Social Work: Social Work MSW, Human Services Management and Leadership Field

Master of Social Work

The not-for-profit sector is primarily responsible for the delivery of social services in Canada. There is a critical need for people who are able to assume leadership roles in the community social services sector.


Minimum Admission Requirements

MSW Two-Year Program and MSW Advanced-Standing Option
  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Faculty of Social Work's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants with an appropriate bachelor's degree with a minimum average equivalent to at least a University of Toronto mid-B in the final year of full-time study from a recognized university are admitted to a two-year MSW program.

  • Applicants who hold a BSW degree with mid-B average in the final year of full-time study, or its equivalent from a recognized university, may be eligible for the MSW advanced-standing option.

  • Students applying to the Human Services Management and Leadership field must have at least two years of volunteer or work experience in human services.

  • All applicants must have included 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in social science courses, including 0.5 FCE in research methodology. A mid-B is strongly recommended in the research methodology course.

  • Experience (voluntary or paid) in the social services or related field and knowledge of critical social issues are recommended. Suitability for professional practice in social work will also be considered.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements. Advanced-standing applicants must declare their field and a preference for full-time or part-time studies at the time of application.

  • Initial admission inquiries should be made directly to the Faculty of Social Work. Please note that applicants holding the minimum admission requirements are not guaranteed admission. All admission decisions are final.

Program Requirements

MSW Two-Year Program and MSW Advanced-Standing Option
  • All MSW students: Agencies that offer practica will likely require a Vulnerable Sector Verification prior to commencing the practicum. Failure to pass this check will jeopardize a student's entry to practicum. Cost and time factors are associated with the Vulnerable Sector Verification. A delay in obtaining the results can impact the start time of a student's practicum. In anticipation of this requirement for the practicum, it is strongly recommended that students begin this process early.

  • In the event that a student does not complete two or more required courses, or receives an FZ (inadequate) after repeating any course, normally steps will be taken by the Faculty to recommend the termination of the student's registration.

Compulsory Courses

Year 1 MSW students in the Human Services Management and Leadership field must complete eight half courses (4.0 FCEs) and the Year 1 practicum (0.5 FCE) from the list of required courses below.

SWK 4102H
Social Policy and Social Welfare in the Canadian Context
SWK 4103H
Elements of Social Work Practice
SWK 4105H
Social Work Practice Laboratory
SWK 4107H
Foundations of Social Work: Knowledge, Theory, and Values that Inform Practice
SWK 4510H
Research for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice (SWK 4510H must be completed before taking any of the research courses in the field)
SWK 4602H
Social Work Practice with Groups
SWK 4605H
Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
SWK 4654H
Social Work Practice in Organizations and Communities
SWK 4701H+
Social Work Practicum I (prerequisite: SWK 4105H completed prior to beginning practicum)

+ Extended course. For academic reasons, coursework is extended into session following academic session in which course is offered.

  • Students in the MSW two-year program must declare their field by mid-February of Year 1.

  • Note: Advanced-standing students normally complete the program in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study.

  • The MSW thesis option provides hands-on research experience. The thesis is an independent piece of research intended to enable students to develop and apply research skills within the context of social work practice and to write a graduate thesis of publishable quality. Note: The thesis option is available to a limited number of students—maximum three in any given year—whose proposed research must be approved by a review panel and by the Associate Dean, Research.

  • Students in the thesis option who have a minimum of two years' prior full-time social work experience are eligible to apply to take an additional 1.0 elective FCE in place of the Year 2 practicum. Workplace supervision must have occurred with an MSW supervisor; requests for substitution must be reviewed and approved by the Faculty Assessment Committee.

  • Students who choose the thesis option may require at least one additional academic session to complete the program.

MSW Two-Year Program
  • Students in the MSW two-year program must complete a total of 8.5 FCEs including core MSW coursework (4.0 FCEs), required field coursework (2.0 FCEs), elective coursework (1.0 FCE), and practica (1.5 FCEs). The practicum (0.5 FCE) is required for students in Year 1 of the MSW two-year program and is offered in the Winter session; the Year 2 practicum (September to April) is equivalent to 1.0 FCE and must be in the student's field.

  • Students in the Human Services Management and Leadership field do not have the option of doing a thesis.

MSW Advanced-Standing Option
  • Students in the MSW advanced-standing option will normally complete a total of 4.5 FCEs including required coursework (2.5 FCEs), elective coursework (1.0 FCE), and a practicum (1.0 FCE) in their field.

Compulsory Courses—Year 2
​SWK 4425H
Human Services Management and Leadership​
​SWK 4426H
Financial Management and Leadership in Human Service Organizations​
​SWK 4427H
Human Resource Management in Human Service Organizations​
​SWK 4515H
Research and Quality Improvement in Human Service Organizations​
​SWK 4702Y
​Social Work Practicum II (full credit)
  • Students in the MSW advanced-standing option must complete the above courses plus a compulsory course: SWK 4510H Research for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice (SWK 4510H must be completed before taking any of the research courses in the field.)​

Program Length

6 sessions two-year full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S/F/W/S);
3 sessions advanced-standing full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S);
6 sessions advanced-standing part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time​