BSW Degree Program

Program Objectives

Upon successful completion of the BSW program, students will:

  1. Have an understanding of equity and justice through critical analysis.
  2. Develop intellectual skills, scholarly attributes, and professional characteristics and values, including but not limited to, curiosity, open-mindedness, effective communications, judgment, rigor, respect, humility, embracing of difference, acceptance, integrity, compassion, self-care and ethical action.
  3. Develop insight into the complex, contextual, and sometimes contradictory nature of social work theory, practice, policy, ethics and research.
  4. Develope practice theory and skills “required to analyze situations, establish accountable relationships, intervene appropriately with clients and related systems and evaluate one’s social work interventions” (CASWE, 2007) This includes an understanding of a range of life events and processes that may impact peoples’ development, personalities and potentials.
  5. Develop a critical understanding of the personal and professional “use of self.”

Program Requirements

Program Requirements

The BSW degree is comprised of 120 credit hours

30 credit hours:
These are the basic academic pre-requisite for all applicants to the program. 
These are called Admission Credits.

60 credit hours:
These are the credits that all students are required to complete within the Dalhousie University BSW Program. 
These are called Social Work Credits.

30 credit hours:
These are General Social Sciences Credits taken outside the BSW program:

  1. Some students have more than the 30 Admission Credits at a B- minimum average before beginning the BSW program.  These General Social Sciences Credits are assessed for eligibility at the time of acceptance to the program from the last 60 credit hours completed. These are called Admission Transfer Credits. They may have been completed at Dalhousie or another university.  Please see the Admission Transfer Credit Policy below for requirements.
  2. Some students undertake the additional 30 General Social Sciences Credits during the BSW degree.  These are not admission transfer credits.  These may be taken at Dalhousie or another university and must be assessed as at or above the 2000 level by Dalhousie University. Please review the academic regulations regarding Letter of Permission in the Academic Calendar. 

* Electives external to the School of Social Work or the Faculty of Health taken during the SW program must be assessed at the Dalhousie equivalency of 2000 level or above.
* For electives external to Dalhousie University taken during the SW program please review the academic regulations regarding Letter of Permission in the Academic Calendar.
* For electives external to Dalhousie University taken before admission to the Dalhousie SW program please see the Admission Transfer Credit Policy below.

Admission Transfer Credit Policy

Suitable university credits that have been completed with a minimum grade of 2.7 (or B-) are eligible for transfer credit consideration. Community College credits, diploma and certificate work are not eligible for consideration. The following guides the assignment of transfer credit:

  1. Applicants who are admitted with the minimum academic requirement of 30 credit hours are not eligible to receive Admission Transfer Credits.
  2. For those who have more than the minimum noted in #1, a maximum of 30 General Social Sciences credit hours that are complete at the time of application may be eligible for Admission Transfer Credit consideration.
  3. Potential Admission Transfer Credits are assessed for accepted students and only on the last 60 credit hours completed.
  4. Those 60 credit hours must have been completed within 15 years of the BSW program start date.
  5. Regardless of transfer credit eligibility, all students must complete at least 60 credit hours offered by the Dalhousie SSW to complete the BSW degree.
  6. The only exception to the above is students transferring from other BSW university programs. These students will be governed under the Faculty of Health Policy regarding transfer students. To obtain a BSW degree from Dalhousie, at least half the credits must be taken at Dalhousie University. Transfer credit is assigned as fairly and appropriately as possible, although some loss of credit usually occurs

Admission Transfer Credit assessment is completed after the admission process, and only for successful applicants. Admission Transfer Credit is assessed on an individual basis at the School of Social Work.

Required Courses

  • SLWK 2010.03: Introduction to Community Social Work
  • SLWK 2111.06: Development of Canadian Social Work and Social Welfare
  • SLWK 2222.03: Advancing Social Justice
  • SLWK 2333.06: Beginning Social Work Practice or SLWK 2334.03/SLWK 2335.03
  • SLWK 2444.03: Life Processes: Conceptualizations and Practices for Critical Social Work
  • SLWK 3030:06: Theoretical Foundations of Social Work Practice
  • SLWK 3012:03: Perspectives on Social Welfare Policy
  • SLWK 3085.06: Social Work Research
  • SLWK 3220.03: Cross-Cultural Issues in Social Work Practice
  • SLWK 4010.06: Advanced Social Work Practice
  • SLWK 4033.09: Field Practicum and Seminar (SLWK 4034/SLWK 4035)
  • Social Work Elective
  • Social Work Elective

For distance students the Beginning Social Work Practice course has two course numbers and students must register for both SLWK 2334 and SLWK 2335.  The course is a combination of online study in the winter term and a two week on-campus (Dalhousie, Halifax, NS) residency component in the spring session, normally in May.

Interprofessional Health Education

Students are required to maintain enrolment in IPHE 4900 (see calendar section on Health Professions, Interprofessional Health Education) for the duration of their studies. Please register in IPHE 4900.00 (section 6) which is a shell course comprised of four interprofessional learning experiences across the BSW degree. Successful completion of this course is a requirement for


Course Load and Sequencing

Length of Program

Course load varies from student to student depending on the number of Admission Transfer Credits and full or part-time status.  Each student receives a personalized curricular advising form which details course load and sequencing.  The minimum length of program is two years taken fulltime.

On-Campus Delivery

  • For full-time students the usual load is 15 credit hours (e.g. five .03 credit courses) in the Fall and Winter terms.
  • For part-time study the course load may be as minimal as one .03 credit course per term.
  • The only Social Work courses offered in the Spring semester consist of one Social Work elective and Field Practicum and Seminar.
  • It is important to pay close attention to the pre or co-requisites for each course. These are indicated in the course descriptions.

Distance Delivery

Distance Students are strongly encouraged to maintain their course sequencing schedule. Any changes must be in accordance with pre- and co-requisites as outlined in the calendar and are dependent upon availability of course offerings, especially electives. Students studying by distance are assessed distance delivery fees in addition to tuition.


Registration is completed online for all students regardless of delivery method. For more information, go to and

The academic timetable is available online each year. On-campus Social Work courses have section numbers of 01 or 02. Online Distance Social Work courses have section numbers of 07 or 08.

IMPORTANT: Please note that it is not possible to transfer between onsite and the online delivery or to register for courses other than those which apply to the delivery method for which the student has been accepted.

Field Education

The Field Practicum and Seminar course consists of a 700 hour placement at a community agency plus participation in a concurrent integrated seminar. For a full explanation of the placement process, roles and responsibilities please download the Field Manual at Students/

Field Placements are organized by the Field Education Coordinator at the School of Social Work.

Advising Sessions for New Students

New on campus students are expected to attend Orientation which is scheduled prior to the commencement of courses. Students can meet individually with the Student Services Coordinator to review the curriculum advising forms and ask questions pertaining to the BSW program. Distance students are provided with an online orientation and information site and should contact the Distance Education Assistant or the Manager, e-Learning regarding their program schedule and questions.

A comprehensive Field Orientation is also offered later in the 1st year for all campus BSW students and during residency for distance BSW students.