Two Indigenous elders work on making a teepee tent while two students observe.
  • icon house

    Faculty

    • Faculty of Social Work
    • Faculty of Graduate Studies

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    Degree

    • 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: 2-4 years

The MSW program provides two entry routes:

  1. Foundation level for students who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree, but do not have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an accredited program or its equivalent;
  2. Advanced level for students with a BSW degree from an accredited program.

If you have a BSW then you go into year 2 advanced level and if you do not have a BSW you will have to take year 1 foundation level. 

    Year 1 foundation level

    Students who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree, but do not have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an accredited program or its equivalent, will be offered admission into the first and foundation year of the MSW program. This first year will be 24 credit hours of foundation level courses and six credit hours of field work. Courses for this level will be taken at the Fort Garry campus.

    All courses and the field component of the foundation year must be completed before students register into the year two advanced level courses. In order to complete and receive the MSW degree, students (who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree, but do not have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an accredited program or its equivalent) must complete both the year one foundation level and the year two advanced level courses of the MSW Program. The program requires at least one year to complete the foundation level courses and at least another 12-18 months of full-time study for the advanced level courses of the MSW Program. Once students are ready to progress into the Advanced Level of the MSW program, they choose either the course-based or thesis option.

    Sample foundational level course offerings:

    • SWRK 7002: Foundation in Social Work Practice and the Profession
    • SWRK 3130: Contemporary Canadian Social Welfare
    • SWRK 4220: Social Work and Aboriginal People
    • SWRK 4200 Field Focus of Social Work Practice
    • SWRK 6020: Social Work Practice Seminar Course
    • SWRK 6050: Advanced Field Practice

    For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar.

    Year 2 advanced level

    Students with a BSW degree from an accredited program will be admitted directly into the second and advanced year of the MSW program. The program requires at least 12-18 months of full-time study (students who choose the thesis option may require more time depending on the nature of their research)

    The second year and advanced level courses includes required and specialized courses. The program offers students flexibility in designing a program that meets their learning objectives. The credit hour requirement is 27 credit hours in the course-based option and 24 credit hours in the thesis option. All students must complete four required courses (12 credit hours), 9 credit hours of specialized courses from within Social Work, and an additional 3 credit hours of electives, which may be taken within Social Work or other departments.

    Students may take the MSW program on a full-time or part-time basis. There is a four-year time limit to complete the MSW program on a full-time basis and up to a six-year time limit to complete the MSW program on a part-time basis.

      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.

      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

      graduate.admissions@umanitoba.ca
      Phone: 204-474-9377
      Fax: 204-474-7553

      Monday to Friday
      8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

      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

      social_work@umanitoba.ca
      Phone: 204-474-7050
      Fax: 204-474-7594