Student on laptop promoting our online Master of Social Work Program

Clinical Social Work Practice, Online MSW

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'll develop interpersonal skills, which will help you make change and critically reflect upon your work.  

This is a flexible program, offered mostly online with a mix of real time and asynchronous learning. You'll be required to attend two residencies at our Calgary campus.

Course-based degree students complete their program in 24 months (36 months for thesis-based students.)

Residency schedule, spring 2022 entry

  • February 21 - 25, 2023
  • June 6 - 10, 2023

* Tuesday - Friday: 9 am to 4 pm  | Saturday 9 am to 12 noon


Spring 2022 Online clinical specialization topic

Spring 2023 Online clinical specialization topic

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 24 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 36 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.