Social Work (MSW)

The Master of Social Work (MSW) curriculum is designed to be at the cutting edge of contemporary social work practice.

Our curriculum emphasizes the development of critically reflexive practice skills through the ongoing integration of knowledge, theory and practice within a framework that promotes the advancement of equity, inclusivity, reflexivity and social justice. It is our anticipation that graduates of our program will walk alongside those with whom they work, in collaborative, inclusive, reflexive and caring ways and that they will stand up for what they believe is just.


Program Highlights

Why choose Laurier? We have an outstanding reputation as one of Canada’s top graduate schools for social work education:

  • Since 1966, we have graduated nearly 5,400 social workers.
  • More than 85% of our graduates find full-time employment in the field.
  • The field education office works with various agencies across the social work landscape to identify MSW level placements. Students are then matched to placements for an interview.
  • Classes usually do not exceed 30 students; this allows for strong relationships between faculty and students and encourages personal learning.
  • We are fully accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE).

Program Details

Program Options

We offer several options for obtaining your Master of Social Work (MSW):

International Social Work Diploma

Through the International Social Work Diploma (ISWD) program, a few international placements are available for students in the regular track full-time program. Student apply to the ISWD program in the first year of the program.

Thesis Option

Although most students complete the coursework option, a limited number of students can choose the thesis option. Please note, the thesis option is only available to full-time on-campus students as noted in the individual program information.

Field Education

Field education is a vital aspect of your MSW program. It constitutes a large part of your program and provides an opportunity to integrate social work theory and practice.

Gain Valuable Experience

The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.

Field education placements are courses that are graded (pass/fail) by an agency-based, qualified field instructor assigned to teach each student. The workload of placements is controlled to facilitate an emphasis on learning.

Curriculum and Schedule

As part of your field education, you will complete courses with approved agencies that provide micro and/or macro learning opportunities. A qualified agency-based field instructor will provide supervision to help you to develop social work practice skills that reflect your foundational or advanced field education course.

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“My experience at Laurier has nurtured and inspired me. Simultaneously, it has challenged and dislocated me from the comforts of what I thought I knew and who I thought I was. I am so grateful for the transformative learning opportunity I have been afforded here.”

Andrew Hoang


Take the first step in your graduate education and apply to one of our graduate programs. Follow our three-step admission process — we’ll walk you through how to apply and prepare for your first day as a graduate student.

“I chose Laurier because the MSW program promised to allow me to consolidate the learning I had acquired throughout my career in a timely way.”

Amanda Workman

Program Location

This program is available online for part-time students or on location at the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work in the heart of downtown Kitchener. This fully renovated historic building houses seven classrooms (including a unique circular classroom), a computer lab, a 2,000-square-foot library, an interview-viewing room, a large conference/lecture hall, a community meeting space, a student lounge, and a spiritual room.

Close to 300 graduate students are based in Kitchener, just minutes away from Laurier’s Waterloo campus where they can access a full range of student supports and a variety of campus amenities.

Learn more about Laurier's campuses.

Tuition and Funding

Regardless of the type of graduate degree program you intend to pursue, financial planning is important. At Laurier, we want to provide you with as much information as possible about a variety of scholarship and funding opportunities and equip you with the skills to manage your finances effectively in the years to come.



Examples of jobs held by our graduates include:

  • family and children’s services
  • adult and children’s mental health
  • social policy analysis and development
  • community development
  • case management
  • social agency administration
  • supervision
  • family counseling services
  • hospital social work
  • non-governmental organizations
  • school social work
  • community health agencies
  • private practice

Professional Development

The Faculty of Social Work's professional development programs offer more than 40 continuing education workshops a year. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your skills, complement your studies or explore new areas of interest, the professional development programs can help you achieve your goals.

Your Path to Post-Degree Success

ASPIRE is Laurier's professional skills development training program for graduate students. The program helps you craft an individualized, extracurricular learning plan tailored to your professional journey and entry to the workplace.

Contact Us

Full-Time and Online Part-Time Programs

Email for admission enquiries.

Indigenous Field of Study

For enquiries regarding the Indigenous Field of Study, email or call 519.884.0710 x5249.