Gain the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for initial level generalist professional practice through a social justice lens with the accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program at UBC Vancouver.

The BSW degree provides the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for professional practice, focusing on the interface between personal problems and public issues.

It is a single, integrated program that can be completed in two years on a full-time basis or in three years on a part-time basis. The curriculum includes courses on theory, policy, research, and practice and is complemented by integrative seminars, electives, and two field practicums.

It addresses issues of power and issues of discrimination based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and culture. Critical thinking and structural analysis are central to the learning experience offered by the School and to the promotion of social justice and human well-being.

The BSW degree program is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) and is recognized across Canada and the United States.


Degree Requirements

The BSW program consists of 66 credits for students who enter without a bachelor’s degree, or 60 credits for those entering the program with a bachelor’s degree.

  • SOWK 305: Social Work Practice I (6 credits)
  • SOWK 310A: Interviewing Skills (6 credits)
  • SOWK 315: Practicum I (6 credits)
  • SOWK 316: Integrative Practice (3 credits)
  • SOWK 335: Social Analysis for Social Work Practice (6 credits)
  • SOWK 337: Culture and Race in Social Work Practice (3 credits)
  • SOWK 425: First Nations Social Issues (3 credits)

Summer term: Students without a prior degree should complete at least 6 credits of electives if they plan to graduate the following May, since the scheduling of SOWK 415 makes it very difficult to complete all elective requirements in the second year.

  • SOWK 320: Introduction to Social Work Research (3 credits)
  • SOWK 400: Canadian Social Policy (3 credits)
  • SOWK 405: Social Work Practice II (3 credits)
  • SOWK 415: Practicum II (6 credits)
  • SOWK 416: Advanced Integrative Practice (3 credits)
  • ELECTIVES* (9 or 15 credits)

*Electives must be 300-400 level courses chosen from the following areas:

  • Faculty of Arts
  • SOWK 440/450 courses
  • Interprofessional Health and Human Service courses
  • Faculty of Education

Students with a previous bachelor’s degree must complete 9 credits of electives; others must complete 15 credits of electives.

The majority of electives (i.e., 6 of 9 credits, or 9 of 15 credits) must be taken from SOWK.

The School of Social Work requires a minimum 68% average for students to be promoted into the second year of the BSW program. In addition, students must achieve 68% in all the core courses in the curriculum.

Although satisfactory academic performance is prerequisite to advancement, it is not the sole criterion in the consideration of the suitability of a student for promotion or graduation. The School reserves the right to require a student to withdraw from the BSW program if they are considered unsuited to proceed with the study or practice of social work.

  1. An appropriate practicum placement
  2. SOWK 441: Social Context of Child Development (Term 1 of 4th year)
  3. SOWK 442: Policy and Practice in Child Welfare (Term 1 of 4th year)
  4. An additional SOWK 440/450 elective

Appropriate placements

Acceptable electives

  • SOWK 440B: Addictions
  • SOWK 440H: Social Work and the Law
  • SOWK 440J: Global Mental Health
  • SOWK 440K: Trauma Informed Practice
  • SOWK 440Q: Social Work in Healthcare
  • SOWK 440R: Adolescent Development
  • SOWK 450: Social Work Practice in Community Mental Health
  • SOWK 453: Disability and Justice

There are a number of course offerings at the undergraduate level in which we encourage students to enrol as electives.

Students are drawn from social work, nursing, speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, medicine, and pharmaceutical studies. The focus of the courses is interprofessional practice.

  • SPPH 300: Working in International Health
  • SPPH 406: Aging from an Interdisciplinary Perspective
  • SPPH 410: Designing Health Interventions
  • SPPH 411: Violence Across the Lifespan
  • SOWK 440J: Global Mental Health
  • SOWK 451: Health Care Team Development
  • SOWK 453: Disability and Justice

SOWK 440 courses are a series of integrated seminars which address salient issues in social policy and social work practice, and draw upon combined knowledge from social work and related disciplines.

All BSW students are required to take at least one SOWK 440 course in addition to their general elective requirements, but students are encouraged to take several of these courses to meet some or all of their elective requirements. Not all these courses are offered every year.

  • SOWK 440B: Addiction, Drugs and Everyday Life
  • SOWK 440C: Community Based Research & Community Social Development
  • SOWK 440G: Child Welfare
  • SOWK 440H: Social Work and the Law
  • SOWK 440I: Social Context of Child Development
  • SOWK 440J: Global Mental Health
  • SOWK 440K: Advanced Interviewing Skills