Clinical Social Work Practice, Edmonton

Our Edmonton campus admits applicants who don't have a Bachelor of Social Work Degree only in even-numbered years.

Our next intake is Spring 2022.

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 Edmonton campus is designed for working professionals. This program features online learning, blended with block week classes each term, and monthly weekend classes.

This is a flexible program. Course-based degree students complete their program in 36 months (48 months for thesis-based students.)

We only accept students who don't have a BSW in even numbered years - our next intake is for Spring 2022.

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.

Edmonton clinical specialization topics

Spring 2022 specialization topics for our Edmonton campus haven't been announced yet. They should be posted soon! 

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.

The first year of your MSW


About your foundation year

The foundation year provides you with the crucial concepts, theory and knowledge you'll need to pursue graduate-level, social work education. Have a look at what your first year will look like.

More details

Every student who who has a degree from a discipline other than Social Work has to complete the foundation year (12 months).

You will advance to your specialization courses after you complete the foundation year - no new application is required. 

Course requirements:

The foundation year consists of 9 courses (27 units), including 426 hours of field practicum (equivalent to 1 course):

  • History and Foundation of the Profession
  • Professional Communication and Interviewing
  • Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups
  • Practice with Organizations and Communities
  • Social Policy and Social Justice
  • Human Behaviour in the Environment
  • Models of Practice
  • Issues in Social Work Research
  • Foundational Field Practicum

You must complete all foundation courses before you will be allowed to register in your specialization courses (described further below).


Course-based MSW

The specialization 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. 

Your MSW degree consists of 21 courses (63 units).

Expected completion time is 36 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 specialization 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. 

Your MSW degree consists of 19 courses (57 units).

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 48 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.