Master of Social Work
Social work is a multifaceted profession guided by the principle of social justice. In an ever-changing society, the interlocking of human needs and social predicaments requires social work practitioners to have a high level of critical thinking and state-of-the-art professional knowledge.
Social work practitioners need the skills to work with service recipients in order to satisfy their needs, to reinstate their well being, to tackle unjust conditions, and/or to induce policy changes.
The Advanced Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers an accessible, advanced professional degree focused on social work practice in the fields of child and family welfare, health and social care, and international and social development.
The purpose of this MSW program is to prepare our graduates to be competent social work professionals, equipped with state-of-the-art knowledge and skills, a critical analytic lens, and a social justice orientation.
Adopting social justice as the organizing principle, the MSW program focuses on three major fields of practice which reflect not only the current trend of social work professional services but also the expertise of the faculty members who have actively been engaging in scholarly activities to advance social work knowledge. The three fields of practice are: children and family welfare; health and social care; and international and community development. More about these three fields of practice are detailed below.
The program seeks to affect accessibility by offering some courses online and during the Spring and Summer terms. While a thesis option is available for some students, contingent on faculty availability, corresponding research interests and funding, this option typically adds a year or more to the student’s program. Most students elect a one-year course-based program integrated with an advanced practicum experience.
Child and Family
The Child and Family field of practice of the MSW program is intended to prepare students to work with children, youth and families in a variety of community based settings, ranging from voluntary family services to mandated protective services. Students may shape their program around a more clinical foundation or around statutory services including court-based services, transitional services and developmental services. Core courses emphasize the consideration of common needs across the family life course and social policy approaches to family development and social integration from a justice perspective.
Health and Social Care
The Health and Social Care field of practice includes areas of social work practice usually subsumed into the concept of ‘health’, such as physical and mental health, addictions, and trauma. Its extension to ‘social care’ also includes areas that may be unrelated or only tangentially related to health, such as disabilities, age and aging. Courses belonging to this field of practice prepare students for direct social work practice in institutional and community settings as well as in policy development.
Social and International Development
The Social and International Development field of practice focuses on the social, cultural, environmental and economic conditions and developments that affect the well-being of people in Canada and internationally. In addition to problem analysis, we focus on interventions at the community, national and international levels: the work of social planning departments, community agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international interventions at the level of the United Nations and NGOs working internationally. The curriculum is built around the concept of social justice, reflected in national and international texts, with particular attention to contemporary issues of interest to social work practitioners, including but not limited to: immigration and refugees; the struggle for human rights and community development; the struggles of Indigenous people; the social implications of climate change, poverty and globalization; the work of truth and reconciliation commissions.