Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. For more information, visit our website.
The Master of Social Work (MSW) is a nationally-accredited program that prepares students for advanced professional practice in social work. The thesis-based route is designed for students who intend to pursue doctoral studies and/or anticipate a career requiring advanced program evaluation and research skills.
The Faculty of Social Work offers the MSW thesis program in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and online.
Students holding an accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree are admitted directly into a 24-month or 36-month thesis-based MSW program. Students admitted with a non-social work degree complete 9 foundation courses (in 12 months) followed by the 24-month or 36-month program.
Courses: Students must follow the prescribed curriculum plan for their specialization and complete all 10 courses (30 units) if they entered the program with a BSW or 19 courses (57 units) if they entered the program with a non-social work degree. The specialization year consists of 4 courses in Advanced Social Work Practice (12 units), 4 specialization courses (12 units), and 2 thesis research courses (6 units).
Thesis: Upon completion of required courses, students conduct original research and prepare a thesis which is evaluated on the written content and is orally defended before an examination committee.
Research Proposal: Students should complete all coursework prior to having their proposal approved by their supervisor.
Optional Practicum: Students may elect to complete Social Work 660 Advanced Practicum, but it is not a mandatory component of the thesis-based degree. Students with a non-BSW degree may need additional Foundational Practicum hours to meet accreditation requirements.
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, consulting.
A thesis-based master’s degree in social work is a preferred pre-requisite for a PhD.
Students are required to complete all required courses, prepare and successfully defend a thesis in an open oral examination.
Students with a BSW complete 10 courses (30 units). Students with a non-social work bachelor's degree must complete 9 Foundation courses (27 units) prior to their 10 Specialization courses (30 units). Advanced Practicum (SOWK 660 - 6 units) is optional.
With the exception of the Calgary-based Clinical Social work Practice specialization and Calgary-based Foundation courses, which are delivered in-person in Calgary, the MSW program is offered by distance/online learning with limited in-person residencies. See the Faculty of Social Work website for information about location and specialization specific delivery.
Two, three or four years (maximum) of full-time study, dependent on entry route, specialization and program location.
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.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an accredited/recognized* institution or a four-year bachelor’s degree in another discipline. The degree must be conferred prior to the May program start.
*The Faculty of Social Work recognizes BSW degrees accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE), the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), and international credentials deemed equivalent to a Canadian BSW degree by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW).
Applicants must have the equivalent of two years of full-time paid work or a minimum of 3,000 hours of paid and/or volunteer work in the human services field.
Two; one professional and one academic
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: