Social Work (BSW)

Social work is a practice-based profession that uses the principles of human rights and social justice to empower members of society, particularly those who are disadvantaged by the social dynamics of class, race, gender, age and ability. Learn how to support individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in this direct-entry program. You’ll gain supervised pre-professional social work experience in social and community agency settings. 

Apply Your Learning

Make the most out of your university career by taking advantage of all that Laurier has to offer you. Volunteer work, campus clubs, leadership programs, studying abroad, work experience – there are so many ways you can extend your classroom experience into the real world.

Here are just a few examples of the experiences you’ll get in the Social Work program:

  • Field Education: Complete two field placements during your program for a total of 720 hours of practical field work.
  • Take research classes as part of your course selection to identify potential projects that you could do for the agencies you work for in the future.
  • Add a certificate in Learning Skills and Development to add to your resume.
  • Join the BSW Student Association and have your say in student activities on campus.

Check out the Social Work Experience Guide.

 

2020 graduates who secured employment or went on to postgraduate studies

 

Laurier ranks in the top 6 percent of universities worldwide*

 

students who gained hands-on learning experiences at Laurier in 2019/20

*Center for World University Rankings (CWUR)

Admissions

Format: full time      Duration: four years     Start: September (fall term)   OUAC code: USW
Ontario High School Admission Requirements
  • Minimum admission range: high 70s.
  • Competitive admission range based on last year’s admitted students: mid 80s.
  • English at 60%.
Canadian Admission Requirements (Outside of Ontario)

Students applying to this program from a Canadian province outside of Ontario are encouraged to review our course equivalents by province chart. This chart will show you what courses from your province are equivalent to the admission requirements listed under Ontario High School Admission Requirements.

International Admission Requirements

Students applying to this program from an international curriculum are encouraged to review our curriculum-specific requirements; you must also meet all program-specific requirements listed under the Ontario High School Admission Requirements section.

English-Proficiency Requirement

Laurier's language of instruction is English, and so we may require you to provide evidence of your English proficiency to help make sure you experience success in your academic courses.

Your three most recent years of full-time education must be in English without taking any ESL (English as a Second Language) courses. If you do not meet this requirement, you must provide evidence of your English proficiency.

We reserve the right to request an English-language test from any applicant.

If you do not meet Laurier's English proficiency requirement but are academically qualified for your program, you may be eligible for a conditional offer of admission.

Laurier English and Academic Foundation (LEAF) Program

The Laurier English and Academic Foundation (LEAF) program is an academic English program for Laurier applicants who have to prove English proficiency. If you have received an offer to Laurier with a condition to meet our English- proficiency requirement, you can meet that condition by successfully completing the LEAF program.

College Pathways

Graduates from accredited Canadian college Social Service Work (SSW) and Child and Youth Care (CYC) diploma programs can apply as transfer students to Laurier’s Bachelor of Social Work program.

Learn more about our college transfer agreement.

Note: Transfer student applicants from programs outside the SSW and CYC diploma programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis and admitted to first year of the BSW program. Transfer credits may still be awarded. A minimum overall average of 80% in previous postsecondary studies is required.

Learn More. On-Demand. 

Watch our Bachelor of Social Work interview-style presentation. Hear from faculty, staff and current students who are eager to share their experiences. This session will be geared towards students with a completed Social Service Worker or Child and Youth Care diploma from a Canadian college.

Other Admission Requirements

Visit our admission requirements section to find specific requirements for university students, indigenous applicants, mature learners, homeschooled applicants, senior citizens, refugees, and more. 

Program Details

About the Bachelor of Social Work at Laurier

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Laurier is a direct-entry program, which means you will begin your study of social work in first year.

In your senior years, you'll learn through experience during two different field placements. Through this immersive opportunity, you'll gain supervised pre-professional social work experience in social and community agency settings. Upon graduation, you will have acquired the skills to communicate effectively and practice ethically.

Laurier’s BSW program has received its accreditation from the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE). Current and future students will be eligible to apply for membership in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers upon graduation.

Studies in Indigenous Topics

A unique aspect of Laurier’s Social Work program is that you have the option to focus on Indigenous topics which includes an examination of the cultural exchanges between Canada’s colonial processes and First Nations people.

Interested in Graduate Studies?

By completing your four-year BSW program at Laurier, you will be eligible to apply for advanced standing in many Master of Social Work (MSW) programs, including ours.

Similar Programs

Program Options and Courses

Options and Minors

These are a few of the many popular academic opportunities which allow you to dive deeper into your major area of study or broaden your knowledge:

  • Indigenous Studies Minor
  • Youth and Children's Studies Minor
  • Psychology Minor
  • Criminology Minor
  • Law and Society Minor
  • Human Rights and Human Diversity Minor
Check out other options to enhance your degree.

First-Year Courses

  • Introduction to Social Welfare
  • Introduction to Social Work: Values, Ethics and Practice
  • Introduction to Indigenous Studies
  • Two of: 
    • Modernity and the Contemporary World
    • Modernity: Critique and Resistance
    • Academic Literacy: Social Sciences
    • Academic Literacy: Humanities
  • 2.5 elective credits

Sample First-Year Electives

  • Media History
  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • Values and Society

Sample Upper-Year Courses

  • Creative Arts in Social Work Practice
  • Social Movements, Social Justice and Vulnerable Populations
  • Health Care and Social Work Practice
SK121: Introduction to Social Work: Values, Ethics and Practice (Required)

This course introduces the value orientations and ethics prevalent in the profession and in Canadian society and examines selected current practice issues, controversies or dilemmas of professional social work practice in Canada.

SK212: Social Work as Transformative Action (Required)

Concepts from critical social theory such as intersectionality, power and resistance, discourse ideology and critical self-reflection will be introduced and related to social work practice. Students will examine the processes and effects of various structures of oppression as well as individual and collective practices that challenge and transform such structures.

SK223: Critical Issues in Social Work Practice (Required)

This course introduces the student to social work practice in pressing contemporary issues that may differ from year-to-year. Topics may include but are not limited to Addictions, Aging / Gerontology, Disability, Trauma and Resiliency, Child Welfare and Mental Health.

SK311: Reconciliation and Indigenous-Social Work Relations (Required)

This course provides knowledge for understanding the nature of First Nations historical/structural problems; the role and operation of social services in Indigenous contexts; alternative (culture based and healing focused) methods of intervention; and present-day Indigenous concerns and issues including concepts of Indigenous title.

SK411: Human Sexuality and Gender Issues (Elective)

An examination of the gendered nature of societies and cultures as seen in Canadian law, culture, work, family, violence, health, and sexuality.

SK412: Creative Arts in Social Work Practice (Elective)

This course examines individual and community arts as expressions of the realities of social living. Issues such as marginalization will be explored for self-expression, public education and social commentary opportunities.

SK423: Child Welfare (Elective)

This course promotes a broad understanding of child maltreatment and contemporary child welfare intervention in the socially and culturally diverse Canadian context. Students critically examine and apply theory, policy, practice and legal frameworks supporting assessment and intervention competencies for child welfare practice.

SK430: Violence in Families (Elective)

Based on intersectional feminist principles, this course will integrate theory and practice, and incorporate analyses of policy and interdisciplinary responses to family violence, with an emphasis on woman abuse, children exposed to domestic violence, and perpetration of violence.

SK431: International Social Work (Elective)

This course provides students with an opportunity to explore the field of international social work with an emphasis on identifying major social problems, understanding the social forces that bear on those problems, and considering appropriate social work approaches to aid in their solution.

SK433: Working with Immigrant and Refugee Peoples (Elective)

This course will critically examine the context of the Canadian immigration system and its impact on the experiences of newcomers. Topics will include theories and discourses of migration, critical analysis of the Canadian immigration policy, leading settlement and adaptation services, and structural issues related to the wellbeing of immigrants, refugees, and diaspora.

Field Education

As part of the Social Work program, you will be required to complete two field education placements which bring what you are learning in the classroom to the workplace and develop your professional identity as a social worker.

The field education placements are conceptualized as an educational course rather than a work term. That is, courses are graded (pass/fail) by an agency-based qualified field instructor assigned to teach each student, and a field advisor is assigned to support each student and instructor. The workload of field education is controlled to facilitate an emphasis on learning.

You will complete two field placements as part of SK399: Field 1 (360 hours in 12 weeks) and SK499: Field 2 (360 hours in 12 weeks) for a total of 720 hours of field work. You must pass both of these field experiences in order to graduate from the Social Work program.

Where do I complete my field placements?

BSW placement agencies or teaching centres consist of social agencies/organizations selected and approved by our Field Education office. These centres are mostly located in towns/cities within a 150-kilometre range of Brantford. Commuting to placement is expected and, as a result, flexibility regarding the geographical location of a placement is required. Many agencies require that you have access to a car while on placement.
How am I assigned to a placement?

You are assigned to a placement for an interview based on the requirements of your BSW program and of the agency. Your interests in particular types of work or agencies are also taken into consideration when matching you with an agency for an interview; however, this is not guaranteed because placements are competitive. The Field Education office also considers new placement opportunities that you propose within the appropriate time frame.

When do field education courses take place?

The timelines for field education courses are structured and sequenced to reflect course requirements and program progression. The following timelines also ensure that you attend the required seminars and workshops that are part of the field education course, and that you complete your program requirements in a timely manner.

Field education course timelines:

  • Type of placement: fall, winter and spring term, four days a week.
  • Days: Tuesday to Friday.
  • Months: January to April or April to July or September to December.
  • Time in placement: 360 hours of placement; 30 hours per week.
Who evaluates the field education courses?

Professional and qualified instructors teach you in the field. Field education instructors typically hold a minimum of a BSW degree and are recognized as “our faculty in the field.” Instructors have a minimum of two-years post-degree experience as well as formal training.

What are the costs associated with placements?

Field education courses are covered under student fees. There are no extra charges through the university. However, while on placement, you are usually expected to pay for expenses such as police checks, mileage and parking. Students and instructors are not paid.

Placement agencies may cover your mileage costs while on agency business; however, this varies with agencies.

Tuition and Scholarships

Getting a university education is an investment in your future.

At Laurier, we take financial health seriously by providing a wide variety of funding opportunities for you throughout your degree, such as scholarships and bursaries, and by equipping you with the skills to manage your finances effectively in the years to come.

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"Laurier’s BSW program sparked my passion for social work and love of social justice. My experiences throughout the four years were filled with engaging professors, and dedicated faculty who created a rich learning environment within the classroom and field placement setting."

Dayna, Social Work graduate

"A degree in Social Work from Laurier is providing me with many transferable skills. When I applied to this program, I was fairly certain of my career goals. As I became more immersed in the program, it was staggering to learn of the multiple career opportunities that were available to me with this degree."

Jake, current Social Work student

Your Career Awaits

It’s not only about the journey; it’s about the destination. Let us help you get to where you’re going.

Here are just some examples of our graduates' destinations. What’s yours?

Sample Career Options

Note: Additional training and education may be required.

  • caseworker
  • child protection worker
  • group worker
  • medical social worker
  • policy analyst/advisor
  • rehabilitation counsellor
  • respite worker
  • social worker
  • support group facilitator

Explore more careers.

Support After Graduation

Alumni for life means that you have access to Career and Employment Support offered at Laurier for your entire career.

Brantford Campus

The Brantford campus is woven into the downtown core of the City of Brantford and is home to more than 3,000 students. Close to great walking and biking trails, you get the best of both worlds.

There are many ways to tour our Brantford campus, whether that's on a guided tour with one of our Laurier student ambassadors, on your own using virtual reality, or even on-demand through one of our pre-recorded tours. See our campus spaces and start to picture yourself at Laurier.

"Through this experience I was able to connect with vulnerable people and learn how to effectively advocate for social justice and equality."

Sarah, current Social Work student

Interested in More Info?

Email chooselaurier@wlu.ca, call 519.884.0710 x3385 or see all contact information.