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Master of Social Work (MSW) Edmonton

Submitted by 21232f297a57a5a... on Wed, 11/06/2013 - 10:22am

The MSW program is a nationally-accredited program that prepares students for advanced professional practice in social work.  Students are admitted to the Edmonton-based MSW every other year on odd numbered years (e.g., 2017, 2019, etc.).

The Edmonton program leads to the MSW degree with a Clinical Social Work Practice Specialization.  The program reflects social work's commitment to understanding and working with individuals, families, and groups within specific political, economic, and social contexts, and emphasizes the profession's commitment to the pursuit of social justice in all modes of social work practice.  The Clinical Social Work Practice Specialization:

  • prepares students to conduct therapeutic assessments and interventions with individuals, families and groups in a range of settings.
  • encourages a critical analysis of the interaction among personal, social and environmental factors in the problems clients bring to the attention of social workers.

In addition to the focus on practice methods, students have opportunities to extend their knowledge of the fields of service within which those methods are applied.

The program is available to students with a BSW, who complete the clinical specialization component in 2 years; or students with an undergraduate degree in another discipline, who complete the foundation component followed by the clinical specialization component in 4 years.

Program delivery blends on-site and web-based formats.  On-site courses are offered on Friday evenings and Saturdays, four times per term, and week-long intensives at the beginning of every fall term and most winter terms.  Students may continue working while registered in the program but must ensure they are available for full-time, weekday practica when scheduled.

MSW Edmonton Admission Routes and Requirements

Students are admitted to the MSW program in alternate (odd-numbered) years.  Admission is competitive; the Faculty considers each applicant's academic potential, experience in volunteer work or employment, readiness for graduate education as indicated by a study plan, and references.

For comprehensive information about admission policies and procedures, please visit the Admission Requirements section of the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.  For detailed information about the application process and required components, click here.

All students have the option of completing either a course-based or thesis-based degree.  The MSW course-based program is appropriate for students who intend to provide direct service in the field.  The MSW thesis-based program is designed for students who intend to pursue doctoral studies and/or anticipate a career requiring advanced program evaluation and research skills.  Students thinking of applying to the thesis route are encouraged to take a look at our Faculty Directory for potential thesis supervisors whose area(s) of experience are consistent with their own research interests.  You should then contact the individual directly to discuss the possibility of completing a thesis under their supervision.

Submitted by 21232f297a57a5a... on Fri, 11/08/2013 - 2:06pm

Students with a BSW degree entering the Clinical Specialization route

To be considered for admission, applicants to the MSW degree program must demonstrate the following:

  • A Bachelor of Social Work degree from a recognized institution.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.00 or higher on a four-point scale based on the last two full years of the undergraduate degree, consisting of a minimum of 20 half-course equivalents (60 units).
  • The equivalent of two years of full-time paid or volunteer work in the human services field.
  • A detailed resume indicating volunteer or paid experience relevant to social work.  Please include educational history, professional experience (including teaching), professional and educational awards/distinctions, publications, and presentations.
  • A study plan outlining the applicant's educational goals and career expectations.
  • THESIS APPLICANTS ONLY:  A thesis proposal describing the thesis problem you hope to investigate and the research methodology or methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, participatory action research, arts-based) you are considering.
  • Proficiency in the English language.
  • Two reference letters, one academic, and one professional.

Students considering applying to the thesis route are strongly encouraged to discuss this option with a Faculty member prior to completing the application process.

Students with an undergraduate degree in another discipline entering the Foundation route

To be considered for admission, applicants to the MSW degree program must demonstrate the following:

  • A four-year baccalaureate degree or equivalent degree from a recognized institution in a discipline other than social work.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.00 or higher on a four-point scale based on the last two full years of the undergraduate degree, consisting of a minimum of 20 half-course equivalents (60 units).
  • The equivalent of two years of full-time paid or volunteer work in the human services field (3000 hours).
  • A detailed resume indicating volunteer or paid experience relevant to social work.  Please include educational history, professional experience (including teaching), professional and educational awards/distinctions, publications, and presentations.
  • A study plan outlining the applicant's educational goals and career expectations.
  • THESIS APPLICANTS ONLY:  A thesis proposal describing the research problem you hope to investigate and the research methodology or methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, participatory action research, arts-based) you are considering.
  • Proficiency in the English language.
  • Two reference letters, one academic, and one professional.

Students considering applying to the thesis route are strongly encouraged to discuss this option with a Faculty member prior to completing the application process.

MSW Information Sessions

The Faculty of Social Work, Central and Northern Alberta Region offers information sessions for those who are looking to pursue a masters' degree in social work.

Information sessions will be held at our new faculty location, Classroom 3-276 (3rd floor), 10230 Jasper Avenue on the following dates:

November 3 - noon
November 29 - 5:00 pm

Although RSVP's are not required, we do provide light snacks so to help with planning, you can RSVP to Shari Conley by email at sconley@ucalgary.ca or by telephone at 780-492-3888.

Submitted by sconley on Mon, 09/19/2016 - 10:27am

MSW Edmonton Program Requirements

Combining virtual education formats with on-site block, evening and weekend programming, the Edmonton MSW is accessible to students living in and outside of the city and to those maintaining employment while pursuing graduate education.  While the program is delivered on a half-time schedule, students are classified as full-time for government loan purposes; however, students may not be eligible for grants, awards, scholarships, and bursaries.  Classes are typically offered on Friday evenings and Saturdays four times per term, and during the Fall and Winter session block weeks, in order to accommodate students who are employed full- or part-time; however, students must ensure they are available for full-time weekday practica when scheduled.

In the Edmonton MSW program, students are admitted as a cohort and are therefore required to complete courses as they are scheduled.  Failure to complete courses as scheduled can result in a significant delay of program completion.  Please consult the MSW Edmonton Student Handbook for the Faculty of Social Work's 2015-2017 schedule of courses for the Edmonton MSW Clinical Specialization and Foundation routes.

Clinical Specialization Route

Students entering (or advancing from the Foundation to) the Clinical Specialization program choose either a course-based or thesis-based route.  Students in the course-based route are required to complete ten half-courses, including 525 hours of field practicum (equivalent to 2 courses).  The course-based route to the MSW includes an integrative project completed in the final semester of course work.

Students in the thesis route conduct original research and prepare a document that is orally defended before an examination committee. The thesis examination is conducted by the student's examining committee, which must be designated at least one month before the oral examination.  The MSW examining committee includes the thesis supervisor, a faculty member from the Faculty of Social Work, an approved faculty member from a faculty outside of Social Work, and a neutral chair.  Students who hold a BSW and select the thesis-based MSW are required to complete nine half-courses, including 525 hours of field practicum.

The practicum is a core component of our MSW program. Students with a BSW entering the Clinical Social Work Practice Specialization program complete one practicum (525 hours) beginning in the spring following their first year in the two-year program.  Students must make themselves available 3-5 days per week during regular business hours for practicum.

MSW Clinical Specialization courses

Ten specialization half-course equivalents for course-based students as follows:

  • Social Work 651: Policy as Context for Clinical Work - Policies and their impacts on the delivery of clinical work will be examined.
  • Social Work 653: Comparative Approaches to Change - Various clinical change applications will be examined and critiqued.
  • Social Work 657: Clinical Social Work Applications - Specific issues involved in the effective application of clinical approaches will be studied.  This course is also where students will complete the Capstone requirement (described in detail below under "Examination").
  • Social Work 659: Evidence and Clinical Practice - Research as utilized in the clinical arena will be the focus of this course.
  • Social Work 697: Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice - Critical examination of the issues of diversity and the power relations that form common links among the experiences of oppression and marginalization in Canadian society.
  • Three option courses (option course requirements and offerings vary by year and program)*
  • Social Work 696: Advanced Practicum (525 hours; two half-course equivalents) - Direct and indirect Social Work practice opportunities with professional supervision in student's area of specialization or interest.

*Two of the three option courses are "strongly recommended" on the basis of faculty consensus regarding key components of clinical social work programs: Advanced Practice in Mental Health (offered in the winter term of the first year) and Advanced Practice with Families (offered in the fall term of the second year).  For the third option, a range of courses is offered depending on student interest and faculty resources and this course is usually taken in the spring session between the first and second year.

OR

Nine specialization half-course equivalents for thesis-based students as follows:

  • Social Work 651: Policy as Context for Clinical Work - Policies and their impacts on the delivery of clinical work will be examined.
  • Social Work 653: Comparative Approaches to Change - Various clinical change applications will be examined and critiqued.
  • Social Work 657: Clinical Social Work Applications - Specific issues involved in the effective application of clinical approaches will be studied.  This course provides an opportunity for thesis students to complete an assignment in support of their thesis (described in detail below under "Examination").
  • Social Work 659: Evidence and Clinical Practice - Research as utilized in the clinical arena will be the focus of this course.
  • Social Work 697: Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice - Critical examination of the issues of diversity and the power relations that form common links among the experiences of oppression and marginalization in Canadian society.
  • Social Work 655: Thesis Research - An introduction to preparing a thesis proposal. 
  • One option course (option course requirements and offerings vary by year and program).
  • Social Work 696: Advanced Practicum (525 hours; two half-course equivalents) - Direct and indirect Social Work practice opportunities with professional supervision in student's area of specialization or interest.
  • MSW thesis and oral defense of the thesis.

Foundation Route

Students with a four-year baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than social work choose either a course-based or thesis-based route.  Students in the course-based route are required to complete nineteen half-courses, including 2 practica (equivalent to 3 courses) for the degree.  The course-based route to the MSW includes an integrative project completed in the final semester of course work.  The first nine courses, including a practicum equivalent to 1 course, comprise the Foundation component of the MSW program.

Students in the thesis route conduct original research and prepare a document that is orally defended before an examination committee.  The thesis examination is conducted by the student's examining committee, which must be designed at least one month before the oral examination.  The MSW examining committee includes the thesis supervisor, a faculty member from the Faculty of Social Work, an approved faculty member from a faculty outside of Social Work, and a neutral chair. Students who hold a four-year baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than social work and select the thesis-based MSW are required to complete eighteen half-courses, including 2 practica (equivalent to 3 courses) for the degree.  The first nine courses, including a practicum equivalent to 1 course, comprise the Foundation component of the MSW program.

The practicum is a core component of our MSW program. Students entering without a BSW complete two practica: one in the second year of their Foundation program (426 hours) and the other beginning in the spring between their third and fourth year, in the Clinical Social Work Practice Specialization program (525 hours).  Students must make themselves available 3-5 days per week during regular business hours for practica.

All the Foundation courses must be completed before enrolling in any Clinical Specialization courses.

MSW Foundation courses

  • Social Work 621: History and Foundation of the Profession - An examination of the relationship between knowledge, values, ethics and power and how they shape interventions in social work.
  • Social Work 625: Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups - A basic understanding of social work practice theory with respect to work with individuals, families and groups.
  • Social Work 627: Practice with Organizations and Communities - A basic understanding of social work practice theory with respect to work with organizations and communities.
  • Social Work 629: Professional Communication and Interviewing - Offers experiential learning aimed at developing basic professional competencies and practice skills along with critical self-reflection.
  • Social Work 632: Social Policy and Social Justice - An exploration of the social, political and economic forces, social movements and social structures that are transforming the Canadian welfare state and the practice of social work.
  • Social Work 637: Human Behaviour and Environments - Human development and diversity within a social work context.
  • Social Work 641: Models of Practice - Provides the conceptual and theoretical foundation for students to acquire the skills to practice in Social Work.
  • Social Work 645: Issues in Social Work Research - An overview of social work research topics and issues.
  • Social Work 633: Foundational Field Practicum (426 hours) - Direct and indirect social work practice opportunities with professional supervision.

AND

MSW Clinical Specialization courses

Ten specialization half-course equivalents for course-based students as follows:

  • Social Work 651: Policy as Context for Clinical Work - Policies and their impacts on the delivery of clinical work will be examined.
  • Social Work 653: Comparative Approaches to Change - Various clinical change applications will be examined and critiqued.
  • Social Work 657: Clinical Social Work Applications - Specific issues involved in the effective application of clinical approaches will be studied. This course is also where students will complete the Capstone requirement (described in detail below under "Examination").
  • Social Work 659: Evidence and Clinical Practice - Research as utilized in the clinical arena will be the focus of this course.
  • Social Work 697: Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice - Critical examination of the issues of diversity and the power relations that form common links among the experiences of oppression and marginalization in Canadian society.
  • Three option courses (option course requirements and offerings vary by year and program)*
  • Social Work 696: Advanced Practicum (525 hours; two half-course equivalents) - Direct and indirect Social Work practice opportunities with professional supervision in student's area of specialization or interest.

*Two of the three option courses are "strongly recommended" on the basis of faculty consensus regarding key components of clinical social work programs: Advanced Practice in Mental Health (offered in the winter term of the third year) and Advanced Practice with Families (offered in the fall term of the fourth year).  For the third option, a range of courses is offered depending on student interest and faculty resources and this course is usually taken in the spring session between the third and fourth year.

OR

Nine specialization half-course equivalents for thesis-based students as follow:

  • Social Work 651: Policy as Context for Clinical Work - Policies and their impacts on the delivery of clinical work will be examined.
  • Social Work 653: Comparative Approaches to Change - Various clinical change applications will be examined and critiqued.
  • Social Work 657: Clinical Social Work Applications - Specific issues involved in the effective application of clinical approaches will be studied.  This course provides an opportunity for thesis students to complete an assignment in support of their thesis (described in detail below under "Examination").
  • Social Work 659: Evidence and Clinical Practice - Research as utilized in the clinical arena will be the focus of this course.
  • Social Work 697: Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice - Critical examination of the issues of diversity and the power relations that form common links among the experiences of oppression and marginalization in Canadian society.
  • Social Work 655: Thesis Research - An introduction to preparing a thesis proposal.
  • One option course (option course requirements and offerings vary by year and program).
  • Social Work 696: Advanced Practicum (525 hours; two half-course equivalents) - Direct and indirect Social Work practice opportunities with professional supervision in student's area of specialization or interest.
  • MSW thesis and oral examination of the thesis.

Time Limit

As established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, maximum completion time is four years for a thesis-based master's program, and six years for a course-based master's.

In the Edmonton MSW program, students are admitted as a cohort and are therefore required to complete courses as they are scheduled.

In Edmonton, course-based students admitted without a BSW complete the Foundation component in the initial two years and the Clinical Specialization component in the subsequent two years.

In Edmonton, course-based students admitted with a BSW complete the MSW Clinical Specialization in two years.  Typically, thesis students require one additional 12-month year to complete their programs.

Supervision

Course-based MSW students are assigned a faculty advisor upon entry into the program.  Your faculty advisor is available to answer any questions or concerns about your academic or classroom experiences, the curriculum, your electives, writing supports, or other academic related issues.  They can also answer any questions you might have about the profession.

Thesis-based MSW students are initially assigned an interim supervisor.  Before the end of the first year (no later than April 15 of year one), each student must identify a faculty member as permanent supervisor, after discussion and mutual agreement.  The student works with the supervisor to design and implement the thesis research.

Within the first two months of working together, thesis-based students and their interim and/or permanent supervisors are required to complete and submit to Student Services in the Faculty of Social Work, the signed Student-Supervisor Checklist. The Student-Supervisor Checklist becomes part of the student's permanent record. If a change occurs in supervision, a new checklist must be completed, signed and submitted to Student Services within two months of the change.

Examination

MSW course-based program

Course-based students in Edmonton complete a Final Integrative Project (Capstone) as part of the last course, SOWK657: Clinical Social Work Applications.  The course provides students with time and support during the preparation of the project, which includes both written and oral components.  Each student is assigned a faculty member who acts as a consultant during the preparation of the final project.  The written component is a paper, about 35-40 pages, which is usually a 'case study' of a clinical situation the student encountered in the Advanced Practicum, or an assignment designed to support thesis students in their research.  The oral component is a presentation given in conference format to audiences that include faculty and student peers.  Projects are graded by 2 instructors who evaluate the extent to which the paper and presentation demonstrate knowledge of a substantive topic area, relevant theory and practice approaches, ability to apply theory to practice, and literary and oral competence.

MSW thesis program

The final examination for the thesis-based MSW involves an oral defense of the thesis.  The thesis examination is conducted by the student's examining committee, which must be designated at least one month before the oral examination.

Composition of the Committee

The MSW examining committee includes the thesis supervisor, a faculty member from the Faculty of Social Work, an Internal Examiner, and a neutral chair.  The Internal Examiner must be external to the Faculty of Social Work.

For a full description of the oral examination process, see http://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/examinations