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Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

*Subject to approval by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance

The International Social Work Program (ISWP) is offered to Master of Social Work (MSW) students in the two-year full-time program. The Faculty of Social Work collaborates with international organizations that offer MSW students challenging and unique opportunities.

The International Social Work Program (ISWP) is an innovative approach to provide you with an opportunity to advance your knowledge and theory of social work practice in countries with social, economic and political contexts that are significantly different than Canada, while encouraging the sharing of ideas among social work students, schools and practitioners around the world. The program fosters students’ understanding of global interdependence, the universality of social problems and the need to develop responses grounded in the local community.

How Does The Program Work?

The ISWP combines courses, pre-departure sessions, and an advanced international field placement. Students interested in the ISWP attend information sessions during the first term of their program.  Students take four courses and participate in pre and post-departure sessions.  Students who successfully complete all requirements graduate with a diploma in International Social Work in addition to their Social Work degree.

What Courses are Required?

  • International Social Work Research
  • Personal and Professional Identity: Reflexivity and Growth in International Context
  • Trans-National Social Work Practice
  • Advanced International Placement

When Does the International Placement Take Place?

The advanced international placement takes place between late August and December of the second year of the program.

Who can Apply for the ISWP?

MSW students in the two-year full-time program are eligible to apply for the ISWP. Final acceptance into the program is subject to an interview process, successful completion of all first-year courses and foundational placement, and participation in pre-departure sessions.

How Many Students are Admitted to the ISWP?

Student participation the ISWP program varies each year. On average, six students participate in the program each year.

Where do Students Complete an International Placement?

MSW students apply for field placement opportunities with international agencies that the Faculty of Social Work has an established agreement with. Interested students are provided with detailed information on all opportunities which have been confirmed for the international placement cycle. Students seeking new placement opportunities are encouraged to present their proposed placement to the coordinator during the first term of their program.  Currently, the Faculty of Social Work is partnered with host agencies in China, Peru, the Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana.

Are there Funding Opportunities?

There are a few funding opportunities available to ISWP students, including:

  • The Faculty of Social Work International Practicum Bursary Fund, which is available for Laurier MSW students participating in the ISWP who demonstrate financial need (i.e. the host country is not providing financial assistance). Approximately $7,000 is distributed equally amongst students who are not receiving funding from other sources.
  • Our partner agency in China, which provides students with a monthly stipend (approximately $800/month) and covers the cost of accommodation and meals for each student.
  • The Laurier-Ghana Partnership for Human Rights and Social Justice, which is a project funded by the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship program. Through the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee scholarship, students participating in a placement in Ghana can receive up to $6,000 in funding. Laurier graduate students interested in studying at the University of Ghana or in conducting research in Ghana for one semester are invited to send applications for Queen Elizabeth II scholarship funding. Students selected for the program are named “Queen Elizabeth Scholars.” They will engage with students and faculty of the University of Ghana as well as the people in the community, learn about the culture, and create projects and engage in activities that impact the world during their stay. Laurier MSW students have been recipients of this scholarship.
  • Some international partners offer students stipends and/or accommodation to help alleviate the cost of an international practicum.
  • Laurier International also facilitates additional scholarship opportunities that are open to graduate students completing an international placement.

Are there Fees?

You pay tuition fees at Laurier and are responsible for all expenses incurred while abroad, including health insurance. In the past, students have offset their expenses through scholarships and organizing various fundraisers. There may also be opportunities to apply for external grants. Some international organizations assist with housing or offer you a stipend towards accommodation or meals. Such financial assistance is offered at the discretion and capacity of the organization.


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