M.S.W. Program Questions

Q. Who do I contact for what type of inquiry?


Faculty member contact information can be found on the School of Social Work website at: https://socialwork.ok.ubc.ca/contact/faculty-and-staff/

MSW Students

Current students please refer to the M.S.W. Program Homepage on Canvas for announcements, dates and deadlines.

  • The UBC Okanagan course schedule – We recommend you use this link to search for courses available for registration.  The ‘Section Comments’ will detail additional notes regarding the course such as synchronous or asynchronous course delivery, dates of sessions, course restrictions and additional details.
  • The MSW Student Handbook – This valuable student resource is updated annually.  There are detailed registration lists based on your field education stream.  It also contains detailed information about requesting an Exception to the Course Schedule, cross-campus registration, and the graduate paper/thesis options for the MSW degree.
  • Registration Email – MSW students register twice in an academic year: July for Winter Term 1 & 2 (September/January) and March for Summer Term.  A few weeks prior to each registration date the School of Social Work will email out informative registration emails that are based on your program of study (Advanced/Foundational) and your assigned field education stream. Your assigned stream for the academic year determines your courses.
  • Your SSC account will display your registration date (when it is released) and
  • Registration dates are published by UBC Okanagan. Note: The Winter Term registration for MSW occurs in July as our courses are closed to registration until that date.
  • MSW students that are in the Graduate Paper Option or the Thesis-Option will have discuss their registration plan with the Program Coordinator.  Thesis-Option students will have a specific course plan for their MSW degree requirements.
  • If you have reviewed these resources above and have additional questions, please send an email to ask.socialwork@ubc.ca.

UBCO Student Services – Student Loans & Grants

Are you applying for a student loan?  Be aware that our MSW program is full-time continuous study but summer terms may have condensed courses.  If you are not in a field education summer stream the runs until the end of August, please indicate and apply for the Winter Term 1 & 2 dates for the MSW program and then apply separately for the summer terms.  Summer course dates and duration may impact the eligibility of your student loan – be sure you are aware of the correct dates before you submit to prevent being re-assessed or in an over award situation.  If you have any questions, please contact your loan provider to ensure you have the correct details.

Are you a sponsored student?  You may request a PDF Proof of Enrolment letter from your SSC account once you have registration in a term. If you require a specialized letter for a sponsor please email the full details to ask.socialwork@ubc.ca.  Letter requests may take up to 5 business days to process.

There are four conferral dates in an academic year available for graduate students at UBCO: September, November, February and May.  There is one ceremony a year held at the Okanagan campus in early June.

In order for your program to be considered complete, you must have completed all program requirements as listed in the Academic Calendar and all grades must be entered. For thesis-based students, this includes successfully defending your thesis/dissertation, submitting all documentation to Graduate Studies, successfully uploading your thesis to cIRcle, and meeting all formatting requirements.

Applications for graduation are submitted from your SSC account.  This is also where you can update your attendance for the ceremony or request the delivery of your parchment (pick up or courier). We do post information on our M.S.W. Program Homepage Canvas page when applications for graduation open for our students.

Application Deadlines
Degree Conferral Date Applications Begin Final Application Deadline
February November 16th January 15th
May January 16th April 15th
September June 2nd August 31st
November September 1st October 15th

If you do not apply by the posted deadline, you will need to apply for the next available degree conferral period.

All course requirements, including final grades entered, must be complete before the following dates to meet the conferral of your degree. If you are a thesis-based student then you will have additional graduation deadlines to meet to qualify for degree conferral. These are noted on the College of Graduate Studies website.

Coursework Only Students
Degree Conferral Date Grades Must be Entered by:
 February January 30
May April 30
September Aug 30
November October 30
Final Thesis/Dissertation Approval Deadlines
Degree Conferral Date Final Date for Approval
February January 30
May April 30
September August 30
 November October 30

See the current MSW Student Handbook for details about completing your courses for graduation requirements.


You may request a Program Completion Letter from ask.socialwork@ubc.ca after you have received the Program Completion email from the College of Graduate Studies. It may take 5 business days for this request to be processed and can be provided to you as a PDF letter via email, mailed to you, or for pick up from the Graduate Program Administrator.

If you are requesting the letter for the BCCSW registration, the Graduate Program Administrator has a specific letter that is sent to them via email.  Please let us know if this is why you have requested the letter so we can ensure that it is sent to them directly.  It must be sent from the School of Social Work to be accepted by BCCSW and can only be prepared AFTER you receive your Program Completion Email from the UBCO College of Graduate Studies.

In order for the program to be considered complete, students must have completed all MSW program requirements as listed in the Academic Calendar and all final grades must be entered. The date of program completion is the date on which the student’s last final grade was entered. General information about Program Completion and Graduation can be found on the College of Graduate Studies’ website.

Conferral of your degree is not official until your program completion is approved by Senate.  This occurs four times a year.  Please ensure that you do not order your official final transcript too early or else your conferral will not be indicated on the transcript.  Your degree is not granted until the conferral date.

NOTE: If there are any specific details required for your letter, please be sure to include this in your request.  We will do our best to provide the content required to you.

At the end of every winter term, and at the end of every month during the summer terms, the Graduate Program Administrator reviews the student files of students who are due for program completion. The program then makes recommendation of program completion to the College of Graduate Studies.

Upon recommendation for completion by the MSW program, the College of Graduate Studies also evaluates each file individually. This process can take two weeks from the date the student’s last final grade was entered.

The College of Graduate Studies notifies the student when this review process is complete. More information related to Degree Conferral and Convocation can be found in the MSW Student Handbook.


Your SSC account has the ability to generate a PDF Proof of Enrolment letter for you 24/7. The following details are published by UBCO Student Services as a guide:

Need a letter to verify your enrolment? Proof of Enrolment works for Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) withdrawal, employment, and scholarships.
Examples: Heritage Education Trust, Children’s Education Funds, Knowledge First Canadian Scholarship Trust
Follow the steps on how to print off a ‘Proof of Enrolment Letter’ below:
Step one
Log on to the Student Service Centre (SSC) using your Campus-Wide Login (CWL).
Step two
Select Grades & Records > Proof of Enrolment Letter
Step three
Select the Academic Session and download the letter.
Proof of Enrolment Letters reflect the number of registered credits you are in depending on the Academic Session you have selected. Note that if you have not registered for any courses for the upcoming year it will list ‘0’ registered credits on the form.
The Proof of Enrolment Letter is available on your SSC is a legal UBC document.

If you require a more detailed Proof of Enrolment letter or a Sponsorship Letter direct from the School of Social Work please reach out to  ask.socialwork@ubc.ca with your request.  You will need to provide us with their contact details and any specifics regarding your program, dates or course work that need to be included.  It may take 5 business days for this request to be processed and can be provided to you as a PDF letter via email, mailed to you, or for pick up from the Graduate Program Administrator.

If you require a program verification letter when applying to scholarship or award opportunity please check with us at least 2-3 weeks before a submission deadline to determine if we are able to provide the correct letter for your application.  NOTE: Transcripts are ordered from your SSC account and the School of Social Work is not able to provide these for an award or scholarship application.

Prospective Students & Application Questions

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

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.

See the application deadline here: Application deadline for Master of Social Work Admission in the College of Graduate Studies deadlines database.  The application opens on September 1st annually for the following year.

The September 2022 MSW intake application deadline is January 10, 2022.

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.

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 thesis-based 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 enrollment.

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 who you are and how you match to not only our specific MSW program but the social work profession. 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, your readiness for graduate level study, 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 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.  The Statement of Purpose questions are updated each year in August for the upcoming application opening date in September.

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.

College of Graduate Studies
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
EME 2121 – 1137 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7

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.

Electronic Official Transcripts:  UBC Okanagan College of Graduate Studies is accepting electronic transcripts – please have them sent direct from your school to gradadmissions.ok@ubc.ca.  To be considered official the transcript must be sent direct from the originating school – it cannot be a forward.

All documentation for graduate applications needs to be sent directly to the College of Graduate Studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus:

College of Graduate Studies
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
EME 2121 – 1137 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7

Please do not send your documents to the School of Social Work or UBC Okanagan or it may be delivered to the wrong department.  We are not able to access transcripts sent to UBC Okanagan Enrolment Services as graduate student files are independent from them.

Electronic transcripts can be sent to: gradadmissions.ok@ubc.ca.

NOTE:  This does not apply to Criminal Record Checks for your MSW application – please follow those specific instructions on our school’s website.

UBC Transcripts:

Applicants are not required to provide a transcript for any course work completed at UBC Vancouver or UBC Okanagan and are asked to use their existing UBC student ID when applying.  Your UBC student ID is the same for both campuses.

Okanagan College/Okanagan University College:

Applicants 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/OC transcripts please contact Okanagan College directly.

The resume or CV format for the MSW application is up to you.  We do ask that you provide the hours of employment or volunteering when listing this history.

Think of your resume or CV as an opportunity to provide the Admission Committee with an overview of your experience and academic history.  It is a chance to expand or provide evidence to detail the information you are providing throughout your graduate application.

While the School does not pre-access applications, you may find the following information helpful: Applicants require the UBC equivalent 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 UBC equivalent GPA of 80% or higher. Although GPA is a 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 and we are a competitive entry professional graduate program.

While the UBC Okanagan School of Social Work does not release our admission data, as it fluctuates along with our capacity each year, our MSW programs are full-time continuous study and are competitive entry.

Within our two MSW programs we annually have between 125-140 students studying full-time; this includes our Foundational Year 1, Foundational Year 2 and our Advanced Track students. On average our admission intake annually is 25 Advanced and 45 Foundational students.

We do encourage all those interested to apply well before the application deadline to ensure all documents and references are submitted before the deadline.  Our application does not remain open for additional submissions after the deadline has passed.

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. Academic references must be active and have an verifiable institutional email address.

A professional reference is provided by an individual who has supervised 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. Professional references must be active and have a verifiable institutional email address.

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/Additional 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.

We do not require a GRE test score for application to the MSW program.

All applicants to our program must provide proof of English language proficiency. 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.

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.

Conditional Admission Offers: 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 on the condition they are complete at the end of August; we will review your complete application if you have a course or degree in-progress but any offer provided will be a conditionalNOTE: Our program recommends that all requirements be complete by June as you are not able to register for courses with a conditional offer.

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.

The MSW at UBC Okanagan is accredited by the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE). Our eight year accreditation is effective from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2028.

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.

Please note that we are a competitive entry program and we will be assessing your fit to the program and the profession.

Be sure to include your hours or work/volunteering at each location noted on your resume or CV.

For questions specifically about the MSW program, you may contact the School of Social Work at ask.socialwork@ubc.ca. Our Graduate Program Administrator 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. You may view their Prepare Your Application site for information about the application process.

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 Public Safety and Solicitor General criminal record review: More information about the Criminal Record Check.

To clear the MSW admission condition of a criminal record check the School of Social must have received a cleared BC Criminal Record Check (eCRC) that is a Type B for working with vulnerable children and adults.

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.

If you are interested in other opportunities please contact ask.socialwork@ubc.ca to find out about the MA, MSc & PhD options in Interdisciplinary Studies (IGS).  Several of our Social Work faculty are available to supervise in IGS themes.

Question or Concern Point of Contact
  • Questions related to Social Work program
  • Course registration concerns
  • Planning for a the thesis or graduation paper option
Program Coordinator


Professional advice regarding career development and related aspirations Faculty
  • Initial consultation in regards to course selection, electives, degree requirements
  • Information about graduation and degree completion
  • Assistance in navigating School of Social Work policies in the Academic Calendar
  • Guidance for campus student services
Graduate Program Administrator
ask.socialwork@ubc.ca | ART 345250-807-8603
Field education-related matters

When in placement, students should first direct field education concerns to their assigned Field Education Liaison.

Field Education Office

ask.field@ubc.ca |ART 303


Field Education Coordinator

Community and Field Education Liaison

In the instance a student goes through the proper channels (as above), but still requires further consultation, a student may request, through either the Program Coordinator or Field Education Office, a referral to discuss a given matter with the Director of the School. Referred appointments with the Director may then be made via their Executive Assistant. Jacqui Gerow

Executive Assistant to the Director

jacqui.gerow@ubc.ca | ART 305



John Graham, PhD, RSW

Director, School of Social Work

john.graham@ubc.ca | ART 304