The Master of Social Work (MSW) is a nationally-accredited program that prepares students for advanced professional practice in social work. The thesis-based route is designed for students who intend to pursue doctoral studies and/or anticipate a career requiring advanced program evaluation and research skills.
The Faculty of Social Work offers MSW programs in Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge.
In Calgary, students are admitted annually and choose one of three Specializations (listed below). Students holding a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree are admitted directly into a two-year Specialization program. Students with an undergraduate degree in another discipline are admitted into a three-year program and complete a Foundation year followed by their Specialization year.
In Edmonton, students are admitted in odd-numbered years (i.e., 2021, 2023) to the Clinical Social Work Practice Specialization. Students holding a BSW degree complete the Specialization program in three years. Students with an undergraduate degree in another discipline complete the Foundation courses followed by the Specialization courses, requiring a total of four years of study.
In Lethbridge, the Faculty of Social Work offers the Clinical Social Work Practice Specialization to students with a BSW. Admission occurs in odd-numbered years (i.e., 2021, 2023). Students complete the program in three years.
Clinical Social Work Practice
International and Community Development
Leadership in the Human Services
Outcomes and next steps
Hospitals/community health centers, mental health clinics, schools, non-profit/advocacy groups, government, social service/child welfare/family service agencies, correctional facilities, social housing, family courts, employee assistance programs, private counselling, school boards, consultation.
A master’s degree in social work is a preferred pre-requisite for a PhD.
Degree at a glance
Foundation: Nine courses; Specalization: Ten courses.
MSW students with a non-social work bachelor's degree must complete Foundation courses prior to Specialization courses
Two to three years full-time (Calgary); three to four years (Edmonton); three years (Lethbridge); four years maximum
A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program
Fees and funding
Flat annual fee; funding may be offered
If you're interested in this program, you might want to explore other UCalgary programs.
Students take four courses in advanced social practice, four specialization courses, and two thesis research courses.
Students in the thesis route conduct original research and prepare a thesis which is evaluated on the written content and is orally defended before an examination committee.
Calgary: Students should complete all coursework prior to having their proposal approved by their supervisor.
Edmonton and Lethbridge: Students have their proposal approved by their supervisor in the summer following their admission to the Specialization program.
Admission requirements and information
Requirements for the Social Work Program
A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.
A Bachelor of Social Work, or a four-year bachelor’s degree in another discipline.
Applicants must have the equivalent of two years of full-time paid or volunteer work (or the equivalent of 3000 hours) in the human services field.
A study plan outlining the applicant's educational goals and career expectations. (If applying to the Calgary program, the study plan must indicate the applicant’s intended area of Specialization: Clinical Social Work Practice or International and Community Development)
An additional statement providing a rationale for selecting the thesis route and a preliminary research proposal
Two; one professional and one academic
English language proficiency
An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:
TOEFL score of 97 (Internet-based). Our institution code is 0813
All graduate students must pay general fees each year, as well as program fees.
Estimate for full-time students
Canadian and permanent resident
12 months of study
First 12 months of study
For first year of studies
General fees and program fees
General fees are annual and per-term fees. Annual fees are paid once per year, while per-term are paid each term (3 terms per year). General fees are assessed based on program location and specialization and may differ from amounts shown.
Program fees cover standard academic costs. Textbooks and other course material costs are not included.
What are annual continuing fees?
Domestic Continuing Fees: $1,627 CAD
International Continuing Fees: $3,693 CAD
Continuing fees apply after the first full year of studies.
We have a variety of scholarships, bursaries and awards for social work students that recognize success and support their post-secondary studies. More information is available in the Graduate Awards database
Fees listed here are estimates only, and have been rounded to the nearest dollar. These amounts should not be considered accurate. All amounts are in Canadian Dollars.
Fees are subject to change.
For more details and the most accurate information go to the Academic Calendar
For more general information, see our Fees and Funding Guide
Have you made your final decision and you’re ready to apply?