A fall image of our university of Calgary campus promoting UCalgary Master of  Social Work in Clinical Social Work Practice

Clinical Social Work Practice, Calgary

Information for applicants with a Bachelor of Social Work

Our Clinical Social Work Practice Master of Social Work prepares you to conduct therapeutic assessments and interventions in a range of settings. You'll learn how to assess clients' problems and design constructive solutions, while understanding their life context. With this understanding, you will develop interpersonal skills, which will help you make change and critically reflect upon your work.  

The Clinical Social Work Practice MSW at our Calgary campus features in-person education with daily classes through your entire degree.

This is an intense program with a compressed timeline. Course-based degree students complete their program in 12 months (24 months for thesis-based students.)

Choose your specialization topic

We offer a variety of Clinical Social Work Practice specialization topics which change annually. 

Choose a course- or thesis-based MSW

There are different curriculum requirements for each degree route.

Spring 2022 Calgary clinical specialization topics


Two students working at our Calgary campus

Course- or Thesis-Based MSW?

The course-based MSW program is designed to enhance the practical knowledge of social workers. Courses mirror real-life situations. The goal of this program is to graduate independent professionals to the social work profession.

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The thesis-based MSW program is designed for students who intend to pursue doctoral studies and/or anticipate a career requiring advanced program evaluation and research skills.

Course-based MSW

The MSW degree consists of 12 courses (36 units), including 500 hours of field practicum (equivalent to 2 courses):

  • 4 courses of Advanced Social Work Practice (12 units),
  • 4 Specialization courses (topics vary from year to year) (12 units), and
  • 4 courses of Field Education, Integrative Seminar, Research Applications and Exit Requirement (12 units).

The four specialization courses focus on the area you've chosen. Courses build your knowledge sequentially, so you need to follow the curriculum plan. 

Expected completion time is 12 months.

As established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the maximum completion time is 6 years for a course-based master's.

Thesis-based MSW

The MSW degree consists of 10 courses (30 units) followed by thesis research and oral examination.

  • 4 courses of Advanced Social Work Practice (12 units),
  • 4 Specialization courses (topics vary from year to year) (12 units), and
  • 2 Thesis research courses (6 units).

The four specialization courses focus on the area you've chosen. Courses build your knowledge sequentially, so you need to follow the curriculum plan. 

Thesis students may complete a field practicum (SOWK 660), but, this isn't a requirement. Thinking of completing a practicum? You must consult with the MSW Thesis Coordinator after you're admitted.

Expected completion time is 24 months.

As established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the maximum completion time is 4 years for a thesis-based master's.

If you are considering the thesis route, take a look at our Faculty Directory for potential thesis supervisors whose area(s) of expertise match your own research interests. If offered admission, the MSW Thesis Coordinator will help you select a supervisor.

Note: You're initially assigned an interim supervisor.

The final examination involves an oral defence of your thesis conducted by your examining committee consisting of:

  • your thesis supervisor,
  • a faculty member from the Faculty of Social Work,
  • an approved faculty member from a faculty outside of Social Work at UCalgary, and
  • a neutral chair.