Social Work

Prepare for clinical practice by building the skills to help individuals, families, groups and communities enhance their individual and collective well-being.

Graduate Degree

Program Track Components Duration
MSW One-Year Coursework and practicum 12 months
MSW Two-Year Coursework and practica 24 months

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program at UBC’s Okanagan campus provides advanced field education so students can graduate job-ready for professional leadership roles in clinical and direct-practice organizations. The graduate degree prepares students for clinical practice with individuals, families and groups.

The MSW program incorporates critical theory into social work assessment and intervention. Students develop a deeper understanding of the integration of individual, relational, structural and global factors that respect diversity, promote resilience and strengthen capacity.

The School of Social Work offers two master’s level program tracks: Advanced One-Year MSW, and Foundational Two-Year MSW. Both tracks are governed by the policies of the College of Graduate Studies and the School of Social Work in UBC’s Faculty of Health and Social Development.

The Advanced One-Year Track is designed for those who currently hold a BSW degree (or its international equivalent) from a recognized university and wish to gain Masters designation while advancing their theoretical understanding and practice skills with individuals, families and groups.

Students applying to the Advanced One-Year Track will hold a BSW degree from an accredited social work program. The One-Year Track requires the completion of 33 credits including one 6-credit practicum. See Admission Requirements for details.

The Foundational Two-Year Track is designed for those who hold a degree outside of social work and wish to develop a Master of Social Work designation while gaining theoretical understanding and practice skills with individuals, families and groups.

Students applying to the MSW Foundational Two-Year Track will hold a bachelor’s degree with preference given to social science and behavioural science courses. The Two-Year Track requires a completion of 60 credits including two 6-credit practica. See Admission Requirements for details.

Related Programs

Field Education & Courses

Field education is the cornerstone of our clinical social-work curriculum, making it the most clinically-oriented program in British Columbia.

Clinical knowledge formally integrates a student’s academic studies with supervised practice in a wide range of agencies and organizations, or in the School’s own Interprofessional Mental Health Clinic.

Students are assigned to community-based agencies and service providers for a set period of days with a focus on learning goals, ethical practice and demonstrating social work competencies in the process of developing a professional identity. Typically, students will complete 60-64 days in a placement while attending classes. A typical week consists of 3-4 days in placement with classes offered in the evening or on days not in placement.

The Interprofessional Mental Health Clinic is a free-of-charge public service for those in need within the Okanagan community. It provides assessment, treatment, case management and support for those with moderate to severe mental, behavioural and emotional concerns. Supervised social work graduate students provide direct clinical service to children, youth and their families. Referrals are received from family physicians, pediatricians, schools, and/or child and youth mental health professionals.

Clinic staff come from the School of Social Work, in cooperation with the department of Psychology in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. The School also incorporates UBC’s Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship, and the Centre for the Study of Services to Children and Families.

Find out more about the School of Social Work’s Field Education.

The curriculum gives students the opportunity to complement a common foundational knowledge with courses of personal interest.

Sample Courses

  • SOCW 513 — Assessment Skills for Clinical Social Work (core first-year course in Foundational Track)
  • SOCW 519 — Integrative Seminar for Field Education (core first-year course Foundational Track)
  • SOCW 552 — Community, Place and Policy in Clinical Social Work (core course in Advanced and second-year Foundational Tracks)
  • SOCW 551 — Advanced Clinical Social Work Theory and Practice (core course in Advanced and second-year Foundational Tracks)
Browse all Social Work (SOCW) courses and descriptions in the Academic Calendar.
Interprofessional Mental Health Clinic
Evidence-based training on campus
Centre for the Study of Services to Children and Families
Identifying effective and far-reaching impacts for society

Faculty & Students

Relationships are paramount to the School of Social Work. Cohorts of between 20 and 50 students results in a close-knit community—a place where you can ask your own questions and get to know your professors, who can direct you to a broad range of volunteer and career opportunities.

Students are strongly encouraged to reach out to Marilyn Gayle, Student Education Coordinator, before beginning the application process.

We invite you to discuss your academic interests and career goals with us. We are happy to share our excitement about what we study and teach.

Shirley Chau | | 250.807.8739

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Judy Gillespie | | 250.807.8745

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John R. Graham | | 250.807.8738

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Rachelle Hole | | 250.807.8741

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Mary Ann Murphy | | 250.807.8705

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Brian Rasmussen | | 250.807.8743

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Dixon Sookraj | | 250.807.8703

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Edward H. Taylor | | 250.807.8740

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Susan J. Wells | | 250.807.8163

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Our MSW students team up to promote change, healing and growth for all. Graduates often enter jobs in mental health, substance-abuse rehabilitation, child and adult protective services, hospitals and clinics, programs for the aging, and community service organizations.

Follow the School of Social Work on Facebook to stay connected, get involved in advocacy, and to gain better access to career resources. Browse our Career Development section on this page.

Students are encouraged to explore opportunities and resources for networking, job postings, professional development and guidance. The following Canadian Social Work organizations offer support for the profession and advancing social justice:

Research Groups and Laboratories

John R. Graham, Professor and Director
“This is one of the better programs in Canada.”
Assoc. Prof. Judy Gillespie
Students involved in cohesive strategy
Amanda Neufeld, MSW Student
Leveraging an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship
Taylor Wells, MSW Student
Peers and practical skills in Kelowna

Admission Requirements

Along with Admission Requirements, listed below, please see the policy on Personal Suitability for the Social Work Profession.

The School of Social Work recognizes our responsibility to the social work profession to uphold standards of academic and professional excellence and to operate within the standards and policies of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE).

The purpose of this policy is to identify behaviours or issues that may result in the need for a review of a student’s personal suitability for the social work field and to provide a set of procedures to be followed when a review is conducted.

  • a minimum grade average of B+ (76-79%) in the third-year or higher levels of their undergraduate degree program;
  • a minimum score of 600 on the TOEFL, for students whose undergraduate degree was not completed in English — see the College of Graduate Studies’ English Language Proficiency Requirements;
  • completed a 3-credit course in statistics* — see Approved Statistics Courses
  • completed a 3-credit course in research methods* — see Approved Research Method Courses
  • completed a proposed Statement of Purpose — see FAQs
  • provided three letters of reference — see FAQs
  • submitted a current resumé or curriculum vitae. Preference will be given to applicants who meet the above criteria and have related paid or volunteer social-work experience.

* Courses required for admission DO NOT need to be completed before applying to the MSW program. However, if accepted for admission, the student must submit an official transcript for the course(s) to the College of Graduate Studies by their deadline, which is normally at least two months prior to the start of the MSW program.

  • a minimum grade average of B+ (76-79%) in the third-year and higher levels of their BSW program;
  • a minimum score of 600 on the TOEFL, for students whose undergraduate degree was not completed in English — see the College of Graduate Studies’ English Language Proficiency Requirements;
  • completed a 3-credit course in statistics* — see Approved Statistics Courses
  • post-BSW social work experience — see FAQs
  • completed a proposed Statement of Purpose — see FAQs about providing three letters of reference, and the policy regarding academic and professional references;
  • submitted a current resumé or curriculum vitae.

* Courses required for admission DO NOT need to be completed before applying to the MSW program. However, if accepted for admission, the student must submit an official transcript for the course(s) to the College of Graduate Studies by their deadline, which is normally at least two months prior to the start of the MSW program.


Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar* for full admission and program requirements information. The Calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Grades and degree credentials required by UBC vary by country. Search the Required Grades and Credential Guide — a guide to assist international students in estimating their eligibility.

An international student advisor can answer questions about immigration, medical insurance and the transition to UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC. Visit the International Programs and Services website to meet the team.

Tuition & Funding


Year of Program Domestic (per year) International (per year)
2017 $4,800 $16,734.51
2016 $4,800 $11,997.96

Scholarship & Fellowship Awards

The College of Graduate Studies administers merit-based graduate awards with many award competitions each year. Rules and regulations regarding these internal scholarships and fellowship are enforced by the College of Graduate Studies as is the administration of payment.

All prospective graduate students (Domestic and International) are encouraged to explore opportunities for external scholarships and fellowships, including awards offered by Canada’s three research councils: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

The Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER) awards two $1,000 scholarships in 2017 to students involved in community engaged research. The scholarships offer financial support to current UBC Okanagan graduate, or in exceptional circumstances undergraduate students. The purpose of the scholarship is to support students with their research and their efforts to build closer ties with the community.

Graduate awards may also be available from foundations, private organizations or foreign governments (check with your country’s education authority). Students are expected to apply for relevant scholarships and fellowships if they are eligible, and to actively pursue financial opportunities at their discretion.

How to Apply

Contact Us

The School of Social Work wants to help you create a strong application to the MSW program.

Contact Marilyn Gale, our student education coordinator, for program-specific questions. She can be reached by email at and by phone at 250.807.8038.

For questions regarding the application process, please contact the College of Graduate Studies, which administers the entire process and receives all supporting documentation. Once your application is complete, it is forwarded to the School of Social Work.

A strong undergraduate grade performance is the primary factor in the admission decision-making process.

A complete application package will contain:

  • Online application and application fee
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended
  • A Statement of Purpose, which allows our Admissions Committee to assess your fit with the program. See FAQs for more information.
  • Three reference forms or letters, preferably academic references. See FAQs for more information.
  • English language test (for non-native speakers of English)

Applying takes time. We recommend you start your application at least two months in advance of published deadlines.

For full consideration students should apply by the following dates:

Intake Application Deadline
Domestic applicants
September February 21
January N/A
May N/A
International applicants
September January 31
January June 2
May October 1

UBC’s Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the Master of Social Work graduate program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

UBC Okanagan

UBC Okanagan is situated near the northern border of the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of about 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow a business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna’s cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the traditional territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lake shores and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Check out this 360-degree video: Kelowna From Above*.

* Best viewed using Chrome or Firefox (desktop), YouTube app (mobile)

Full-time UBC Okanagan students can live in residence, which offers modern living with easy access to academic and personal support. Residences are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, plus panoramic views of the campus and valley.

The Student Residence website includes helpful information about Important Dates for living on campus, plus options and resources for Living Off Campus.

Kelowna Off Campus Student Housing is a public Facebook group that shares notes about housing options, finding roommates, and vacancies in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.*

* UBC does not verify or endorse information shared on this third-party website, which is offered here as a public resource only.

Follow the School of Social Work on Facebook to stay connected, get involved in advocacy, and to gain better access to career resources.

There are orientation events for all graduate students, including the College of Graduate Studies’ incoming graduate student orientation, Jumpstart for international graduate students, and the Create New Student Orientation series.

Stay active. Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and play—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre and our 1,561 square-metre gymnasium, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes and nationally ranked varsity athletics. Have a ball in Sports and Recreation.

Relax. The Graduate Collegium is a gathering place where grad students can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their fellow students, and attend or host special events. The lounge-style room is open seven days and week and is outfitted with comfortable furniture, kitchen facilities, and individual and group-work spaces.

The College of Graduate Studies is your hub for administrative support, and such things as graduate workshops for professional development and for assisting you from the admissions process through to your graduation.

The Library’s Centre for Scholarly Communication (CSC) supports graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff and faculty in disseminating their research. The CSC provides one-on-one consultations and workshops, including writing support for theses, dissertations, journal articles and grant proposals.

Academic support programs, such as Supplemental Learning, Tutoring, Study Sessions and Writing Support are available through Student Services. Check out what they can do to help you.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning provides support related to teaching, TA training and use of technology in educational programming.


Few occupations can match social work, which offers countless interesting workplaces and a wide variety of occupations. Social workers are educators, therapists, leaders, managers and researchers. Find opportunities in private enterprise, health care and government with an MSW degree from UBC. Graduates are well-positioned to thrive in a variety of occupations, such as:

  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Personal counsellor
  • Family therapist
  • Specialty therapist
  • Case manager/Case work consultant
  • Child and family social worker
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Hospital/medical social worker
  • Community development worker
  • Youth worker
  • Policy analyst
  • Social researcher
  • Probation officer
  • Clinical mental health social worker
  • Group home worker
  • Crisis intervention counsellor
  • Non-profit coordinator
  • Volunteer services director
  • Community facilitator
  • Career guidance counsellor
  • Immigration counsellor

Potential Employers

  • Hospitals and primary health care settings
  • Child protection agencies
  • Post-secondary education institutions
  • Regional health authorities
  • Rehabilitation health departments
  • International relief agencies
  • Governmental departments and organizations
  • Community, social, and correctional services
  • Non-profit organizations related to advocacy
  • Human resources, and research organizations
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
  • Hospice
  • Community outreach programs in mental and physical health
  • Court systems
  • Immigration Services
  • Research Services

Map out your future and prepare to hit the ground running with resources and services provided by the Advising & Involvement Centre.

Tell your story with resumé and cover-letter strategies, and search Work Study jobs for experience relevant to your degree and career goals. You can also book an appointment to meet one-on-one with our career advisor.

alumni UBC

alumni UBC is a member-driven association that offers a variety of lifetime programming and communications to enrich the lives of UBC graduates.

The ‘Your Next Step’ program offers webinars, speaker series and professional development sessions. It is designed to provide advice, tips and resources in areas of career development to graduates for life after university.

Realize the promise of a global community with shared ambition for a better world and an exceptional UBC.