Social Work (Bachelor)



The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree gives you the training to advocate for social justice and help people from diverse age groups and populations resolve problems in their everyday lives for better quality of life.

Social workers are in demand in British Columbia, and in the coming years, employment opportunities for graduates of BSW programs will be even greater, according to the 2029 Labour Market Outlook. Graduates of the Douglas College BSW program will be prepared to take on roles in health-care programs, non-profit community organizations, child welfare agencies and more to work with community groups, families, children and individuals.

Program format

Our BSW program takes three years to complete; all you need is 30 university-transferable credits to be admitted.  With our degree, the prerequisites are built into the first year of the program, so even if you have taken general university-transferable courses, you’ll still be eligible to apply.The third-and-fourth years of the Bachelor of Social Work degree provide two supervised practicums to prepare you for your social work career after graduation.

The Douglas College Bachelor of Social Work program was approved by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education in the Spring of 2016 following a highly consultative development process managed via the province's Degree Quality Assessment Board.

Starting in September of 2015, the BC College of Social Workers (BCCSW) instituted an Entry to Practice exam. This practice is in keeping with other regulated professions in the province. Students completing their BSW at Douglas College can apply for registration (to become Registered Social Workers, RSWs) as soon as they have finished their education. Once the application is complete and approved by the BC College of Social Workers, students can write the exam. Requirements for registration may be found on the BCCSW website. RSWs who have been registered in BC are able to apply for registration in other provinces/jurisdictions. However, registrants from BC wishing to register in another province/jurisdictions are strongly advised to inquire with the regulatory body in that province/jurisdiction beforehand regarding specific registration criteria as these may vary.

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 120 credits (Year I consists of the 30 UT credits used for Admission - see above)
  • 25% (30 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • A GPA of 2.00 is required
  • Completed a 3 credit course in Lifespan Human Development

** A university transferable course is a course that transfers to one of the Research Universities - SFU, UBC, (UBCV and UBCO), UNBC or UVIC  in the BC Transfer Guide.

Course Requirements:

Year II
Course Number Course Title Credits
SOWK 2100 Introduction to Social Work Practice 3.00
SOWK 2200 Introduction to Social Welfare 3.00
SOWK 2122 Counselling: Theory and Practice I 3.00
SOWK 2333 Family Systems Social Work 3.00
SOWK 2360 Substance Misuse


SOWK 2362 Social Work with Seniors 3.00
SOWK 2363 Mental Health 3.00
SOWK 2400 Metropolitan Social Work 3.00
SOWK 2422 Social Work Practice with Groups and Communities 3.00
ENGL elective ENGL 1130 or any UT ENGL course not previously taken 3.00


Year III
Course Number Course Title Credits
SOWK 3100 Social Work Theories and Perspectives 3.00
SOWK 3122 Counselling: Theory and Practice II 3.00
SOWK 3140 Practicum I 4.50
SOWK 3233 Child Welfare


SOWK 3250 Social Work with Indigenous People 3.00
SOWK 3240 Practicum II 4.50
UT Elective 3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work 3.00
UT Elective 3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work 3.00
UT Elective 3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work 3.00


Year IV
Course Number Course Title Credits
SOWK 4100 Social Work Practice Between Systems 3.00
SOWK 4160 Research Methods in Social Work 3.00
SOWK 4140 Practicum III 4.50
SOWK 4260 Global Perspectives in Social Work 3.00
SOWK 4133 Risk Assessment, Mitigation and Prevention


SOWK 4233 Promoting Family and System Capacity 3.00
SOWK 4240 Practicum IV 4.50
UT Elective 3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work 3.00
UT Elective 3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work 3.00

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the Bachelor of Social Work program, students must complete the following 30.00 credits:

  • PSYC 1130 - Lifespan Human Development (or equivalent)*
  • Any 3.00 credit ENGL university-transferable course
  • 24.00 credits of university-transferable courses (non-social work courses)

*CFCS 1130 (Change and Development Lifespan) can be used in place of PSYC 1130, however, it only received University Transfer (UT) status in September 2018.  If you completed CFCS 1130 from this date onward, you may use it towards your 30 UT credits to enter the BSW degree program. If you completed this course prior to September 2018, it does not count as a UT credit but you may use it as a course to fulfill the Lifespan requirement for the program.

Students must also complete the following:

  • 100 hours of voluntary or paid work in the field of Human Services
  • Two (2) letters of reference, one of which must be from a former supervisor in the Human Services field.
  • A current resume.
  • A letter of intent describing why the student wishes to enter the program and field of Social Work.
  • A successful Criminal Record Check (information will be provided by the Registrar’s Office).

Admission to the Bachelor of Social Work program is contingent upon:

  • Availability of seats
  • Applicant ranking
  • Interview – required to ensure that students are suitable for Social Work practice and working within practicum placements where they will be working with vulnerable people.

Students who have completed a Community Social Service Work diploma or other credential, may be eligible to transfer into the Bachelor of Social Work program.  Please see the FAQ section of this page for additional details.


You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

Career Pathways

Career opportunities include:

  • Addiction Social Worker 
  • Case Management Consultant - Social Work 
  • Case Manager/Intake Worker 
  • Case Work Consultant - Social Work 
  • Child Welfare/Foster Care Social Worker 
  • Geriatric Social Worker
  • Clinical Social Worker 
  • Community Facilitator 
  • Crisis Intervention Worker
  • Mental Health Worker

Program Guidelines

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


Examples of acceptable volunteer hours in the human services field can be:

  • Addictions treatment centres
  • Aboriginal agencies
  • Immigration services
  • Adoption services
  • Victim services
  • Residential programs
  • Health care settings
  • Adult day settings
  • Mental health centres
  • Family services agencies
  • Senior centres
  • Early intervention programs
  • Correction centres
  • Hospice
  • Schools

Please refer to the link below for the Volunteer/Work Hours form for the BSW Application:

If you have any problems submitting the Volunteer/Work Hours form on the system please email the department at

Volunteer and past work experience in the field of human services will help you determine if social work is the right fit for you.

3 years in addition to completion of 30 credits of foundation coursework required for admission.

See our tuition fee page for more information.

Apply online to Douglas College. You must also submit a letter of intent, current resumé and two references. You will also need to meet with us for a face-to-face interview. For details, email

General Arts and Humanities courses and a Lifespan Human Development class (PSYCH1130 or CFCS 1130). A Statistics course (GEOG 2251, PSYC 2300, BUSN 2429 or MATH 1160) is also highly recommended and a requirement for the SOWK 4160 Research Methods course.

Admission and transfer credits are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Students applying with a Community Social Service Work diploma from Douglas will receive 18 transfer credits toward the second year of the degree but will need an additional 12 university transfer credits, for 30 credits in total. For more details email

The BSW program is only offered full time. As the program develops, we may include a part-time component. Some of the non-social-work courses required in years two and three are offered online. None of the social work courses are offered online.

The Douglas College Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) was approved in Spring 2016 by the Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB). DQAB ensures that all new degree programs in BC meet consistent and high quality criteria.

Yes. At this time the Douglas College BSW has received provisional approval from the BC College of Social Workers for our students to sit the licensing exam to apply to become a Registered Social Worker in BC. For more information please visit

Being a licensed social worker in BC does not transfer automatically to other jurisdictions in Canada. All registered social workers, regardless of where they completed their education, may be required to completed additional requirements to become registered in another province.

Potential employers will vary in terms of job requirements. The ability to find work depends on many factors such as geography, retirements, desirability, etc. The more flexible the graduate in terms of their employment needs increases the likelihood of getting a social work position.

At present, the BSW degree is not accredited by CASWE.