Why study in Social Work?

This field involves using social work skills and practices to create social change and find solutions to problems involving vulnerable individuals. As well as contribute to the ability of societies, communities, groups and individuals to improve the conditions in which individuals live as well as the overall well-being of the population. Through the use of critical and reflexive theories of social work and human behaviour, social work engages social institutions, structures and people.

A degree in social work at the University of Ottawa provides a unique opportunity for students to study a critical approach to intervention practices in the fields of health and family-childhood, while taking into account the current realities faced by francophones in a minority context.

Our honours bachelor and master’s programs are accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE). As a result, graduates of the two programs can qualify for accreditation by professional social work associations across Canada, in Mexico and in the United States. Finally, the School’s PhD program provides an opportunity for doctoral students to do independent research on intervention practices through the use of theoretical and practical tools used in the social sciences.

The uOttawa campus is located downtown Ottawa, close to not only federal agencies and ministries but also a number of vibrant neighbourhoods that are home to a socially, economically, ethnically and linguistically diverse population.

Why do an undergraduate degree in social work?

At the undergraduate level, the School of Social Work offers two programs:

1. Honours Bachelor in social work (in French)

2. Minor in social work (in French)

Honours Bachelor in Social Work

This program trains specialists to provide services to individuals, groups and communities but to also have a solid grasp of both the theories and contexts of social work. This program provides professional training that allows them to work not only in various Franco-Ontarian institutions and communities, which is the School’s main focus, but elsewhere in Canada and around the world, an important consideration this era of globalization and labour mobility.

The learning objectives at the Honours Bachelor level revolve around 3 core areas:

1. Knowledge based on the social, cultural, linguistic, economic and political issues faced by the most vulnerable members of our society

2. Practical knowledge through the acquisition of various intervention skills—running support and other groups, developing an intervention plan, completing a psychosocial evaluation, leading a community effort, etc.

3. Self-reflection, as a complement to the other two areas of knowledge, on our place in society, requiring in us an ability to assess our own strengths, biases and limits

The Honours Bachelor program is:

  • Based on 2 main themes—diversity and generation
  • Offered completely in French
  • Offers 2 placements, with the possibility of doing the second placement abroad
  • Accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE)
  • Leads to accreditation in Ontario, Québec and elsewhere in Canada as well as in Mexico and the United States

Minor in social work

The minor in social work is a complementary program added to a main discipline as part of an honours BA or four-year general BA.

Through the minor, students gain a basic education in social work—its history, philosophy, theories and methodologies as well as the main fields of this discipline.

Why do a master’s in social work?

The master’s program focuses on intervention research. The major themes addressed by the program include modern health problems (mental health for example); working with children, youth and families; community organizing; overcoming various forms of poverty and social inequality; helping raise self-awareness in persons facing oppression; issues related to the francophone minority context; improvements in social services (whether local, national or international); addressing spousal abuse and intimate partner violence; and problems related to drug abuse and criminal activity.

Some information on the master’s program:

  • It is offered fully in French.
  • It is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE)
  • 98% of graduates find employment in the field of social work within a few months of graduating.
  • Two specialties are offered–health and family-childhood.

Students holding a BA in social work can complete an accelerated master’s after one year of full-time studies (three or four sessions). Students with a BA in another discipline can complete a master’s in two years of full-time study (six or seven sessions).

In the program, professors meet regularly with students and offer individual follow-up (monthly meetings with thesis supervisor, placement follow-ups as well as small groups in courses and seminars, etc.).

What some of our graduates have to say

“The program helped me develop my critical thinking skills even further….I met a number of people that did and will continue to inspire me. It was a wonderful adventure.”

Brigitte (graduate student in 2014 - master program)

“I really grew from my placement. I gained self-confidence, something I didn’t have when I first started….The master’s courses were also extremely helpful. They helped me develop an interest in research that I didn’t know I had."

Christina  (graduate student in 2014 - master program)

Why do a PhD in social work?

The PhD program concentrates on the critical and contextual analysis of social intervention practices.

The main research areas at the School include:

Health: Areas such as sociocultural aspects of mental health; social inequalities and social representations of health; social and health services in French-language minority contexts; use of psychoactives, sports as a psychosocial intervention tool; health movements and alternative health networks; social integration; risk factors; (de)pathologization; cross-cultural issues

Family-childhood: Areas such as intervention tools for troubled and at-risk youth, violence aimed at women and children, intergenerational relationships, Francophone youth in minority language context, making and remaking social relationships of gender, transition to adulthood, intervention tools for violent men, teenage parenting, redefining gender

Related areas: Topics such as complementary and alternative social intervention practices and tools, community organizing, social economics, evaluation of social practices, potential for social movements to bring about social change, social representations of work, globalization and social inequality, migration

Particularly under the lens of a francophone minority context

Some information on the PhD program:

  • Courses are offered in both French and English.
  • Professors provide students with individual supervision and guidance
  • Three main fields of research at the School of Social Work (health, childhood-youth-family, francophone minority contexts)

You will acquire the knowledge and skills you need to gain a better understanding of intervention practices and the mechanics of interventions and to contribute to positive changes to these practices.

Numerous career opportunities for graduates include university researcher and professor, researcher, evaluator, administrator or manager in social work or social services institutions, among many others.

Possibility of gaining teaching and research experience as a TA or research assistant with a professor or one of the research centres or institutes connected to the School.

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