Social Work (MSW)
Engage in personal and community change
The program consists of core courses in social policy, social work practice and research methods, in addition to selected professional electives, and graduate research in the form of a thesis or advanced practicum.
Altogether, the program consists of 30 credits, as follows:
- Core courses 12 credits
- Elective courses 6 credits
- Graduate Research Project 12 credits
- Total = 30 credits
Registration for the graduate research project is subject to:
- Successful completion of core and elective courses, totaling 18 credits;
- Approval of the project proposal by the MSW program committee;
- Approval of the project proposal by the research ethics review committee (if applicable)
Graduate research projects are supervised by two readers, the first of whom is a faculty member in the School of Social Work and formally accredited by graduate studies to supervise students in the M.S.W. program.
Core courses are available in the fall and winter sessions, from September to April. Elective courses are offered every spring term, on a rotating basis. Student course loads vary, from term to term, according to personal and professional demands. It is possible for students to complete their coursework in 3 semesters.
In addition to the courses (where appropriate, feasible, and approved), students may take advanced courses in related disciplines, in lieu of SWRK electives. Alternatively, reading seminars (independent study) may be designed to reflect the content of courses not otherwise available to students in the social work program.
Dr. Diana Coholic, MSW Coordinator
Telephone: 705.675.1151 x 5053
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the application deadline?
The deadline for fall admittance is January 15.
- How do I apply?
Applicants apply online via Graduate Studies, and submit hard copies of other required material to the Admissions Office at Laurentian University. See Admission Requirements below for the application checklist and instructions for the essay. No material should be sent to the School of Social Work. Once the Admissions Office deems a dossier is complete, they forward it to us for evaluation.
- Is the program offered online?
No, we do not currently offer the program on an on-line basis.
- Can I study on a part-time basis?
Yes, students can enrol either as a full-time or part-time student. Note that if you work more than 10 hours per week, you must enrol as a part-time student. However, in our program, full-time and part-time students can take the same number of courses.
- Can you explain the 4-day blocks of classes?
Students attend classes in each semester (fall, winter, and spring) in 4-day blocks from Wednesday to Saturday, 3x per semester. This enables students who are employed full-time to pursue graduate study in social work. Courses are held on the Sudbury campus.
- When can I begin the program?
We review all applications one time a year usually in February. The application deadline January 15. Successful applicants are offered admission for September.
- Is it competitive to get into your program?
Yes, the process is highly competitive. We receive many applications from good candidates for approximately 15-20 spaces per year.
- What is a qualifying year program?
First, please note that we do not have a separate application for a qualifying year program. Every year we have a few spaces available to strong applicants to the MSW program who require some preparation in social work education before embarking on graduate studies in social work. Usually, a qualifying year program is offered to strong candidates who do not have a BSW degree. We expect approximately five years of full-time professional experience that is highly related to social work to be considered for a qualifying year program, and a strong academic background related to social work.
To summarize, qualifying year positions are competitive. Qualifying year students are usually asked to take upper-level social work courses in policy, practice, theory, and research. Once this program is successfully completed, students must then apply for admission to the MSW program. Completion of the qualifying year is not a guarantee of admission to the MSW program. The qualifying year program is meant to prepare students for advanced study in social work.
- Can non-academics complete my referee forms?
We understand that in some cases, applicants may have been out of school for a while so it might be difficult to access a reference from a previous professor. This being said, you should choose referees that can speak to the criteria on the form.
- Can I use my current job as my advanced placement?
Students cannot use their current work as their advanced practicum because the purpose of an advanced practicum is to gain advanced training in a new area. This being said, there are some circumstances in which students can remain at their workplace and complete an advanced practicum. For example, a student could be seconded to a different program within their agency, they might be testing a new program within their work, or they might be assigned work with a new client group.
- How long does it take to complete the program?
Most of our students complete their course work over three semesters and then embark on their research or advanced practicum projects. Some students are able to complete the program in 1.5 years but many others take longer to complete due to the major writing component in the advanced practicum/research projects. It is possible for full-time students to complete all requirements in three terms.
The regulations of the School of Graduate Studies apply unless otherwise stipulated. The deadline for applications is January 15, preceding the fall registration period. Enrolment is limited. New students are admitted to the program for September intake.
The normal academic requirement for admission is a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a university recognized by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE), with a 75% average (or better) in their undergraduate study.
Exceptional circumstances: Candidates who hold a four-year degree in a discipline related to social work, with above-average (80%+) grades, and at least five years of professional experience in the human services, will also be considered for admission. In cases where admission is granted on exceptional grounds, students may be required to successfully complete specified undergraduate courses in practice theory, social policy, or research methods, prior to registering in graduate courses in the same area.
Candidates for admissions are ranked on the basis of academic performance (grades), professional experience (range and depth of activity / professional accomplishment / community involvement), personal qualities (self-direction / leadership ability), and research orientation (intellectual focus, clarity, and fit in relation to program strengths and university mission). Rankings are determined by an admissions committee on the basis of university transcripts, personal statements, letters of reference, and resume/curriculum vitae. Admission decisions cannot be appealed.
Step 1. Click here to submit the online application. Once students have applied, they will receive instructions (typically within 48 hours) from the Office of Admissions leading them to the MyLaurentian portal. Students can access the portal at my.laurentian.ca; sign-in credentials will be provided in the correspondence received from the Office of Admissions upon successful completion of an application. The following documents will be required in order to complete an application.
- Three Reference Forms (to begin the process at my.laurentian.ca click on "Reference Submission" on the left-hand navigation menu)
- Applicant essay (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian) – see below for instructions
- Curriculum Vitae/Resume (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)
- Official Academic Transcript(s) from all post secondary studies* (Please note that current or prior Laurentian University students do not need to request transcripts)
*Please note that official transcripts or WES course-by-course (for institutions attended outside of North America) must come directly to the Office of Admissions from the previous post secondary institution by requesting at the time of your application or by contacting the institution's Registrar's Office.
Step 2. Once the Admissions Office receives all information and the application is deemed complete, the application will be forwarded to the department. An Admissions Committee meets to review the applications.
Step 3. The Admissions Committee will review all applications on file and make a decision regarding the suitability of each applicant. The Admissions Committee will then make a recommendation to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Laurentian University. The Graduate Studies office will verify the dossier and if satisfactory, the Dean of Graduate Studies will forward the recommendation to the Office of Admissions at Laurentian University for admission.
Step 4: If approved for admission, the Office of Admissions will send the student an Offer of Admission via MyLaurentian. Applicants wishing to accept the offer of admission must indicate their response on MyLaurentian within 3 weeks of receiving the offer. Once the student has accepted the offer, a transition to the registration process occurs.
All applicants are required to submit an essay of up to 2,000 words. As used in the admissions process, this essay is viewed as one measure of the applicant’s conceptual abilities and expository writing skills. For those admitted to the program, it serves as an initial indication of the applicant’s expectations regarding specialization and general topic for the master’s thesis or advanced practicum project. In your essay, please address the following:
- What, from your socio-cultural perspective, do you bring to social work?
- What contribution to you see yourself making to social work in northern communities? (please include any innovative notions you may have in this regard)
- Carefully read the description of the M.S.W. program and outline of courses. Indicate your current preference for a thesis or advanced practicum. As specifically as you can, explain what topic might you consider for a research thesis or advanced practicum. What are your thoughts on how you would go about accomplishing this project?
Your essay will be evaluated carefully by the Admissions Committee for clarity, specificity, conceptualization, and feasibility.
Applicants with work experience who do not have the academic background necessary for admission directly into the M.S.W. program may be considered for a qualifying year program, which is tailored to their individual circumstances. Upon successful completion of the qualifying year program, students will be eligible to apply for admission to the M.S.W. program.
In addition to selected core courses in the undergraduate program, for example, social work policy, research, theory/practice courses (see B.S.W. course descriptions), qualifying year students may be required to complete the following:
- SWRK-4705EL - Field III This 450-hour field placement is intended for students enrolled in the qualifying of the Master of Social Work program. It is designed to provide the student with the opportunity to apply theory to practice and acquire the skills and knowledge required for a graduate program. (exp. 450) (6 credits)
For Current Students
The degree options listed below are for the upcoming academic year, not the current academic year. If you are a current student looking for which courses to take in order to complete your degree options from a previous academic year's curriculum, please consult with an academic advisor.
Students must follow these regulations while in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Approved Field of Study:
- Social Work
Program of Study
30 credits required in the following categories : Core courses (12 credits), Elective SWRK courses (6 credits) and Graduate Research Project (12 credits)
Core Courses (12 credits)
SWRK 5016 - Advanced Social Work Practice 1
SWRK 5026 - Social Policy : Issues and Options
SWRK 5056 - Research 1 : Methods
SWRK 5057 - Research 2 : Advanced
Elective Courses (6 credits)
Any 6 credits of SWRK 5xxx
Graduate Research Project (12 credits)
SWRK 6004 - Thesis
SWRK 6024 - Advanced Practicum