Bachelor of Social Work
Address Social & Systemic Inequities in Today’s Changing World
Cape Breton University’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is designed to prepare the next generation of social workers with practice-ready skills to address social and systemic inequities. In response to pressing socio-economic crises and healthcare challenges, the BSW program uses a trauma-informed lens which emphasizes bio-psycho-social determinants of health, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and decolonization of social work practice, generational dimensions of poverty and addiction and culturally safe practices and care.
The BSW curriculum is relevant to practice across Nova Scotia and beyond wherever rural, Indigenous and de-industrialize communities are found and intersect.
Completion of an undergraduate degree is required for admission into the BSW program. See admission requirements below.
Ready to Apply?
An accelerated 16-month program pre-accredited through the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE), the BSW program adheres to the core learning objectives of CAWSE while maintaining the commitments to an inclusive and supportive learning environment that enables ongoing self-reflection and the integration of theory, research and practice through hands-on learning experiences. The BSW program offers opportunities for intra-professional collaboration and aims to thoughtfully prepare practice ready social workers for the profession. The BSW program is delivered full-time, on campus with the exception of two field practicums. Currently we do not offer a part-time study option.
CBU’s Social Work Department is dedicated to building a cohort of individuals reflective of numerous diversities, life experiences and skill sets. As part of the program’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, Indigenous rights holders, African Nova Scotian and other equity seeking individuals are invited to self-identify when completing their admission application, as well as within their supplemental Personal Statement. The program is also committed to seeking students from rural areas in an effort to meet the ever-growing need for social work services in these remote areas. To learn more about the Indigenous and African Nova Scotia admissions stream, please visit CBU.ca/equity&access.
What is the tuition for this program?
These numbers are an estimate for planning purposes only, and include tuition for the entire 16 month BSW program. These numbers do not include lab or accommodation fees.
- Residents of Nova Scotia: $21,164.60 per program
- Residents of Canada: $23,730.60 per program
- For a complete breakdown, visit Undergraduate Tuition and Fees.
Sample Courses & Resources
Why study at CBU?
CBU is a place where courageous ideas, bold thinking and innovative approaches come together to create something special. You can see it in our accreditation, our location and our reputation. Home to nearly 7,000 students from more than 70 countries around the world, our diverse campus community paired with our commitment to providing an exceptional student experience truly makes CBU one of a kind.
The BSW program is one of two social work programs in Nova Scotia. The accelerated program structure consists of 16 months, which gives our students a competitive edge in the workforce allowing them to practice sooner than other programs. A small cohort of 30 students promotes hands on learning experiences to prepare practice ready social workers. Multiple resources at CBU are available to support students while studying in the program.
The BSW was developed through a two-eyed seeing approach, centring L’nu and other indigenous ways of knowing, in addition to prioritizing an environment for student and faculty interactions.
What skills will I gain from this program?
- Garner an understanding of how to apply foundational knowledge of theory, policy, and practice to core activities of assessment, advocacy, relationship building, and capacity building among individuals, groups and communities.
- Develop the ability to deliver services and provide culturally safe practice to Indigenous, African Nova Scotian and other diverse communities.
- Understand the connection of historical and present-day experiences of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and histories, as well as a deepened understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- Effectively communicate via oral, written, and visual modes, including persuasive forms for advocacy, and grant writing, across a variety of settings and contexts.
- Learn how to employ research methodologies and evaluation skills to identify promising practices that will advance evidence-based social work practice.
- Learn to recognize one’s own individual signs of stress and wellness, through the application of a self-reflective approach to practice.
- Foster an understanding around the importance of advancing the practice of social work through ongoing professional development and a commitment to reconciliation and lifelong learning.
- Gain practical advocacy skills to engage in social justice work for marginalized and underrepresented communities.
Possible Career Arenas
- Child Welfare
- Mental Health & Addictions
- Schools and Education
- Refugees and Immigrants
- Children and Youth
Experiential Learning Opportunities
- Two field practicums totalling 700 hours. Students will complete a 250 hour practicum in term two and 450 hour practicum in term four. The final practicum allows students to study remotely in the community of their choice.
- The practicums will integrate theory and practice, to enable students to further develop, refine and enhance the values, knowledge and skills reflective of CAWSE core learning objectives.
- Two embedded certificate options, one in Mental Health Promotion in Social Work and the other in Indigenous Perspectives in Social Work. Students interested in completing one of the optional certificates must apply by the end of the first term.
- The Mental Health in Promotion in Social Work certificate will emphasize preventative and early intervention approaches for addictions and mental health while providing future social workers with greater knowledge regarding mental health challenges and strategies when working with individuals at risk.
- The Indigenous Perspectives in Social Work certificate will deepen students’ understanding and knowledge of Mi’kmaw history, culture, traditions, cultural humility and common healing practices. The certificate will also provide students with a greater appreciation of the impact of intergenerational trauma and decolonizing practice skills.
Transferring Your Credits
CBU welcomes all students, past, and current with an interest in continuing their education. If you have completed social work courses at another recognized post-secondary institution, you may be able to transfer those courses to CBU.
In order to be eligible for admission into the BSW program, students must have completed an undergraduate degree (minimum of a 90-credit degree). A maximum of 6-12 credits may be considered toward the BSW program.
Due to the unique nature of the BSW curriculum as it relates to rural and indigenous competencies, students may not be able to transfer credits from another institution’s BSW program. Transfer credit will be given on a case-by-case basis as deemed appropriate by the BSW Program Director in consultation with the Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences. Credit from other Field Practicum courses cannot be transferred.
Current students enrolled at CBU may also be eligible to transfer internal credits in a situation where a CBU student has taken a cross-listed undergraduate course which is part of the BSW curriculum. A maximum of 6 credits may be considered for transfer. Such applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the BSW Program Director in consultation with the Dean and Registrar and may involve additional academic or financial requirements.
To learn more about eligibility, visit CBU.ca/transfer.
CBU has many articulation and transfer agreements with various partner institutions and organizations across Canada. This supports students in gaining credit toward a degree or diploma at CBU. Students who choose to study at CBU via an articulation agreement are eligible to transfer up to 45 credits. Once an undergraduate degree is earned, students can transfer into the BSW program, given all other admission requirements are met.
To learn more about CBU’s Articulation Agreement and partnering institutions, visit CBU.ca/articulation.
Admission Requirements & Supplemental Information
- Completion of an undergraduate degree (minimum of a 90-credit degree) and submission of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
- Minimum 70% average within the last 30 credits*
- Submission of Personal Statement which describes the applicant’s interest in social work
- Submission of Work and Volunteer Experience
- Three references: one academic and two professional.
- Applications will be screened during the admissions process and selected applicants will move forward to an interview
Indigenous, African-Nova Scotian, and equity-seeking applicants are invited to self-identify in their Personal Statement as part of the program’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Indigenous and African-Nova Scotian applicants who self-identify may choose to apply under a specialized Indigenous & African Nova Scotian admission stream. All applicants within this stream will be forwarded directly to the interview phase of the application process provided they have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university and have submitted all required application materials.
*Individuals with a grade average below 70 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Admission for this program is only open to domestic students at this time.
|Grade average of most recent 30 credits
|Work and Volunteer Experience
For more information about the program, admission requirements or general questions, please email email@example.com.