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Social Work


Degrees Offered: Ph.D., M.S.W.



D. Baines, D. O'Connor, T. Stainton, M. C. Yan.

Professors Emeriti

S. Marshall, G. Riches, M. Russell, F. Tester.

Associate Professors

C. Bratiotis, L. Caragata, G. Charles, H. Montgomery.

Associate Professors Emeriti

E. A. Kruk, P. McNicoll, B. O'Neill, R. Sullivan, R.W. Vedan, M. Wright.

Assistant Professors

M. Ibrahim, H. Kia, B. Lee, T. Wilson.


Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Social Work and the Master of Social Work provide students with backgrounds in social work, social policy, social development, opportunities for advanced scholarship, and professional growth in the context of research-intensive programs. Students are prepared for university teaching and research (theoretical and applied), including program evaluation. The program can also provide critical components for professional practice in research, policy analysis, and human service management.

Via their program of work, students are expected to acquire a basic grounding in the core theoretical paradigms relevant to their course of study and quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as specialized competencies in the methodological skills necessary for productive scholarship in the substantive area of their chosen research. A research-based dissertation adding to the field's knowledge base is the capstone of this program.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

A master's degree in social work or related field is normally required for admission. Entering students are expected to have 3 credits of graduate-level courses in statistics, quantitative methods, and qualitative methods. One methods course can be made up in year one. Transfer from the master's to the Ph.D. program is permitted under regulations set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Part-time Doctoral Classification is also available. Students who wish to be classified as part-time must obtain approval from their proposed supervisor and graduate program advisor as part of the admission process.

Program Requirements

Students entering the Ph.D. program will be required to spend a minimum of two terms of uninterrupted duration (8 months) in full-time status at the University. Students in the program will be expected to take at least 15 credits of coursework including:

  • SOWK 601: Social Work Doctoral Seminar
  • SOWK 621: Social Theory, Ideology and Ethics
  • A 3-credit substantive course selected with Advisory Committee's approval
  • Two of the following three courses:
    1. SOWK 623: Advanced Data Analysis in Social Work
    2. SOWK 654: Advanced Qualitative Inquiry
    3. EPSE 591: Theory and Practice of Program Evaluation

Students may substitute one methods course with the approval of the Doctoral Program Coordinator.

Appropriate coursework will be selected in consultation with the student's supervisory committee and will depend on the student's background and field of study. All students are expected to be admitted to candidacy within two years of initial registration. To do this, students must:

  • complete their residency and all required courses,
  • pass their comprehensive examinations, and
  • have their dissertation proposal approved.

All doctoral students are required to complete a comprehensive examination. The major requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of a research dissertation meeting the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements.

Professional Conduct for Social Work Students

Please see the policy on Professional Conduct for Social Work Students.

Master of Social Work

Students with a B.S.W. can apply for entry into the one-year, 30-credit M.S.W. The applicant must meet the general admission requirements for master's degree programs set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Admission Requirements

General admission requirements for the one-year M.S.W. include a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.). Other factors considered are: competitive academic standing (GPA), study plan, professional social work experience, and letters of reference.

Program Requirements

  • The program of study requires the completion of 24 credits of coursework, plus a 6-credit practicum.
  • Students must take the course on social justice (SOWK 550), a minimum of 6 credits in research methods, and a practicum.
  • Students must take an integrative seminar course (SOWK 559), and have the option of also writing a thesis - SOWK 549.
  • Students elect one of the following fields of practice for the remainder of the credits: children and families, health and social care, or international/social development.
  • A maximum of 6 credits of courses may be taken outside of the School.
  • Part-time study is available.

Professional Conduct for Social Work Students

Please see the policy on Professional Conduct for Social Work Students.

Contact Information

The School of Social Work
2080 West Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2
Tel: 604.827.2164
Fax: 604.822.8656
Christine Graham, Program Advisor

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