BSW Admission Requirements

The School of Social Work seeks to reflect a diverse student population and welcomes applications from qualified individuals of all ages, gender identities, cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, and abilities.

Admission requirements, for full-time and part-time studies, to the BSW program are as follows:


The successful completion of either a three-year or four-year undergraduate university degree (Bachelor of Arts or equivalent) from an accredited university, with a 70% average and at least 6.0 academic units (12 one-semester courses) in the social sciences, INCLUDING the required 10 pre-requisite courses listed below or their equivalents.

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Required prerequisite courses

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Conditional admission

Applicants with a completed Bachelor of Arts degree (or equivalent) and who have completed six or more of the BSW prerequisite courses may be eligible for admission into the next available entry point to the Bachelor of Social Work program. The conditional admission is based on successful completion of all academic requirements with a cumulative overall average in the courses of at least 75%. Please see required pre-requisite courses for further details.

*Applicants can continue working on outstanding prerequisite (and degree) courses during the application process by applying for admission as Arts Non-degree/Post-degree students. For further information please contact: BSW admissions

Effective for Fall 2021, applicants to the University of Waterloo who hold a Social Service Worker diploma (or equivalent) and who are applying to the SDS/BSW pathway at Renison University College are eligible for conditional admission consideration to the BSW Program. This will be conditional on their completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Development Studies (SDS) with a 70% minimum GPA (including the 10 BSW pre-requisite social work courses with a 75% overall). This constitutes a one-step pathway to the BSW degree. For more information regaring the Social Service Worker Pathway, please visit this link: BSW Social Service Pathway

For more information about the BSW program contact:  Keri Raif Sura, Administration and Student Services Manager: 

Mature Student Admissions

Applicants who have completed a Bachelor of Arts degree (or equivalent) four or more years prior to applying and who do not meet the minimum required 70% overall  average may be considered for admission to the Bachelor of Social Work  Program upon completion of the prerequisite courses with a cumulative overall average in the courses of at least 75%. Please contact Keri Raif Sura for further information: 

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Assessment of prerequisite courses

Applicants who wish to have courses evaluated for equivalency for the ten prerequisite courses should contact BSW Admission for information. It is recommended that prospective applicants start this inquiry prior to submitting their application.

To request an evaluation, please email a copy of your unofficial transcripts to admissions registrar. If there are courses we have not previously evaluated, you may be asked to provide course outlines for review.

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Apart from your academics, and the English language requirement, as discussed above, you will also be uploading the following information into your application:


The School of Social Work is interested in the experiences of applicants in any or all of the following areas: educational qualifications, employment experience, volunteer experience, membership in volunteer associations, membership in professional associations; and additional skills, attributes or other information.  

Contact details for THREE referees (1 academic, 2 professional)

The academic reference must be from an instructor who has taught you in one or more courses. Professional references can be sought from any of the following: an employment supervisor; a volunteer supervisor; a helping professional (e.g., social worker, religious leader, doctor, psychiatrist or similar community-based professional).

Once you apply via OUAC, you will receive an acknowledgement email and instructions to set up your Waterloo Quest account. Here, you will complete the Social Work Admission Information Form (AIF) and provide us with contact information for your three referees. Your referees will then be sent a fillable form which will be submitted online. 

Personal statement  - Complete and submit a (PDF) personal statement of approximately 1500 words prepared according to this outline:

Social work practice is guided by six values found in the Guidelines for Ethical Practice and Code of Ethics. We encourage you to review these documents prior to completing the questions below. 

Central to social work practice is the pursuit of social justice for individuals, families, groups, and communities. Social workers promote social fairness and the equitable distribution of resources, and act to reduce barriers and expand choice for all persons, with special regard for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged, or vulnerable. Social workers oppose prejudice and discrimination against any person or group of persons, on any grounds, and specifically challenge views and actions that stereotype particular persons or groups (CASW, 2015).

  1. Thinking about social work’s commitment to the pursuit of social justice, what is one change that you want to see in the world? (500 word max.)
  2. How could a degree in social work support your participation in this change? (500 word max.)
  3. Tell us how your own strengths, skills, and experiences (e.g., volunteer, work, and lived experience) influence your interest and participation in the profession of social work. (500 word max.)

You will receive instructions on how to upload this information into your application, after you've applied.

For information and help with how to upload documents visit the Quest information page 

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For enquiries regarding admissions to the BSW program, please contact:

Keri Raif Sura

Administrator & Student Service Manager

519-884-4404   ext. 28698