Application information

Welcome to the School of Social Work. We offer three Master of Social Work programs, accredited by the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE).

Admissions for September 2022 are CLOSED. The next entry to the MSW Indigenous (MSWI) program is September 2024, for which the applications will open in October 2023.

You must have a BSW degree from an accredited Canadian program, or equivalent, to be eligible to apply to this program. For Non-BSW holders: please see the information posted on the MSW Foundation program.

The MSWI begins with a 1-week mandatory on-campus institute scheduled in late August/early September of each year. The remainder of the program is offered through distance education. For more information, please see the MSWI delivery method and course plan.

Our School is actively responding to the challenges of COVID-19. Those who apply should plan to attend the on-campus institute. If something is to change due to COVID-19, our School will contact all applicants directly.



The School welcomes and is actively recruiting applicants from communities that experience historical and present-day systemic discrimination and marginalization, and who are committed to social justice, equity, anti-racism and decolonization. In our admissions decisions, we will apply a decolonial equity framework which includes an intersectional lens and will prioritize applicants who are Indigenous, Black and other racialized people.

Application process

The online application and required documents are submitted electronically using the My UVic Application service. Please be prepared to upload all required documentation at the time of applying. All application materials are due by 01 December 2021. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Direct any questions about the online application process to Graduate Admissions and Records: garo@uvic.ca.

Please ignore the My UVic Application question asking you to provide the name of your supervisor. You are not required to nominate or contact a supervisor prior to your admission.

The following required documents must be submitted:

  1. Statement of Intent

    The Statement of Intent provides an opportunity for you to outline the degree of compatibility between our MSW Program and your interests and background.

    Before completing the Statement of Intent please review the School's Mission Statement and the detailed program objectives of the MSWI program.

    You are also advised to complete the “Self-Assessment” exercise to assess whether you have sufficient time and resources to dedicate to graduate studies.

    To complete you Statement of Intent correctly, you MUST use the form-fillable PDF and avoid exceeding the maximum 1000-word limit. More importantly, ONLY use Adobe Acrobat to open the PDF file and upload your information. Using other programs can cause technical issues, and we may not be able to open your file and/or download the contents completely.

  2. Experience Summary

    Non-Indigenous applicants are required to have a minimum of 6000 hours of human services experience in an Indigenous social services setting, or a closely related field, as of the application deadline date (December 1st). Indigenous applicants are required to have a minimum of 3000 hours of human services experience in an Indigenous social services setting, or a closely related field, as of the application deadline date (December 1st).

    Do not include field placements, practicum placements, internships, or co-op work terms in this Experience Summary.

    Qualifying experience is defined as paid employment or volunteer work in organized activities, programs and/or interventions that respond to, or ameliorate, conditions of inequality or disadvantage. This might include paid or volunteer work in a government, non-profit, social service agency, or involvement in social justice activism.  

    Applicants who believe that particular life experiences should be counted towards the experience summary are invited to provide a rationale for including this and articulate the connections of this life experience to social work. This rationale can be included at the bottom of the Experience Summary form.

    All applicants are required to complete and submit a detailed summary of their experience in the field, including the calculation of the total number of hours of experience gained prior to the application date using the Experience Summary Form. Applicants should use Adobe Acrobat or an Adobe program to complete the form correctly. Information submitted in any other format will be discarded.

  3. Resume

    An updated CV/RESUME is also required by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please ensure you include your Education, Employment, Volunteer work, and any additional information on accomplishments & initiatives.

  4. References

    Three references are required. These may be two academic references or one academic reference and one employer reference, in addition to a mandatory Indigenous community-based reference.

    University of Victoria (UVic) uses an electronic reference system. All references must be submitted electronically through the Graduate Admissions and Records Office (GARO) electronic submission system.

    You must enter the names and the e-mail addresses of your chosen referees as part of the My UVic Application process. Graduate Records and Admissions will send an e-mail request to each referee with instructions on how to submit a reference electronically. The online reference page allows referees to copy and paste a reference letter or comments additional to those required on the reference form. If one of your referees is having difficulty submitting a reference, please ask that person to contact GARO directly: 250-472-4657 or garo@uvic.ca.

    Academic references must be from post-secondary instructors with whom you have taken a graded course, which is NOT a practicum or a field education placement. The employer reference must be from someone in a work setting and be from a person who has or had a supervisory relationship with you.

    The community-based reference should be able to speak to the applicant’s experience creating culturally safe work environments. They should be able to provide examples of ways that the applicant has worked in solidarity with Indigenous people in their practice. The reference should provide examples of feedback or evaluations from Indigenous peoples or community that outline the applicant’s experience in creating a culturally safe environment.

    It is advised that you choose referees who are able to comment on your ability to complete academic work at the graduate level, including writing and critical analysis skills, and can submit a reference by the deadline. Referees have 2 weeks after the December 1st application deadline to submit their online reference form through the application system. References received after this date will not be used by the department to evaluate your application.

  5. Post-secondary transcripts

    Transcripts can be submitted as unofficial PDF files at the time of application. Only if you are offered a seat in the program, you will be required to submit sealed official transcripts from your post-secondary education to GARO.
* All application documents must be submitted electronically using the My UVic Application service by December 1st for your file to be considered complete. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered—no exceptions. Please do not send any documents to the office of School of Social Work directly.

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Notification of acceptance

Applicants for the MSW Indigenous Specialization will be notified of admission decisions by late March/early April following the application deadline. The notification will be reflected on applicant's My UVic Application profile and will be emailed to the address on the application. Please await confirmation until this time.

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Contact information

Graduate Admissions and Records:
Front Counter: garo@uvic.ca
Clerk responsible for Social Work: grad6@uvic.ca


Inquiries regarding the MSW program:

MSW Program Assistant
Phone: 250-472-5622
Email: swgrad@uvic.ca

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Advice on obtaining required references

All applicants must provide 3 references as part of their application package, one of which must be an academic (post-secondary) reference from an instructor who has taught them in a graded course. The second reference can be either an academic reference or an employment reference (including a reference from a practicum agency supervisor or liaison). The third must be an Indigenous community-based reference. We encourage applicants to contact prospective referees well in advance of the application deadline to ensure the timely completion and submission of references.

Because all references are submitted electronically on a standard form, employers sometimes find the form does not cover their experience with an applicant. If this is the case, it can be useful to have an employer attach a separate letter to their electronic reference detailing how they know you and their assessment of your suitability for graduate education. Instructions on how to submit a letter in addition to the required form are provided on the reference form that the referee receives. An employer reference can come from someone who has supervised your paid work, or your volunteer work if no paid work reference is available. Please keep in mind that referees must have been in a supervisory position to you. References from colleagues are not accepted.

A final word of advice: it is always best to find out first if a prospective referee is prepared to give a positive reference.

Reminder: all references must be submitted electronically through the Graduate Admissions and Records Office (GARO) electronic submission system. If one of your referees is having difficulty submitting a reference, please ask that person to contact GARO directly: 250-472-4657 or garo@uvic.ca

Have you been out of school for a while?

We recommend that students who have been out of school for some time contact the institution/department where they completed their previous post-secondary degree to determine which of their former instructors is still at that institution. Contact that person directly to ask if they will provide a reference by the deadline date. If a former instructor has moved to another university, ask for their contact information and contact them there. It is often useful to remind instructor referees which courses(s) you took with them, when, what your marks were, and any other particulars you think will jog a referee’s memory. As a final option, if no former instructor is available, you can ask the school from which you graduated if the director or dean can provide a general reference based on your academic file.

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