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Bachelor of Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work as a First Degree

The bachelor of social work (BSW) as a first degree qualifies the graduate for beginning professional practice in social work.

The aim of the program is to develop social workers with generalist-based skills for working with individuals, families, groups and communities.

Students receive an education which prepares them to work in urban centres and rural settings. A special emphasis is placed on the importance of identifying local needs and developing the means of meeting these needs in the context of available resources.

The objectives of the bachelor of social work program include:

  • development of general knowledge of people and nature, analytical and critical thinking, communication skills and knowledge of social, political and economic impacts on society
  • promotion of social justice and social well-being to creatively challenge oppression
  • application of knowledge, skills, values and professional ethics and critical thinking abilities
  • creative practice with diverse individuals and groups
  • assumption of leadership in interdisciplinary practice

A candidate for the bachelor of social work as a first degree must complete 72 credit hours in social work and 48 credit hours in other courses.

The major focus of the School of Social Work is to educate students so that they are able to practice social work in a variety of settings. The types of settings include child protection, health care, addictions and corrections. Areas in which students will be educated include:

  • assessment
  • interviewing
  • counselling advocacy
  • program/policy analysis
  • case management
  • community development.

Included in the 72 credit hours of the required social work courses are two field placements, one in the third year (12 credit hours) and one in the fourth year (12 credit hours). Field placements are province-wide and designed to provide students with a broad experience of social work in diverse practice settings. Students are expected to do one of their two placements in a rural setting.

Admission Requirements

Candidates for a bachelor of social work degree are to apply by March 1 of the year in which admission is sought.

Admission is competitive and is normally granted for the second year of the social work program.

Applicants must complete 30 credit hours of prescribed studies as outlined in the sample program and must achieve at least a minimum overall average of 65 per cent in these courses.

In addition, applicants must have achieved an average of at least 65 per cent in the courses comprising the last 30 credit hours attempted by the end of the winter semester for the year in which admission is being sought and for which a grade has been assigned.

Selection will be based on academic standing, personal suitability for a social work career, relevant work/volunteer experience, references and other criteria that the School of Social Work may require. Applicants will normally be notified of admissions decisions by the end of June.

Social Work courses available in first year

Sample Program

Students pursuing a bachelor of social work will normally take the following courses in their first year:

Fall Semester Winter Semester
Psychology 1000

Psychology 1001

English 1080* English 1101, 1102, 1103 or 1110*
Sociology 1000 non-social work elective***
Social Work 1710** non-social work elective***
non-social work elective*** non-social work elective***


* Students attending Grenfell Campus for the first year of the program will normally complete English 1000/1001.

**A minimum grade of 65 per cent is required. This course will be offered on campus in St. John's and by distance education. Social Work 1710 may also be completed in the winter semester in the year in which admission is being sought, along with other prerequisites.

*** Students must complete 12 credit hours in non-social work elective courses. No more than six of these credit hours can be taken from areas other than arts and science.



  1. Please refer to the University Calendar for an outline of courses for the BSW program of study.
  2. Students may contact the chairperson of admissions for social work at 709 864 2558 for further information.

Bachelor of Social Work as a Second Degree

The bachelor of social work as a second degree (BSW) is a 60 credit hour program intended for candidates who:

  • have previously completed an undergraduate degree and specific required courses
  • meet the academic performance requirements
  • have relevant employment and/or formal volunteer experience

The program is delivered over four consecutive, full-time semesters. This includes a combination of course work and two field placements.

Admission to the program's 15 seats is competitive and takes place annually.

Contact information

For additional information please contact: