FAQs

Information on how to apply is available on the College of Graduate Studies website.  If you have not already done so, please review the information available on the Prospective Students section of the website.

1. When is the deadline for applications?
2. What is the cost of the program?
3. How do the Course-Based option and the Thesis option differ?
4. How do I complete the Statement of Purpose requirement of the M.S.W. application package?
5. How do I arrange for my OUC or UBC Okanagan transcripts to be included with my application?
6. Will my application be competitive?
7. Can the Masters be done part time?
8. Can the M.S.W. program be taken by distance education?
9. What type of references are required?

10. Is a GRE required and, if so, what are the required test scores?
11. Can I apply to the M.S.W. if I do not have a Bachelor of Social Work degree, but do hold an undergraduate degree?
12. Is the M.S.W. program accredited?
13. Can I still apply even if I have little or no related experience?
14. Who can I contact for more information?
15.  How, and when specifically, do I need to complete a criminal record check?
16. Is there a PhD program?


1. When is the deadline for applications?

See the application deadline here: Application deadline for Master of Social Work Admission

The School begins accepting applications in September for the following September intake. As a cohort-based M.S.W. 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.

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.


2. What is the cost of the program?

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.

Faculty of Health & Social Development Graduate Student Travel Grant: https://fhsd.ok.ubc.ca/fhsd-graduate-student-travel-grant/ 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.


3. How do the Course-Based Option and the Thesis option differ?

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 an Academic Advisor 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 M.S.W. 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. https://socialwork.ok.ubc.ca/contact/faculty-and-staff/


4. How do I complete the Statement of Purpose section of the M.S.W. application package?

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.

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.


5. How do I arrange for my OUC or UBC Okanagan transcripts to be included with my application?

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: Okanagan University College Transcript Requests.


6. Will my application be competitive?

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.


7. Can the M.S.W. program be done part-time?

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


8. Can the M.S.W program be taken by distance education?

No. Being a clinically-focused M.S.W. program, we believe in a need for face-to-face interaction. However, the School may offer the occasional elective 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.


9. What type of references are required?

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.

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:  College of Graduate Studies Application FAQs.

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.


10. Is a GRE required and, if so, what are the required test scores?

There are no required test scores for the M.S.W. (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.


11. Can I apply to the M.S.W. program if I do not have a Bachelor of Social Work degree but do hold an undergraduate degree?

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


12. Is the M.S.W. program accredited?

Yes.  Since its inception, the M.S.W. 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.


13. Can I still apply even if I have little or no related experience?

Yes. All human service experience (paid is preferred, but volunteer too) is considered when evaluating complete application packages.


14. Who can I contact for more information?

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 gradadmissions.ok@ubc.ca.  For questions specifically about the M.S.W. program, you may contact the School of Social Work at ask.socialwork@ubc.ca. For questions specific to Field Education, you can contact the Field Education Office at ask.field@ubc.ca


15. How, and when specifically, do I need to complete a criminal record check? 

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 M.S.W. 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.

16. Is there a PhD program?

The School of Social Work offers two master’s level program tracks:
1) Advanced One-Year track M.S.W., and
2) Foundational Two-Year track M.S.W.
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.