The Practical and Transformational Leader

Offered Fall 2026


This certificate is offered fully online.

Online courses consist of a mix of real time classes at set times and learning that can be done on your own schedule.

Internet access

You'll require regular access to an internet connection, and you'll need a camera and microphone.

A high speed internet connection is recommended, but not required.

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8 months

You'll begin your Certificate studies in the fall semester (September), and the total completion time is eight months.

You'll follow the UCalgary academic calendar and be given specific assignment deadlines.

Get the "tool kit" you need to lead: The Practical and Transformational Leader

This certificate provides practical skills that will help you become a transformational leader. Your education includes everything from strategic planning, budgeting and human resources, to transforming an organization to achieve its mandate.

You'll learn current theories and practices in leadership within a variety of organizational contexts. Learn program planning, implementation and evaluation; policy analysis and development; organizational dynamics and change; supervision; community capacity building, social action and advocacy.

Certificates provide graduate education and formal credentials. If you plan on applying to our MSW, you'll need this certificate and one in Advanced Social Work Practice.

The Practical and Transformational Leader: Courses

Organizational Structures and Management

We'll deconstruct organizational structures and management of human service, government, and other community based organizational contexts in which social work leaders operate and navigate diverse leadership practice issues. The major issues we'll pursue and focus on are governance, strategic and business planning, risk management and operations, and organizational culture and diverse work places.

Transformational Leadership and Supervision in Human Services

We'll study a variety of leadership theories and supervisory practice models in order to examine and explore how these concepts are operationalized in human service workplaces with both employees and clients. We'll attend to leadership theories, human resource practices, social work supervision, and ethics and ethical dilemmas.

Innovation and Establishing Credibility

We'll focus on learning practical knowledge about budgeting, financial management and the developing sphere of social enterprise/finance. Practical research applications will be explored to advance organizational existence/sustainability and demonstrate success for both clients and the program/organization. We'll concentrate on four main areas: social enterprise and social finance; funding mechanisms, fund development and proposal writing; appraising research and evidence informed practice; and program evaluation and utilizing outcomes.

Advocacy and Diplomacy

You'll learn the necessary skills to work with others inside and outside organizations, and utilize advocacy and diplomacy to manage dilemmas and other organizational challenges. Our specific focus will be on partnerships and collaborations, professionalism and use of self in the organization, funder and donor relationships, and impacting policy and working with policy makers.

Admission Requirements

  1. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from an accredited/recognized institution.
  2. A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.
  3. The equivalent of two years of full-time paid work or a minimum of 3,000 hours of paid and/or volunteer work in the human services field by the application deadline.
    What is relevant social work and human service experience? 
  4. English Language Proficiency

    Offers of admission are valid for the term to which you apply.


Degree Award

Your degree must be awarded prior to the start of the program. We cannot accept a letter of completion as a replacement for degree award. Your final transcript noting your degree must be received by June 30.

Earned your BSW abroad?

If you completed an undergraduate degree in Social Work or equivalent in another country (outside Canada/USA), you must have your degree assessed by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) as equivalent to a Canadian BSW, prior to applying to the MSW program.

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