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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 join with people to bring about social change. Our program supports students 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 and effectively with individuals, groups and communities, and for critically analyzing social policies and programs, and working towards a more equitable and just world.

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 of the welfare state.

In the next three years, you will be introduced to the theoretical frameworks that underlie social work. This includes combining theory and practice to become a social work practitioner. You will learn principles and theories for direct intervention with individuals, families, small groups, and communities. You will look at social work practice as shaped by race, gender and class inequalities. Among many other subject areas, you will learn about working with Indigenous populations, immigrants and refugees and you will be exposed to LGBTTQI issues. In addition, you will explore the history and theories of the welfare state and cover topics such as the nature of the labour market, changing family structures, the voluntary sector and research methodologies.

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. There are two field practica, one in third and another in fourth year. 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.

As a graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work you would be eligible to join the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and receive the designation of Registered Social Worker. 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.

What students are saying about Social Work

I decided to minor in American Sign Language. The classes are incredible and very informative. What makes ASL at Carleton University so unique is how close you become with your professors. They are more like mentors and they introduce you to opportunities that allow you to be immersed within Deaf culture.
Chris Brown, Social Work with a minor in American Sign Language student