Leadership in the Human Services

Information for applicants with a Bachelor of Social Work
 

Ready to lead?

Get the "tool kit" you need to lead. This MSW provides practical skills, built on a foundation of theory, that will help you become a transformational leader. You education includes everything from strategic planning, budgeting and human resources, to transforming an organization to achieve its mandate.

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: The Practical and Transformational Leader (12 units), and
  • 4 courses of Field Education, Integrative Seminar, Research Applications and Exit Requirement (12 units).

The four specialization 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: The Practical and Transformational Leader (12 units), and
  • 2 Thesis research courses (6 units).

The four specialization 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.

The Practical and Transformational Leader: Courses


Organizational Structures and Management

We'll deconstruct organizational structures and management of human service, government, and other community based organizational contexts in which social work leaders operate and navigate diverse leadership practice issues. The major issues we'll pursue and focus on are governance, strategic and business planning, risk management and operations, and organizational culture and diverse work places.

Transformational Leadership and Supervision in Human Services

We'll study a variety of leadership theories and supervisory practice models in order to examine and explore how these concepts are operationalized in human service workplaces with both employees and clients. We'll attend to leadership theories, human resource practices, social work supervision, and ethics and ethical dilemmas.

Innovation and Establishing Credibility

We'll focus on learning practical knowledge about budgeting, financial management and the developing sphere of social enterprise/finance. Practical research applications will be explored to advance organizational existence/sustainability and demonstrate success for both clients and the program/organization. We'll concentrate on four main areas: social enterprise and social finance; funding mechanisms, fund development and proposal writing; appraising research and evidence informed practice; and program evaluation and utilizing outcomes.

Advocacy and Diplomacy

You'll learn the necessary skills to work with others inside and outside organizations, and utilize advocacy and diplomacy to manage dilemmas and other organizational challenges. Our specific focus will be on partnerships and collaborations, professionalism and use of self in the organization, funder and donor relationships, and impacting policy and working with policy makers.