Social work is a profession dedicated to helping individuals and families cope with the difficult challenges of life. 

Social work program highlights

Social work students and faculty members stand with certificates of achievement

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Saint Martin’s is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students for entry level generalist practice in the field of social work.

The curriculum is designed to provide a broad theoretical base for students to draw from for social work practice.

  • Our departmental mission

    The Bachelor of Social Work program at Saint Martin’s University is dedicated to improving the well-being of and upholding social and economic justice for all individuals, families and communities throughout Puget Sound, the nation and the world.

    We accomplish our mission by educating and preparing culturally competent, critically-thinking social work leaders based upon Saint Martin’s core themes of faith, reason, service and community. Our department is deeply in agreement and satisfied with our mission statement and the student learning objectives.

    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.

Why Saint Martin's BSW?

Social work at Saint Martin’s is a rigorous, exciting environment 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 begin where each student "is," and help them create and grow into their professionalism with a focus on serving others.

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.

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BSW program requirements

In addition to applying to Saint Martin’s University, students must apply to the BSW program.

Apply to our Bachelor of Social Work program


  • 40-46 semester hours of CORE requirements
  • 26 semester hours of lower-division courses
  • 35 semester hours of upper-division courses


  • six semester hours of lower-division courses
  • 17 semester hours of upper-division courses
  • Additional coursework for Chemical Dependency concentration

    In addition, we offer coursework that allows our students to complete a concentration in Chemical Dependency. Courses are also offered in Treating Trauma and Working with Crime Victims. These are offered as electives, or as a formal concentration.

  • Proposed course schedule

    Our program is based on a cohort model, with students completing the last two years of study together. The final two years of study includes the following course schedule in addition to field placement (internship).

    Important: Social work courses must be taken in this order.

    Junior year: fall semester (16 credits)

    Course number Course name
    SW 210 Introduction to Social Work
    SW 340 Interviewing & Assessment
    SW 389(1) Pre-internship Seminar
    CDP 400 or SW 395 Understanding Addiction or Working with Crime Victims I
    MTH 201 Introduction to Statistics
    PSY 101 or PSY 205 Introduction to Psychology or Child and Adolescent Development

    Junior year: spring semester (17 credits)

    Course number Course name
    SW 240 Introduction to Research Methods
    SW 344 Case Management & Advanced Interviewing Skills
    SW 390(3)/391(1) Field Seminar & Internship
    BIO 121 with lab Human biology with lab
    ECN 201 Microeconomics

    Summer (4-8 credits) 

    Course number Course name
    OPTIONAL: SW 390(3)/391(1) Field Seminar & Internship (additional hours)
    CDP 401 and/or CDP 402 Treatment of Addictions and/or Chemical Dependency Systems, Policies and Laws

    Senior year: fall semester (17 credits)

    Course number Course name
    SW 498 Adv. Research Design
    SW 490(4)/491(1) Intermediate Internship/Field Seminar
    SW303 Adulthood & Aging
    SW 395 or upper PSY elective Understanding Trauma or upper PSY elective
    SOC 101 or SOC 102 Modern Society and Culture or American Social Problems

    Senior year: spring semester (15-16 credits)

    Course number Course name
    SW 499 Senior Seminar
    SW 492(5)/493(1) Adv. Internship/Field Seminar
    SW 301 Child Welfare
    SW 395 or # or upper PSY elective Treatment of Trauma (4) or Working with Crime Victims II or Upper PSY elective

Social work students at Saint Martin's

Social work students and faculty members enjoy a day at the beach together

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 relationships through regular scheduled events and our Phi Signma chapter of Phi Alpha, the National Social Work Honor Society.

  • Campus events

    Campus events

    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.

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.

After graduation

  • BSW career paths

    A Bachelor of Social Work degree prepares graduates for careers in such organizations as:

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

    For a complete list of potential professions, visit "What Can I Do With This Major?" 

    For additional guidance, visit our Career Center.

  • Graduate school

    In addition, our graduates have been accepted for advanced study at such institutions as:

    • University of Washington, Seattle
    • University of Washington, Tacoma
    • Eastern Washington University
    • George Fox University
    • New York University
    • Smith College
    • University of Denver
    • University of Hawaii
    • University of Kentucky
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Pittsburg
    • University of Southern California
    • Walla Walla University

CSWE accreditation

Teal and white CSWE logo: Council on Social Work Education

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

  • Core competencies

    The following Core Competencies are emphasized throughout the BSW program, as outlined by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE EPAS, 2015):

    Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

    Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

    Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

    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

Saint stories: The importance of social work