FAQs

Information on how to apply is available on the College of Graduate Studies website.

For suggestions on how to make a strong application: How to Write Grad School Application Material

See the application deadline here: Application deadline for Master of Social Work Admission in the College of Graduate Studies deadlines database.  The application deadline for the September 2020 MSW intake is January 31, 2020.

The School begins accepting applications in September for the following September intake. As a cohort-based MSW program, this is the one intake per year. Please be aware the College of Graduate Studies forwards applications to the School of Social Work once they are complete (i.e. all references and other supporting documentation has been received). Therefore, it is important to monitor your online application checklist and to follow up on missing items as soon as possible. The Admissions Committee reviews applications as they are received, and will offer admission to outstanding early applicants.

As we are a competitive entry professional program, we do recommend you apply early to our MSW programs to ensure you have time to complete all the submission requirements.

Please note that, in order to be considered for certain scholarships/awards, earlier application deadlines may be applicable. Please see the College of Graduate Studies website for more information on scholarships and awards: College of Graduate Studies Scholarships and Awards Page.

The Academic Calendar outlines master degree tuition: Master’s Tuition Fees. Tuition fee installments are applied to the student’s financial account in three equal installments in Winter Term 1 (September), Winter Term 2 (January), and Summer Term 1-2 (May) of each year. Textbooks and supplies normally cost approximately $150 per course. Transportation and parking costs are typically approximately $2,000 each year of the program. It is important to note that students should consider additional and fluctuating costs (i.e., housing, transportation and parking costs), which can increase based on students assigned field education placement. Specific to Field Education requirements, students are also required to purchase Student Accident Insurance ($7.00) prior to beginning field education.

The Faculty of Health & Social Development’s internal Graduate Student Travel Grant is intended to subsidize travel to conferences for full-time graduate students in Master’s or Doctoral programs only. Details are released annually to registered thesis-based students in the MSW program.

All applicants are automatically entered into the Course-Based option. After being accepted for admission, it is possible to change your program to the thesis option if you are able to secure a School of Social Work faculty member interested and willing to supervise your research. Applicants interested in pursuing the Thesis Option should contact the School of Social Work by emailing their request to: ask.socialwork@ubc.ca so that program requirements can be discussed. It is important to note that the Thesis-Based option typically includes at least one (1) additional year of full-time academic enrolment.

Students interested in a thesis-based option MSW program are highly encouraged to contact a faculty member prior to application, in order to ensure that this option is available to them. Please see the Faculty and Staff webpage, for each faculty members research area and biography.

Your Statement of Purpose should reflect your general practice area of interest. It is best to choose and write about only one area of interest. Although they are not required, you may include references from peer-reviewed articles, if you wish. Your area of interest is not permanent and you are free to change your focus after starting the program. The Statement of Purpose largely serves the purpose of providing the Admission Committee with an example of your writing and a sense of your fit with our clinical social work program. Note: The Statement of Purpose has a 1000 word maximum so please be aware that all words included in your submission, including any references, are included in the total word count.

Click on this link to view the Statement of Purpose questions. Please note these numbered items, which should be used as headings, are not included in the maximum word count.

You may apply to the MSW program with an unofficial transcript, we will review an application with an unofficial transcript.  You will be required to provide a final official transcript if you receive an offer of admission – this official transcript should be sent directly to the UBC Okanagan College of Graduate Studies as it will be a condition of admission.

Please note your academic history uploaded must include a transcript key/grade scale or the submission will be considered incomplete.  This can often be found in an institutions published Academic Calendar under policies and procedures.

Note:  All transcripts that are opened, have outstanding grades, a degree or credential in-progress or not yet conferred, and not provided in an official endorsed envelope to the College of Graduate Studies are considered unofficial.

Students are not required to provide a transcript for any course work completed at UBC Vancouver or UBC Okanagan. However, students are required to submit a transcript for any course work completed prior to the transition from Okanagan University College (OUC) to UBC Okanagan. See the information at this link to find out how to obtain OUC transcripts please contact Okanagan College directly.

While the School does not pre-assess applications, you may find the following information helpful: Applicants require a grade point average (GPA) of 76% or higher in 300-level courses and above of their undergraduate degree program. However, the majority of applications accepted each year are from students who hold a GPA of 80% or higher. Although GPA is the primary factor in application evaluation, the entire application package is considered. Thus, an applicant with a GPA lower than 80% may be accepted if the application is otherwise very strong. Please also keep in mind that the average quality of applications received may vary from year to year.

The MSW program is designed solely for full-time studies. Students are required to maintain full-time continuous enrolment throughout the entire duration of the program.

No. Being a clinically-focused MSW program, we believe in a need for face-to-face interaction. However, the School may offer the occasional elective or seminar course online. Also, a distance field education placement (i.e., a placement outside of the Okanagan Valley) may be considered for Advanced One-Year track students, and second year Foundational Two-Year track students.

Local field education placement is 125 km distance from campus.

Excerpt form the School of Social Work Policy regarding field placement: “Field education placements are normally in agencies in the Okanagan Valley region; however, distance placements for students in the M.S.W. Advanced track or second year of the M.S.W. Foundational Two-Year track may be permitted upon approval from the Field Education Office. The availability of placements in some areas may be limited and students must be prepared to accept a field education placement anywhere within 125 km of UBC’s Okanagan campus. Students make their own arrangements for and bear the cost of personal transportation during a placement. UBC does not provide any form of insurance for private vehicles. If students are requested to transport clients, it is best to do so in an agency vehicle.”

Please note the School requires a total of three (3) references and it is recommended that at least one of the three should be an academic reference. An academic reference is provided by a college or university instructor, usually holding a PhD. The academic referee will be asked to comment, where applicable, on your academic preparation, originality, skill at research, industry, intellectual capacity and teaching ability.  If you are currently enrolled in a program, or have been in the past 5 years, the requirement is for two academic references and one professional reference.

A professional reference is provided by an individual who has observed you as a volunteer or paid employee in a human service organization and/or role. The professional referee will be asked to comment, where applicable, on your academic preparation, practice competence, creativity, working relationships, work ethic, critical thinking skills, research skills, intellectual capacity and teaching ability. As you will note on the College of Graduate Studies website, personal references are not accepted.

We do appreciate that, for applicants who have been out of university a long time, it may be harder to obtain a reference from a former professor. However, in the end, someone should speak to your intellectual abilities, knowledge, skills and overall readiness for graduate studies. A reference from someone who holds a graduate degree is preferred. More information about references can be found on the College of Graduate Studies website Prepare Your Application.

If you should encounter any difficulty with the College of Graduate Studies not accepting your reference, please email your concern to ask.socialwork@ubc.ca.

There is an opportunity in the Supplementary Questions section of the graduate application to provide information to the Admission Committee.  If you are choosing to provide a professional reference for one of your three submission, instead of an academic, we do recommend you provide a rationale for it in this section of the application.

There are no required test scores for the MSW (unless your undergraduate degree was taken in a language other than English, in which case you will need to complete a language proficiency test). For more information regarding the English language requirement, please see: Academic Calendar – MSW English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Yes, but you may only apply to the Foundational Two-Year Track of the MSW program. No exceptions are made since this is an accreditation requirement (see item #12 for more information on our accreditation).

Note:  Students applying to the Advanced One-Year Track of the program must hold a Bachelor of Social Work degree, from an institution accredited by the Canadian Associate for Social Work Education (CASWE) or the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Individuals without such a degree cannot be admitted into the Advanced One-Year M.S.W.

All MSW admission requirements and required documents must be received and processed before the start of the program. Applications that have outstanding conditions at the end of August of an intake year will be closed.

Applicants may apply without having yet completed all of the admission requirements; we will review your complete application if you have a course or degree in-progress but any offer provided will be a conditional.

Before starting the M.S.W. program, applicants must provide verification that all admission requirements have been met. For example, if an applicant has not completed the required statistics course and/or the required research methods course at the time of application, they can still apply for admission. If the application is successful, the applicant would be offered a conditional admission, in which case all outstanding admission requirements are required to be completed, and  verified, before the start of our program.

A degree or course that is in-progress at the time of application, must be verified (via official transcript delivered and processed to the College of Graduate Studies).

If you are unsure if you will be able to meet the conditional requirements of an admission offer, please contact us at ask.socialwork@ubc.ca as soon as possible.  You may be eligible to request a deferral to the next intake.

Yes. Since its inception, the MSW program has maintained continuous accreditation by the CASWE (Canadian Association for Social Work Education). An accredited school of social work allows for registration with the provincial social work licensing/registry body upon completion of the program.

Yes. All human service experience (paid is preferred, but volunteer too) is considered when evaluating complete application packages.  Your application documents and responses to questions are ways to provide the Admission Committee with details about your experience and fit to the social work professional and our program.

For questions specifically about the MSW program, you may contact the School of Social Work at ask.socialwork@ubc.ca. Our Graduate Program Assistant would be happy to assist you and can even set up a phone or online appointment with you.

For questions specific to Field Education, you can contact the Field Education Office at ask.field@ubc.ca.

The College of Graduate Studies administers the entire application process until the application package is complete. Thus, for questions about the application process, please contact the College of Graduate Studies at gradask.ok@ubc.ca.

A criminal record check is NOT required at the time of application but once applicants have received an offer of admission, they should proceed with the criminal record check process as soon as possible. The School must receive the criminal record check results before the student starts the MSW program. IMPORTANT: This is NOT an RCMP police check, but rather a BC Ministry of Justice criminal record review: More information about the Criminal Record Check.

The School of Social Work offers two master’s level program tracks:
1) Advanced One-Year track MSW
2) Foundational Two-Year track MSW

Both tracks are governed by the policies of the College of Graduate Studies and the School of Social Work. We have a long history of offering an interdisciplinary PhD, and expect in the future to transition to offering a PhD in social work.