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Guide to Study MSW Course in Canada

Updated on 12 October, 2023

Neha Uppal

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

The Masters of Social Work, or MSW, is an internationally-accredited course, including an advanced curriculum that prepares students to take up professional roles in social work. The MSW course in Canada is best-suited for those students who wish to extend direct service in the field of social work. 


This course also includes various specializations, which may differ based on the University applied for. The course duration may vary among universities, extending to one, two, or even three years, depending on specialization, entry route, etc. 

Some universities may even offer this course part-time or entirely online. Most universities’ curriculum also includes thesis work as part of the course. The course is designed to help students develop their capacity for critically analyzing values, research, theory, and practices of their respective areas of specialization. 

Over 15 Canadian universities offer the Masters of Social Work course. 

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Top Universities Offering the Course Country-Wise 

The top MSW course in Canada universities include the following 

Name of the UniversityQS World Ranking 2023
McGill University31
University of British Columbia47
McMaster University152
University of Waterloo154
University of Calgary242
Dalhousie University308

Eligibility for the Course 

In general, the MSW course in Canada eligibility requirements will include a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work or its equivalent from a reputed university. In the case of a student with English as their second language, English proficiency may also be an MSW course in Canada requirement. 

This could be shown through a certificate proving that the student has attended their Bachelor’s from a university where the medium of instruction is primarily English. Applicants may also be required to pass examinations focused on English Language Proficiency (ELP). 

These include the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Training System (IELTS), the Pearson Test of English (PTE), the Canadian Academic English Language Test (CAEL), or the Academic Communication Certificate (ACC). The score or grade requirements may vary among universities. 


The specializations different Canadian universities offer for the MSW course in Canada may be different. They may at least have other names. Most MSW courses in Canada are divided into core and elective groups. Listed below are some of the top specializations a student can pursue –

  • Community and International Development 
  • Human Services Leadership Practices 
  • Clinical Social Work Approach and Practice 
  • Health and Social Care 
  • Social and International Development 
  • Child and Family 
  • Mental Health and Addictions 
  • Grief and Palliative Care Aspect of Social Work 
  • Sexual Health and Counselling 
  • Chemical Dependency and Substance Abuse 
  • Interprofessional Psychological Oncology 
  • Families in Oncology 

Average Fee Required for the Program 

The MSW course in Canada requirement for a fee will vary depending on the university. The table below lists the same for some of the top universities. 

Name of the UniversityAverage Fee (in CAD)
University of CalgaryProgram fee CAD 2288 and tuition fee (per three units) CAD 2288
University of WaterlooCAD 1548 for a part-time course, CAD 3096 for a full-time course
University of British ColumbiaCAD 28,125 per year
McMaster UniversityCAD 2924 per term in case of a part-time course, CAD 5698 per term in case of a full-time course
McGill UniversityDepends upon the program, credits taken, and residency status

Job Prospects 

Before taking an MSW course in Canada admission, consider the various areas in which you can build a career. The course is integral to many leadership positions within the industry. Working in this field requires interacting and collaborating with communities, families, individuals, and organizations on health disparities, inequities, education, and health promotion issues. 

Some of the top job prospects after completion of the MSW course in Canada include –

  • Clinical social worker 
  • Psychiatric social worker 
  • Hospice or Hospital social worker 
  • Addiction and substance abuse counselor 
  • Justice and prison social worker 
  • Gerontological social worker who works with the aged and elderly 
  • Social justice advocates 
  • Child welfare social worker 
  • School or university social worker 

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Expected Salary Remuneration 

Social work careers are among the most satisfying but also the most challenging out there. Given below are the average salary or remuneration packages for those working in this field of diverse job roles. 

Job Role Average Salary/Remuneration (in CAD annually)
Psychiatric Social WorkerCAD 53,370 
School or University Social WorkerCAD 55,184 
Child Welfare Social WorkerCAD 54,859 
Social Justice AdvocatesCAD 53,080
Hospice or Hospital Social WorkerCAD 60,000 
Gerontological Social WorkerCAD 53,370 
Justice and Prison Social WorkerCAD 86,238 
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What is the duration of the MSW course in Canada?

The course duration for MSW courses in Canada varies among universities. While some may offer the course for one year, others may stretch it to three years. In some universities, the full-time course duration is one year, whereas the part-time duration is three years. 




Is an MSW necessary to practice social work?

The short answer is No. A simple undergraduate degree will also enable you to become a caseworker, community outreach worker, or mental health assistant in the field. However, if you wish to pursue leadership roles and more specialized positions, then an MSW becomes vital. 




What are some of the top benefits of getting a degree in MSW?

Some of the top benefits of completing the MSW successfully include higher earning potential, licensure for clinical practice, comprehensive curriculum and understanding of the field, and better job outcomes. 








Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.

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