Program Overview

Take your life’s calling to new heights as you build on your experience and commitment to social work. Wilfrid Laurier University’s online Master of Social Work, Advanced Standing program enhances your existing social work knowledge and skills and empowers you to lead change at the micro and macro levels. Help individuals and families, or learn to work with larger groups and communities by implementing new approaches that can change policy and transform lives. Discover ways to effect real change as you evaluate the systems and structures that affect the well-being of individuals, groups and communities.

Fast Facts

  • 100% online coursework, designed to fit into your busy schedule

  • This program can be completed in as few as 1.25 years

  • Accredited since 1974 and re-accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) in 2012
  • Study at an established Faculty of Social Work with internationally recognized teachers, mentors and researchers
  • Laurier University Top 10 Rank in Maclean’s Ranking of Canadian Universities 2017

Learn Advanced Social Work Concepts

The Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program is open to candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from an accredited BSW program.

  • Improve in your practice and upgrade your knowledge

  • Provide guidance and leadership as you advance
  • Achieve the advanced degree you have always wanted to complete

The Master of Social Work program is for graduates from a bachelor’s program outside of social work.

Program Curriculum

Laurier’s MSW - Advanced Standing program takes an innovative approach that emphasizes the development of critically reflexive practice skills through the ongoing integration of knowledge, theory and practice. Develop your expertise through a flexible framework that promotes the core values of equity, inclusivity, reflexivity and social justice that form the foundation of a successful career in social work.

Practice what you’ve learned in scenarios and environments that encourage hands-on application, interactions and critical thinking. Below is a sample list of courses you will be required to complete for the online MSW Advanced Standing program.

  • SK652: Advanced Social Work Practice With Families (0.5 credit): Build on SK552 and learn about the inclusion of substantive issues in family work
  • SK621: Reflexive Practices (0.5 credit): Learn self-awareness and interpersonal skills related to the conscious use of self in social work practice
  • SK649: Advanced Field Education (0.5 credit): Develop competence pertinent to social work practice in your chosen area of concentration in a supervised field experience

Admissions Requirements

To enter the online Master of Social Work – Advanced Standing program, you must meet the following requirements and submit the information below:

  • Have at least a B+ average (77%- 79%) in your last 5 full credit/10 half credit courses of a four-year accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree.

  • 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.
  • Prepare a personal statement
  • Submit a resume
  • Submit three reference letters (one academic; two professional)
  • Although not required for admission, approximately two years of paid and/or volunteer experience in human service organizations would be considered an asset to the application assessment.

For more information about the admissions process, download a curriculum guide.

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

With Laurier’s CASWE-accredited online MSW, Advanced Standing program, your knowledge of the interconnections between social work research, theories and practices opens many career pathways, including supervisory work in case management, private practice or non-governmental organizations. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to utilize your expertise in positions such as:

  • A clinical interventionist/mental health and addictions support at a health authority ($78,050)

  • A social worker at a home health-care organization ($61,000)
  • A behaviour therapist/client and education support at an industrial firm ($54,000)

Leverage the experience of an internationally recognized Faculty of Social Work at a school that’s been CASWE-ACFTS accredited for 43 years!


Field education is a substantial component of the Master of Social Work program. The purpose of field education is to provide students with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills. Additionally, students focus on the development of “self” and their professional identity as a social worker.

Online Master of Social Work students complete 546 hours of field education. Students complete their field education in various social work settings such as mental health organizations, municipalities, hospitals, research centers, child welfare agencies, community centers, schools and government organizations. 

The placement can be completed in a part-time or block format. The part-time format requires the student to devote two days per week (8 hours per day) for 8 months. The block format requires the student to devote five days per week (8 hours per day) for 4 months.

Students may propose a placement at their workplace.