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Social Work

Looking for a career dedicated to helping individuals and families cope with the difficult challenges of life? Social work may be the best major for you.

Why Saint Martin's University?

Social work at Saint Martin’s is a rigorous, exciting program where students leave as skilled, ethical, evidence-based practitioners. Our graduates are competitive applicants for advanced status entry into graduate programs. They are also among the most respected practitioners in the social work profession.

Beginning with the students' inspired good intentions, our program and teaching methods place special emphasis on social justice and cultural competence. Rooted in universal principles such as service, compassion and discipline, the BSW program produces thoughtful, knowledgeable, caring and visionary community leaders. We strive to begin where each student is, and help them create and grow into their professionalism with a focus on serving others.

  • Faith: We believe in people’s inherent dignity, goodness, strengths and values.
  • Reason: We cultivate critical, innovative thinking and a multidimensional global perspective.
  • Service: We practice holistic, culturally appropriate, research-based practice and services.
  • Community: We foster and build inclusive, healthy communities.

Saint Martin's Bachelor of Social Work program is distinguished by:

  • An 85+ percent acceptance rate for graduate school
  • Deeply caring faculty with extensive clinical experience
  • Direct student access to faculty and program directors
  • ​Advocacy, activism and volunteer activities through access to local government organizations

Core competencies

The following Core Competencies are emphasized throughout the BSW program, as outlined by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE EPAS, 2022):

  • Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  • Competency 2: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • Competency 3: Engage Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice
  • Competency 4: Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  • Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
  • Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Social work students at Saint Martin’s

Saint Martin's social work students are active on campus and in our community.

We work together to build relationship through regularly scheduled events and our Student Social Work Association. 

Graduate school

Our graduates have been accepted for advanced study at such institutions as:

  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • University of Washington, Tacoma
  • Baylor University
  • Boise State University
  • Columbia University
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Fordham University
  • George Fox University
  • New York University
  • Smith College
  • University of Denver
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • Walla Walla University 

Social Work Requirements

If you have been admitted to Saint Martin’s University and declared Social Work as a major, you are provisionally admitted to the BSW program. 


Details on courses, including university core requirements, can be found in the academic catalog.  

Field experience

BSW students are required to take three semesters of internship for a total of 600 hours. This includes 150 hours the spring of their junior year, 200 hours in the fall of senior year, and finally, 250 hours in the spring of senior year.

Internships are available throughout Thurston, Pierce, and Lewis counties at organizations such as:

 Field evaluation

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  • Six credit hours of lower-division courses
  • 17 credit hours of upper-division courses

In addition, we offer coursework that allows our students to complete a concentration in Substance Use Disorder and/or Trauma Studies. These are offered as electives or as a formal concentration. Courses are also offered in working with crime victims.

Social Work at a Glance

Bachelor of Social Work
Program Type
Main (Lacey)
Type of Instruction
In Person
College of Arts and Sciences
Are you a Field Instructor ready to evaluate students nearing the completion of their semester? Complete the field evaluation form
Assessment of student learning outcomes
What can I do with this major?
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Campus events and honor society

We have regular events scheduled throughout the year, including a spring mixer for all social work majors, a fall graduate school application seminar, and the annual, overnight senior retreat. Our Student Social Work Association sponsors an annual service event as well as opportunities to gather and create community.

Academic excellence

Great programs in the arts and sciences

Click on the image to watch this video about social work and our other arts and sciences programs at Saint Martin's!

Council on Social work Education (CSWE) logo

CSWE accreditation

Our Social Work education programs are accredited by the CSWE. Students intending to further pursue a master's in social work at accredited institutions qualify for “Advanced Standing” status, typically 10-12 months, instead of the traditional 2 years.

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Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

All students are assessed using a minimum of two measures on their mastery of the nine competencies that comprise the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of the CSWE

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Transformative outcomes

Career paths

  • Federal government agencies
  • Public welfare agencies
  • International non-government organizations
  • Children's services agencies
  • Community centers
  • Hospice and home health organizations
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Supportive community


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College of Arts and Sciences

Spanning the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, and characterized by an educational environment that is both rigorous and supportive, the College of Arts and Sciences offers 20 undergraduate major programs and 20 minor programs.

Next steps

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