Take the next step in advancing the lives and wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities by applying to our Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at UBC Vancouver.
Admission to the BSW program is open to applicants with:
- An academic bachelor’s degree that contains at least 60 credits that are transferable to UBC (Applied degrees do not satisfy this requirement) OR,
- A minimum of 60 credits from Arts, Science, or Education courses which are transferable to UBC
All applicants are responsible for checking the transferability of their courses at the BC Transfer Guide.
UBC gives full credits for academic courses from Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria. Applicants with a social services diploma should note that a significant number of diploma courses will not transfer to UBC, so satisfying two-year diploma requirements alone without additional university-transfer courses, will not qualify them for BSW admission.
All courses must be completed no later than April 30 of each year; there will be no exceptions or extensions.
Required Courses & Background
All applicants must have the following:
- Completion of both UBC’s SOWK 200 (Introduction to Social Welfare) and UBC’s SOWK 201 (Introduction to Social Work Practice), or equivalents, with a minimum grade of “B” obtained in each course. Please check the BC Transfer Guide for the list of transferable equivalents. Online equivalents are offered through Thompson Rivers University.
- 3 credits of ASTU 100, ASTU 101, ASTU 150, Arts One, ENGL 100, WRDS 150, WRDS 350, or transferable equivalents. Applicants are exempt if they have a previous degree from an institution where English was the language of instruction. Successful completion of the Arts One Program or the Coordinated Arts Program (CAP) will also fulfill the School’s English requirement.
- At least 18 credits of coursework in the social sciences and humanities (i.e., Arts). Suggested subject areas include, but are not limited to, Anthropology, Canadian History, Economics, Family Studies, Gender Studies, Indigenous Studies, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. For applicants currently attending UBC, we recommend NURS 180 and FNIS 100 as electives.
- A GPA of at least 2.67 (68%) on the most recent 30 credits completed preceding application, calculated on grades from transcripts received with the application.
- Proven suitability for a career in social work as demonstrated by a minimum of 100 hours of relevant employment and/or volunteer history.
- If an applicant’s language of prior study is not English, an official test of English is required. The applicant needs either: TOEFL, with a score of at least 580/237/93, or Academic (not general) IELTS, with a minimum overall band score of 6.5 with no other component less than 6.0.
Applicants must have a minimum of 100 hours of relevant volunteer or work experience in order to be considered for admission. Most successful applicants exceed this minimum.
The experience should focus on social service or health-related activities and have direct and ongoing contact with vulnerable or disadvantaged members of society.
Examples of relevant experience include working on a crisis line, working in women’s support services, helping residents of a long-term care facility, or working with children with disabilities.
Examples that are not considered relevant experience include the following: fundraising, babysitting, coaching, service jobs such as serving in a restaurant or bar, retail work, or administrative jobs such as reception and filing.
Although we consider all relevant experience, we strongly recommend current experiences within the last five years, preferably in a Canadian setting. A substantial number of hours, both paid and volunteer, is generally favourable for your application.
Please note that applications that do not fulfill the above requirements will not be considered. Admission to the program is competitive and meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. The School reserves the right of selection of all students for admission and re-admission to the School.
In-Progress Courses & Transcripts
Courses that are required for admission may be completed up until late April.
Proof of enrolment (i.e., official transcripts showing registration) in any prerequisite courses must be submitted to the UBC Undergraduate Admissions Office at:
2016 – 1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
by the January 15 deadline, even if the courses will not be completed until April 30. Failure to submit this proof may result in the application being cancelled. Do NOT send the transcripts to the School of Social Work.
Applicants who are completing the introductory social work requirements elsewhere, including Thompson River University’s open learning program, must submit final transcripts to the UBC Undergraduate Admissions Office by mid-May. We do not give extensions nor do we make exceptions to this date.
Criminal Record Check
UBC is subject to the requirements of the Criminal Records Review Act (CRRA), which means that all students who are enrolled in programs that include a practicum component involving work with children or vulnerable adults will have to undergo a criminal record check before they will be permitted to register in the practicum.
If your application is successful, you will need to participate in the Criminal Records Review Program. Instructions regarding the application for the Criminal Record Check as well as how to pay the $28 fee will be emailed with the letter of recommendation for admission.
If you are found to present a risk of physical or sexual abuse to children, or physical, sexual, or financial abuse to vulnerable adults, as a result of the CRRA Check, you will not be permitted to register in the practicum. If the practicum is required for your program, this means that you may not be able to complete the program and you may not graduate.
This is not an admission requirement, but please note that many social work organizations, such as the Ministry of Children and Family Development, require applicants to hold a full driver’s license before offering them a practicum or employment, so students are advised to obtain one as soon as possible, if they do not already have one.
The School admits approximately 60 students per year, with classes starting in September. The number of applications varies from year to year, although typically we receive approximately 130 applications. Due to the high volume of applications, we will not be confirming receipt of application packages.
Since it is a competitive program, fulfillment of the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. The School of Social Work reserves the right of selection of all students for admission and re-admission to the School.
Successful and unsuccessful candidates will be notified by email.
How to Apply
Part 1: UBC Application for Undergraduate Admissions
Apply online to the University and submit all post-secondary transcripts to the UBC Undergraduate Admissions Office.
All new UBC applications must be supported by official final transcripts of the applicant’s academic record at all post-secondary institutions attended, either online or in-person, and must be submitted to the UBC Undergraduate Admissions Office. Applicants should submit transcripts well ahead of the deadline, if possible, to allow time for processing and any follow-up.
Proof of enrolment in any prerequisite courses in the form of official transcripts, must be submitted to UBC Undergraduate Admissions Office by the January 15 deadline, even if the courses will not be completed until April 30. Failure to submit this proof may result in the application being cancelled by the UBC Undergraduate Admissions Office.
Former or current UBC students must submit an “Application for Re-Admission and/or a Change of Degree Program/Campus” form, and do not need to submit a UBC transcript. However, applicants must submit transcripts from any other post-secondary institutions that they have attended during or since this time.
If you have been or currently are a UBC student:
- Visit the online Student Service Centre and log into your CWL account
- Complete an Application for Re-admission and/or a Change of Degree Program/Campus form
Part 2: Supplemental Application Materials for the School of Social Work
- Complete and print out the following supplemental application forms (as applicable), combine them into one PDF, and email to email@example.com:
- Complete a Personal Statement and email it as a separate attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Arrange for two (2) letters of reference. Your reference letters should be from managers or supervisors from paid or volunteer social work experiences, or course professors, and will form a part of your evaluation. Applicants re-applying to the program are required to submit at least one (1) new letter of reference. Letters of Reference may be submitted as signed PDFs to email@example.com or mailed to the School, in sealed and signed envelopes.
Please email your supplemental application forms, Personal Statement and two letters of reference to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Personal Statement should be sent as a clearly named SEPARATE file (for example, “Jones, Kate – Personal Statement”).
Application Evaluation Process
Initial evaluation process
- Academic evaluation includes the adjudication of course prerequisites and the calculation of GPA. The GPA is based on the last 30 credits of academic coursework completed according to transcripts submitted with the application. Students not meeting the minimum GPA requirement of 68% (2.7 or B- equivalent) are not eligible for admission and therefore will not be considered for further evaluation.
- Members of the School’s faculty then evaluate competitive applicants for professional suitability. This assessment is based on the applicant’s letters of reference, volunteer/employment experience, and personal statement.
- The School has a self-identifying equity policy affecting the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, visible minorities, and people with disabilities. A 5% weighting will be awarded to those applicants meeting admission criteria.
- Following evaluations, candidates are ranked according to the combined weighted grade and suitability scores.
- Applicants who are offered admission must submit to a Criminal Record Check.
Possible application outcomes
- An offer of admission
- Possible placement on reserve list
- Notice of unsuccessful admission