Earn your MSW
The MSW will help you develop the capacity to critically reflect on values, theory, research and existing practice approaches in a chosen area of specialization.
You will have the opportunity to master theories, research, policies and practices appropriate to advanced study, including the critical analysis of the social construction of theory and practices that may reflect injustices.
Design your own program
The MSW program offers you greater flexibility in designing a program that meets your learning objectives. You have the opportunity to meet degree requirements through a thesis or coursework option.
The MSW program will help you respond to the needs and characteristics of the various clienteles served by social workers that include ethnic, cultural, racial, sexual and gender diversity.
You will have the opportunity to develop a practice that critically reflects on “professional expert” power, white privilege, social workers' own social locations, the ways that societal oppression manifest in everyday practices, practice settings, policies, research and how these impact clients and social workers.
Develop the ability to understand, apply, and critique, social work values, ethics and practice in order to make professional judgments consistent with a commitment to promote equity and the elimination of oppressive social conditions.
Develop transferable analysis and practice skills that are aware of the origins and manifestations of social injustices and the multiple and intersecting bases of oppression, domination and exploitation.
The MSW program structure includes both common core and specialized courses in compliance with the standards of our accreditation body, The Canadian Association for Social Work Education. The program structure ensures that students have knowledge and skills required to meet accreditation standards while continuing to allow for specialization.
The Master of Social Work degree is fully accredited and recognized internationally as both a professional and academic qualification.
Expected duration: 2-4 years
The MSW program provides two entry routes:
- 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;
- 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.
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:
Full-time students - Program fee assessed in year 1, and then continuing fees in subsequent years until the student completes the program.
Part-time students - Program fee assessed at 50% in year 1 and year 2, and then continuing fees in subsequent years until the student completes the program.
For more information, please refer to Graduate tuition and fees.
Students choose either the course-based option or the thesis option.
- Course-based option: 27 credit hours, which includes SWRK 7180: Advance Field Practice 450 hours of advanced field practice experience (0 credit hours) and SWRK 7190: Integrating Theory and Research in Advanced Field Practice (3 credit hours).
- Thesis option: 24 credit hours, including GRAD 7000 Master's Thesis (0 credit hours) in addition to the mandatory Master of Social Work courses.
Sample course offerings
- SWRK 6010: Data Analysis for Social Work Research (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7300: Clinical Evaluation of Social Work Interventions (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7440: Policy Analysis in Social Work Practice (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7600: Critical Perspectives and Social Work (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7620: Paradigms, Methodologies and Methods for Social Work Research (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7630: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7660: Social Work Perspectives on Practice with Networks, Neighbourhoods, and Communities (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7670: Community Mobilization: Application of Concepts in Social Work Practice with Groups, Networks, and Communities (3 credit hours)
- SWRK 7690: Leadership, Strategic Program Planning, and Financial Management in Social Service Organizations (3 credit hours)
For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar.
This program is only available through in-person instruction. We do not offer graduate programs through distance delivery or online learning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person classes are held over Zoom.
Our commitment to educational equity
Every effort is made to ensure that people from marginalized groups have access to the Master of Social Work program. Our Educational Equity 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.
Flexible program options
- Full Time: take up to four years to complete the program
- Part Time: take up to six years to complete the program
Occasional student in Social Work
An occasional student is a student choosing to take graduate courses with no intention of proceeding towards an advanced degree at the University of Manitoba at the present time. Occasional student status is not advised for international students due to study permit limitations.
For more information on occasional student in the Faculty of Social Work, please contact Karen Singleton, Graduate Programs Student Advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General information about occasional student status and the on-line application is available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.
To qualify for admission to the Master of Social Work program, you must have a minimum of:
- A Bachelor of Social Work degree or other 4-year undergraduate 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 the last 60 credit hours of university study.
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.
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
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
The MSW program has only one application deadline per year, and applications are accepted for September entry only. Applications must be completed online and include several parts:
- $100 application fee (non-refundable)
- Unofficial copies of transcripts
- Two letters of recommendation (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
Please read the Faculty of Graduate Studies online application instructions before beginning your application.