Social Services diploma - First Nations Option

Why take the Social Services diploma — First Nations option?
Our program is designed to prepare aboriginal students or those with strong ties to aboriginal communities to work with First Nations people to enhance their self-reliance both on and off reserves. Working from a Stó:lõ perspective, as a graduate of the First Nations option, you will work with individuals and groups on several issues that affect aboriginal communities. Those issues may include child and sexual abuse, substance abuse, family violence, wellness issues, and economic development.

As First Nations people assume more responsibility for their child welfare, health care, and education services, the demand will grow for First Nations social service workers, namely graduates of this program to provide services to the community in a culturally appropriate fashion.

This 62-credit program will provide you with direct employment-related skills while at the same time giving you up to one and a half years of credit towards your Bachelor of Social Work degree at UFV. If you are interested in becoming a professional social worker, this program will allow you to develop skills and seek employment as a First Nations social service worker before you embark on a professional degree. Given the nature of employment in this field, we expect this program will be of interest to mature students who will bring their wealth of life experience with them. Prior learning assessment will be available to determine if those life experiences may be equated to an academic credit.

What type of career can I expect?
This diploma program will prepare you for a wide variety of careers in many different fields. Some examples that you’ll be qualified for once you’ve earned your diploma include the following: 

  • Community service worker
  •  Teacher’s aide
  • Social work assistant
  • Mental health worker
  • family support worker,
  • Seniors’ support worker

You might also find work in agencies such as aboriginal counselling services, aboriginal friendship centres, alcohol and drug treatment centres, aboriginal court services, other aboriginal agencies, and settings in health care, correctional justice, employment services, family services, and education.

Many graduates find jobs through their fieldwork placements, which are carefully selected for employment potential. However, completion of the program does not guarantee that you will find the job of your choice immediately upon graduation.

Why take this program at UFV?
You have ambitious career goals. We realize that. The Social Services diploma with a First Nations option can be tailored to suit your future education plans. Not only will the program provide you with employment-related skills, it will also give you the opportunity to earn up to 54 credits towards your Bachelor of Social Work at UFV. So if you’re interested in becoming a professional social worker, you’ll be able to develop skills and gain employment as a First Nations social service worker before you venture on to earn your degree.

Throughout this program, the main goal is to provide you with the specific skills and knowledge needed to work with First Nations communities on issues of concern to First Nations people. At the same time, you’ll acquire skills and knowledge to work with non-First Nations individuals, groups, and communities.

What do I need to get in?
You’ll need your B.C. secondary school graduation or equivalent (ABE Provincial, Advanced, or GED). If you’re a mature student and have at least three university-transfer credits that apply to the program, then you do not require a high school transcript.

To qualify for the program you must:

  • be physically and emotionally prepared to undertake this program of studies
  • be willing to undergo a criminal record check
  • meet the prerequisite for CMNS 155 

Your suitability for the program will by assessed by a point rating system. Points are awarded for past academic education, all work or volunteer experience (social services or other), your demonstrated writing ability, two reference letters, a personal statement, and how well you do during a group interview. The group interview generally consists of four to six students and two Social Services department members. You will have an opportunity to discuss your career goals and your knowledge of the field. You must also demonstrate appropriate interpersonal and life skills. 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.

What type of courses will I take?
This is a suggested outline for your studies; however, you can take courses in any order as long as the prerequisites for each course are met.


First Year - Fall Semester

 Course #  Title
 CMNS 155  Communications for Human Services
 or ENGL 105  The Reading and Writing of Prose
 SOWK 110  Introduction to Social Work and Human Services
 FNST 101   Stó:lõ Nation Development

First Year - Winter Semester

 Course #  Title
 ANTH 111  First Nations in BC: Traditional Cultures
 or ANTH 112  Aboriginal Peoples in B.C. Contemporary Issues
 PSYC 101  Intro to Psychology I
 HSER 120  Intro to Interpersonal Communications

Second Year - Fall Semester

 Course #  Title
 HSER 129  Practicum Seminar
 HSER 200  Counselling Skills
 SOC 101  Intro to Sociology
 Elective  Group B-See electives in the Social Services diploma section of the UFV calendar

Second Year - Winter Semester

 Course #  Title
 HSER 130  Practicum I
 SOWK 210  Intro to Social Welfare
 FNST 102  Sto:lo Traditional Ways of Healing and Helping

Second Year - Summer Semester

 Course #  Title
 HSER 229  Practicum Seminar II

Third Year - Fall Semester

 Course #  Title
 FNST 201  Aboriginal Communications  Stó:lõ World View
 HSER 230  Practicum II
 Elective  Group A-data manipulation requirement;
 see Electives in the Social Services diploma
 section of the UFV

Third Year - Winter Semester

 Course #  Title
 FNST 202  Stó:lõ Social Structure 
 HSER 250  Integration of Social Services Theory and Practice
 CMNS 251  Professional Report Writing

I’m interested. What’s the next step?
Check out our online calendar. Make sure you read the information about the Social Services diploma — First Nations option carefully. Visit the download centre and download the appropriate application forms. You can then either mail your complete application, along with the documents listed in the calendar and the $45 processing fee, to any UFV campus or centre on or transmit it through the Internet at

If you plan to start in the Fall semester, deadline for submissions is Jan. 31. Applications received after this date will be considered if there is still room in the program.

I’m not sure if I want to earn my diploma. Can I take some courses anyway?
Of course. If you wish to take some of the courses without enrolling in the program, or before you formally apply, you may register for any courses for which you meet the prerequisites. It’s important to note, however, that program students are given priority for courses.

How much does it cost? Can I afford to take this program?
It’s best to check out our online calendar and go to the Fees and Other Costs section. Keep in mind that textbooks and additional supplies will cost more. It’s worth a visit to the UFV financial aid and awards office, which facilitates the disbursement each year of about $12 million in federal and provincial student loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships, and awards to UFV students. A helpful budget planning worksheet is available.

Once I complete my diploma, what are my options for future study?
As a graduate with the First Nations option, you may be able to ladder up to 54 credits towards UFV’s Bachelor of Social Work program. If you are intending to apply for your BSW, you must complete a human development course such as PSYC 250 or SOWK 225 and an introductory statistics course like PSYC 110 or MATH 104.

You can ask for more information from the Social Work and Human Services department regarding other BSW entrance requirements.

Other related courses that might interest you include:

  • Family Dynamics (HSER 283)
  • Human Development (SOWK 225),
  • SW Practice with Groups (SOWK 301)
  • Substance Misuse Issues (SOWK 394).

What sort of support will I get?
Plenty. For more information about support and student services at UCFV, visit and learn about the broad range of services designed to help you learn about and adjust to the university environment. You can also enjoy the services of S’olh Shxwlèlí — the Aboriginal Resource Centre. Aboriginal students from Stó:lõ territory, as well as from other territories, are an important part of UFV’s student population.

S’olh Shxwlèlí means “our places” in Halq’emeylem. Cultural activities, which are open to all students, include luncheons, circle meetings, Elder visits and gatherings, workshops, and many other events both on- and off-campus. Learn more by contacting UFV’s Aboriginal Access Coordinator Shirley Hardman, by phone at 604-702-2615 or by email at

Sounds good. What do I do now?
Visit for a step-by-step process to becoming a UFV student. Have specific questions? Contact the school of Social Work and Human Services directly at by emailing

I’m not sure that this program is for me. Can I speak with someone about my options?
Absolutely! We want to hear from you. If you’re unsure of your direction, contact Student Services at 1-888-504-7441 to arrange a tour, attend a Becoming a Student info session, connect with an educational advisor, or arrange for career counselling.

Also, feel free to contact the school of Social Work and Human Services directly by calling
604-702-2623 or 604-864-4631.


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