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    Masters in Social Work in Canada:- Top Universities, Admission Process, Tuition Fees, Scholarships & Jobs

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert


    Masters in Social Work in Canada is designed for students who are keen to develop an advanced understanding of social work and a specialized set of practical skills. It is an academic discipline that combines theories from various fields such as medicine, sociology, philosophy, economics, politics etc.

    The major elements of the program include coursework, field placement training and research opportunities where students can gain complete knowledge about theoretical frameworks and empirical understanding that shape professional practice.

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    Why Study Masters in Social Work in Canada?

    According to the Government of Canada, people working as social workers usually earn between 19.20 CAD/ hour and 46.15 CAD/ hour. They are employed in various sectors of the economy such as hospitals, school boards, social service agencies, welfare organizations, correctional facilities, and the private sector.

    Since there is a shortage of social workers in Canada, the demand for the occupation is currently skyrocketing. Some of the cities and provinces of Canada which are experiencing a high demand for social workers are British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Ontario.

    Therefore, MSW in Canada is considered extremely fruitful in terms of career development as well as personal growth. The basic admission requirements are transcripts, resume, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, English proficiency tests, etc.

    Top Universities to Study Social Work in Canada

    As per QS World University Ranking 2020, 26 Canadian universities have secured positions in the list of top universities across the world for great quality education at most affordable rates. Canada is home to many world-renowned universities such as the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, Western University, University of Calgary etc. Given below is an overview of the top ranking universities in Canada for masters in social work.

    University World University Ranks 2020 Canada Rank 2020
    University of Toronto #29 1
    McGill University #35 3
    University of British Columbia 51 2
    McMaster University #140 4
    University of Waterloo #173 #8
    Western University 211 #8
    University of Calgary 233 #8
    Dalhousie University 251-300 #11

    Masters in Social Work in Canada Admission Process

    The admission process of masters in social work in Canada varies from university to university. However, certain basic eligibility criteria are common for most institutions. These are:-

    • Applicants must have a Bachelor of Social Work degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in any other discipline.
    • All universities have a minimum GPA requirement for the undergraduate degree.
    • There are a few universities where candidates must have an equivalent of two years of full-time paid or volunteer work in the human services field.

    NOTE:- International students who are non-native English speakers must prove their proficiency in the English language. Canadian universities accept the scores of TOEFL and IELTS tests with certain minimum requirements.

    University-Specific Admission Requirements

    University GPA CV/ Resume LORs/ References SOPs TOEFL IELTS
    University of British Columbia - Required Two Required 93 iBT 6.5
    McGill University 3.2/ 4.0 Required Three Required 96 iBT 8.0
    Western University 70% Required Two-Three Recommended 100 iBT/ 600 PBT/ 250 CBT 7.0
    University of Waterloo 75% Required Three Required 90 iBT 7.0
    University of Calgary 3.0/ 4.0 Required Two Required 97 iBT 7.0

    Cost of Pursuing Masters in Social Work in Canada

    According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), 96% of the international student population recommends Canada as their favorite study destination. This may be the result of the fact that Canada offers higher education at much lower costs than other countries such as the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia.

    Pre-Arrival Costs

    International students who are planning to study in Canada must cover the following expenses as part of pre-arrival expenditure:-

    Expenses Costs (USD)
    Application Fee 70-120
    TOEFL Application Fee 160-250
    IELTS Application Fee 185-190
    Canadian Study Permit 150
    Health Insurance 10,000
    Biometric Fee 85

    Tuition Fees

    One of the key features of studying abroad is the amount of tuition fees. Given below is an overview of tuition fees for international students who are planning to study masters in social work at the top universities in Canada.

    University Tuition Fee (USD/ Year)
    University of Toronto 23,415
    University of British Columbia 18,751
    McGill University 13,583
    Western University 9,123
    University of Calgary 10,903
    Dalhousie University 11,169

    Cost of Living

    Apart from tuition fees, international students must also be able to afford their cost of living in Canada. The basic structure of the average cost of living in Canada is tabulated below:-

    Expenses Costs (USD)
    Accommodation 190-570
    Food (Per Meal) 8-20
    Books & Supplies 230
    Transportation 70
    Other Expenses 55-115

    Scholarships to Study Masters in Social Work in Canada

    In Canada, various scholarships and bursaries are offered to Social Work students. Most of these awards are offered annually unless stated otherwise.

    • Joan Cummings Memorial Award

    Dalhousie University offers an annual award to students with disabilities who have enrolled in the Bachelor or Master of Social Work program at the university. Applicants must provide necessary supporting evidence of disability scholarship/ service.

    • Lawrence T. Hancock Scholarship

    Offered by Dalhousie University, Lawrence T. Hancock Scholarship is offered annually to students who are enrolled in the Master of Social Work program and achieve high academic standing and show promise of leadership and service.

    • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

    The Vanier CGS program provides financial assistance to highly qualified students from across the country and abroad. Prospective students are evaluated on three main criteria, Academic Excellence, Research Potential and Leadership. The program offers 50,000 CAD per year for three years during their studies.

    For more information about scholarships in Canada for international students, Click Here.

    Jobs after MSW in Canada

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of social workers around the world is expected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026. This is much faster than the average for most other occupations. The employment growth of social workers is driven by the increased demand for healthcare and social services.

    Some of the most successful paying jobs international students can pursue after Masters in Social Work in Canada are:-

    • Public Policy Social Worker

    It is one of the many ways to create an impact on society where MSW students often use their academic training to examine the influence of policy decisions on matters like public development, housing, community health services and social services.

    • Social Science Researcher

    The responsibility of a social science researcher is to assess the needs of people in their surroundings, evaluate the efficiency of social work services and monitor relative costs and benefits of these services. The research is conducted for various sectors of social work such as homelessness, domestic violence, mental health etc.

    Job Profile Average Salary (USD)
    Public Policy Social Worker 54,881
    Social Science Researcher 63,561
    Health Clinical Coordinator 55,619
    Counselor 46,990
    • Health Clinical Coordinator

    Health Clinical Coordinator is responsible for organizing and monitoring the administrative aspects of social service agencies and their clinical staff. The popular workplaces of this profession are hospitals, clinics, patient care wards and academic- medical programs.

    • Counselor

    There are numerous options in the field of counseling students can choose from. A few of the major fields are family and marriage counselors, mental health counselors, addiction counsellors etc. The job of a counselor is to offer guidance and help to individuals, families, groups who are dealing with complex issues that affect their mental health and well-being.

    Students of masters in social work can also make their careers through various opportunities such as advice workers, volunteers, youth workers, probation officers, policy analysts etc. By studying and promoting the quality of life of people, students focus on policy formations against poverty, unemployment, social injustice, harassment, abuse and violation of human rights.