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The School of Social Work at McMaster University

Social Work

Have you ever wondered how personal problems are caused or affected by society? Ever wanted to understand and do something about injustice? Social Work might be for you.

Social Work emphasizes the social context of what many see as personal problems. Social workers use their skills and knowledge to facilitate change with and for people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives and who struggle with the impact of injustice and oppression.

As social workers, we see personal troubles as inextricably linked to oppressive structures. We believe that social workers must be actively involved in the understanding and transformation of injustices in social institutions and in the struggles of people to maximize control over their own lives.

Focus of Study

Our program prepares graduates for the general practice of social work by developing:

  • The capacity to analyze personal, community, family and societal problems – including how social work and social welfare institutions affect and respond to these problems.
  • Practical skills such as interviewing, counselling, community development, social action and advocacy.

 

Amberlynn Palmer

BA Sociology, BSW2014


Youth at Risk Development Program Worker at the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and Area

“My work is always changing and unpredictable, which challenges me to think and respond differently every day. I use the theory I learned in my program, my experience from placements and my critical thinking skills to creatively address barriers at-risk youth experience, while emphasizing the importance of community. Respect and dignity are core values in my line of work.”

CASWE

Canadian Association for Social Work Education

Our Bachelor of Social Work program is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education.

Applying to the School of Social Work

 All Social Sciences students start in the Level 1 program. You will apply for the School of Social Work at the end of your first year. Social Work offers two limited enrolment programs, an Honours B.S.W. and a B.S.W. (post degree) for students who already have a degree. Both programs can be taken full time or part time.

Requirements:

  • Completion of the requirements of any Level 1 program with a minimum average of 67%. One of: Sociology 1A06 A/B or Social Work 1A06 A/B. Six additional units (two courses) from: Social Sciences 1 courses, and may also include Women Studies 1A03, 1AA3, Peace Studies 1A03.

  • Submission of an application form to the School of Social Work in the year you plan to start the program, and completion of the Social Work Admissions Test (S.W.A.T.).

  • Aboriginal applicants may request an alternative admission process.

  • Honours  Bachelor of Social Work B.S.W.
    Completion of the requirements of any Level 1 program with a minimum average of 67%. One of: Sociology 1A06 or Social Work 1A06. Six additional units (two courses) from: Social Sciences 1 courses, and may also include Women Studies 1A03, 1AA3, Peace Studies 1A03.

  • Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W. as a Second Degree)
    A completed undergraduate degree from a recognized university.

 

For a detailed outline of the policies and procedures for application to the undergraduate programs of the School of Social Work at McMaster University visit the website.

For information on specific School of Social Work courses, visit the undergraduate calendar.

B.S.W. Degree Details

Build Your Skills

Experiential Education

You will have two field placements during your degree. Working in a community organization you will:

  • Gain real-life experience working with service users and community groups.
  • Apply skills and knowledge acquired in academic courses.
  • Understand how social service organizations and networks work.
  • Collaborate with other professionals and learn social work values and ethics.
  • Learn from and be supervised by a practicing social worker.

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Social Workers make vital contributions to the community, working in many different settings, including:

  • Health care settings – hospitals, family health teams, addictions services, mental health agencies
  • Children’s services, including Children’s Aid societies
  • Services for immigrants and refugees
  • Anti-poverty organizations
  • Schools
  • Disabled people’s organizations
  • Indigenous communities
  • Women’s services, including shelters
  • Elder care organizations
  • Criminal justice and legal services
  • Governments

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