Introduction to Social Work Practice

Applied Community Studies
Social Work
Course Code
SOWK 1100
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides an overview of the history, philosophy and theories of the social work profession in Canada. The role of social workers in contemporary society is examined from social justice and client self-determination perspectives. Social structures that influence peoples’ lives, including wealth distribution, gender inequities, and prejudice, are explored as sources of oppression and marginalization in Canadian society. The relationship between personal problems and social context is examined. Multiple contexts and settings for the practice of social work are considered.
Course Content

Course content will be guided by research, empirical knowledge and best practice. The following values and principles, consistent with professional standards, inform course content. 

  • Social workers require a comprehensive knowledge of Canadian cultural, political and cultural history.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A critical analysis of the role of social work in society is necessary for effective social work practice.
Learning Activities

Group exercises
Student presentations
Use of multimedia resources.

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 any of the following:

  • Examinations
  • Research papers
  • Participation
  • Attendance.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the major ideologies that give direction to the practice of social work in Canada.
  2. Describe the nature of social work including ethics and values of the profession.
  3. Identify the roles of a generalist social work practitioner.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the concepts and principles of anti-oppressive social work practice.
  5. Describe the social determinants of health and well being. Analyze the relationship between personal struggles and public issues (social structures) and how racism, heterosexism, classism, colonialism, ageism and ableism promote inequalities in society.
  6. Describe major theoretical and practice approaches that inform social work and analyze the contexts within which social work is practiced (individual, families, groups, communities, institutions, research and policy).
Textbook Materials

Text(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:

Hick, S, (2009). Social welfare in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: Thompson.
Chappell, R. (2014). Social welfare in Canadian society. Toronto: Nelson Education.
Turner, J.C. and Turner, F.J. (2010). Canadian social welfare. Toronto: Pearson, Allyn, and Bacon.
Canadian Social Work Association. (2005). Code of Ethics. Accessed online:










Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for SOWK 1100
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Summer 2023