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Catholic studies, social work announce new joint program

Seton Hall’s department of Catholic studies, in conjunction with the department of social work, announced on Sept. 15 a social work and Catholic studies double major program which expects to have its first graduates in 2026.

Director of Catholic Studies Ines Murzaku and Director of the social work program Dawn Apgar are behind this new interdisciplinary joint degree, which aims to provide students with a strong background in social justice while integrating faith and embodying the catholic mission of servant leadership, they said.

According to the program’s brochure, by combining social work with Catholic studies, which explores Catholic heritage across various disciplines like philosophy and literature, the joint degree hopes to offer students the opportunity to collaborate with peers who share common core values while seeking solutions to societal problems.

 “A lot of students go into social work for a calling to services,” Murzaku said. “Many students who take Catholic Studies are drawn into the faith while students who go into social work are driven by their social and spiritual beliefs. This program creates opportunities to put in practice the core Catholic values of serving the poor and marginalized.”

The curriculum for this dual degree program consists of 18 credits in Catholic studies and 39 credits in social work. Students will take a variety of classes that will explore topics such as the impact of Catholicism in Latin America and the relationship between the human condition and health care while being placed for field education in Catholic social service agencies.

“Through this interdisciplinary program, we are using the tools provided by both curriculums to explore the values of family, rights and responsibilities, the life and dignity of the human person, community, and more.” Apgar said. Apgar also said the Catholic studies and social work joint degree welcomes students of every faith through the teaching of universal values that create a holistic view through interreligious dialogue. 

The social work and Catholic studies double major would officially welcome its first class beginning the fall semester of 2022. However, current freshmen and sophomores would be able to transfer into the program. Students would be advised by both social work and Catholic studies faculty. Apgar and Murzaku said the program’s purpose would be to provide a greater spirit of humility, compassion for their neighbors, and a global approach to humanitarian challenges.

Seton Hall’s social work program is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education, which allows students to obtain their New Jersey state certification.

Jiaqi Liu can be reached at jiaqi.liu@student.shu.edu.


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