Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs

The MSW Programs offer course work, field placement training, and research opportunities where students develop an advanced appreciation of theoretical frameworks and empirical scholarships that shape professional practice.

Educational Objectives

  • develop a deepened and advanced competence in practice and research
  • embrace a capacity for critical understanding of social theory, social problems and emergent issues
  • understand population groups in need, institutional structures, and policy initiatives and processes.


MSW Non-Thesis Program 

This program is designed for students who want to develop an advanced understanding of social work and a specialized set of practice skills. Students complete coursework, a field placement, and an Independent Study Project, all specialized in one of the MSW Program Streams: Children & Families; Health & Social Care; International & Community Development.

Non-Thesis Program students may complete the Graduate Option in:

MSW Thesis Program

The MSW Thesis program is designed for students who have strong research interests. This program supports the development of advanced intellectual understanding and specialized research skills in one of the MSW Program Streams: Children & Families; Health & Social Care; International & Community Development. MSW Thesis Program includes graduate level coursework and a Research Thesis. Students work closely with a Faculty supervisor. There is no field placement in the MSW Thesis Program.

New Concentration/Option of the existing thesis program will provide an interdisciplinary context for students interested in this area.  Currently, many Concentrations/Options in “Gender and Women’s Studies” exist for multiple graduate programs in various departments within the University.

For further details, see The Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF)

MSW with Integrated Bachelor of Civil Law/Bachelor of Laws (BCL/JD)

The Master of Social Work with integrated Bachelor of Civil Law/Bachelor of Laws (MSW/BCL/JD) designed for students interested in transcending academic boundaries in social justice issues. Studying in these two professions simultaneously will offer students an enriched perspective and students will graduate with a valuable blend of theoretical understanding, legal training, and social work skills. The joint program allows students to obtain three degrees with a reduced overall number of credits. 


All MSW programs are provided at the McGill University downtown campus only; they are not offered via distance or online education. If you have a BSW degree, you may enter directly to one of the three MSW programs. 

The language of instruction in the classroom is English, however, students are expected to be functional in French (comprehension, spoken, and written) for the field placement component of the program. Please note that the School of Social Work has a limited number of field placements for students who are not functionally bilingual. Students without proficiency in French will have limited local options and will likely need to complete their field placement in an out-of-province setting in the spring/summer semester.

The McGill School of Social Work is a member of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE). The MSW Program is accredited by the CASWE.

For those wanting to practice social work in Québec, please note that Québec law requires candidates seeking admission to the professional social work order of Quebec (OTSTCFQ) to demonstrate a working knowledge of the French language. For more information, please see our Social Work in Quebec page.


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