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Join us at Laurier

Being 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.


Program Overview

With an overarching framework of social justice, equity, inclusivity and reflexivity, our new curriculum is designed to provide a wholly integrated foundational year that grounds all two-year full-time students in essential and interconnected social work practice areas.

The second year of the program provides optimal flexibility and choice for you to focus your preferences toward micro and/or macro practices. Advanced standing one-year full-time students, while not participating in the foundational year, will have increased flexibility in choosing the direction of their learning in micro and/or macro practices. All of our MSW programs continue and strengthen our commitment to practice.

Course Sequences

Professional Development

In the Faculty of Social Work, we believe that you never stop learning. Our professional development programs offer more than 40 continuing education workshops a year. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your skills, complement your Master of Social Work studies or explore new areas of interest, the professional development programs can help you achieve your goals.

MSW Two-Year Full-Time Program

Note: The following course listing is not to be used for registration purposes.

Foundational Year

Term 1 (Fall)

  • SK501: Approaches to Community Organizing and Group Practices
  • SK504: Research 1
  • SK507: Social Justice and Transformative Social Work Practices
  • SK522: Social Work Practice with Individuals
  • SK536: Integrating Theory and Practice (two-term, fall-winter course)

Term 2 (Winter)

  • SK536: Integrating Theory and Practice (two-term, fall-winter course)
  • SK541: Foundational Field Education (two-term, winter-spring)
  • SK545: Introduction to Ethical Thought and Reflexive Practices 
  • Foundational elective*

Term 3 (Spring)

  • SK541: Foundational Field Education (two-term, winter-spring)
  • SK665: Critical Indigenous Knowledges in Social Work
  • Choose one of the following:
    • SK641: Critical Social Policy and Activism
    • SK681: The Political and Organizational Contexts of Social Work Practice

Advanced Study Year

Term 4 (Fall)

  • SK615: Research 2
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (two-term, fall-winter)
  • Choose one of the following (depending on micro/macro nature of placement):
    • SK508: Reflective Group and Community Practice
    • SK621: Reflexive Practices
  • Choose one of the following:
    • SK651: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals
    • SK690: Social Inequality, Poverty and Income Support: A Comparative Perspective

Term 5 (Winter)

*Elective offerings will be determined year to year.

MSW Advanced Standing Full-Time Program

Note: The following course listing is not to be used for registration purposes.

Term 1 (Fall)

  • SK504: Research 1
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (two terms, fall-winter)
  • Choose one of the following (depending on micro/macro nature of placement):
    • SK508: Reflective Group and Community Practice
    • SK621: Reflexive Practices
  • Choose one of the following:
    • SK651: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals
    • SK690: Social Inequality, Poverty and Income Support: A Comparative Perspective

Term 2 (Winter)

Term 3 (Spring)

*Elective offerings will be determined year to year.

MSW Aboriginal Field of Study (Full- and Part-Time)

The Aboriginal Field of Study is the first MSW program in Canada rooted in a wholistic Indigenous worldview and contemporary social work practice. The goal is to develop social work practitioners who demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the history, traditions and culture of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. This unique program includes the use of Indigenous elders, a traditional circle process, and Indigenous ceremonies.

The needs most commonly identified by Aboriginal people, as seen often in their public statements and political processes, include self-determination, cultural preservation, and respect for the wholistic healing worldview. The MSW Aboriginal field of study, therefore, will fully and dramatically root itself within the Aboriginal worldview and have as its goal the development of social work practitioners who can seek empowerment for Aboriginal populations so that they can meet the needs that they have identified for themselves.

Students in the Aboriginal field of study are expected to respect and seek to practice within the Aboriginal worldview. This means that along with intellectual development you will also engage in the development of your spiritual, emotional, and physical selves. You will learn from a diversity of teachers including academic instructors, Elders, Aboriginal ceremonies, and the Aboriginal community. You will be expected to involve yourself in all aspects of the specialized program, which include cultural camps, classroom work, presentation of yourself to Elders, and in practice settings. You will be evaluated on your academic knowledge and your ability to practice from the Aboriginal worldview.

Full-Time Course Progression

Term 1 (Fall)

  • SK628: Cultural Camp
  • SK645: Indigenous Research Methodologies
  • SK646: Wholistic Healing Practice
  • SK647: Elders’ Teaching and Indigenous Identity

Term 2 (Winter)

  • SK644: Aboriginal Kinship Structures and Social Work Practice
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (three days per week)
  • SK507: Social Justice and Transformative Social Work Practices

Term 3 (Spring)

  • SK635: Indigenous Knowledges and Theory
  • SK648: Elders’ Teachings and Self-Reflection (fasting camp)
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (three days per week)

Total: Eight courses plus one placement that extends over two terms.

Part-Time Course Progression

Term 1 (Fall)

  • SK628: Cultural Camp
  • SK647: Elders’ Teaching and Indigenous Identity

Term 2 (Winter)

  • SK646: Wholistic Healing Practice
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (three days per week)

Term 3 (Spring)

  • SK645: Indigenous Research Methodologies
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (three days per week)

Term 4 (Fall)

  • SK507: Social Justice and Transformative Social Work Practices
  • SK644: Aboriginal Kinship Structures and Social Work Practice

Term 5 (Winter)

  • SK635: Indigenous Knowledges and Theory

Term 6 (Spring)

  • SK648: Elders’ Teachings and Self-Reflection (fasting camp)

Total: Eight courses, plus one placement that extends over two terms.

Thesis Option

Although most students complete the coursework option, a limited number of students can choose the thesis option.

Why do a thesis?

  • To pursue a particular interest
  • To contribute to a field of knowledge or practice
  • To lay the groundwork for later projects (practice or research)
  • To enhance skills and academic record in preparation for subsequent studies

Thesis Option Exemptions

Student who choose the thesis option have the following exemptions.

Full-time, two-year:

  • 126 hours of second placement
  • One Foundational Elective
  • Two Advanced Electives

Advanced standing, full-time

  • Two electives
  • Field placement

Process

Students who wish to complete a thesis must discuss this with the MSW associate dean (full-time students early in the first term). The MSW associate dean will assist students in identifying potential thesis advisors; 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.

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