conducts drives to benefit community organizations such as food pantries, homeless shelters and women’s shelters. It also initiates projects that address social justice issues such as human trafficking, new health care legislation and the shackling of female prisoners giving birth.
This student organization is open to all social work majors and other interested students. Contact Dr. Andrya Soprych for more information.
Phi Alpha Honor Society
This honor society provides a closer bond among social work students as it promotes humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha members design service projects to raise resources for organizations such as Wisconsin Community Services, SET Ministry, Horizons House, Guest House and Casa Maria.
The society fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites students who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work to join.
To be eligible, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and social work cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better, have completed 9 credits in social work courses, and demonstrate leadership ability and dedication to social work practice. Contact Melinda Kiltz for more information.
Through counseling, advocacy, crisis intervention, case management, family intervention and group work, social workers help people solve personal and family problems.
Average starting salaries for entry-level social workers is about $50,000, according to a 2021 Occupational Outlook Handbook. Throughout their career, depending on experience and education, most social workers earn an annual salary between $40,000 to $69,000 per year, according to the National Association of Social Workers.
Elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, home health care companies, mental health clinics, homeless and domestic violence centers, children’s and family services providers, substance abuse programs, child welfare agencies and criminal justice agencies are just a few of the organizations that employ social workers.
To practice as a social worker in the United States, you need:
- a bachelor’s degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education accredited program
- successful completion of your state’s licensure or certificate exam
Become a Licensed Social Worker
Mount Mary University’s accredited social work program prepares you to become a licensed social worker. Through fieldwork experiences you gain professional practice experience, which better positions you for employment after graduation.
Although a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for social work practice, a master’s degree in social work is becoming a standard requirement for career advancement beyond entry-level positions and for private practice.