Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2010/2011
Canadian Excellence

Master of Social Work

Inaugurated in 1966, the MSW program was first accredited in 1974 by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work and was most recently reaccredited in 2005. The MSW Program is also accredited by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS), with three fields of study approved: individuals, families and groups (IFG), community, policy, planning and organizations (CPPO), and Aboriginal.

The MSW curriculum is designed to provide students with opportunities for personal growth and learning consistent with the norms of advanced scholarship, which will lead to the development of social work knowledge, skills and attitudes conducive to professional social work roles in:

  • practice with individuals, families and groups (IFG); or
  • practice in community, policy, planning and organizations (CPPO); or 
  • integrated practice combining (a) and (b) above (the integrated practice option is not available to advanced standing or thesis students); or 
  • Aboriginal holistic healing practice.

PROGRAMS WITH IFG AND CPPO FIELDS OF STUDY

Overview

The curriculum is organized into a program of classroom courses and social work practica courses.  There are four types of courses:

  1. Core courses with content related to foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes for all social work practice. These core courses are required of all students.
  2. Courses related to the IFG or CPPO fields of study. Each student must choose one of the following areas:  Individuals, Families and Groups (IFG); Community, Policy, Planning and Organizations (CPPO); or an integrated practice combining IFG and CPPO (the integrated stream is not offered to advanced standing or thesis students).  Students who select the integrated concentration take a combination of IFG and CPPO courses and they must declare a primary and secondary focus with regard to the IFG and CPPO fields.
  3. Graduate level electives (offered by the Faculty of Social Work or by other WLU departments) that provide students with opportunities to round out their program of study in terms of special interests or career goals. Each year the FSW chooses to offer a certain number of elective courses from among those that are listed in the Graduate Calendar. Students may also take IFG and CPPO field courses as electives if they do not have to count such courses as required field courses. 
  4. Practicum placements in social work agencies where students receive practice education and supervision from a MSW practitioner. Placements reflect the student's chosen concentration of study: IFG, CPPO or the integrated concentration that combines IFG and CPPO. There are a limited number of international placements available to two-year full-time students.

Note: There is also a thesis option that may be chosen by a limited number of students each year, but this option is not available to integrated stream students.

PROGRAMS WITH THE ABORIGINAL FIELD OF STUDY

Overview

Students in the Aboriginal field of study will develop an understanding of the Aboriginal holistic healing approach and the application of this knowledge within diverse and generalist practice contexts. This includes practices with individuals and groups, as well as in contexts where community work is undertaken and in policy and research arenas. The practicum in this program will be at an agency or program that offers the Aboriginal holistic healing approach as its primary or desired process of intervention. In placements where students will engage in community, policy or research work, the focus will be on processes where the holistic healing approach will be utilized. Students complete a minimum of eight courses and the practicum in the Aboriginal field of study for the full-time advanced standing program spans two terms (Terms 2 and 3, January - June) at three days/week.

Admission Requirements

For the two-year full-time, four-year part-time, and MSW-MDiv programs, normally, a four year bachelor's degree, or equivalent, from a university or college of recognized standing is required. Applicants with a three year degree and significant relevant work experience will be considered. To be eligible for the advanced standing programs, applicants must hold a Bachelor of Social Work degree from an accredited program in a university of recognized standing.

Academic background must include at least four full social science courses and a half-credit course in research methodology.

For applicants who have already completed a bachelor's degree, at least a B (73-76 percent) standing in the final academic year is required. For students completing their final year of undergraduate study, the academic eligibility standard is the same but is determined on the basis of the last completed academic year.

Evidence of paid and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations, awareness of contemporary social issues and social work values, demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, and motivation for a career as a professional social worker is assessed on the basis of application material.

Although the Aboriginal field of study is open to students of all cultural backgrounds, candidates for this field must also have some familiarity with the traditional holistic healing approach and/or have used it in their practice. This will be demonstrated through a personal statement, references and an admissions interview.

Additional courses required for admission to the MSW program that are completed after the requirements for the bachelor's degree have been met will be calculated into the final year GPA. To be considered for admission, the re-calculated GPA must be at least a B average.

Applicants who do not meet the above academic requirements and standards for admission may inquire about establishing academic eligibility. If applicants do not have a B standing in the final academic year, additional undergraduate coursework must be completed to raise the final year GPA to the minimum B requirement. Additional coursework must be completed in social sciences beyond the introductory level. Please contact the admissions coordinator for further details.

 
Program Requirements for the MSW Two-Year Program (Full-time)

This MSW program consists of five terms taken over two academic years (fall, winter and spring terms in the first year and fall and winter terms in the second year). Students are required to register and pay tuition in each of the five terms. Within the two years, non-thesis students ordinarily will take a minimum of 14 courses and 37 weeks of practicum (4 days/week), in two different practicum settings. Thesis students ordinarily will take a minimum of 11 courses and 31 weeks of practicum.

Core courses:

  • SK500 - Human Development in Context
  • SK501 - Community Interventions: Theory and Practice Essentials
  • SK504 - Research Methods in Social Work 
  • SK507 - Diversity, Marginalisation and Oppression
  • SK522 - Social Work Practice with Individuals
  • SK641 - Social Policy Analysis

IFG field courses:

  • SK509 - Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups 
  • SK552 - Social Work Practice with Families
  • SK615 - Clinical Social Work Research and Data Analysis
  • SK621 - Use of Self
  • SK651 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Individuals
  • SK653 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups

CPPO field courses:

  • SK508 - Reflective Group and Community Practice
  • SK607 - Community Research and Data Analysis
  • SK609 - Program Development and Social Planning
  • SK610 - Social Change and Social Action
  • SK679 - Organizational Practice
  • SK680 - Advanced Social Policy: Creating Change in Government

Course Requirements

Students who select a single field (IFG or CPPO) program take all 6 core courses, all 6 field (IFG or CPPO) courses, and 2 electives.

Students who select the integrated stream are required to declare a primary and secondary focus with regard to the IFG and CPPO fields. Integrated stream students take all 6 core courses, 4 courses in the primary field, 3 courses in the secondary field, and 1 elective. If IFG is declared as the primary focus, the 4 required IFG courses are SK615 - Clinical Social Work Research and Data Analysis, SK621 - Use of Self, SK552 - Social Work Practice with Families and SK509 - Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups. If CPPO is declared as the primary focus, students must take SK607 - Community Research and Data Analysis and any 3 other CPPO field courses. Students may choose any 3 courses from their secondary field, except that if IFG is the secondary focus SK653 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups may not be taken without first completing the prerequisite course, SK509 - Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups.

Thesis option students are exempt from 2 field courses (except SK615 - Clinical Social Work Research and Data Analysis and SK607 - Community Research and Data Analysis), 1 elective and 18 days of the first practicum.

Course Schedule for Single Field Program (without thesis or international placement option)


IFG
 CPPO
Term 1
SK500
SK501
SK507
SK522
SK641
SK500
SK501
SK507
SK522
SK641
Term 2
SK504
SK509
SK541
SK504
SK679
SK541
Term 3
SK552
SK541
SK615
SK508
SK541
SK607
Term 4
SK621
SK643
SK651
SK643
SK680

Term 5
SK653
2 electives
SK609
SK610
2 electives

All students in the 2-year full-time program have the same course schedule in Term 1, so decisions about one’s choice of field, single field versus integrated stream, thesis option, or international placement option do not need to be finalized until mid-way through the first term.

Students who select the integrated stream, the thesis option, and/or the international placement option must develop an individualized study plan/course schedule before the end of their first term to detail how program requirements will be completed. Such study plans/course schedules need to be approved by the MSW Co-ordinator.

International placement students must take SK622: International Placement over 3 terms (terms 3, 4, and 5) and this course substitutes for 2 other courses. For single field IFG students, SK622 - Self, Identity and Diversity in International Social Work substitutes for SK621 - Use of Self and SK651 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Individuals. For single field CPPO students, SK622 - Self, Identity and Diversity in International Social Work substitutes for SK680 - Advanced Social Policy: Creating Change in Government and either one other CPPO course (other than SK607 - Community Research and Data Analysis) or an elective. For integrated stream students with IFG as the primary focus, SK622 - Self, Identity and Diversity in International Social Work substitutes for SK621 - Use of Self and one secondary field (CPPO) course. For integrated students with CPPO as the primary focus, SK622 - Self, Identity and Diversity in International Social Work substitutes for SK680 - Advanced Social Policy: Creating Change in Government and one secondary field (IFG) course.

 
Program Requirements for the MSW Four-Year Program (Part-time)

The curricular requirements and course content are identical to those in the two-year full-time program. The difference is that students complete degree requirements over 10 academic terms.

In the IFG concentration, courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening. Courses in the CPPO concentration are completed during the day, at the same time they are offered to full-time MSW students.

In the four-year part-time program:

  1. All students must begin and complete the program with their cohort. Students must be registered in every term of the program until completion of the degree.
  2. Students are expected to complete one field practicum within their place of employment.
  3. Students are required to complete a second field practicum in a setting other than their current place of employment.
  4. Students originally registered in the part-time program normally are not permitted to transfer to the full-time program; nor are full-time students normally permitted to transfer to the part-time program.

The part-time MSW program consists of ten terms taken over four academic years (winter and spring in the first year, fall, winter and spring in the second and third years, and fall and winter in the fourth year). Students are required to register and pay tuition in each of the ten terms.

Course Schedule for Single Field Program


IFG
CPPO
Term 1
SK500 - Human Development in Context
SK507 - Diversity, Marginalisation and Oppression
SK500 - Human Development in Context
SK507 - Diversity, Marginalisation and Oppression
Term 2
SK501 - Community Interventions: Theory and Practice Essentials
SK522 - Social Work Practice with Individuals
SK501 - Community Interventions: Theory and Practice Essentials
SK522 - Social Work Practice with Individuals
Term 3

SK541 - Practicum I
SK641 - Social Policy Analysis

SK541 - Practicum I
SK641 - Social Policy Analysis
Term 4
SK509 - Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups
SK541 - Practicum I
SK541 - Practicum I
SK679 - Organizational Practice
Term 5
SK541 - Practicum I
SK552 - Social Work Practice with Families
SK508 - Reflective Group and Community Practice
SK541 - Practicum I
Term 6
SK504 - Research Methods in Social Work
SK643 - Practicum II
SK504 - Research Methods in Social Work
SK643 - Practicum II
Term 7

SK621 - Use of Self
SK643 - Practicum II
SK609 - Program Development and Social Planning
SK610 - Social Change and Social Action
SK643 - Practicum II
Term 8
SK615 - Clinical Social Work Research and Data Analysis
SK607 - Community Research and Data Analysis
Term 9
SK651 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Individuals
SK653 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups

SK680 - Advanced Social Policy: Creating Change in Government
Term 10
2 electives
2 electives

All students in the 4-year part-time program have the same course schedule in Terms 1 and 2, so decisions about one’s choice of field, single field versus integrated stream, thesis option, or international placement option do not need to be finalized until mid-way through the second term.

Students who select the integrated stream, the thesis option, and/or the international placement option must develop an individualized study plan/course schedule before the end of their second term to detail how program requirements will be completed. Such study plans/course schedules need to be approved by the MSW Coordinator.

Part-time students who are approved to do an international placement complete the placement on a full-time basis (4-5 days/week) in term 6. International placement students must take SK622 - Self, Identity and Diversity in International Social Work over 3 terms (terms 5, 6, and 7) and this course substitutes for 2 other courses. For single field IFG students, SK622 - Self, Identity and Diversity in International Social Work substitutes for two of SK621 - Use of Self, SK651 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Individuals, SK653 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups or 1-2 electives. For single field CPPO students, SK622 - Self, Identity and Diversity in International Social Work substitutes for any two field (other than SK607 - Community Research and Data Analysis) or elective courses. Integrated stream students who are approved to do an international placement must have an individualized study plan approved by the MSW Coordinator.

 
Program Requirements for the MSW Advanced Standing Program (Full-time)

Advanced standing students will normally complete the program in ten months (fall, winter and spring terms; September to June, inclusive).

Students complete a minimum of eight courses and 29 weeks of practicum. The thesis option includes exemptions from two electives and 45 days of practicum. A student who is interested in the thesis option must contact the Associate Dean (MSW program) in the first term of study.

Core courses:

SK504 - Research Methods in Social Work
SK680 - Advanced Social Policy: Creating Change in Government

IFG field courses:

SK615 - Clinical Social Work Research and Data Analysis
SK621 - Use of Self
SK651 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Individuals
SK653 - Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups

CPPO field courses:

SK508 - Reflective Group and Community Practice
SK607 - Community Research and Data Analysis
SK609 - Program Development and Social Planning
SK610 - Social Change and Social Action
SK679 - Organizational Practice

Course Requirements

IFG and CPPO students take 2 core courses, 4 field courses, and 2 elective courses. CPPO students have a choice between SK610 - Social Change and Social Action or SK679 - Organizational Practice as one of their 4 field courses.

Thesis students in the advanced standing program are exempt from two electives and 45 days of practicum.

Course Schedule

IFG CPPO
Term 1
SK504
SK621
SK649
SK651
SK504
SK649
SK680
Term 2
SK649
2 electives
SK609
SK610 or SK679
SK649
2 electives
Term 3
SK615
SK653
SK680
SK508
SK607
 
Program Requirements for the MSW Advanced Standing Program (Part-time)

Normally, students in the two-year advanced standing part-time program will be currently employed in a social services organization. Program requirements are identical to the full-time advanced standing program, except that students complete one or two courses per term for three terms in each of the two years. Admission to the part-time program occurs every other year.

The practicum is 87 days, normally completed two days per week for 44 weeks, but other arrangements may be possible through consultation with the Practicum Coordinator.

Course Schedule

IFG
CPPO
Term 1
SK504
SK651
SK504
Term 2
1 elective
SK610 or SK679
1 elective
Term 3
SK615
SK653
SK508
SK607
Term 4
SK621
SK649
SK649
Term 5
SK649
1 elective
SK609
SK649
1 elective
Term 6
SK649
SK680
SK649
SK680

Thesis students in the advanced standing part-time program are exempt from two electives and 45 days of practicum.

 
Program Requirements for the Combined MDiv/MTS - MSW Program

The MDiv - MSW program is offered jointly by the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and the Faculty of Social Work. It integrates the curricula of both degrees into four years of study. This program is particularly valuable for those who are interested in positions of leadership in the social services of the church and the community at large.

Such positions would include special ministries in a hospital, prison, leisure or counselling centre setting, placements in social work agencies that work closely with the church, and occupations in groups that are involved in broad-based programs of leadership development and community renewal. Because the completion of the joint program results in the receipt of both the MDiv and the MSW degrees, persons graduating from the joint program are also qualified to apply for other positions within the fields of social work and church ministry.

The combined MDiv - MSW program normally involves two years of registration in the Seminary and two years of registration in the Faculty of Social Work. Students pay fees and are only eligible for scholarships, bursaries and awards applicable to the program in which they are registered.

There are a limited number of positions in the joint MDiv - MSW program. Normally no more than six students are admitted to the program in any particular year. Therefore, it is desirable to apply for admission to this joint program at the earliest possible date.

At the beginning of each academic year, students in the combined degree programs must meet with both the MSW Coordinator and the dean of the Seminary to plan their course schedule for the coming year.

For further information, refer to Program Requirements-The MDiv - MSW Program or write to the dean of the Seminary or the admissions coordinator in the Faculty of Social Work.

 
Program Requirements for the MSW Advanced Standing Program (Aboriginal field) (Full-time)

Students register and complete their eight courses and 29 weeks of practicum in three academic terms (fall, winter and spring terms, September to June).

Courses

SK507 - Diversity, Marginalisation and Oppression
SK628 - Cultural Camp
SK635 - Indigenous Knowledges and Theory
SK644 - Aboriginal Kinship Structures and Social Work Practice
SK645 - Indigenous Research Methodologies
SK646 - Wholistic Healing Practices
SK647 - Elders' Teaching and Indigenous Identity
SK648 - Elders' Teaching and Self-Reflection 

Course Schedule

Term 1
SK628
SK644
SK645
SK646
Term 2
SK507
SK647
SK649
Term 3
SK635
SK648
SK649
 
Program Requirements for the MSW Advanced Standing Program (Aboriginal field) (Part-time)

The curricular requirements and course content are identical to those in the Aboriginal field full-time MSW program. Students who complete the MSW degree requirements on a part-time basis register and complete their eight courses and 29 weeks of practicum in six academic terms (fall, winter, and spring terms, September to June, in two consecutive years).

Course Schedule

Term 1
SK628
SK647
Term 2
SK646
SK649
Term 3
SK635
SK649
Term 4
SK507
SK644
Term 5
SK645
Term 6
SK648
 
The Practicum

As a significant portion of their training, all MSW students complete practicum placements in social work agencies and receive practice instruction and supervision from a Master of Social Work practitioner. Placements reflect the student's chosen field of study: individuals, families and groups (IFG); community, policy, planning and organizations (CPPO); an integrated concentration blending IFG and CPPO (not available to advanced standing IFG or CPPO students or to thesis students); or Aboriginal holistic healing.

All students in placement develop learning goals and a learning plan with their instructor, based upon broad goals set by the Faculty of Social Work. Midterm and final evaluation feedback is given by the instructor. Grading is on a satisfactory/fail basis for all placements.

Students in the full-time two-year program complete two placements, one in each of the two years. The first placement is 4 days per week for the winter and spring terms, and the second is four days per week for the fall term of their second year. Students in the four-year part-time program complete one placement in their second year consisting of two days per week for three academic terms, and a second placement in their fourth year for two days per week in the fall and winter terms. Advanced standing students in the full-time program with IFG and CPPO fields of study complete one placement of three days per week from September through April. Advanced standing students in the part-time program with IFG and CPPO fields of study complete one placement of two days per week for three terms in the second year of the program. Advanced standing students in both the full-time and part-time programs with the Aboriginal field of study complete one placement of three days per week over their second and third (winter and spring) terms.

Students completing a thesis are exempt from some placement days (see Program Requirements), although they may choose to complete the full placement.

Many of our practicum settings have requirements for a criminal record check and/or vaccinations (for medical settings) prior to commencing the practicum.

A small number of students in the two-year and four-year part-time programs may pursue a program of study in combination with an international practicum in their second year (see Program Requirements for details).

Further information can be found on the practicum page of the FSW website.

 
Thesis Option

The thesis option is open to all students except those in the IFG/CPPO integrated stream or those in the Aboriginal field of study; 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. The Associate Dean may assist students in identifying potential thesis advisors. Two-year full-time and advanced standing students must register in the thesis option by mid-way through their first term, and part-time students must register before their fourth term (see Program Requirements for course and practicum exemptions for the thesis option).

Guidelines for the preparation and submission of master's theses, as well as information regarding the oral examination of theses, are found under General Regulations in the Graduate Calendar.