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FAQs - Prospective BSW Students

Submitted by sconley on Mon, 10/06/2014 - 8:53am

Applications and Admission

Submitted by sconley on Mon, 10/06/2014 - 9:05am

How is my file evaluated?

Both the Faculty of Social Work and the University of Calgary Admissions Office evaluate your application for admission.  The Faculty of Social Work will evaluate your application based on the application documents you submit to the faculty (your essay, resume, and letters of reference), and your official transcripts.  Based on our evaluation, the Faculty of Social Work will make a recommendation to the University Admissions Office by mid-April or early May providing all transcripts, including a current transcript showing your final Fall grades (if applicable), have been received.  You will be notified of the Faculty's recommendation by email to the address you provided in your application. The Admissions Office has final authority to admit students to the university; consequently, the formal offer of admission will come from the University Admissions Office pending verification of your grade point average and completion of the required number of courses for admission. This process normally takes several weeks, and therefore, students are encouraged to arrange for their official transcripts to be forwarded to the Admissions Office as soon as possible. You should also check your Student Centre frequently for updates and information about your admissions status.

How firm are the application deadlines?

If you are a new University of Calgary student, March 1 is the final deadline for completion of online applications to the University of Calgary and submission of all application documents to the Faculty of Social Work.  Current University of Calgary students must submit a Change of Program available in their Student Centre by February 1 and submit all application documents to the Faculty of Social Work by March 1.  All dates are very firm; if all documents are not in the appropriate place by the deadline, your file will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed. Please note that the deadline does not refer to the post-marked date; documents need to arrive at the appropriate place by the deadline.

March 15 is the deadline for transcripts reporting all completed coursework up to and including Fall term, and any in-progress Winter/Spring/Summer courses.  This deadline also pertains to official documents such as English test scores, if required.

What should my resume look like? How many hours of volunteer or work experience do I need?

  • There is no set format, but many students tailor their resume for our program.  Your resume should include any relevant work you’ve done in the human services field (volunteer or paid) and give us a good picture of who you are and what experience you will bring into the classroom.  Volunteer or work experience can be from many years ago, it does not have to be only recent experiences.
  • It is helpful to separate work from volunteer experience in your resume and to provide an indication of the extent of the experience by stating whether you were employed full-time or part-time, and for how many hours in total.
  • There is no set number of hours of volunteer or work experience that you need to have, but please include all volunteer or work experience that you consider to be relevant.

What format should the essay be in? What if my essay is significantly over or under 5 pages?

  • The essay should be in APA format or another recognized academic format, and double-spaced. For effective writing resources and instructions on APA format, please visit
  • The evaluators of your application will read only the first 5 pages of your essay, so there is no advantage to be gained by writing a longer essay. On the other hand, it is likely that you will need to use the full 5 pages to address the components of the essay and to provide a good indication of your ability to write an academic essay.

What if I can't get an "academic reference"?

Students who have been out of school for a long time sometimes find it difficult to get an academic reference.  In this case you must provide a rationale in the Program Specific Questions section of the online application.  You should then try to get a reference from somebody who can comment on academic abilities (e.g., someone who may have trained you in something new at work, or whom you have worked with on a new project that required learning, etc.) that might help you succeed in the program.

Can I apply to more than one location? Am I allowed to transfer between locations when I am a student?

Students are not allowed to apply to more than one location.  If a student is offered admission to a location, they are given admission to that location only and are not allowed to transfer unless “exceptional circumstances” arise.  Please note that in most cases students are expected to complete their practicum(a) at the location to which they were offered admission.

What if I have a degree that's not in social work, should I do the BSW or MSW program?

Students should review the format of each program to decide which is best for them. Information about both programs is available on the regional website at

What if I have a non-social work degree (or previous university study) and an Alberta Social Work diploma?

Students who have a degree in addition to an Alberta Social Work Diploma, will be admitted under the PD route, so that they only have to complete 1 practicum.  Normally, if credits from the degree transfer to the University of Calgary, they may be used to satisfy the non-social work courses required as part of the BSW.  Contact your Student Advisor about this, as it may not be done automatically.

I have a social work diploma from outside of Alberta, can I apply to the post-diploma program?

The University of Calgary offers a block credit for the first 2 years of the BSW degree to students with a completed social work diploma from an Alberta post-secondary institution that has a transfer agreement with the Faculty of Social Work. The Faculty does not have similar transfer agreements with colleges outside of Alberta; therefore, similar credit cannot be given. Usually a student is given 1 year (10 courses) of general credit for a social work diploma earned outside of Alberta, which will include SOWK 201.  These 10 courses can be used to fulfill some of the requirements for the University Transfer route, but applicants will be required to present additional courses for admission.  

I have a diploma but not in social work, how do I fit in?

A student who has a diploma in a field other than Social Work is usually given 1 year (10 courses) of credit for their diploma and they are only eligible for the University Transfer route.  This information can be confirmed with the Admissions Office toll-free at 1-855-246-7625.  Applicants would be required to present additional courses in order to meet the admission requirements for the University Transfer route.

How do I register for SOWK201?

We offer SOWK 201 online during the winter, spring and summer terms. For more information on our current offerings and how to apply, click here.

How do I find out what courses transfer to the University of Calgary? What about advanced credit?

Students can check which courses transfer to the University of Calgary at

  1. On the left hand side of the website, click on Transferring Between Post-Secondary Institutions.
  2. Select Online Search.
  3. Click on Transfer from Institution.
  4. Select the year you took the course or are planning to take the course.
  5. Select the Institution you took the course from or are planning to take the course from (Sending Institution).
  6. Select the University of Calgary from the drop down list as your Receiving Institution.
  7. Enter course name or code in the Keyword or Phrase text box.

Advanced credit must be requested in writing, at the time of the application.  Students will not be given advanced credit for courses, unless there is social work specific content in that course.

Why do you need my high school transcript?

You are required to submit one copy of your high school transcript to the Admissions Office, unless you have previously completed a degree.  We will not look at your high school grades, but we check to see that you have successfully completed English 30-1 or its equivalent.  If you have not completed English 30-1, it may be possible to use a university level English course in its place.  Please contact the Admissions Office for more information toll-free at 1-855-246-7625.

I'm an international student. Where can I find more information and how do I know if I meet the admission requirements?

International students should check online at and may also call the Admissions Office toll-free at 1-855-246-7625.

What if I am offered admission this year, but can't accept; can my admission be deferred for next year?

Students are offered admission only for the year that they have applied for, and admission cannot be deferred.  You will need to re-apply if you are offered admission one year but are unable to begin the program that year. There are no exceptions to this policy.

How can I strengthen my application for next year if I didn't make it in this year?

Students are encouraged to speak with a Student Advisor by sending an e-mail to to inquire about how to improve their application for next year.

If I have applied previously, do I have to send everything in again? How long will you keep my supplementary documentation on file?

Yes, the Faculty of Social Work supporting documents must be submitted through the online application system during each admission cycle.  We recommend that you save a PDF copy of your resume and essay to your personal computer or cloud for future use.

Will the admissions office still have my transcripts on file?

The Admissions Office will only keep transcripts on file for a limited amount of time. Please confirm with them if they have your most recent transcripts. If you have taken further courses since submitting your transcripts, please arrange to send new transcripts to the Admissions Office.

If I am interested in taking a few of your courses, without currently being in the program, is that allowed?

This is usually not done but may be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the faculty at for more information.

Program Information

Submitted by sconley on Mon, 10/06/2014 - 10:18am

Where will I take classes? Will I ever be required to travel to Calgary, or another site? Can I take classes through another site?

All courses are offered at the location to which you were admitted.  You will never be required to travel to another location, unless you choose to take a SOWK 500-level option there.  Students are only permitted to take SOWK 500-level options at other locations; core SOWK courses must be completed at the student's home location.

How long will it take me to complete my BSW?

  • Edmonton campus (all routes): The Edmonton program can be completed in 2 years if students take the maximum number of courses available per semester. You can take some of your electives in the spring/summer session between your 3rd and 4th year, but it is possible to complete the program in 2 years even if you don’t take electives at that time.
  • Learning Circles (all routes): This program can be completed in approximately 2½ years if you take the maximum number of courses available per semester.  You will need to take some courses in the spring/summer session between your 3rd and 4th year and complete your practicum(a) in the spring/summer session of your 4th year.  If you have completed all of your required courses by the end of the spring/summer session of your 4th year you will be eligible to convocate in November.

Can I take the BSW degree part-time? How long do I have to finish my degree?

  • While there is no formal part-time program, you may take as few courses as you like each semester. However, most students are registered as full-time students and it is important to consider the way that we sequence our courses, with each course being offered only once a year (not every semester) in Edmonton, and only once every two years in the Learning Circles.  That means that if you miss a course one year, you will have to wait until the next offering to complete it.  Attending on a part-time basis can present a problem when completing your practicum. Practica placements are typically 3 or 4 days a week, for the first and second practica respectively, and practicum placements usually take place during the day. You will need to discuss your circumstances with appropriate field coordinator if you are not able to complete a full-time placement.
  • Students have 5 years to complete their degree.

What is the course load like? Can I work full time and be successful at this program?

This is a university-based, professional program and as such demands a lot of time and attention.  We try to accommodate the needs of students by offering some courses in alternative formats (online and block week); however, considerable time and demands will be placed on the student.  You should note that, in Edmonton, many classes are offered during the day and in-class.  Further, attendance in class is paramount as you will be using what you have learned in these courses in your practice. Many of our students have part-time jobs, but very few work full-time (and these students have found the workload challenging).  Also, it is very difficult to work full-time and complete your practicum(a).

Where can I find information about the practicum(a) I'll have to do?

Students can check our website at for more information.

What is the cost of tuition and what does that money go towards?

A breakdown of tuition costs can be found under the “Current Students” link of our website:

What about loan documents? Who will sign them?

You can find more information about loans and loan documents at Staff members in Edmonton are authorized to sign loans on behalf of the University, but questions and information about loans should be directed to Enrolment Services in Calgary toll-free at 1-855-246-7625 or

Where can I find more information about awards and scholarships?

You can check online at or call Enrolment Services toll-free at 1-855-246-7625.

I'm an Alberta post-diploma student that has to complete non-social work courses, what does this mean and where can I take them? What about the classes that I took in my diploma?

The BSW degree is comprised of a blend of approximately half non-social work and half social work courses.  This is based on the belief that social workers credentialed with an undergraduate degree should have a combination of professionally-oriented and liberal arts courses. Students admitted to the University Transfer route, take these non-social work courses before they are admitted to the program.  Post-diploma students in the Edmonton and Community-based Learning Circles programs can find more information about this process in their respective Student Handbooks, which can be found on our website at 

Where can I get help with my writing?

Online resources and supports are available at

Who can I talk to if I have questions regarding tuition and fees, transcripts, financial aid, and awards?

These questions should be directed to the Enrolment Services Office at or toll-free at 1-855-246-7625.

Who should I contact with questions relating to e-mail access or issues with my UofC IT account (password reset, etc)?

These questions should be directed to IT Support at, or call toll-free 1-888-342-3802.

Upcoming Events: FSW Central & North

Date & Time:
March 30, 2017 | 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

The Rebuilding Lives Post-Disaster Partnership and Alberta Resilient Communities Project invites you to learn about disaster recovery in Alberta and internationally.   Webcast available!