Curriculum Requirements - Masters of Social Work Degree Program

MSW Program

MSW Program Year One

The MSW program Foundation Year consists of 24 credit hours of courses and field work.

The MSW program Foundation Year is only available on a full-time basis on campus.

Please Note:  The Foundation Year is not available online. The program is to be completed in one academic year.

Class sequencing for all students will be the same in year one, except for electives chosen. Courses are offered during specific times in each term.

MSW Program Year Two

Requirements consist of either

a)     a course based option: 30 credit hours Social Work core courses
b)     a thesis option: 24 credit hours Social Work courses, 6 credit hour thesis

The MSW is available on a full-time or part-time basis to students. Qualified BSW graduates may be admitted directly to the One year MSW program (30 credit hour). These curriculum requirements cannot be reduced by advanced placement or transfer credit in relation to any graduate courses taken prior to MSW registration.

Distance students admitted to the MSW program and on-campus students who choose to complete their MSW program on a part-time basis would normally complete the course requirements over a two or three-year period.

Class Sequencing for all Students

Class sequencing for all students will be the same, except for electives chosen.  Courses are offered during specific times in each term.

Class Sequencing for Full-Time Students

The core courses (including Field) are offered during specific times in each term.

Full-time students who take a course-based program (non-thesis) may expect to complete the program by July of the following year and to graduate in October. Full-time students who elect to do a thesis should expect to spend eight to twelve months more for completion.

Class Sequencing for Part-Time Students

To maintain the integrity of the part-time student's academic program, core courses are taken in a prescribed sequence. The elective courses may be taken concurrently with the core courses in any year.

Part-time students who take a course-based option (non-thesis) may expect to spend two to three years to complete the program, graduating in May or October. Part-time students who elect to do a thesis should expect to spend an additional twelve to eighteen months for completion.

* Continuation as a “Thesis Only” student, for both full-time and part-time students, requires continuous registration and payment of continuation fees every term until all requirements are complete.

* It is important for campus students to note that most of the MSW core courses and the requisite agency field placement are available during daytime hours only.

Field Education for Year One and Year Two

Both year one and year two require a 450 hour field placement. Students should note that the 3 credit hour field education course includes a field seminar (held bi-weekly) in addition to a field placement of 450 hours in an appropriate agency other than the student's place of employment. Placements are possible in a students workplace only under exceptional circumstances (see field manual for criteria). The Field education course is undertaken between January and end of June (on-campus) and between September and April (distance) concurrently with a bi-weekly field education seminar, which is online for distance students. The MSW Field Manual (which can be found at contains the policies and procedures which define various aspects of the Field Education course.

Placement agencies set their own criteria for accepting MSW student placements. For example, placements in physical and mental health typically require MSW students to have at least two years of direct social work experience.

Confirmation of field placements requires advanced planning as there is considerable coordination required for each student placement. Incomplete and/or late submissions will not be accepted.


At least one elective must be taken in the School of Social Work if not completing a Thesis.  Any electives taken outside the School (e.g. a graduate course at Dalhousie University or another university) requires approval and completion of the letter of permission form.

Registration in elective courses is subject to availability.