Introduction to Social Work Practice

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
CSSW 1100
Introduction to Social Work Practice
Community Social Service Work
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Contact Hours
60 Hours: Lecture
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities
  • Lecture
  • Group Exercises
  • Student Presentations
  • Use of multimedia resources


Course Description
This course provides an introduction to and an analysis of the history and structure of major social policies and programs in Canada. The problems of social justice and economic disadvantage in particular will be examined within the broader realm of service delivery in the non-profit sector. Initiatives to increase self-determination, the redistribution of wealth, gender equity, and reduction of prejudice will be explored as themes within the dynamic of creating a more egalitarian and humane society. Other themes to be examined include multiculturalism, anti-oppressive social work practice, and working with aboriginal populations.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Reflecting on history is essential for understanding current values and practice.
  • Addressing oppression is a central function of the practice of social work.
  • A broad understanding of contemporary social problems in Canadian society, and the complexity of current public and private settings for meeting these problems, is critical to practice.
  • An understanding of governmental, non-profit, and non-governmental history and practice is necessary for competent practice.
  • Through collaborative work with individuals, groups and communities, social workers facilitate empowerment, social change, and mutual aid.
  • Social workers require awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity about self, culture and ethnicity.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, within the following content areas, the student will be able to:

  1. Knowledge base and the philosophical base of social work
    • describe the major ideologies that give direction to the practice of  social work
    • define the interdisciplinary nature of social work in Canada
    • describe ethical dilemmas common to the field of social work and their possible solutions
    • describe the social work code of ethics
  2. Development of social work in Canada
    • describe the evolution of the Canadian social welfare system
    • identify the contribution of major social movements
    • identify competing interests of groups
  3. Central issues of professional practice
    • identify the role of a generalist practitioner
    • describe social work values  how these are evidenced by best practice
    • identify own values and ideological perspectives
    • describe the responsibilities of social workers in relation to other professions
    • understand power and authority issues in social work
    • demonstrate knowledge of the concepts and principles of anti-oppressive social work practice
    • describe the social determinants of health and well-being
  4. Analysis of social work
    • identify structural inequalities for marginalized groups
    • describe the feminist perspective in social work
    • identify practices which have discriminated against First Nations
    • describe best practice which incorporate the values/beliefs of cultures
  5. Non-profit sector
    • describe the foundations of working within the non-profit sector
    • describe the complexities of conducting a feasibility study and developing programs to address community needs
    • describe the relevance of  political and legal  issues for non-governmental organizations
    • define the role volunteers as part of the service delivery system
Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Examinations
  • Research papers
  • Participation
  • Attendance


This is a letter graded course

Textbook Materials