Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Recognized as one of the most progressive and socially responsive social work programs in Canada, our bachelor of social work (BSW) combines practical experience with in-class studies in professional techniques and methods.
Social work is concerned with social justice and the impacts of structural inequalities such as poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and oppression. It aims to work with individuals, families, and communities, and to address policies in order to increase their capacity to bring positive social change, social development, and social cohesion. Social justice work can happen in different employment contexts including family service agencies, children’s aid agencies, general and psychiatric hospitals, school boards, correctional institutions, welfare administration agencies, and federal and provincial departments.
Social workers also work in local and international community-based agencies and grassroots organizations to engage in various community organizing and development work to challenge social inequalities and oppression.
The School of Social Work fosters intellectual curiosity and a spirit of inquiry through its emphasis on critical perspectives in social work. In light of its belief in social work as social justice work, the school consistently teaches applied practice skills throughout the curriculum. This curriculum is designed in collaboration with professors, students, field instructors and community representatives to ensure our program responds to the needs of people in their social environments.
You can enter York’s Social Work program two ways:
- The direct entry program accepts students in their first year of university. You don't need a degree to apply to this program. This is a full-time program with courses offered during the day and evening, and takes four years to complete. In the first year, you will concentrate on social sciences, humanities, and natural science courses. In the final year, you are required to complete a field placement – giving you vital hands-on experience – in a social service setting.
- The post-degree program requires you to have a university degree to be admitted. This program offers courses in the day and evening, and could take a minimum of two years to complete. The post-degree program was developed for university graduates who are social work practitioners or who want to pursue a career in social work. You will be exposed to contemporary and socially relevant issues that address the many techniques and approaches used by social work professions as well as partake in a practicum experience that places you in real social work environments.
You will receive a professional social work education that is characterized by a commitment to human rights and social justice. Dedicated instructors, who draw from a strong contemporary curriculum and their own practical experience, give you the opportunity to develop your own social work philosophies and teach applied practice skills throughout the curriculum. You will graduate equipped for professional practice in a wide variety of social work arenas, from work with individuals and families to practice with community, policy, research and international settings.
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