Social Work majors typically take the following courses in the fall semester of their first year:

First-Year Experience Learning Community Courses

We will register you in these courses.

  1. Philosophy (PHIL 201)
  2. English Composition (ENG 101) OR Theology (TRS 201)

Why am I taking these classes?   Honors students take equivalent honors courses.

Major and Elective Courses

You will need to choose and register for these courses.

  1. SSS 101 Introduction to Social Work
  2. A foreign language (see below)
  3. A liberal arts foundations course; a course toward a minor, certificate, or other focus area; or a free elective

Language placement

Your major requires you to complete the study of a foreign language through the intermediate level. Catholic University teaches the following languages that satisfy this requirement: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. If you are interested in learning a language not listed here, consult with your advisor.

If you have previously studied a foreign language and are interested in continuing with that same language, or if you can demonstrate fluency in a foreign language, you should complete the language placement exam. 

About Your First Semester Courses

Reason. Faith. SERVICE. Social work students at the Catholic University of America receive both theoretical and practical training that prepares them to work in public welfare agencies, general and mental health hospitals, courts and probation departments, family and children services agencies, neighborhood and community action agencies, and other settings. That training is firmly grounded in the Catholic tradition and informed by the Church's teachings.

Courses in theology and philosophy will deepen your understanding of the theoretical and ethical foundations of your practice. In fact all of your courses -- in social work, theology, philosophy, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities -- will help you to refine your writing, to sharpen your reasoning, to think more deeply and broadly about the foundations of your intellectual and spiritual heritage, and to begin making connections among the various kinds of knowledge. They will help you think about the human good and so prepare you to serve others.

Students normally take five courses. We've registered you for your two Learning Community classes. You will need to register for three more.

To begin your study of social work this fall, you should register for “Introduction to Social Work” (SSS 101), an overview of the historical development of and trends in social welfare and social work. This introduction will help you learn the lay of the land in the field of social work.

Studying a language in your first year will allow you to improve your proficiency in a language you've already studied, give you a greater chance of achieving fluency, and may set up study abroad opportunities later in your junior year. If you have never studied a foreign language before or want to explore a new language, you should register for the 101 level beginner course.

For your fifth course, you can choose what you like. You can take a liberal arts elective or a free elective course in a subject of your interest. Or, you may wish to begin study in a secondary subject area, perhaps for a minor or certificate. Explore an academic interest or choose a course that raises the questions and concerns you have because of your interest in social work, but that come at those questions and concerns in different, complementary ways.

To learn more about the Social Work major, consult the School of Social Work's website.

Know which courses you want? Get registered.