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Introduction to Social Work Practice

Course Code: SOWK 2100
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Social Work
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Online
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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 people's 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 and political 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.

Methods of Instruction

Group exercises
Student presentations
Use of multimedia resources.

Means of Assessment

Research papers

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.
  6. Analyze the relationship between personal struggles and public issues (social structures) and how racism, heterosexism, classism, colonialism, ageism and ableism promote inequalities in society.
  7. 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).

course prerequisites





CSSW 1100

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.