Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)

Applied Community Studies
Social Work
Length of Program
Four years
Credential Type
Bachelor's Degree
Admission Type
Limited Enrolment


The Bachelor of Social Work 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. 

In your third-and-fourth years, you’ll take two supervised practicums that’ll prepare you for your social work career after graduation. 

Job opportunities 

Once you graduate you’ll 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. 

Social workers are in demand in British Columbia, with over 3,050 Social Worker jobs projected for the next ten years.

Take your prerequisites at Douglas 

Our Bachelor of Social Work 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. 

A BC Ministry of Advanced Education approved program 

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. 

Next steps after graduation 

Students completing their Bachelor of Social Work at Douglas College can apply for registration to become Registered Social Workers as soon as they have finished their education. Once the application is complete and approved by the BC College of Social Workers, students can take the necessary exam. Requirements for registration may be found on the BCCSW website

Registered Social Workers who have been registered in B.C. are able to apply for registration in other provinces/jurisdictions. However, registrants from B.C. wishing to register in another province/jurisdiction are strongly advised to inquire with the regulatory body in that province/jurisdiction beforehand regarding specific registration criteria as these may vary.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the Bachelor of Social Work program, applicants 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 Enrolment Services).

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.


Calculate your tuition and see the approximate cost of taking your program at Douglas College with the tuition & fee estimator. See costs broken down into categories including tuition fees, textbooks, student activity fees, U-Pass and more. 

For more information, refer to the tuition fee charts

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 120 credits, including the Year I requirements completed as a part of the program admission:
    • 30 University Transferable credits - 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
    • A 3-credit course in Lifespan Human Development
  • 40% (48 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • A program GPA of 2.00 is required
  • In good academic standing
  • Time limit to complete the program graduation requirements: 10 years. Any courses completed outside of that time limit will not be usable. Students may seek the permission of the Department/Program to complete a credential outside the approved time limits.

Course Requirements (see note 1):

Course Number

Course Title


Year II (see note 1)

SOWK 2100

Introduction to Social Work Practice


SOWK 2200

Introduction to Social Welfare


SOWK 2122

Counselling: Theory and Practice I


SOWK 2333

Family Systems Social Work


SOWK 2360

Substance Misuse


SOWK 2362

Social Work with Seniors


SOWK 2363

Social Work Pratice: Mental Health


SOWK 2400

Metropolitan Social Work Practice


SOWK 2422

Social Work Practice with Groups and Communities


ENGL elective

ENGL 1130 or any UT ENGL course not previously taken


Year III (see note 1)

SOWK 3100

Social Work Theories and Perspectives


SOWK 3122

Counselling: Theory and Practice II


SOWK 3140 (see note 2)

Practicum I


SOWK 3233

Child Welfare Social Work


SOWK 3250

Social Work with Indigenous People


SOWK 3240 (see note 2)

Practicum II


UT Elective

3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work


UT Elective

3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work


UT Elective

3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work


Year IV (see note 1)

SOWK 4100

Social Work Between Systems


SOWK 4160

Research Methods in Social Work


SOWK 4140 (see note 2)

Practicum III


SOWK 4260

Global Perspectives in Social Work


SOWK 4133

Risk Assessment, Mitigation and Prevention


SOWK 4233

Promoting Family and System Capacity


SOWK 4240 (see note 2)

Practicum IV


UT Elective

3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work


UT Elective

3000 or 4000 level UT elective from outside of Social Work



Total Credits



1. The courses are listed in the year that they should be taken. If a student fails a course, then the student should communicate with the program coordinator about when to retake that course and how to progress in the following year.

2. Eligible students completing an International Field Placement may substitute AIST 3040 and AIST 3030 for SOWK 3140/3240 Practicum or SOWK 4140/4240 Practicum.


Other Credentials

Students might be interestested in pursuing the following credentials along with their Bachelor of Social Work degree at Douglas College.


Academic Foundation (Indigenous Studies)

Before entering the Bachelor of Social Work you might be interested in pursuing the Academic Foundation (Indigenous Studies). These courses would explore important aspects of Indigenous knowledge and culture to support your connection with Indigenous people and communities. Many positions within social work involve working with Indigenous people in direct practice settings, MCFD, and in broader areas of social policy. Within the profession there is an increasing need for social workers to be aware of Indigenous ways of being and to guide their relationships accordingly. The Academic Foundation (Indigeous Studies) can be used towards your 30 credits to enter the BSW degree and it must also include a university transfer Lifespan/Human Development course (Psyc 1130) or its equivalent.

NOTE: Before deciding on the courses to take as entry into the Bachelor of Social Work you should contact the Indigenous CAF Advisor and/or the Bachelor of Social Work Program Advisor.


Minor in Applied Psychology

The Minor in Applied Psychology lets you explore different avenues of interest while completing your BSW at Douglas College. The knowledge gained can add to your understanding of psychological principles and concepts when you are working with people in the social service sector. There is a breadth of courses available that can be applied to social work across a range of practice areas and client groups. You will take introductory courses along with your choice of five higher level psychology courses: Psychology and Law, Human Neuropsychology, Child Behaviour and Development, Social Cognition, Drugs and Behaviour, Counselling Skills Fundamentals, Lifespan Human Development, and more.

NOTE: For more detailed information about the Minor in Applied Psychology as it relates to your BSW degree please contact the Psychology Department and/or the Bachelor of Social Work Program Advisor.


Global Competency Certificate

During your studies as a BSW student you might be interested in working towards the Global Competency Certificate. This 15 credit credential will enhance your knowledge and skills about working across cultures in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. You will gain skills in critical thinking and intercultural communication while expanding your knowledge of different world views and lifestyles. You can complete this certificate along with your social work courses and apply these skills to working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds in a variety of social service settings.

NOTE: For more details about the Global Competency Certificate please contact the GCC Program Developer and/or the Bachelor of Social Work Program Advisor.

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.


The following criteria should guide your choice of where to complete your volunteer/work hours for applying to the Bachelor of Social Work degree:

  1. Working directly with vulnerable people in the field of Social Services
  2. 100 contact hours required accrued within a year from when applicant’s admissions application is received
  3. Ideally with Adults or perhaps Youth, not children
  4. A Supervisor who can provide you with feedback and act as a reference
  5. Duties must be more than clerical or office work

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 Volunteer/Work Hours Form and two Reference Forms. You will also need to meet with us for an 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.

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