MSW Program Overview
Refer to Course Sequences for a list of programs and requirements for the MSW degree.
Refer to MSW Course Descriptions located in the Graduate Studies Calendar.
The MSW curriculum is designed to provide students with opportunities for personal growth and learning consistent with the norms of advanced scholarship which will lead to the development of social work knowledge, skills and attitudes conducive to:
1. A broad understanding of major social problems, of the history of social welfare, and of current Canadian and international social welfare policies and programs;
2. A broad understanding of the basic methods of social work intervention and the foundation of knowledge pertaining to those interventions;
3. Responsible, advanced social work roles in:
(a) practice with individuals, families and groups (IFG);
(b) practice in community, policy, planning and organizations (CPPO);
(c) integrated practice combining (a) and (b) above (the integrated practice option is not available to Advanced Standing or thesis students)
To achieve the above objectives, the curriculum is organized into an integrated program of courses and social work practica through five areas of study:
1. Content related to a common core of knowledge, skills and attitudes. This core content is required of all students.
2. Content related to the concentration areas of social work practice. Each student must choose one of the following areas: individuals, families and groups (IFG); community policy, planning and organizations (CPPO); or an integrated practice combining IFG and CPPO (the integrated concentration is not offered to advanced standing or thesis students). Students who select the integrated concentration must declare a primary and secondary focus with regard to the IFG and CPPO areas of practice.
3. Graduate level electives (offered by the Faculty of Social Work or by other WLU departments) which provide students with opportunities to round out their program of study in terms of special interests or career expectations.
4. All MSW students complete practicum placements in social work agencies and receive practice education and supervision from a Master of Social Work practitioner. Placements reflect the studentís chosen concentration of study: IFG, CPPO or the integrated concentration blending IFG and CPPO.
5. A small group of students may complete a thesis in the MSW program. Thesis students in the two-year full-time and four-year part-time programs are exempt from three courses and the last eighteen days of their first practicum. Thesis students in the advanced standing programs are exempt from two electives and from the winter term practicum (or the equivalent of 45 days of practicum). (For further detail, see thesis option).
Given the varied professional opportunities in social work, students in the Two Year Full-time Program, and the Four Year Part-time Program will choose from four concentrations to prepare for specific aspects of practice:
1. Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups (IFG) *
This concentration offers students an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills for the provision of services to individuals, families and groups. Emphasis is placed on holistic, person-in-environment perspective and the integration of theory with practice skills. Knowledge and skills are directed towards the enhancement of psychosocial functioning. The goal is to prepare students for focused work with individuals, families and groups in various fields, including child welfare, mental health services, health care, correctional services, addictions, family services and in specialized practice such as gerontology and disabilities.
2. Community, Policy, Planning and Organizations (CPPO)
This concentration emphasizes community, policy, planning and organizations with a view to facilitating social change and social justice through a planned combination and range of social work theories and interventions. This concentration will develop a focused skill set in areas of social policy analysis, community planning, social action, capacity building, leadership development, social marketing, administration, research and evaluation and community interventions at local, regional, national and international levels. The goal is to prepare students for responsibilities in a range of settings including; non-profits, regional, provincial or federal governments/funding bodies, community organizing within various sectors, planning councils, political lobbying, administration, race relations and international development.
3. Integrated Option with IFG Primary focus
This concentration emphasizes work with individuals, families and groups with a view to facilitating social change through a planned combination and range of social work theories and interventions that include case management, community outreach, education and program development. The goal is to prepare students for a wide range of social work responsibilities in community based programs in areas such as counselling centres, schools and hospitals, mental health programs, womenís centres, and agencies responding to diversity issues.
4. Integrated Option with CPPO Primary Focus
This concentration emphasizes community planning, policy and organizations with a view to facilitating social change and social justice through a planned combination and range of social work theories and interventions that include aspects of counselling, family and group work. The goal is to prepare students for a wide range of work responsibilities including community outreach and mobilization, capacity building in health care, with school boards, child welfare and social services, program development and evaluation, management and administration and adult education programs.
Refer to Course Sequences for a list of programs and requirements the MSW degree.