Social Work

Master of Social work (MSW)

Course-based program

Program overview

The Master of Social Work (MSW) is a nationally-accredited program that prepares students for advanced professional practice in social work. The course-based route is appropriate for students who intend to provide direct service in the field. 

The Faculty of Social Work offers the MSW program in Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge. 

Students holding an accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree are admitted directly into a 12-month or 24-month MSW program. Students with an undergraduate degree in another discipline complete nine foundation courses (in 12 months) followed by the 12-month or 24-month program.

Completing this program

  • Courses: Students must follow the prescribed curriculum plan for their specialization and complete all 12 courses (3 units each) if they entered the program with a BSW or 21 courses (3 units each) if they entered the program with a non-social work undergraduate degree.


  • Clinical Social Work Practice (12-month or 24-month program for students with a BSW)
  • Leadership in the Human Services (24-month program for students with a BSW)
  • International and Community Development (24-month program for students with a BSW)


Hospitals/community health centers, mental health clinics, schools, non-profit/advocacy groups, government, social service/child welfare/family service agencies, correctional facilities, social housing, family courts, employee assistance programs, private counselling, school boards, consultation.

A course-based master’s degree in social work is usually considered a final degree.

Course-based program

Foundation: Nine courses; Specialization: 12 courses. MSW students with a non-social work bachelor's degree must complete all foundation courses prior to taking any specialization courses.

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Blended delivery

Classes are delivered online and in person

Time commitment

Program length is one, two, or three years full-time study, dependent on specialization and program location; six years maximum.


No supervisor is required.

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

Admission Requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A Bachelor of Social Work degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in another discipline.

Work samples


Work experience

Applicants must have the equivalent of two years of full-time paid or volunteer work (or the equivalent of 3000 hours) in the human services field.


  • A study plan outlining the applicant's educational goals and career expectations. (If applying to the Calgary program, the study plan must indicate the applicant’s intended area of Specialization: Clinical Social Work Practice, Leadership in the Human Services, or International and Community Development)
  • Resume

Reference letters

Two; one professional and one academic

Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on May 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Nov. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Nov. 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Faculty of Social Work

Professional Faculties, Room 3256
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the Faculty of Social Work website


Highlights of the Social Work program

David Este with students

Social Work researchers find cultural gaps in mental health services

David Este and Christa Sato work to reduce the stigma of mental illness in Asian men

Mishka Lysack

Helping our society transition to a lower carbon future

Mishka Lysack focuses on helping Canadians make the shift to a lower carbon future

Lana Wells

Preventing domestic violence before it occurs

Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence seeks to reduce and prevent domestic violence