Student studying

High school students

Thinking about a career in Social Work?

You can't apply to the Faculty of Social Work directly from high school, but we have some suggestions on what to do, if you're interested in social work.

Get work/volunteer experience

Volunteer or look for work with human services organizations or community groups. You might get a better idea if social work is right for you. In addition, the BSW program is competitive and your volunteer activities / work is a chance to show your commitment to helping others, to advocacy and to social justice.

Take a variety of classes

What you take in the two years before social work is up to you. We have some general recommendations (see below), but you should take the time to try a variety of study areas to broaden your knowledge base and to be sure social work is right for you.

Look for research opportunities

As you embark on your undergrad academic journey, look for formal and informal ways to become involved in research as a participant or through UCalgary programs like PURE.

Explore PURE

Make connections

Through these activities you should make meaningful connections with professors, volunteer supervisors or employers who could speak to your strengths and provide letters of recommendation if you apply to the faculty.

Open House Discovery Session

Learn how you can make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, groups, and communities through a career in social work. We’ll also cover pathways to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program.

Preparing for social work

To apply to the Bachelor of Social Work as a University Transfer student, you'll need to complete 57 units of non-social work university transferable courses. These courses provide you with depth in your education and prepare you for the focused education you'll receive to become a professional social worker.

These courses also allow you to get a feel for other disciplines, which may help you to better know if social work is right for you. 

Having said that, here are some general course areas that can help prepare you to be successful in social work: 

  • English/Effective Writing
  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Indigenous Awareness in the Canadian Context
  • Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • Social Welfare and Social Policy
  • History
  • Research Methods
  • Statistics
  • Ethics
  • Communications
  • Public Administration or Public Policy
  • Gender Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies

These suggestions are just provided for guidance as you plan your first and second year. No admission preference is given to applicants who complete courses in these areas.

two individuals looking at a screen - social workers practice in a huge range of professions

Here are a few areas where social workers practice:

  • community-based services
  • community development activities
  • child welfare services
  • institutional health care
  • long term care centres
  • corrections
  • education
  • settlement support, and
  • hospital services