Put your values into practice with a career in Social Work.

Student meeting with success coach

Major Roadmap

Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future. 

Social Work Major Guide

You’ll advance human rights for marginalized communities, one person at a time. Our graduates work in public health, substance abuse, child welfare, education, mental health and other settings where they help people lead healthier, more meaningful lives.

Prepare to work with diverse groups and understand how race, class, gender, sexuality and disability shape people’s experiences and opportunities. Study with professors doing real-world research about issues like human trafficking, immigration detention and LGBTQ youth in foster care. You’ll learn professional ethics that will guide you through difficult decisions, as well as strategies for taking care of yourself while you help other people.

As a senior, you’ll complete an intensive field internship at a social justice-focused organization, where you’ll develop your professional skills and learn from experienced mentors. Our students have interned at agencies including Integral Care, SAFE, Communities in Schools, Con Mi MADRE, Girls Empowerment Network, Family Eldercare, the UT School of Law immigration law clinic, and LifeWorks, which serves runaway and homeless youth and young people aging out of foster care.

Pursuing an Accelerated Master of Social Work Degree

Because the St. Edward’s Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which requires this extended internship, you will get credit for having completed a field placement if you pursue an accelerated Master of Social Work degree. You’ll get a head start on your career and graduate with the skills and values that will help you succeed.

What do our graduates do?

Social Work majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.

  • Social workers at Integral Care, Communities in Schools, Jolt, Austin Independent School District, Lifeworks and Con Mi Madre
  • Licensed social workers — which include LBSW, LMSW and LCSW — for private companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies
  • Serving with the Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Mercy Corps
  • English Teaching Assistant in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program
  • Graduate students at Washington University, Columbia University, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston
Bridget MacDonald

Practice Compassion. Thoughtfully.

The possibilities for learning at St. Edward’s are practically limitless. Read about Social Work major Bridget MacDonald ’19 and her experiences on the hilltop and what she plans to do next — and read the stories of other students who went big on the hilltop.


The Classroom and Beyond

Social work is a major that prepares you to facilitate positive change in society. Outside-the-classroom experiences at St.  Edward’s show you how to translate concepts like social justice and wellbeing into concrete action.

Experiential Education 

You’ll get out into the field right away. Your Introduction to Social Work course requires 40 hours of service learning, where you’re volunteering for course credit at an organization connected to your major. This is your chance to give back while observing, listening, and understanding what social work looks like in practice.


Your senior year, you’ll complete an intensive, 430-hour internship in the community. This is an opportunity to get hands-on experience in a dimension of social work that particularly interests you. You’ll choose an organization that matches your interests and take on real-world responsibilities, supervised by a practicing social worker. St. Edward’s students recently have interned with:

  • The Austin Sobering Center
  • Girls Empowerment Network
  • Goodwill
  • Refugee Services of Texas
  • Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

At your internship, you’ll experience the realities of social work, including the challenges of working with different personalities and the fact that change takes time. You’ll also interact with social workers and other professionals in the field, which gives you an opportunity to build your network. These connections sometimes result in job offers. 

More information can be found in the Field Education Program Manual.

Service Experiences

St. Edward’s offers many other opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds, apply what you’ve learned in class, and be of service. 

Study abroad immerses you in unfamiliar settings and cultivates understanding of people from other cultures. 

Service Break Experiences, offered through Campus Ministry, give you the chance to travel to another community, volunteer and learn about local life while living simply. 

Campus Ministry’s S.E.R.V.E. Austin is a structured service program that meets weekly for an entire semester. You’ll help a nonprofit with specific tasks while learning about an issue like senior care, immigration, education, youth development or homelessness. 

These experiences help you apply the theory you’ve discussed in class, come face to face with ethical dilemmas and become better prepared to address them.

Social Work Program Assessment Reports

The 2019-2020 Assessment Report includes information on St. Edward's Baccalaureate Social Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes.

SEU to You

Assistant Professor of Social Work Laurie Cook Heffron explores the safety net in the United States and the network of policies and programs that aim to prevent poverty in her Spring 2020 course.