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Durham Greater Toronto Area

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Durham Greater Toronto Area

Social Work (B.S.W.)

A career in the field of social work is both challenging and rewarding. Social workers are essential to the health of our society, providing communities, families and individuals the necessary supports and services to meet basic human needs, all while working towards creating the conditions necessary for social change and equality. Through this program’s interdisciplinary curriculum grounded in social justice, human rights, and cultural awareness, you will develop a strong foundation of clinical knowledge, critical thinking skills, and social responsibility. If you apply and succeed in entering our competitive professional years in years 3 and 4, you will have the opportunity to focus exclusively on social work theory and practice, including 700 hours of supervised placement.

For more information about the B.S.W. program, please contact:  905-435-5102 ext. 6397

For more information about the Durham Campus or Admissions, please contact:
Durham Campus Enrolment Advisor, Tawny Flude 905-435-5102 ext 5003
Durham Campus Rm. 101.2

The details about transferring to Trent University are listed at here.

Studying Social Work at TrentU Durham? Your typical first two years will look like this:

Year 1:

  • 1.0 SWRK credit consisting of: SWRK 1000H (Introduction to Social Work) and SWRK  1001H (Introduction to Social Welfare) - (please note that in order to take the second year social work courses, you will need 70% or higher in each of SWRK 1000H and 1001H);

  • 3.0 credits in Psychology and/or Humanities and/or Social Sciences at the 1000 level - (please note that in order to take a second year course in many subjects, you will need a 60% or higher in the first year credit);

  • 1.0 credit in addition to the above.

Year 2:

  • 1.0 SWRK credit consisting of SWRK 2001H  (Foundations of Social Work Practice 1) and 2002H (Foundations of Social Work Practice II) - (please note that the pre-requisite for SWRK 2001H is 70% or higher in each of SWRK 1000H and 1001H and the pre-requisite for 2002H is 70% or higher in SWRK 2001H);

  • 3.0 credits in Psychology and/or Humanities and/or Social Sciences at the 2000 level or beyond;

  • 1.0 credit in addition to the above.

First Year B.S.W. Course Descriptions

  • SWRK 1000H: Introduction to Social Work - An introduction to the profession of social work with an emphasis on its functions, values, ethics, and theoretical base. Methods of intervention, fields of practice, and ideological perspectives are explored, along with critical thinking about intersecting oppressions, diversity, and the practice of social work with various populations within Canadian and global contexts.

  • SWRK 1001H: Introduction to Social Welfare - Provides an overview of Canada’s social welfare system. Adopting a critical theoretical approach, the historical development of social policies and programs will be examined. Social welfare frameworks and systems in Canada will be considered in light of issues such as culture, ethnicity, class, dignity, diversity, hegemony, and oppression. 

Since admission to year 3 (the first of two Professional Years) is not guaranteed, students should consider fulfilling the requirements for an alternate major when selecting courses in year 2.

Note: The second year credits are critical in building a plan for your alternate major. You can work towards any alternate major. Please note that the Durham Campus offers different majors than the Peterborough campus. All students are strongly encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to map out your course selection, and plan for an alternate major. Students with transfer credits should meet with an academic advisor prior to selecting their courses as you may need a summer course in addition to a full course load in year 2.

Applying for Admission into the Professional Years 3 and 4

Admission will be limited and offered through a competitive process. Students are admitted on a full-time basis to the Professional Years of the Social Work program. Students complete the professional program over a two-year period by completing 5.0 credits in year 3 and 5.0 credits in year 4. To be considered for admission into year 3 (the Professional Years), by May 15 of the application year, students must have:

  • Earned a minimum grade of 70% in SWRK 2002H; 
  • Accumulated a minimum cumulative average of 70% at the end of second year after completion of a minimum of 10.0 credits; 
  • from years 1 and 2, completed the admission requirements for the professional years (these courses will be used in the calculation of the minimum 70% cumulative average. For students with transfer credits, the average will be calculated using the courses they have taken at Trent);
  • If students are applying with more than 10.0 credits, the best 8.0 credits that meet the admission requirements for the professional years (6.0 social science/humanities credits and 2.0 elective credits), plus the 2.0 SWRK credits, will be used in the calculation of the average.

Students applying to the Professional Years may only be admitted for the beginning of third year (September). Students will be charged an application fee to apply for the Professional Years. Students will submit a supplemental application (usually due around March 1) that includes a list of their employment, volunteer, and extracurricular experiences, as well as a short critical thinking essay. Admission will be competitive with a very limited number of spaces available (30 spaces on each campus – Peterborough or Durham). We anticipate the acceptance average will be much higher than the minimum 70% average, which is required to be considered. 

The full admissions’ criteria and instructions for applying to the Professional Years.

All successful applicants to the Professional Years are required annually to obtain and pass a Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Screening. A student with a criminal record that is unacceptable to a placement agency may be unable to complete the program. 

Once admitted into the Professional Years, students complete the professional program on a full-time basis, over a two-year period, by completing 5.0 credits in year 3 and 5.0 credits in year 4.
Again, students are encouraged to plan for an alternate major in their Trent degree as not everyone will receive an offer to the Professional Years. Some students may choose to apply to other schools for their professional years. Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) provides information about other institutions that offer B.S.W. degree.

Link to the B.S.W. Peterborough webpage:

Career Paths:

  • Social Worker
  • Counselling
  • Community Developer
  • Child Welfare
  • Corrections
  • Medical Social Work
  • Social Policy Analyst

Required Courses

  • Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare
  • Foundations of Social Work Practice I & II
  • Social Work and Social Policy
  • Social Work Communication Skills
  • Diversity, Identity, Social Location and Oppression
  • Social Work and Indigenous Perspectives
  • Social Work Field Placements
  • Risk and Resilience: Throughout the Lifespan
  • Social Work Theory and Practice I and II
  • Social Work Research
  • Feminist Informed Trauma Practice
  • Community Social Work
  • Social Work Organizations and Leadership

Elective Courses

  • Social Work and Aging
  • Queering Social Work
  • Substance Use, Mental Health and Recovery
  • Social Work and Families
  • Anti-Oppressive Child Welfare