Social Work

Discover your love for helping other people with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

Earn a Social Work Degree from Loras and seek to improve the functioning and life satisfaction of people throughout the life span, primarily through individual and social advocacy. Work with individuals and groups, and focus on improving communities and the larger environments in which people perform their jobs and function.

The Loras Social Work program is certified by both academic and social work accrediting agencies. Many graduates go on to master’s programs in Social Work and related fields.

Learn About Our Major in Social Work

Student Experience

The Loras social work program provides a supportive learning community that graduates competent, ethical, value-based, generalist social work practitioners who critically use their liberal arts background in service to others. Working with and in partnering agencies, students, grounded in empowerment, actively learn knowledge values and skills, reflect upon those through opportunities in and outside the classroom, adopt and adhere to ethical approaches with diverse populations, and contribute responsibly to an ever-growing and changing world.

When Social Work majors complete their undergraduate education, they can be employed as a school social worker, a probation officer, child abuse investigator, domestic violence advocate, hospital worker, elder in-home worker and others. Social Work majors will tell you they find their education meaningful and rewarding because they are able to make the world a better place for us all.

View our Commission on Accreditation outcomes progress report.

Learn More

The Loras Social Work program emphasizes both classroom and experiential learning. In the classroom, professors use active learning processes to teach essential theories, principles and skills.

Practicum placements in a wide variety of agencies and organizations such as residential treatment centers for children and adolescents, nursing homes, probation departments, domestic violence and foster care agencies provide opportunities for students to apply those principles and practices while expanding their professional networks. The experiences students have in practicum also assist students is designing their career goals.

Students run a highly active Social Work Club, which sponsors activities designed to raise awareness about important social issues such as domestic violence and homelessness. They also effectively raise funds and create resources to aid those in need. The Social Work Club at Loras is recognized as one of the most active and successful student organization.

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accreditation

CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet them. In accordance with the requirements of CSWE’s recognition body, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CSWE Office of Social Work Accreditation (OSWA) administers a multistep accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits, and COA reviews.

Click the button below to review our full Social Work Program Outcomes Progress Report.

Student Learning Outcomes


Student Learning Outcomes – Social Work
1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
2. Engage Diversity and Difference in practice.
3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice.
4. Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
5. Engage in Policy Practice
6. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
7. Assess with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
8. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
9. Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.


View Highlighted Courses

The Working Poor
Through a hands-on simulation, readings, class discussions, guest speakers, and media presentations, students will gain a foundational knowledge of the history of the working poor in the U.S., the theories regarding causation and reduction, and the grassroots efforts for change as they relate to the social class referred to as the working poor. Students will build on this foundation by developing a specific knowledge of the working poor in the Dubuque community.

Self-Care and the Helping Professions
We will begin by looking at the ACES (Adverse-Childhood Experiences Study) and the importance of Trauma Informed Care in the helping professions. We will identify compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burnout in relation to working with vulnerable populations. The emphasis on the professional and their commitment and knowledge of self- care practices. Throughout the 3 weeks, we will study traditional self-care (exercising, journaling) as well as more untraditional methods (Reiki, essential oil therapy, meditation, laughter yoga, crystal healing, and many more.) Professionals from the community will be brought in to teach and practice with students.

Social Work with Groups and Families
This is the first course in a sequence of three generalist practice courses. This course addresses practice with families and small groups and focuses on introductory skills needed to facilitate groups. The focus is on group work which entails the deliberate use of intervention strategies and group processes to accomplish individual, group and community goals, using the value base and ethical practice principles of the social work profession.

Social Work with Organizations and Communities
This course explores the aspect of generalist practice involving proactive responding to large groups, communities and organizations. Macro skills of working within an agency or organizational leadership, supervision issues, grant writing, fundraising and community organizing are emphasized. Other skills to facilitate meetings, networking, time management, and handling conflict are addressed.

Social Work in an Aging Population
Social Work in an Aging Population will provide students with a broad overview of social work practice with older adults. Students will explore social work practice related to the changing demographics and trends in aging, biopsychosocial aspects of aging, end-of-life care, assessment practices with older adults and their families, services within the Dubuque community and nationally for older adults, career paths available in the aging field, and policy implications for practice.

View Social Work Courses

Major Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major in Social Work. 

Degree Requirements

Division of Teacher Education & Behavioral Sciences
Julia S. Omarzu, Ph.D., Chair

Social Work Program Rationale:
The undergraduate social work major instills the values, ethics, practice strategies, communication, diversity and knowledge required for students to become effective generalist social workers. The Loras College social work program connects the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practice setting in several ways throughout the four-year curriculum.

The social work program provides students with a liberal arts background and a strong knowledge base in generalist social work practice. Students may select opportunities to study and practice in child and family welfare, mental health, medical social work, substance abuse, legislation and policy, probation and parole, and many other fields. Additionally, graduates qualify for advanced standing in many Masters of Social Work (MSW) programs.

Major Requirements for Social Work (B.A.)

Related Majors & Minors
Criminal Justice, B.A.
Psychology, B.A.
Social Work, B.A.
Teacher Education/Secondary Education, B.A.
Business Administration, B.A.  
International Studies, B.A.  
Philosophy, B.A.  
Politics, B.A.  
Criminal Justice, B.A.  
Sociology, B.A.   
Public Health, B.A.  
Business Minor  
Ethics, Minor
Gender Studies Minor  
Peace and Justice Minor
Sociology Minor

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a Social Work degree?”

As a Social Work major, you will be prepared for a variety of interesting careers.

  • Foster Care / Adoption
  • Social Mentor
  • Probation Officer
  • Child Abuse Investigator
  • Domestic Violence Advocate
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Elder In-Home Worker
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Residential Home Counselor
  • Human Rights Advocate
  • Refugee Resettlement Worker
  • Community Organizer
  • Graduate school for clinical mental health services, school social work, administration, hospice worker, substance abuse counselor

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. Scholarships, grants and special awards are offered to all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for schlarships and financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and review our financial aid resources for detailed information, scholarship opportunities and much more.