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Programs / Social Work

Program Details

Carleton’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is a four-year Honours degree that places strong emphasis on the interactions between people and their environments. We look for innovative ways to assist people to engage in society and to achieve their own sense of meaning and accomplishment in a rapidly changing world. Our program is geared towards those who enjoy working with diverse populations and have strong interests in promoting social justice. The program will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for working sensitively with individuals, groups and communities, and for critically analyzing social policies and programs.

The BSW program combines a liberal arts education with a professional social work education. In first year, you will take a range of courses outside of social work and one main social work course which introduces you to the profession of social work and the programs and policies that comprise the welfare state.

In second year, you will be introduced to the theoretical frameworks that underlie social work. This will include ideas and concepts from the social sciences, including sociology, psychology, political science and economics, with an emphasis placed on understanding the impact of race, gender and class on people’s lives. In addition, you will explore the history and theories of the welfare state and cover topics such as the nature of the labour market, the family, the voluntary sector and research methodologies.

In third year, you will study how the welfare state is administered and managed, learn about working in community and human service organizations, and have the opportunity to refine your analytic and interpersonal skills. Field placements provide opportunities to put theory into practice, and are offered in such settings as child protection services; community health or crisis centres; drop-in centres for homeless people; shelters for women; provincial, federal, and municipal government departments; immigration and settlement services; services for refugees; addictions counselling centres; hospitals; and a range of international and non-governmental organizations.

In fourth year, you will have more opportunities to practice social work as you complete another field practicum. The fourth-year Honours Integrative Seminar provides you further opportunity to synthesize theory with practice and to enhance your skills in critical self-evaluation.

A BSW from Carleton is portable across the Canadian provinces and territories and is generally recognized in the USA and several other countries. The School of Social Work is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE); in our last accreditation review in 2012, the BSW program received the highest standing.