Social Work

Britt Rhodes (department head), Craig Mosher (program director)

The social work major aims to prepare undergraduate students for beginning level generalist social work practice while a secondary objective is to prepare students for graduate (MSW) study. Skills and knowledge for lifelong learning and active citizenship are included.

Graduates of the social work program find professional employment in child welfare, family counseling, chemical dependency, mental health, developmental disabilities, community action, aging, medical settings, churches, environmental organizations, schools, corrections, and other areas of social services.

The social work major is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education at the baccalaureate level, allowing students to gain advanced standing in M.S.W. programs at many graduate schools of social work.

The program has two internship requirements. The first is SW 102, which involves a three-week experience shadowing a social worker. Then, one semester in the senior year is devoted entirely to off-campus field instruction in a selected social service organization and a concurrent professional seminar. Work experience does not provide exemption from academic coursework.

Within the context of the liberal arts program at Luther College, the social work major includes nine areas of emphasis: social work values and ethics, human diversity, social and economic justice, populations at risk, social welfare policy and services, human behavior and the social environment, social work research, social work practice, and field practicum. These do not necessarily represent specific courses but, rather, clusters of facts, ideas, and skills that are needed to provide effective social services.

Required for a major: SW 101, 102, 201, 204, 301, 303, 304, 305, 401, 402, 403; correlative courses consisting of BIO 115 or equivalent, and POLS 247. The first social work field experience (SW 102) is recommended before the junior year. Three correlative courses: SOC 101, PSYC 130, and ECON 130 are recommended but students may select others if they better meet their needs. Recommended for students considering graduate study in social work: SOC 350 (social statistics), or PSYC 350 (behavioral statistics), or MATH 115 (introduction to statistics). Writing requirement completed with SW 305 or SOC 301.

Policies for admission and progression in the social work major are as follows:

Students may apply for admission to the social work major after completion of SW 101 (Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare), and SW 102 (Social Work Field Experience). Formal application to the major is made by completing the "Application for Admission to the Social Work Major," writing an essay, and completion of an application interview with members of the social work faculty. Once admitted, students are required to:

  1. Choose a social work faculty member as their advisor and utilize this person in future planning.
  2. Earn a C or better in all social work practice courses (SW 201, 301, 401, 402, and SW 403).
  3. Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) in the major and for college courses taken at Luther College of 2.00.
  4. Continue to demonstrate their suitability to enter the profession of social work.

Admission and other policies relating to the social work major, including a statement of students' rights and responsibilities, are described in the social work program's Student Handbook, copies of which are available from program faculty or on the social work website. All other policies regarding grading, withdrawal, and graduation are in accordance with general college policy and can be found elsewhere in the college catalog.

Social Welfare Minor

The social welfare minor focuses on the development of social welfare and the behavior of individuals, families, organizations, and communities in the context of their social environment. The minor helps provide an understanding of the social welfare system in the United States, the values and theories behind it, and the social issues facing our nation. It does not provide the specific skills needed for actual social work practice. Graduate schools of social work examine the course work taken in CSWE accredited undergraduate programs on a case-by-case basis and may accept some undergraduate course work as meeting some requirements in the first year of the MSW program.

Requirements for a minor in social welfare: Five courses are required. This includes three courses: SW 101, 204, 303; plus two additional courses selected from the following: SW 102, 185, 304, 305; BIO 115 or equivalent; POLS 247. A special topics course in social work approved by the department may be substituted for one of the electives. In the minor, POLS 247 and SW 201 are not prerequisites to SW 304. Students may not both major in social work and minor in social welfare.