Metropolitan Social Work Practice

Applied Community Studies
Social Work
Course Code
SOWK 2400
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 knowledge and skills necessary for social work practice in a diverse metropolitan area such as the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Students will examine a range of issues and services across a wide spectrum of human geographic needs including housing, integration and belonging, safety and security, employment, transportation, recreation, food security, and health. Students will examine the unique needs of clients in a variety of neighbourhoods such as the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and the urban core of other cities such as Surrey and New Westminster. This course includes a focus on poverty, marginalized people, and the social determinants of health.
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 work practice in a large metropolitan area such as Vancouver requires an understanding of the diversity of the population and communities as well as the wide array of social services.
  • Social workers leverage individual and community strengths and assets in their role.
  • Social workers best serve their clients when they are familiar with the network of services available including those provided by public, private, secular, and non-secular organizations.
  • Social workers apply their knowledge of the social determinants of health to best respond to issues such as addictions, HIV-AIDS, and Hep C.
  • Poverty and homelessness are key concerns for social workers in any area of practice. Both are prevalent across the Lower Mainland.
  • An understanding of racism, oppression, the challenges of intercultural communities, sexism and discrimination, as well as the multigenerational legacy of colonialism on Aboriginals in Canada is essential to urban/suburban 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
  • Project work
  • Individual and/or group presentations
  • Participation.
Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe demographic and human geographic trends in metropolitan Vancouver from a social work perspective;

  2. Apply the social determinants of health framework to marginalized populations;

  3. Conduct a needs assessment (including the domains of housing, integration and belonging, safety and security, employment, transportation, recreation, food security, and health) for a target population;

  4. Assess community strengths and assets;

  5. Analyze historical and contemporary immigration and settlement processes, as well as traditional territories and movement of Aboriginal people, to explain potential social work activities with individuals and communities;

  6. Describe current housing and homelessness issues, including provincial, federal, and municipal roles in this area of social policy;

  7. Describe examples of community development and activism, and articulate an advocacy or action plan;

  8. Identify and apply relevant research to case studies;

  9. Articulate a social work response to problems.

Textbook Materials

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

Raphael, D. (2009). Social determinants of health: Canadian perspectives. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Fook, J. (1993). Radical casework: A theory of practice. Allen & Unwin.
Larios, L. (2013). They have stood by me: Supporting refugee families in Winnipeg. Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Access 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 2400
Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit

Course Offerings

Summer 2023