Social Work (BSW)

Social work is a practice-based profession that uses the principles of human rights and social justice to empower members of society, particularly those who are disadvantaged by the social dynamics of class, race, gender, age and ability. Learn how to support individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in this direct-entry program. You’ll gain supervised pre-professional social work experience in social and community agency settings. 

Already completed a Social Service Worker diploma? You might be eligible to earn your Social Work degree in only 2 years through our updated college pathway.

Apply Your Learning

Make the most out of your university career by taking advantage of all that Laurier has to offer you. Volunteer work, campus clubs, leadership programs, studying abroad, work experience – there are so many ways you can extend your classroom experience into the real world.

Here are just a few examples of the experiences you’ll get in the Social Work program:

  • Complete two field placements during your program for a total of 720 hours of practical field work in the local community, your hometown or internationally.
  • Take part in experiential learning opportunities integrated into classes to provide a well-rounded experience, tying pedagogy, theory and practice together.
  • Take a semester abroad in Year 4 to gain perspective on the social work field and enjoy learning in another culture and environment 
  • Participate in ACERS (Academic, Creative and Engaged Research Showcase) using projects completed in class to win prizes and highlight the importance of undergraduate research.  
  • Take research classes as part of your course selection to identify potential projects that you could do for the agencies you work for in the future.
  • Add a certificate in Learning Skills and Development to add to your resume.
  • Join the BSW Student Association and have your say in student activities on campus.

Check out the Social Work Experience and Career Guide.


2022 graduates who secured employment or went on to postgraduate studies


Laurier ranks in the top 6 percent of universities worldwide*


students who gained hands-on learning experiences at Laurier in 2022

*Center for World University Rankings (CWUR)


Format: full time      Duration: four years     Start: September (fall term)  
OUAC codes: USW (Social Work); UST (Social Work with Teaching Option)

Program Details

About the Bachelor of Social Work at Laurier

Our Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is a competitive, direct-entry program meaning you will begin your study of social work in first year. We provide a comprehensive and well-rounded foundation in the field, ensuring graduates obtain the skills to communicate effectively and practice ethically. The BSW program is ideal for those looking to work within the community, agencies, policy and the government directly from graduation. Our job placement rate is 96%, meaning students often begin working full-time at one of their placement locations after graduation.

We provide the skills and groundwork for students to continue their studies with a Masters of Social Work (MSW), Masters of Social Justice and Community Engagement (MA), Masters of Education (MEd) or Masters of Counseling (MA).  

About the Curriculum 

Courses combine theoretical frameworks with hands-on practical experiences, allowing you to develop essential communication skills, critical thinking and practice ability. Senior students complete two different field placements. Through this immersive opportunity, you'll gain supervised pre-professional social work experience in social and community agency settings.

Our curriculum is designed to build on pedagogy year to year starting with social welfare and ethics, to theory to practice experience and in your final year, you will choose to focus on specific interests within the field including Critical Disability Perspectives, Human Sexuality and Social Work, Creative Arts and Social Work Practice and Violence in Families. 

Senior students can become involved in ongoing research programs with award-winning faculty.  

Laurier’s BSW program has received its accreditation from the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE). Current and future students will be eligible to apply for membership in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers upon graduation.


Program Options and Courses

Options and Minors

Degree enhancements like minors and options are beneficial ways of customizing your Social Work degree through your electives to prepare you for working with specific populations or groups. Many of our students choose to complete a minor in Indigenous Studies, Law & Society or Youth & Children's Studies, for example.

Thinking of a career in education? Laurier's Social Work with Teaching Option program gets you on track towards your Bachelor of Education degree.

Studies in Indigenous Topics

A unique aspect of Laurier’s Social Work program is that you have the option to focus on Indigenous topics which includes an examination of the cultural exchanges between Canada’s colonial processes and First Nations people.

First-Year Courses

  • Introduction to Social Welfare
  • Introduction to Social Work: Values, Ethics and Practice
  • Introduction to Indigenous Studies
  • 3.5 elective credits

Sample Upper-Year Courses

  • Communication and Interviewing Skills
  • Critical Issues in Social Work Practice
  • Practice with Groups
  • Creative Arts in Social Work Practice
  • Social Movements, Social Justice and Vulnerable Populations
  • Health Care and Social Work Practice


Similar Programs

Interested in Graduate Studies?

By completing your four-year BSW program at Laurier, you will be eligible to apply for advanced standing in many Master of Social Work (MSW) programs, including ours.

Field Education

As part of the Social Work program, you will be required to complete two field education placements which bring what you are learning in the classroom to the workplace and develop your professional identity as a social worker.

The field education placements are conceptualized as an educational course rather than a work term. That is, courses are graded (pass/fail) by an agency-based qualified field instructor assigned to teach each student, and a field advisor is assigned to support each student and instructor. The workload of field education is controlled to facilitate an emphasis on learning.

You will complete two field placements as part of SK399: Field 1 (360 hours in 12 weeks) and SK499: Field 2 (360 hours in 12 weeks) for a total of 720 hours of field work. You must pass both of these field experiences in order to graduate from the Social Work program.

Teaching Option

Interested in a direct pathway to a Bachelor of Education?

Laurier’s undergraduate Teaching Option consists of 4.0 credits throughout your degree: five core half-credit courses offered through the Faculty of Education, plus three elective half-credit courses from an approved list. 

If you're admitted into and complete this Teaching Option pathway, you'll have earned a guaranteed spot in our Bachelor of Education (BEd) program, provided you meet all the admissions requirements, including:

A student writing on the whiteboard with two other students observing.

Tuition and Scholarships

Getting a university education is an investment in your future.

At Laurier, we take financial health seriously by providing a wide variety of funding opportunities for you throughout your degree, such as scholarships and bursaries, and by equipping you with the skills to manage your finances effectively in the years to come.


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"The Bachelor of Social Work program is teaching me the expectations for working in the field. I have learned the importance of critical thinking and the many applications in everyday life. These skills are fostered in the BSW program and in my electives of choice in the Indigenous Studies program."

Jessica Hill, current Social Work student

Your Career Awaits

It’s not only about the journey; it’s about the destination. Let us help you get to where you’re going.

Here are just some examples of our graduates' destinations. What’s yours?

Sample Career Options

Note: Additional training and education may be required.

  • caseworker
  • child protection worker
  • group worker
  • medical social worker
  • policy analyst/advisor
  • rehabilitation counsellor
  • respite worker
  • social worker
  • support group facilitator

Explore more careers.

Support After Graduation

Alumni for life means that you have access to Career and Employment Support offered at Laurier for your entire career.

Brantford Campus

The Brantford campus is woven into the downtown core of the City of Brantford and is home to more than 3,000 students. Close to great walking and biking trails, you get the best of both worlds.

There are many ways to tour our Brantford campus, whether that's on a guided tour with one of our Laurier student ambassadors, on your own using virtual reality, or even on-demand through one of our pre-recorded tours. See our campus spaces and start to picture yourself at Laurier.

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"I chose Laurier for the Bachelor of Social Work program because I felt it was unique in comparison to other social work programs. Our program offers experiential learning opportunities and smaller class sizes that foster an environment of connection and community-building. A highlighting factor in my decision to apply here was my positive experience communicating with Laurier staff and faculty."

Fiza Iqbal, current Social Work student

Interested in More Info?

Email, call 548.889.8888 or see all contact information.