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Social Work and Human Services

Social Services diploma

The Social Services diploma program is a two-year, 62-credit program (combining practical skill-development and university-transfer courses) that prepares you to work at the para-professional level in social service occupations. Typical jobs include financial assistance worker, community service worker, teacher aide, residential service worker, special education assistant, case aide, activity worker, seniors supervisor, home support coordinator, social work assistant, mental health worker, and family support worker.

The program also provides an opportunity for students preparing for professional degrees to acquire practical job-related skills while earning university-transfer credits.

A First Nations option is also available within the Social Services diploma.


More than half the courses in the Social Services program are transferable. Students are advised to check the BCCAT website ( for specific transfer credit. The amount of transfer credit you will receive depends on your choice of courses.

Students wishing to challenge a Social Services course must have their application for challenge approved by the department. Students wishing to transfer credit from another institution should contact the Admissions and Records office for more information.

Entrance requirements

1. Secondary school graduation or equivalent (ABE Provincial, Advanced, or GED), or satisfactory demonstration in terms of undertaking university-level work. Mature students, 19 or older, who have completed at least three university-transfer credits that apply to the program at the time of application do not require a high school transcript.

2. You must be physically and emotionally prepared to undertake a program of studies.

3. You must be willing to undergo a criminal records check.

4. You must meet the pre-requisites for CMNS 155 or ENGL 105.

5. You must complete and include all documentation (see "How to Apply"). 

Students who do not meet these requirements might consider the Social Services Studies program path.

How to apply

1. Submit the application fee along with your UCFV application for admission form to the Admissions & Records (A & R) office. Application forms are available from any A & R or Student Services office. See the Program Charts for a complete list of application dates and general information.

Additional documents required for a complete application:
• Proof of B.C. secondary school graduation or equivalent (see Entrance requirements).
• Evidence of having met the pre-requisite for CMNS 155 or ENGL 105.
• Official transcript (or interim transcript) from all other previous post-secondary institutions showing grade/course achievement.
• An additional application information form detailing all your past work and volunteer experience and education (include social services related and other).
• A personal statement indicating why you want to enter the program and what has brought you to this career choice. Please refer to the kinds of experiences you have had in this field, either paid or volunteer. This should be not less than 250 words and not more than 500 words.
• Two recent satisfactory letters of references from past employers, teachers, or volunteer supervisors who can comment on your suitability to work with people in the social services field should be included with your application package. These must be on reference forms available from the SWHS department either online or in person at UCFV.

2. Upon admission to the program, you will be provided with registration information. A deposit is required when you register (see the Fees and Other Costs section). This money will be applied toward your tuition fees. Final payment of all course fees is due the end of the second week of classes.

Basis for admission decision

1. All complete applications received by January 31 will be reviewed. Applications received after this date will be reviewed if space permits.

2. Personal suitability of applicants will be assessed using a point rating system. Points are awarded for past academic education, all work or volunteer experience (social services or other), demonstrated writing ability, reference letters, personal statement, and the group interview. Admission will be granted on a first-qualified, first-served basis to those scoring above the required threshold, and who have completed a successful interview.

3. A successful group interview. The group interview generally consists of four to six student applicants and two SWHS department members. Applicants should be prepared to discuss their career goals and knowledge of the field, and are expected to demonstrate appropriate interpersonal and life skills.

4. Only those who submit complete applications and score the minimum required points will be called for a group interview. Every effort will be made to give an admissions decision within two months of the application deadline.

If the program is full, qualified students will be placed on a temporary waitlist. If you meet the entrance requirements and a space becomes available before September 1, you will be contacted. After September 1, the waitlist is void.

In cases where interim transcripts are submitted, an admissions decision may be made conditional upon completion of academic requirements. Proof of completion of entrance requirements is due the end of the first week in August.

Continuance in program

Students are required to complete a minimum of 62 credits, and at least 50 percent of these must be completed at UCFV.

A GPA of 2.0 (C average) is required for practicum placement and graduation. Please note that entrance requirements for the Social Work degree program stipulate a minimum GPA of 2.75.

All core courses (SOWK 110, 210; HSER 120, 200) must be completed with a grade of C or better. Students who are not making satisfactory progress may be required to withdraw from the program. Unsatisfactory progress includes:

• having been placed on academic warning for inappropriate classroom conduct
• failing two or more core courses in one semester
• failing a required course twice
• failing to make the required grade in a core course twice, and/or
• failing a practicum
• failing to maintain a 2.0 GPA.

Academic regulations

Students may elect to take this program on either a part- or full-time basis; however, students are expected to do a practicum in the second semester of their first year. In order to fill that requirement, students must have completed SOWK 110; HSER 120, HSER 129, and CMNS 155 or ENGL 105. Students who are unable to complete these courses in the first semester in the program should postpone their application to the program until they have taken some of the above courses as Social Services Studies students. Taking these courses does not guarantee you will be accepted into the program. Students have a maximum of four years to complete the program requirements that were in place when they entered the program.

Students wishing to work with children or the mentally or physically challenged are encouraged to acquire a Class IV driver’s licence and a Standard First Aid certificate. They should include HSER 196 as a recommended elective. In addition, keyboarding and computer skills are considered useful skills by most employers and practicum agencies.

Fees and additional costs

See the Fees and Other Costs section. Books and additional supplies cost approximately $150 per course. There will also be other expenses such as travelling to practicum sites and field trips.

Workload and classroom expectations

Full-time students should be prepared to spend about 20 hours per week in class, and about 20 to 35 hours outside of class in independent learning. Full-time students take five or six courses each semester. First-year students will take their practicum plus three courses in the winter semester. Second-year students will take their practicum plus three courses in the fall semester. The practicum requires two full days in the field and students must make themselves available during this time. In addition to the field work, practicum students must attend a weekly 80-minute practicum seminar.

Practicum regulations

Acceptance into the program does not guarantee practicum placement. If you are not 19 before October 31, we may not be able to place you. Placement into a practicum will be at the discretion of the instructor. A GPA of 2.0 is required for practicum placement. You will be individually assessed during the first semester as to your readiness for the practicum, in terms of skills, attitudes, and knowledge. The ability to pass a criminal records check is a prerequisite for most placements and suitable appearance is necessary. A valid driver’s licence and access to an automobile is required for most practica.

Students must register for seminars and practica on their assigned campus as practica will be done in that region; students are not guaranteed the practicum of their choice.

Students currently working in the field, or with significant work experience, may be able to challenge the second practicum. Regulations concerning challenge opportunities will be discussed in the seminar class. Challenge options are to be discussed with the instructor.

Dates and locations

Admission to the program is for the September semester only. The program year is from September through April. Part-time Social Service diploma students may enroll in any available social services course provided they meet the stated prerequisite and there is space. Part-time students may not be able to access courses in sequence. Social Services Studies students and students in other programs may be able to enroll in some social service courses if they meet the stated pre-requisite and there is space.

The diploma program is offered at both the Abbotsford and Chilliwack campuses. You must indicate on your application form which campus you wish to attend. Acceptance into the program on a specified campus does not guarantee that all your non-SWHS courses will be available on that campus. Students are expected to complete required SWHS courses and practica at the campus to which they are admitted to (i.e., Chilliwack students will complete required SWHS courses and practica in Chilliwack; Abbotsford students will complete required SWHS courses and practica in either Abbotsford or Mission). While efforts are made to ensure adequate reserved seats, students are not guaranteed seats in courses (including core courses) and may not be able to access courses in sequence. It may not be possible to complete the program in two years or as planned.

Program outline

First Year

Semester I

Course Title Credits
CMNS 155 Communications for Human Services  
 or ENGL 105 The Reading and Writing of Prose 3
SOWK 110 Intro to Social Work & Human Services 3
SOWK 225 Human Behaviour and the Social Environment 3
HSER 120 Intro to Interpersonal Communications 3
HSER 129 Seminar 1
SOC 101 Introductory Sociology 3
Total   16

Semester II

Course Title Credits
HSER 130  Practicum I (2 days/week) 6
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology I 3
Elective (see Note on electives, below) 3
Elective (see Note on electives) 3
Total   15

Second Year

Summer Semester

Course Title Credits
HSER 229 Seminar (Online) 1
Total   1

Semester III

Course Title Credits
HSER 200 Counselling Skills 3
HSER 230 Practicum II (2 days/week) 6
SOWK 283 Family Dynamics (or semester IV) (see Note)  3
PHIL Philosophy Requirement (See Note on electives) 3
Total   15

Note: Students must complete SOWK 283, which is offered on alternating campuses.

Semester IV

Course Title Credits
CMNS 251 Professional Report Writing 3
HSER 250 Integration of Social Services Theory and Practice 3
SOWK 210 Introduction to Social Welfare 3
Elective (see Note on electives) 3
Elective (see Note on electives) 3
Total   15
Program Total 62

Note on electives: Students will take one philosophy course and four electives in their diploma program. The electives are divided into three groups: (1) Philosophy requirement; (2) Group A: data manipulation requirement; and (3) Group B: other electives.


Philosophy requirement (choose one):

• PHIL 100 (Reasoning)
• PHIL 110 (Morality and Politics)
• PHIL 120 (Knowledge and Reality)
• PHIL 210 (Contemporary Issues in Morality and Politics)
• PHIL 240 (Faith and Reason: Philosophy of Religion)

Group A: Data manipulation requirement (choose one):

• ASTR 103, 104
• BIO 105, 111, 112
• CHEM 100, 101
• ECON 101, 102
• MATH 104, 105, 106, 110, 111, 112, 115, 116, 125
• CIS 100, 110 or BUS 160
• GEOG 101, 102, 201, 202, 253
• COMP 100, 150
• PHYS 101
• PSYC 110, 202, 210, 220
• KPE 163, 170, 270

Group B: Other electives (choose three):

The remaining electives can be chosen from the following university transfer disciplines, but no more than two electives can be from the same discipline (with the exception of FNST courses): adult education, anthropology, art history, biology, chemistry, child and youth care, computing science, criminology, economics, English, geography, history, kinesiology, languages, Latin American studies, media and communications, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, sociology, theatre.

Students may also choose their elective courses from the following:

• FNST 101: Stσ:lυ Nation Development
• FNST 102: Stσ:lυ Traditional Ways of Healing and Helping
• FNST 201: Aboriginal Communities: Stσ:lυ World View
• FNST 202: Stσ:lυ Social Structure
• HSER 160: Introduction to Gerontology
• HSER 190: Introduction to Community Support
• HSER 192: Supporting Skills Development
• HSER 195: Relationships and the Community
• HSER 196: Personal Care for the Handicapped
• INCS 392: Immigration and Social Integration: the Indo-Canadian Experience
• SOWK 301: Social Work Practice with Groups
• SOWK 394: Substance Misuse Issues

Note: Students intending to apply to the BSW program need to include the following electives: PSYC 110 or MATH 104 (or equivalent introductory statistics), plus three qualifying university-transfer arts and sciences electives.

Please contact the School of Social Work and Human Services regarding appropriate arts and sciences electives.

Note: UCFV cannot guarantee that all courses can be scheduled as outlined. Students may take courses in any order as long as individual course prerequisites are met; however, students should note that taking courses out of the recommended sequence may result in delay of program completion.

Course listings

For complete details on courses see the course descriptions section.

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