Academic Calendar Fall 2017

Social Work


English language proficiency requirements

Students registering in post-secondary level courses (numbered 100 to 499) will be required to meet the English language entrance proficiency requirements. Students in ELS or the University Foundations programs can register in those courses identified in the University Foundations program with lower levels of language proficiency.

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester.

SOWK 110

3 credits

Introduction to Social Work and Human Services

Prerequisite(s): None

This course will provide students with an introduction to the profession of social work and social services in Canada. Students will analyze the historical development of social work and social services as well as the values, theoretical perspectives, and ethical principles that inform the profession. Critical examination of social locations, identity, and social justice will be explored as they relate the construction of social problems and fields of practice.

SOWK 210

3 credits

Introduction to Social Welfare

Prerequisite(s): SOWK 110

This course provides an overview of social welfare policies and income security programs in Canada. Beginning with a historical review of social welfare, students will analyze the political, economic, and ideological influences on policy development. The role of social work will be explored in the context of a critical examination of the impact of policy on marginalized groups and Indigenous Peoples. The colonization and issues of the income security of Indigenous Peoples as well as the impact of policy on marginalized segments of the population will be critically examined.

SOWK 225

3 credits

Human Behaviour & Social Environment

Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101 recommended.

Pre- or corequisite(s): SOWK 110

This course emphasizes a critique of theories and knowledge of human bio-psycho-social development, including theories and knowledge about the range of social systems in which individuals live and diversity of human behaviour throughout the life cycle. Students will develop an understanding of the interactions between and among biophysical, social, psychological, and cultural systems as they affect human development. This will include the influence of gender, age, disability, economic class, sexual orientation, and race. The impact of various social and economic forces, including forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination, are examined as they affect human development and act to promote or impede optimal health and well-being.

SOWK 283

3 credits

Family Dynamics

Prerequisite(s): HSER 120

This course will introduce you to the concept of family in the Canadian context. It will provide an overview of the various theoretical viewpoints in conceptualizing the family, and then examine various theoretical approaches to working with families. In this context, the family as an emotional system will be examined. This will include boundary issues, alliances, triangles and genograms, differentiation, and communication patterns, in an effort to understand family functioning. Special topics will also be examined and discussed. These will include areas such as families from a multicultural perspective, family violence, spousal assault and sexual abuse, parenting, daycare, family law, gender issues, and families and poverty.
Note: Students cannot receive credit for both HSER 283 and SOC 331.

SOWK 300

3 credits

Social Work Practice with Individuals

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the BSW program

This course provides an introduction to the knowledge and competencies underlying generalist social work practice. Students will develop assessment and intervention skills as they relate to working in a human service organization. Advocacy on behalf of clients and skills in brokering of services will also be developed.

SOWK 301

3 credits

Social Work Practice with Groups

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the Bachelor of Social Work program, or 45 credits in Human Services or Arts programs.

This course is designed to give students an understanding of group dynamics, experience in group facilitation, and an understanding of the group process in relationship to social work process. Socio-cultural forces, legal and ethical issues, and values unique to working with groups will be explored. This course will introduce skills and techniques as they pertain to types of groups and group phases.

SOWK 311

3 credits

Social Work Theory and Ethics

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the BSW program and SOWK 210, or permission of the School.

This course provides a critical examination of social work theories and professional ethics. In addition to exploring a range of social work theoretical perspectives and ethical principles, the course addresses social construction, ideologies, power, oppression, and the intersection of personal, professional, and societal values. Throughout this course, students will be provided opportunities to articulate their own emerging frameworks for practice. Portions of this course may be delivered online.
Note: Students who have taken SSSW 311 or SSSW 315 cannot receive further credit for SOWK 311.

SOWK 312

3 credits

Legal Knowledge for Social Work Practice

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the BSW or CYC degree program, plus either (SOWK 110 and 210) or (CYC 201 and 210). Students in other degree programs, with a minimum of 45 credits, may be able to obtain instructor's permission at the first class. However, they should check with their program head to see whether they can apply this course to their degree.

This course uses a critical perspective to introduce students to federal and provincial laws relevant to social work practice. Students will examine legislation in the areas of adoption, child protection, consent and capacity, family law, human rights, immigration and refugees, mental health, social assistance, social work records, victims of violence, and youth criminal justice. Students will be introduced to the Canadian legal system, including the constitutional division of powers, the structure of the courts, and legal procedures, particularly as these affect the social justice aspirations of vulnerable and marginalized populations.

SOWK 320

3 credits

Anti-Racist and Cross Cultural Social Work

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the BSW program or permission of the School of Social Work and Human Services.

Pre- or corequisite(s): SOWK 311

This course is intended to introduce students to the knowledge, theories, and skills necessary for social work practice in diverse cultural settings. Within a framework that incorporates an anti-oppressive perspective and a critical analysis of social justice and inclusion, this course engages students in self-reflection and an exploration of their own experiences, knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about race, culture, and ethnicity. This course involves students in an examination of various theories and practice frameworks required for anti-racist social work practice. Historical and current events, policies, and social work practices affecting ethno-cultural groups and marginalized peoples will be analyzed and critiqued.

SOWK 330

6 credits

Practicum I

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the BSW program, SOWK 300, SOWK 311.

Pre- or corequisite(s): SOWK 312 and SOWK 320

This course is a 3-day per week, one semester, supervised practicum designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate social work theory and practice, in relation to their professional development as a Social Worker. Students will complete a total of 315 practicum hours. Students will also have an opportunity to link the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the BSW curriculum with practice experiences in the field placement setting. Participation in a bi-weekly seminar class is required, where students will critically reflect on experiences in their field placement and will be encouraged to integrate generalist knowledge and skills into their developing practice framework.

Note: A criminal records review is required before placement. The existence of certain kinds of criminal records will preclude placement.

SOWK 380

3 credits

Social Work and Community Development

Prerequisite(s): SOWK 311.

This course will focus on the role of social workers working collaboratively with local communities to facilitate community development. Beginning with an understanding of community and social change, students will develop the skills to engage diverse communities in processes of community change and capacity-building. Students will also acquire a variety of theoretical perspectives on community development and building local capacity. Fundamental to community development process is pursuing the democratic redistribution of power and resources. In constructing an anti-oppressive approach to community practice, students will be encouraged to examine the impact of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation on community dynamics and processes.

SOWK 392

3 credits

Aboriginal Social Work

Prerequisite(s): SOWK 311 and admission to the BSW program. Students in other degree programs, with a minimum of 45 credits, may be able to obtain instructor’s permission at the first class. However, they should check with their program head to see whether they can apply this course to their degree.

The purpose of this course is to examine theories and methods of social work practice used by and for Aboriginal people within contemporary society. Historical issues including colonialism will be reviewed, and the effects of these issues on Aboriginal peoples today will be examined. Other topics will include current methods of intervention, roles and operations of social services in Aboriginal communities, conventional and alternative approaches to social work, and the impact of the media on social work policy and practice with Aboriginal peoples. Self-exploration and self-disclosure will facilitate students' integration of culturally-sensitive theory and practice into their practice frameworks. The role of helper within the community context will be developed, with an emphasis on the principle of "healing" (individuals, families, and communities).

SOWK 394

3 credits

Substance Misuse Issues

Prerequisite(s): 45 university-level credits, including PSYC 101 with a GPA of 2.5 or greater; or instructor’s permission

This course will provide students with the theoretical knowledge and introductory social work practice skills needed to work with people with substance use/misuse concerns and/or addictive behaviours from an evidence-based, social work perspective. Students will explore various theoretical perspectives of substance use, including the bio/psycho/social/spiritual model, strengths-based practice, and harm reduction. Other specific topics include an overview of psychoactive drugs; the use/misuse/abuse continuum; individual, family, and community issues; ethics in the field of addiction; social costs and policy issues related to substance use/misuse; co-occurring disorders; HIV/AIDS; prevention issues; and treatment of addictions (including motivational interviewing and the stages of change). The particular focus of social work and related professions in the continuum of care will also be examined. Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions and problem-based learning activities. There will be emphasis on issues related to indigenous people, gender, ethnicity, culture, LGBTQ persons, age, and disability.

SOWK 404

3 credits

Research Methods and Evaluation

Prerequisite(s): SOWK 330, and one of STAT 104 (formerly MATH 104), STAT 106 (formerly MATH 106), or PSYC 110.

This course provides the fundamentals to understand research in a social work context including: what comprises a research question, methods for research, preparing a literature review, and preparing a research proposal. The course provides a review of social science methods and their application to social work practice and research. Also included are strategies and skills appropriate to evaluation of social work interventions and programs. Learners are expected to analyze and critique social work research. Learners can expect to develop a beginning competence in the design and implementation of social work research. Skills in accessing computer-based information (e.g., EBSCOhost, Academic Search Premier) will be emphasized. Portions of this course may be delivered online.

SOWK 410

3 credits

Social Policy Analysis

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the BSW program and SOWK 330 and SOWK 392, or permission of the School of Social Work and Human Services.

This course examines the dynamic interplay of social policy and social work practice with diverse populations, including both rural and urban Indigenous communities. Students analyze social issues, policies, and policy development processes in the postmodern capitalist state and study how these are affected by political and bureaucratic decisions, the media, citizens, communities, and a variety of interest groups. The role of the social worker in influencing the development of policy that promotes social justice is also examined.

SOWK 412

3 credits

Legal Skills for Social Work Practice

Prerequisite(s): CYC 310A & B, or SOWK 330; and CYC 350 or SOWK 312. Students must be enrolled in either the Bachelor of Social Work or Bachelor of Arts (Child and Youth Care).
Note: Priority enrolment is reserved for Bachelor of Social Work students in the Child Welfare specialization; other Social Work students may register with department permission, based on seat availability.

This course focuses on both the development and demonstration of statutory social work practice skills in child welfare, youth criminal justice, and family court counselling. Students learn and demonstrate skills related to the various mandates that govern their work as professional social workers. The course involves experiential learning related to dispute resolution, advocacy, and legal skills such as investigation, evidence-giving, and report writing. Fundamental to practicing these skills is an understanding of empowerment, partnership, working across differences, and individual and systemic change. The course uses a critical perspective and promotes an understanding of the strengths and limitations of these skills and the legal system.

SOWK 430

9 credits

Practicum II

Prerequisite(s): SOWK 320, SOWK 330, SOWK 392, SOWK 404, and SOWK 410. Students in the Child Welfare Specialization must have the following additional prerequisites: SOWK 412, SOWK 483 and SOWK 491. Note: Students should take this course in the final semester of their program.

This is a four day per week supervised practicum in a multi-disciplinary setting, for a total of 15 weeks and the completion of 420 practicum hours. Students are also required to participate in an online seminar class that will focus on the integration of theory and practice.
Note: A criminal records review is required before placement. The existence of certain kinds of criminal records will preclude placement.

SOWK 450

3 credits

Social Work in Health Care

Prerequisite(s): SOWK 330

This course will provide students with an understanding of the scope of social work in health care settings. Students will examine the social determinants of health, understand family systems in relation to social work in health care, and explore relevant legislation and policies that guide social work practice in health care settings. This course will also examine the historical context of the health care system. Students will develop a critical analysis of health policy and health services as they relate to meeting the health care needs of marginalized populations. Topics will include understanding the continuum of care, health care issues across the life span, chronic illness, mental health issues, psychosocial assessment and intervention models, ethical health care decision making, adult guardianship, end of life care, and diversity issues including health care issues related to indigenous peoples, the elderly, ethno-racial groups, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered people, and other marginalized groups.

SOWK 483

3 credits

Family Centred Social Work

Prerequisite(s): SOWK 283 or SOC 331, and SOWK 300, or instructor's permission.

This course will provide an overview of family centred social work, and will briefly examine its historical roots and some critical issues in family functioning. This course will help the student gain an understanding of how her/his own personality, value system, and past family experiences affect her/his work with families. It will examine relationship issues such as bonding, attachment, grief, and loss. It will also incorporate some basic conceptual and clinical skills relating to the theory and practice of family work while critically reviewing problem definitions from a structural/feminist and anti-oppressive framework.

SOWK 490

3 credits

Gerontological Social Work

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the BSW program. (Students in other degree programs, with a minimum of 45 credits, may be able to obtain instructor’s permission at the first class. However, they should check with their program head to see whether they can apply this course to their degree.)

This course is an introduction to social work practice with older adults and their families with emphasis on a strengths perspective in relation to other perspectives on aging, including the medical model of aging. Attention will be given to a variety of theories and policies related to aging and their application in social work assessment and intervention. The course will define the role of the social worker from a gerontological perspective with focus on social justice, ethics, empowerment, and collaboration with community professionals. A framework for examining policy, organization, and delivery of services to the elderly in both institutional and non-institutional settings will be explored. The course will introduce students to the economic, social, and psychological concerns of well and vulnerable elderly, including aging women, and aging populations across a range of diverse social identities.

SOWK 491

3 credits

Child Welfare

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the Bachelor of Social Work program and SOWK 330.

This course will look at the major historical, ideological, legal, and professional themes that inform child welfare policy. Issues including current legislation, history of child welfare, and the meaning of the “continuity of care” will be examined. In particular, the course will focus on the social construction of mothering, in the context of child neglect and of child abuse. Contemporary policies and programs for populations disproportionately engaged with child welfare services including Aboriginal children, immigrant and refugee children, and children of single parents will be examined. Students will be expected to engage in a process of integrating factors of gender, class, disability, race, culture, and sexual orientation into the critical analysis of the ideological nature of Child Welfare.

Note: Students in the Child Welfare Specialization must take this course within two years prior to taking SOWK 430.

SOWK 493

3 credits

Feminist Social Work

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the Bachelor of Social Work program. (Students with a minimum of 45 credits in other degree programs may be able to obtain instructor’s permission at the first class. However, they should check with their program head to see whether they can apply this course to their degree.)

The course will examine social work issues from a feminist perspective, incorporating an analysis of the ideology and conceptual practices underpinning social welfare policy in Canada. Beginning with the historical development of feminist social work and feminist theories as they relate to social work practice, the class will explore gender role stereotypes, social welfare policies, ethics, research as empowerment, and specific issues experienced by women in areas such as disability, sexual orientation, and violence.

SOWK 495

3 credits

Directed Study in Social Work

Prerequisite(s): Fourth-year standing in BSW program and department's permission

Students who have a special interest in a topic area not offered through identified social work electives or core curriculum, may request to do directed social work study under the supervision of a faculty instructor.

SOWK 496

3 credits

Disability Issues

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the BACYC or BSW programs, or permission of department head.

This course involves students in an examination of perspectives on disability, as well as critical analysis of current theories, policies, and practice. The course begins with an examination of common assumptions about disability and provides opportunities to challenge and critique interpretations of the nature and meaning of disability. Several frameworks are proposed for approaching disability issues, with emphasis given to a social justice framework which emphasizes the citizenship and human rights of people with disabilities. The history of attitudes about, and treatment of people with disabilities is examined. Significant events and the contributions of pioneers of the disability rights movement are also highlighted. The roles and perspectives of people with disabilities, family members, and professionals in service systems are examined.

Note: This course is offered as CYC 496 and SOWK 496. Students may only take one of these for credit.

SOWK 497

3 credits

Social Work in Mental Health

Prerequisite(s): Admission into the Bachelor of Social Work program, PSYC 101, and either PSYC 250 or SOWK 225. (Students in other degree programs, with a minimum of 45 credits, may be able to obtain instructor's permission at the first class. However, they should check with their program head to see whether they can apply this course to their degree).

Students will develop an understanding of mental health issues in Canada across the lifespan and the legal and policy framework in which mental health services are provided. Contributing factors in the experience of mental illness arising from systemic forms of oppression and factors affected by social class, ability, age, gender, race, and sexual orientation will be considered. Issues related to stigma, poverty, and housing will be explored. Approaches to social work assessment including risk of suicide and self-harm will be included as well as consideration of classification and diagnosis of mental health problems and psychiatric medications. Students will learn about evidence-based social work practice and approaches to assisting individuals and families experiencing mental health problems. Challenges and opportunities related to working in multidisciplinary teams will be discussed. Students will learn of a Recovery Model approach to mental health and the importance of hope and the belief that people can and do recover from severe mental illness.

SOWK 700

3 credits

Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW Program

Students will be prepared for advanced professional practice as a clinical social worker through a critical analysis of various models of change and change applications when intervening with diverse populations. Models of change will be examined utilizing a lens of outcome research and emerging evidence. The impact of structural factors, agency policy and mandates, and various elements of oppression and privilege will be considered. An examination of the professional use of self by the social worker in the helping relationship will be critically analyzed. Students will identify their own developing model of change and leadership within the context of advanced clinical practice.

SOWK 704

3 credits

Research and Program Evaluation

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program. Students must have taken a research and statistics course prior to taking this course. Students should also have a basic understanding of literature review and research design.

The most common forms of applied research with which social workers engage are program evaluation, outcome evaluation, and needs assessment. This course will prepare students to design and implement a specific research project at the graduate level, with a community organization or agency. Drawing from a heuristic, non-positivist approach to research, the course will emphasize a range of research traditions. The course will facilitate practical experience in applied research, and focus on developing the skills of the researcher within the context of everyday practice. Course content will include knowledge and skill development in developing a research plan, qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, ethical considerations and ethics approval, implementation of the research plan, data collection, and preliminary data analysis. Students are expected to have had previous experience in literature review and research design, and a basic understanding of statistics.

SOWK 710

3 credits

Advanced Social Policy

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program

This course examines governmental and organizational policy development processes, the impact of policy on clients and practitioners, and the intersection between policy and social work practice, including how policy shapes and is influenced by practice. Social policy development and implementation will be considered in the context of public and institutional discourses that maintain racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. Students will develop policy analysis skills as a base for advocating changes to existing programs and policies.

SOWK 711

3 credits

Leadership and Supervision in the Social Work

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program

This course will explore the theories and practice skills of effective social work leadership and supervision as required in the operation of human service organizations and service delivery systems. Students will explore both classic and contemporary theories and models of social work leadership and supervision. Topics include characteristics and styles of leadership, organizational leadership and board relations, leadership ethics, leadership and crisis management, leadership in an Indigenous context, and women and leadership. The connections between social work leadership and supervision will be explored, focusing on the historical development of social work supervision, theories, and models of supervision. Practice experiences of supervision will be discussed from the perspective of supervisors, frontline practitioners, and students.

SOWK 720

3 credits

Critical Perspectives on Social Justice and Anti-Oppresive Social Work

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program

Anti-oppressive social work is based on a critical understanding of social justice frameworks and of the social, economic, psychological, and political impact of discrimination and oppression. Students will explore ways in which social workers can address, resist, and counter oppression, through conceptual and theoretical analyses of privilege, marginalization, intersectionality (e.g., between 'race', culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, and ability), and processes of inclusion/ exclusion. The course will examine the role of institutions, media, and policy in producing/reproducing oppression and constructing the ‘other’. Students will be expected to articulate their understanding of anti-oppressive frameworks by drawing from critical analysis of various epistemological traditions, such as modernism, post modernism, and post colonialism. Social work policy, research, ethics, and practice issues will be analyzed using anti-oppressive frameworks.

SOWK 730

9 credits

Practicum and Advanced Direct Practice Seminar

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program and (SOWK 700, 704, 710, 711, and 720) and (one of the following: SOWK 750, 783, or 797).

This is a two-semester social work-supervised graduate level practicum. The online seminar runs for a total of 30 weeks and students are required to complete 450 practicum hours. During the seminar, students will engage in critical, reflective, and creative analysis of advanced social work issues.

SOWK 750

3 credits

Advanced Intervention in Health

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program

This course examines various models, cultural concepts and determinants of health from a social work perspective. It prepares students for advanced practice through skill building, critical analysis of Canadian health policies, interactive case studies, ethical evaluation, and the study of social work and health issues through the lifespan. Specific topics addressed include the social determinants of health, pregnancy, child and youth issues, acute and chronic conditions, vulnerable populations, aging, and end of life issues. This course focuses on person-centred care, social work leadership, culturally relevant approaches, stigma, prevention and advocacy, and communication in health care.

SOWK 783

3 credits

Advanced Social Work Practice with Children and Families

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program

This advanced practice course will provide an in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of family therapy. Students will learn the different models of family therapy and theoretical assumptions, as well as the practice of conducting assessments and interventions, and evaluating intervention with families. A variety of approaches will be utilized to demonstrate different family therapeutic styles, such as role-plays, discussion of case-study interventions, and when available, videos and film. Students will also critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of various family theories and therapeutic techniques, the role of the social worker with families, and the cultural perspective of the client family, including Indigenous orientations. The family therapy approach will be critiqued using multiple theoretical frameworks.

SOWK 797

3 credits

Advanced Social Work Practice in Mental Health

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program

Students will develop knowledge and a critical analysis of mental health, social attitudes about mental illness, and service delivery models in Canada, with a particular emphasis on British Columbia. Through various theoretical lenses, students will examine the ideological, social, and political perspectives of mental illness and advanced social work practice. Students will develop skills, knowledge, and ability to critique mental health diagnosis and assessment.

SOWK 799A

1.5 credits

Major Paper/Project

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program and (SOWK 700, 704, 710, 711, and 720) and (one of the following: SOWK 750, 783, or 797).

This is a two-semester, faculty supervised graduate level course. It is an independent research study, under the supervision of a faculty Senior Supervisor and Second Reader, as required by the General Regulations for Graduate Studies.

SOWK 799B

1.5 credits

Major Paper/Project

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program and (SOWK 700, 704, 710, 711, and 720) and (one of the following: SOWK 750, 783, or 797).

This is a two-semester, faculty supervised graduate level course. It is an independent research study, under the supervision of a faculty Senior Supervisor and Second Reader, as required by the General Regulations for Graduate Studies.

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