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As social workers, we operate in a society characterized by power imbalances that affect us all. These power imbalances are based on age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, geographic location, health, ability, race, sexual identity and income. 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.

Director's Welcome

Welcome to the McMaster School of Social Work. Our web site introduces you to our undergraduate (Honour BSW and BSW) and graduate (MSW, PhD and Graduate Diploma) programs, to the School’s teaching and research activities, and to the faculty, staff and students who comprise the School community. We hope you find the web site informative and inviting. If you have questions or further enquiries, please contact us and we will be happy to respond. 

Chris Sinding, Ph.D.
Professor and Director

Our Philosophy

Social Work has always been concerned with the entanglement of private troubles and public issues and committed to the enhancement of social justice. We aim to prepare students for practice in a wide variety of social and community services and for critical reflection on their activities as both professionals and citizens. Through our research and community engagements, we address some of the tensions in contemporary social programs and, in the context of a changing world, strive to understand and challenge various forms and dynamics of social inequality. Our areas of focus include:

Struggles for Social Justice

Injustice - dismissal of and violence against indigenous people, disabled people, people labeled 'mad', racialized people, women, people who are queer, people who are old - is embedded in society. Social workers strive to understand, challenge and transform social injustice.

Critical Practice & Leadership

'Critical' social work practice and leadership recognizes and attempts to address the historical and social inequities that cause (or make worse) individual, family and community troubles. Critical approaches also recognize the contradictions and harms of social work and social policies.

Advocacy & Support

Social workers are actively involved in supporting people and communities to gain access and voice in decision making, in their own lives and circumstances and in the public sphere.

Political & Institutional Change

Social policies and social welfare institutions significantly affect the lives and life chances of individuals and communities. Social workers study and take action to improve and transform them.

Undergraduate Program

Our BSW program is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE).

Our program is accredited as an undergraduate university-level degree program by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education. You will be eligible for membership in the Ontario Association of Social Workers both as a student and upon graduation. Also upon graduation, you will be eligible to join the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

Learn more about our Undergraduate Program Pathways

Graduate Program

McMaster’s MSW program is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE).

The School of Social Work offers two MSW programs, a PhD program and a Graduate Diploma.

  • MSW Programs:
    • The MSW: Critical Analysis of Social Work
    • The MSW: Critical Leadership in Social Services and Communities
  • Graduate Diploma in Critical Leadership in Social Services
  • PhD Program


Learn more about our Graduate Program offerings

School Organization

School of Social Work Organization & Committees

Use your voice to make a difference.  Do you have any ideas or suggestions to make things better? Well here's your opportunity to voice those ideas and make a difference in your education.  

If you are interested in joining a committee or have further questions, please contact Darlene Savoy

View the various committees in the School of Social Work


School Alumni

Find out more about the directions and possibilities that open up for Social Work graduates.

Learn more about our Alumni

Word-cloud Vision

Our word-cloud vision: we want your words!

Over the past months we've been gathering together words/ terms/ phrases that express values, commitments and practices that are important to people connected to the McMaster School of Social Work, and about which we hope to achieve some more-or-less consensus.

Send us your words!