Master of Social Work Program Overview

Transform lives and the world around you with Wilfrid Laurier University's online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. Laurier’s online MSW program is the only online program of its kind in Canada available to students without a Bachelor of Social Work. Our MSW integrates social work theory, concepts and perspectives with practical applications. Laurier's online Master of Social Work program helps you develop a genuine, personal path to practice and intervention with a flexible, contemporary approach.

Master of Social Work Fast Facts

  • 100% online coursework with flexibility for working professionals
  • You can complete the program in as few as 2.67 years
  • Your bachelor’s degree can be in a field other than social work
  • Fully accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS)
  • Laurier University Ranked #1 for student satisfaction by Maclean’s Rankings of Canadian Universities for 4 years running

Download a curriculum guide

Admissions Requirements

To enter the online Master of Social Work program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have at least a B average (73%-76%) in your last 5 full credit/10 half credit courses of a four-year undergraduate degree or graduate level university work
  • Academic background must include at least four full (or eight half) social science courses and a half-credit course in qualitative research methodology
  • Submit all transcripts from all universities or colleges attended
  • Complete the personal statement form
  • Prepare a summary of experience in human service organizations
  • Submit a resume
  • Submit three reference letters (one academic; two professional)
  • Two years of work and/or voluntary experience in human service organizations is strongly recommended.

Download a curriculum guide

Program Curriculum

When social work is your calling, your core values of equity, reflexivity, social justice and inclusivity are part of what you live and practice every day. Our MSW program builds upon these themes, enabling you to apply a reflexive approach to your work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities, both locally and globally.

During the MSW, you’ll complete coursework that explores social work concepts, perspectives, and theory from micro and macro points of view. Below is a sample list of courses you will be required to complete for the online MSW program.

  • SK545: Introduction to Ethical Thought and Reflexive Practice (0.5 credit): Learn about ethics and reflexivity as they intersect and are performed in social work practice
  • SK522: Social Work Practice With Individuals (0.5 credit): Learn the basic tenets of theories and key skills applicable to practice with individuals
  • SK504: Research 1 (0.5 credit): Acquire the knowledge and skills to conduct social work research and evaluate research and professional practices

Download a curriculum guide

Learn Essential Areas of Social Work

The online Master of Social Work program is for graduates of a bachelor’s degree program outside the field of social work. This program does not require a BSW. In small, interactive classes, you will have an opportunity to:

  • Acquire a foundation in basic concepts and theory that covers the essential, interconnected areas of social work practice.
  • Expand your knowledge of the industry to be more competitive in the professional marketplace.
  • Connect to meaningful work, involving a social issue you are passionate about where you can make a difference.

The Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing program is open to candidates who hold a Bachelor of Social Work degree.

Careers and Outcomes

Skills Sought By Employers

  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Crisis Intervention Techniques
  • Creative Problem Solver
  • Active Listener

Job Titles

  • Mental Health Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Family Counsellor
  • Mental Health Clinician

$57,000 - $108,900 Annual Salaries Range

Laurier’s online MSW program teaches crisis intervention techniques, critical analysis of historical and current social policies and practices, community development, and interpersonal skills that prepare graduates for career paths in community health agencies, social services, social policy analysis and development, and more. You will be able to:

  • Work in clinical or community practice, and in policy and research, with expertise at the micro and/or macro level.
  • Evaluate the interaction of historical, political, economic, social and intrapersonal forces that shape people’s lives.
  • Develop the skills and habits of reflexivity by examining and understanding how your personal experience and biases affect your clinical work and interactions with others.

Example skill sets and knowledge sought by employers include:

  • oral and written communication
  • crisis intervention techniques
  • creative problem solver
  • active listener

Example job titles for those with a Master of Social Work include:

  • mental health therapist
  • social worker
  • family counsellor
  • mental health clinician

Annual salaries range from $57,000 – $108,900.

Download a curriculum guide

Field Placements

Field placements are an integral component of the MSW program. Placements provide students the opportunity to develop advanced social work values, knowledge and skills while contributing to their communities.

Students are required to participate in the field planning process by proposing viable placements within their communities in Canada. Students may also propose placements within their workplace to complete a workplace placement. If the proposed placement is not possible, students are required to be flexible in terms of geography and placement settings.

In order to plan for a successful placement and complete the MSW program in a timely manner:

  • Students are required to attend placement for a minimum of 16 hours across two days/week, during the agency’s hours of operation, and during the availability of the field instructor.
  • Working professionals are expected to negotiate time off with their employer prior to starting the online MSW program.
  • The majority of agencies expect students to attend placement during weekdays. Students who are unable to take time off from work to attend placement in a structured manner will likely be unable to secure a placement and therefore delay completion of the MSW program.
  • As adult learners, students take the initiative to review and follow all information provided by the field office.
  • Before contacting any agency, including workplace placements, students must follow the agency’s procedures for securing placements as indicated on the agency’s website. Some agencies do not respond to student inquiries for placements and facilitate placements directly with the university. For these agencies, students cannot contact the agency to explore placements. It is imperative that students follow the procedures outlined by the agency at all times.

Before applying, please read the field education information and review the field agreement.