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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.

The International Social Work Diploma (ISWD) 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 ISWD provides 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 ISWD combines courses, including a pre-departure orientation course, with an advanced international field placement. Students interested in the ISWD attend information sessions during the first term of their program. Students take two quarter-credit and four half-credit courses including the international placement. 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 Placement Orientation
  • International Social Work Research
  • Personal and Professional Identity: Reflexivity and Growth in International Context
  • Trans-National Social Work Practice
  • Advanced International Placement
  • International Social Work Research Paper

When Does the International Placement Take Place?

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

Who can Apply for the International Social Work Program?

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

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. Availability of placements varies each year. Interested students are provided with detailed information on all opportunities that 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. 

Are there Funding Opportunities?

There are a few funding opportunities available to ISWD students. Funding opportunities change annually, and are shared with students upon entry to the program. Past opportunities include:

  • The Faculty of Social Work International Practicum Bursary Fund, which is available for Laurier MSW students participating in the ISWD 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.
  • Some international partners offer students stipends and/or accommodation to help alleviate the cost of an international practicum.
  • Laurier International 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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