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Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


Program Overview

With an overarching framework of social justice, equity, inclusivity and reflexivity, our curriculum is designed to provide a wholly integrated foundation that grounds all regular track students in essential and interconnected social work practice areas.

The advanced portion of the program provides optimal flexibility and choice for you to focus your preferences toward micro and/or macro practices. Advanced standing students, while not participating in the foundational portion, will have increased flexibility in choosing the direction of their learning in micro and/or macro practices. All of our MSW programs continue and strengthen our commitment to practice.

Program Requirements 

Professional Development

In the Faculty of Social Work, we believe that you never stop learning. Our professional development program offers 13 non-credit continuing education certificates and more than 300 workshops a year. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your skills, complement your Master of Social Work studies, or explore new areas of interest, the professional development programs can help you achieve your goals.

MSW Regular Track Full-Time, On-Campus

Our curriculum is designed to provide a wholly integrated foundational year that grounds all regular track full-time students in essential and interconnected social work practice areas. The second year of the program provides optimal flexibility and choice for you to focus your preferences toward micro and/or macro practices.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline
  • B average in your last 10 half credit courses or equivalent
  • Qualitative research methods course and eight half credit social science courses
  • Evidence of paid and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations is required. Two or more years of experience is strongly recommended

Program Details 

Entry points: Fall (September) only

Program Length: 5 academic terms (20 months)

Thesis Option: Yes

Field Education 

The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.

  • Field course SK541: Minimum of 450 foundational practice hours (3 days per week, Monday to Wednesday/Thursday; January to May during Term 2 and 3) and
  • Field course SK649: Minimum of 500 advanced practice hours (3 days per week, Monday to Wednesday; September to April during term 4 and 5)
  • Students must complete the foundational courses in term 1 successfully prior to starting SK541.
  • Placements are recruited for students within a 150 km radius of Kitchener-Waterloo and students are expected to commute. There is an optional process for students to propose a placement.
  • Other options: Summer placements; International Placement as part of our ISWD program (when permitted based on health and travel restrictions).

Courses

Classes are normally held at our Kitchener location between Monday and Friday in Term 1 and on Thursdays and Fridays over the remaining four terms. Courses noted are current as of posting but are subject to change. For more information see course descriptions

  • SK501: Approaches to Community Organizing and Group Practices
  • SK504: Research 1
  • SK507: Social Justice and Transformative Social Work Practices
  • SK522: Social Work Practice with Individuals
  • One of:
    • SK641: Critical Social Policy and Activism
    • SK681: The Political and Organizational Contexts of Social Work Practice
  • SK536: Integrating Theory and Practice
  • SK541: Foundational Field Education (two-term, winter-spring)
  • SK545: Introduction to Ethical Thought and Reflexive Practice
  • Foundational Elective -typical options include
    • SK509: Social Work Practice with Groups
    • SK552: Social Work Practice with Families and,
    • SK592: Transnational Social Work Practice
  • SK599: Field Education Orientation (online course)
  • SK665: Relational Accountability: Transforming Social Work with Indigenous Peoples SK615: Research 2
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (two-term, fall-winter course; three days, Monday-Wednesday)
  • Choose one of the following (depending on micro/macro nature of placement):
    • SK508: Reflexive Group and Community Practice
    • SK621: Reflexive Practices
  • Choose one of the following:
    • SK651: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals
    • SK690: Inequality, Poverty and Income Support
  • Two Advanced Electives

MSW Regular Track Part-Time, Online

Our part-time online program follows the same curriculum as our on-campus program but provides more flexibility for professionals already working in the field.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
  • B average in your last 10 half credit courses or equivalent.
  • Qualitative research methods course and eight half credit social science courses
  • Evidence of paid and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations is required. Two or more years of experience is strongly recommended.

Program Details 

Entry points: Fall (September); Winter (January); Spring (May)

Program Length: 8 academic terms (32 months)

Thesis Option: No

Field Education 

The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.

  • Field course SK600: Minimum 950 practice hours; minimum 2 days per week (16 hours). Students attend placement during the agency’s hours of operation and when supervision can be provided. Placement starts in Term 5
  • Students must propose their own placement within the deadline provided
  • Students must complete 5 foundational courses and SK598 successfully in order to start placement in term 5
  • All practice hours must be completed in Canada 

Courses

Classes are fully online, asynchronous and self-directed, but students must meet weekly deadlines and assignments. Each course requires a minimum of 15 hours of study per week. Most courses are 6 weeks in length. Courses noted are current as of posting but are subject to change. Specific course sequencing for each cohort will be provided after admission to the program. For more information see course descriptions

  • SK501: Approaches to Community Organizing and Group Practices
  • SK504: Research 1
  • SK507: Social Justice and Transformative Social Work Practices
  • SK522: Social Work Practice with Individuals
  • SK545: Introduction to Ethical Thought and Reflexive Practices
  • SK598: Field Preparation Seminar
  • SK599: Field Education Orientation
  • SK600: Field Education 
  • SK536: Integrating Theory and Practice
  • Foundational Elective, one of:
    • SK509 Social Work Practice with Groups
    • SK552 Social Work Practice with Families
  • One of 
    • SK641: Critical Social Policy and Activism
    • SK681: The Political and Organizational Contexts of Social Work Practice
  • SK665: Relational Accountability: Transforming Social Work with Indigenous Peoples
  • SK615: Research 2
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education
  • SK621: Reflexive Practices
  • Choose one of the following:
    • SK651: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals
    • SK690: Inequality, Poverty, and Income Support
  • Two Advanced Electives

MSW Advanced Standing Full-Time, On-Campus

Advanced standing one-year full-time students, will have flexibility in choosing the direction of their learning in micro and/or macro practices while building on the skills learned in the BSW program.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor of Social Work required.
  • B average in your last 10 half credit courses or equivalent.
  • Qualitative research methods course and eight half credit social science courses
  • Evidence of paid and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations is required. Two or more years of experience is strongly recommended.

Program Details 

Entry points: Fall (September) only

Program Length: 3 academic terms (September to August)

Thesis Option: Yes

Field Education 

The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.

  • Field course SK649: Minimum 500 advanced practice hours; 3 days per week, Monday to Wednesday, September to April
  • Placements are recruited for students within a 150 km radius of Kitchener-Waterloo and students are expected to commute. There is an optional process for students to propose a placement.

Courses

Classes are normally held on Thursdays and Fridays at our Kitchener location over the three terms. Courses noted are current as of posting but are subject to change. For more information see course descriptions

  • SK504: Research
  • 1SK615: Research 2
  • SK599: Field Education Orientation (Online course)
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (two terms, fall-winter)
  • Choose one of the following (depending on micro/macro nature of placement):
    • SK508: Reflexive Group and Community Practice
    • SK621: Reflexive Practices
  • Choose one of the following:
    • SK651: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals
    • SK690: Inequality, Poverty, and Income Support
  • SK665: Relational Accountability: Transforming Social Work with Indigenous Peoples
  • Four Advanced Electives

MSW Advanced Standing Part-Time, Online

Our part-time online program follows the same curriculum as our on-campus program but provides more flexibility for professionals already working in the field.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor of Social Work required
  • B average in your last 10 half credit courses or equivalent
  • Qualitative research methods course and eight half credit social science courses
  • Evidence of paid and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations is required. Two or more years of experience is strongly recommended

Program Details 

Entry points: Fall (September); Winter (January); Spring (May)

Program Length: 5 academic terms (20 months)

Thesis Option: No

Field Education 

The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.

  • Field course SK649: Minimum 500 advanced practice hours; minimum 2 days per week (16 hours). Students attend placement during the agency’s hours of operation and when supervision can be provided. Placement starts in Term 4
  • Students must propose their own placement within the deadline provided
  • All practice hours must be completed in Canada

Courses

Classes are fully online, asynchronous and self-directed, but students must meet weekly deadlines and assignments. Each course requires a minimum of 15 hours of study per week. Most are 6 weeks in length. Courses noted are current as of posting but are subject to change. Specific course sequencing provided to each cohort after admission to the program. For more information see course descriptions

  • SK504: Research 1
  • SK615: Research 2
  • SK598: Field Preparation Seminar
  • SK599: Field Education Orientation
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education
  • SK621: Reflexive Practices
  • Choose one of the following:
    • SK651: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals
    • SK690: Inequality, Poverty, and Income Support
  • SK665: Relational Accountability: Transforming Social Work with Indigenous Peoples
  • Four Advanced Electives

MSW Advanced Standing, Indigenous Field of Study, Full Time, On-Campus

The Indigenous Field of Study is the first MSW program in Canada rooted in a wholistic Indigenous worldview and contemporary social work practice. The goal is to develop social work practitioners who demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the history, traditions and culture of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. This unique program includes the use of Indigenous elders, a traditional circle process, and Indigenous ceremonies.

The needs most commonly identified by Indigenous people, as seen often in their public statements and political processes, include self-determination, cultural preservation, and respect for the wholistic healing worldview. The MSW Indigenous field of study, therefore, will fully and dramatically root itself within the Indigenous worldview and have as its goal the development of social work practitioners who can seek empowerment for Indigenous populations so that they can meet the needs that they have identified for themselves.

Students in the Indigenous field of study are expected to respect and seek to practice within the Indigenous worldview. This means that along with intellectual development you will also engage in the development of your spiritual, emotional, and physical selves. You will learn from a diversity of teachers including academic instructors, Elders, Indigenous ceremonies, and the Indigenous community. You will be expected to involve yourself in all aspects of the specialized program, which include cultural camps, classroom work, presentation of yourself to Elders, and in practice settings. You will be evaluated on your academic knowledge and your ability to practice from the Indigenous worldview.

Learn additonal information about the program's suitability

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor of Social Work required.
  • B average in your last 10 half credit courses or equivalent.
  • Qualitative research methods course and eight half credit social science courses
  • Evidence of paid and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations is required. Two or more years of experience is strongly recommended.
  • Although this program is open to students of all cultural backgrounds, candidates for the Indigenous Field of Study must also have some familiarity with the traditional wholistic healing approach and/or have used it in their practice. This will be demonstrated through a personal statement, references and an admissions interview.

Program Details 

Entry points: Fall (September) only

Program Length: 3 academic terms (September to August)

Thesis Option: No

Field Education 

The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.

  • Field course SK649: Minimum 500 advanced practice hours; 3 days per week, Wednesday to Friday, January to August
  • Placements are proposed by the student

Courses

Classes are normally held on Mondays and Tuesdays at our Kitchener location over the three terms with a few courses being 5-day intensives and/or land based. Courses noted are current as of posting but are subject to change. For more information see course descriptions

  • SK628: Cultural Camp
  • SK645: Indigenous Research Methodologies
  • SK646: Wholistic Healing Practice
  • SK647: Elders’ Teaching and Indigenous Identity
  • SK507: Social Justice and Transformative Social Work Practices
  • SK644: Aboriginal Kinship Structures and Social Work Practice
  • SK635: Indigenous Knowledges and Theory
  • SK648: Elders’ Teachings and Self-Reflection
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education

MSW Advanced Standing, Indigenous Field of Study, Part-Time, In-Person

The Indigenous Field of Study is the first MSW program in Canada rooted in a wholistic Indigenous worldview and contemporary social work practice. The goal is to develop social work practitioners who demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the history, traditions and culture of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. This unique program includes the use of Indigenous elders, a traditional circle process, and Indigenous ceremonies.

The needs most commonly identified by Indigenous people, as seen often in their public statements and political processes, include self-determination, cultural preservation, and respect for the wholistic healing worldview. The MSW Indigenous field of study, therefore, will fully and dramatically root itself within the Indigenous worldview and have as its goal the development of social work practitioners who can seek empowerment for Indigenous populations so that they can meet the needs that they have identified for themselves.

Students in the Indigenous field of study are expected to respect and seek to practice within the Indigenous worldview. This means that along with intellectual development you will also engage in the development of your spiritual, emotional, and physical selves. You will learn from a diversity of teachers including academic instructors, Elders, Indigenous ceremonies, and the Indigenous community. You will be expected to involve yourself in all aspects of the specialized program, which include cultural camps, classroom work, presentation of yourself to Elders, and in practice settings. You will be evaluated on your academic knowledge and your ability to practice from the Indigenous worldview.

Learn additonal information about the program's suitability

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor of Social Work required
  • B average in your last 10 half credit courses or equivalent
  • Qualitative research methods course and eight half credit social science courses
  • Evidence of paid and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations is required. Two or more years of experience is strongly recommended.
  • Although this program is open to students of all cultural backgrounds, candidates for the Indigenous Field of Study must also have some familiarity with the traditional wholistic healing approach and/or have used it in their practice. This will be demonstrated through a personal statement, references and an admissions interview.

Program Details 

Entry points: Fall (September) only

Program Length: 6 academic terms (two years)

Thesis Option: No

Field Education 

The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.

  • Field course SK649: Minimum 500 advanced practice hours; ; 3 days per week, Wednesday to Friday, January to August (Term 2 and 3)
  • Placements are proposed by the student

Courses

Classes are normally held as 5 days intensives either at our Kitchener location, on location with our partner institutions or on the land. Typically, there are no more than two 5-day intensive courses per term. Courses noted are current as of posting but are subject to change. For more information see course descriptions

  • SK628: Cultural Camp
  • SK645: Indigenous Research Methodologies
  • SK646: Wholistic Healing Practice
  • SK647: Elders’ Teaching and Indigenous Identity
  • SK507: Social Justice and Transformative Social Work Practices
  • SK644: Aboriginal Kinship Structures and Social Work Practice
  • SK635: Indigenous Knowledges and Theory
  • SK648: Elders’ Teachings and Self-Reflection
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education

Other Program Considerations 

Here are some other items you may want to consider whe applying to our MSW programs. 

Course Exemption Requests

Requests for exemptions or substitutions must be made at the time of application and is part of the Statement of Interest form that is a required document in the application process.

Exemptions

With the exception of field courses, course exemptions may be granted based on prior graduate level university courses up to a maximum of two half-credit core courses for the MSW Regular Track programs, and a maximum of one half-credit core courses for the Advanced Standing full-time and part-time programs. Additional requirements include:

  • Consideration for exemptions is only given for similar graduate level courses completed within the last 5 years with a minimum final grade of B or higher
  • Consideration for exemptions is only given prior to admission to the program. Applicants must make the request and submit all documentation with their application
  • Applicants must submit a full course syllabus for each course they would like considered with their application. Documents that are not in English must be accompanied by a translated version
  • Initial recommendations regarding exemptions are made by the Associate Dean, MSW Programs and approved by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Substitutions

With the exception of field courses, course substitutions may be offered based on prior undergraduate level university courses up to a maximum of two courses for the MSW Regular Track programs. Additional requirements include:

  • Substitution is only given for similar courses completed with a minimum final grade of B or higher. Courses may include undergraduate level courses or may include graduate level courses taken more than 5 years ago
  • Students must provide a course syllabus for each course they would like considered for a substitution. Documents that are not in English must be accompanied by a translated version
  • Initial recommendations regarding substitutions are made by the Associate Dean, MSW Programs and approved by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Exemptions and Substitutions for MSW Field Courses

Exemptions and/or substitutions for field placement hours/courses may be considered for students who can demonstrate successful completion of an MSW field course from a social work program accredited by Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE).

The process for requesting a field exemption/substitution includes the following requirements: submitting a transcript that indicates successful completion of the MSW field course, submission of all placement evaluations, and confirmation of hours from the assigned MSW field instructor and/or field coordinator.

Exemptions and/or substitutions for field placement hours/courses completed within any other graduate program, or undergraduate program (including undergraduate programs accredited by CASWE) cannot be considered. Exemptions and/or substitutions that cannot be considered include: prior service, professional experience, volunteer experience, and hours completed within qualifying years of accredited programs.

Thesis Option

Although most students complete the coursework option, a limited number of students can choose the thesis option. Please note, the thesis option is only available to full-time on-campus students as noted in the individual program information.  

Why do a thesis?

  • To pursue a particular interest
  • To contribute to a field of knowledge or practice
  • To lay the groundwork for later projects (practice or research)
  • To enhance skills and academic record in preparation for subsequent studies

Thesis Option Exemptions

Students who choose the thesis option may choose to take advantage of the following exemptions:

Regular Track, full-time:

  • 100 hours of advanced placement
  • One Foundational Elective
  • Two Advanced Electives

Advanced standing, full-time

  • Two advanced electives
  • Field placement

Process

Students who wish to complete a thesis must discuss this with the MSW associate dean early as possible but no later than the first term of the program. The MSW associate dean will assist students in identifying potential thesis advisors; however, enrolment in the thesis option is contingent upon the student finding a faculty member who is willing to act as his/her thesis advisor.

Should a student start the thesis option but, in the end, choose not to finish the thesis, they are no longer eligible for the exemptions noted and therefore must fulfill all program coursework requirements to be eligible to graduate.

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