MSW Program Streams

The School of Social Work at McGill University prepares graduates for specialized professional practice in one of following areas of specialization. Students choose a stream in their application to the program. The chosen stream guides student course schedule and requirements. 

Children & Families

This area of specialization focuses on developing a broad understanding of the post-modern family. This stream supports students in developing theoretical and clinical capacities to provide effective services for families presenting with an array of complex social, psychological, physical, and mental health issues.

Guiding Principles

  • understanding family heterogeneity and diversity through the lens of gender, race, poverty, social class, and multiculturalism
  • understanding the intersection of these family complexities and the legal, health, and social services structures.
  • integrating this understanding into child and family practice

Objectives

  • introduce the concepts and skills related to a developmental & systemic understanding of children and their families
  • focus on culturally-informed models of assessment and treatment of child and family functioning and development.
  • develop child and family clinical knowledge and practice skills to serve the diverse family populations within Québec and Canada.

Curricula

Courses in this stream incorporate theoretical and clinical perspectives based on research-informed best practices. Curricula include advanced methods of child and family assessment and treatment, couple counselling, child and youth mental health, child welfare, violence against women, and youth justice.

Practice Context

Practicing in this field involves working with children and their parents; couples and family systems including extended family and larger protective, social and legal healthcare networks that influence children and their families. It is ideal for students considering careers in child and family protective services, child and adult psychiatry, including hospital based in-patient and out-patient services and specialized community services for children and their families. It is also ideal for students from a multi-disciplinary background including social work, counselling psychology, clinical psychology, nursing, and other mental health disciplines.

Courses

Students in this stream are encouraged to register for the following complementary courses::

SWRK 602 Youth Justice in Canada 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 606 Reclaiming Child Welfare 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 610 Family Treatment 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 622 Understanding & Assessing Fam 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 623 Couple Therapy 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 628 Violence against Women 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 657 Seminar on Mental Health 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Health & Social Care 

Changing population demographics, shifts from institutionalization to community-based care, and restructuring of health care systems create a demanding context for social work. This changing context of care requires a detailed understanding of care systems and their impact on populations in need of health and social services.

Guiding Principles & Objectives

  • exploring and examining the theoretical, historical and practical contexts of care, contemporary tensions and debates in the field
  • promoting the development of specialized skills for advanced practice across varying adult care settings
  • considering health and social care practices on national, provincial, federal and international levels

Curricula

Drawing on theory, research, and policy, the courses in this area:

  • situate contemporary issues within the historical context of social welfare;
  • explore conceptual challenges embedded in concepts such as 'dependency' and 'disability';
  • address planning and practice for populations across the life course, and in late life;
  • explore therapeutic practice in mental health settings;
  • outline social work with persons with disabilities;
  • focus on illness and palliative care, as well as articulate in-depth explorations of cross-cutting concerns of ageing, social care, caregiving, loss and bereavement, ethics, and resilience.

Practice Context

This area of interest is ideal for students considering careers in social work practice in community and institutional settings with older people, children and adults with disabilities, and mental health issues. Students in this area are likely to be interested in hospital social work, home care, various group-home settings for adults, palliative care, community organizations with a clinical focus, as well as areas of health or social care policy.

Courses

Students in this stream are encouraged to register for the following complementary courses:

SWRK 609 Understanding Social Care 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 655 Seminar on Aging 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 668 Living w/Illness,Loss&Bereave 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 669 Course not available

SWRK 670 Seminar on Caregiving 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 630 Adult Mental Health 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

International & Community Development

Over the past several decades, interest and opportunities in International & Community Development within social work have burgeoned. To this end, this area of study has been developed to serve our increasingly diverse populations within Québec and Canada and in an increasingly interconnected world.

Guiding principles & Objectives

  • a global perspective for local, national, and international practice.
  • human rights, global justice and diversity
  • develop understanding of concepts and competency in skills relating to internationally related domestic practice and advocacy, professional exchange, community and international practice, and community and international policy development.

Curricula

Curricula focuses on social welfare, international and community development, cross-cultural knowledge and understanding, comparative social policy, global and local peace-building initiatives, as well as advocacy and practice focused on immigrant, refugee and war-affected populations.

Practice Context

Practicing in this field involves working with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities to influence laws, legislation and policies. This stream is ideal for students considering careers in international and community development, practice work with immigrants, refugees and war-affected populations, advocacy work on global policy issues, and those aiming to broaden their domestic practice competence through understanding the international dimensions of community and social issues.

Courses

Students in this stream are encouraged to register for the following complementary courses::

SWRK 532 International Social Work 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 620 Migration and Social Work 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 621 Seminar on Trauma & Resilience 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 624 Community Org.:Advocacy 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 626 Intl & Community Development 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SWRK 641 Social Policy Analysis 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer