Two Indigenous elders work on making a teepee tent while two students observe.
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    • Faculty of Social Work
    • Faculty of Graduate Studies

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    • Master of Social Work

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    Expected duration

    • 2 years

  • The Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges supports students to:

    • work from Indigenous perspectives;
    • understand the colonial history of events which have led to present circumstances;
    • understand social justice, anti-oppressive practices, anti-colonialism, and Indigenism;
    • explore Indigenous forms of helping and support(s) applicable to social work;
    • recover and support Indigenous values, practices, and structures;
    • empower Indigenous identities;
    • maintain a close connection with Indigenous communities and agencies;
    • and develop as advanced social work practitioners.

    This work is relevant to Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons in their personal and professional development as social workers with advanced training.

  • A group of social work student participants gather around a fire pit shaped like a turtle.

Program details

The foundational material of this program gives particular attention to knowledges, perspectives, values, and practices of Indigenous peoples that will support graduates to work from both Indigenous and critical social work theory perspectives.

Expected duration: 2 years

Tuition and fees: One year tuition, then continuing fees in subsequent years (refer to Graduate tuition and fees)

Students are required to complete 13 courses from the Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges program in order to graduate. A student can choose to take a project or thesis focus.

Our program has a preparatory Grounding Our Foundation and four key steps that reflect the guidance presented by Art Solomon, an Anishinaabe Elder.

  • Step one: Where we come from
  • Step two: Who we are
  • Step three: Where we are
  • Step four: Where we are going

Sample course offerings

  • Social SWRK 7700: Grounding Our Foundation in Indigenous Knowledges and Social Work
  • SWRK 7710: Remembering our Histories: Setting our Knowledges
  • SWRK 7720: Critical Theory and Indigenous Peoples
  • SWRK 7730: Indigenous Research Methodologies and Knowledge Development
  • SWRK 7740: Indigenous Peoples, Identity and Social Work
  • SWRK 7750: Indigeneity, Power, Privilege, and Social Work
  • SWRK 7770: Social Challenges and Indigenous Helping Practices
  • SWRK 7780: Social Work, Social Challenges and Indigenous Peoples
  • SWRK 7800: Indigenism
  • SWRK 7810: Anti-Colonial Social Work

For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar.

Our commitment to educational equity

This program is for Indigenous and non-Indigenous social workers. Every effort is made to ensure that people from marginalized groups have access to the MSW based in Indigenous Knowledges program. Our Educational Education Initiative aims to correct the conditions of disadvantage in professional education experienced by First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Canada, persons with disabilities, immigrants and refugees to Canada, 2SLGBTQ people and persons who are members of racialized groups in Canada.

Career options

A range of positions within the human services are open to graduates, such as family therapists, case managers, group workers, community developers, policy analysts, and administrators. In addition, graduates may be active as scholars, politicians, senior civil servants, private consultants, and international development.

Admission requirements

To qualify for admission to the Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges program, you must have a minimum of:

  • A Bachelor of Social Work degree (by June 30 of the application year) from an accredited university recognized by the University of Manitoba
    • with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) in your last sixty credit hours of university study.
  • Relevant social work experience in Indigenous communities and/or with Indigenous peoples (paid or volunteer).

If you have taken courses subsequent to the degree as a Special Student and/or Occasional Student and/or in a subsequent degree or a Pre-Master program, they will be calculated into the GPA as part of the last 60 credit hours.

Applicants who self-identify as members of one or more of the Educational Equity priority groups and who possess a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 will be reviewed for special consideration. Applicants with adjusted GPAs below 2.5 will not be considered.

In addition to the admission requirements described here, all applicants must meet the minimum admission and English language proficiency requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

How to apply

Applications for the MSW based in Indigenous Knowledges program are accepted for September entry only. Applications must be completed online and include several parts:

  • $100 application fee (non-refundable)
  • Unofficial copies of transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic, employment, and Indigenous community sources (must be requested from within the application)
  • Paid and volunteer work history (must be completed within application)
  • Area of specialization statement (must be completed within application)
  • Proof of English language proficiency, if required

Applicants will also be required to participate in an admissions interview process.

Please read the Faculty of Graduate Studies online application instructions before beginning your application.

Application deadlines

Canadian and US applicants

Term Application deadline Apply
Fall 2022 January 15, 2022 Application not yet open

International applicants

Term Application deadline Apply
Fall 2022 October 15, 2021 Application not yet open

Applicants must submit their online application with supporting documentation and application fee by the deadline date indicated. 

Learn more

Contact us

Admission and application inquiries

Faculty of Graduate Studies
Room 500 UMSU University Centre
65 Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
Phone: 204-474-9377
Fax: 204-474-7553

Monday to Friday
8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Program inquiries

Faculty of Social Work
Room 521 Tier Building
173 Dafoe Rd. W
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)  
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
Phone: 204-474-7050
Fax: 204-474-7594