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MSW Leadership in Human Services

Submitted by 21232f297a57a5a... on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 10:27am

The MSW in Leadership in Human Services is a nationally-accredited program that prepares students for advanced professional practice in social work. This program employs a 'blended learning' format, which allows students to remain in their home communities throughout their studies. Only two on-campus block courses, each of one-week duration, require students' presence in Calgary.

* Please note that this program can only be fully completed at a distance by students with a BSW. Students entering the MSW in a non social work bachelors degree must complete the Foundation Route which is is only offered full time on Calgary Campus. Additional information can be found below. 

Students in the Leadership in Human Services (LHS) specialization develop an in-depth understanding of:

  • current theories and practices in leadership within a variety of organizational contexts, i.e., public and not-for-profit, large and small organizations;
  • advanced preparation in program planning, implementation, and evaluation;
  • policy analysis and development;
  • organizational dynamics and change;
  • supervision;
  • community capacity building, social action and advocacy.

Specialization Coordinator 
Siu Ming

Routes to the MSW LHS Program

Submitted by 21232f297a57a5a... on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 11:58am

Students with a BSW degree enter the Specialization Year

Students entering (or advancing from the Foundation to) the Specialization year are required to complete ten half-courses, including 525 hours of field practicum (equivalent to 2 half-courses). The program concludes with an integrative project, called Capstone, completed in the final semester of course work.

Students with an undergraduate degree in another discipline enter the Foundation Year

Students with a four-year baccalaureate in a discipline other than social work complete a total of nineteen half-courses, including 2 practica, equivalent to 3 courses for the degree The first nine courses, including a practica equivalent to 1 course, comprise the Foundation component of the MSW Program. These nine courses must be completed on-campus, at the University of Calgary.

Program Requirements

Submitted by 21232f297a57a5a... on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 12:03pm

Specialization Route

Students admitted into the two-year LHS Specialization route must complete a total of 10 half-course equivalents and a capstone at the end of their coursework.

LHS Specialization Courses

  • Social Work 665: Influencing Social Policy - The focus of this course is leadership in policy practice and in particular policy advocacy at all levels of policy (i.e., organizational, community, and provincial or national levels).
  • Social Work 667: Leadership Theories in Action - Directed toward helping prepare leaders for “best practice” across the range of sectors and roles in which human service leaders work.
  • Social Work 669: Leading Organizations and Communities - A practical course that will emphasize networked and collaborative approaches to leadership in a global context.
  • Social Work 693: Research as a Foundation for Leadership - This course will provide students with a working understanding for the study and nature of the theoretical and practical issues underlying the application of the research process to professional and leadership practice.
  • 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 696: Practicum - Direct and indirect Social Work practice opportunities with professional supervision in student's area of specialization or interest. This full-course equivalent consists of 525 practicum hours.

In the LHS Specialization, option courses are predetermined, as follows:

  • Social Work 695: Becoming an Evidence-Based Leader - Extends students’ abilities to identify, assess, and utilize research knowledge as a problem-solving tool in social work.
  • Social Work 679.10: Maximizing Staff Performance through Supervision - The practice of supervision (supervising and being supervised) is the main focus in this course.
  • Social Work 679.18: Practice Skills for Leading and Supervising in Human Services Organizations - Examines practical issues related to the management of human service organizations and the supervision of staff from a social work perspective.

Curriculum Plan

Foundation Route

Students are required to complete 9 foundation half-course equivalents on-campus, at the University of Calgary.

All the Foundation courses must be completed on-campus, before enrolling in any 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 in the Environment - 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.

Foundation courses are followed by 10 specialization half-course equivalents as described above in the section called Specialization Route.

Curriculum Plan

Click here for the LHS specialization curriculum plan for students entering the MSW with a non-social work Bachelor degree. Any deviation from this highly prescriptive plan must be discussed in advance with the specialization coordinator or the Graduate Program Director.

Time Limit

As established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the maximum completion time is six years for a course-based master’s. Expected completion times in the MSW LHS programs are:

    • two 12-month years for a MSW student with a BSW
    • three or  four 12-month years for a MSW student without a BSW


Course-based MSW students are assigned an interim supervisor upon entry into the program. A change to a permanent supervisor, initiated by the student or the faculty member, can occur at any time during the student’s enrolment in the program.


Course-based students are required to complete a capstone experience at the end of their coursework (including practicum).

Additional Information


This program opened doors for me that were previously firmly closed. Living in a rural area, this program met my geographical challenges and allowed me to remain working in my community while earning a graduate degree. No other program answered all my educational requirements with a resounding ‘YES, together we can!’"
Linda, a current 2nd year student