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Faculty of Community Services

About the School of Social Work

Ryerson's School of Social Work prepares students for critically engaged social work practice with marginalized populations and communities.

We lead critical education, research and practice with culturally and socially diverse students and communities in the advancement of social justice struggles.

Our vision is to transform social structures into more equitable and inclusive social, economic, political, and cultural processes of society.

Our mission, vision and values

Our mission

  • To prepare graduates for critically engaged social work practice with marginalized populations and communities.
  • To develop leadership and innovation in social work education, at the undergraduate and graduate level, through teaching, scholarship, research and community service.

 


 

Our vision

School of Social Work is a leader in critical education, research, and practice with culturally and socially diverse students and communities in the advancement of anti-oppression/anti-racism, anti-Black racism, anti-colonialism/decolonization, Aboriginal reconciliation, feminism, anti-capitalism, queer and trans liberation struggles, issues in disability and Madness, among other social justice struggles. Our vision is to transform social structures into more equitable and inclusive social, economic, political, and cultural processes of society.

 


 

Our core values

  • We support the struggles of Indigenous populations, nationally and globally, for Indigenous sovereignty and their collective rights.
  • We affirm human dignity and human rights and value equity among all people.
  • We are committed to the implementation of social work values in our curriculum and in the delivery of our programs.
  • We are committed to learning about communities that foster respect for social diversity, and critical reflexivity in our students and faculty.
  • We educate about the intersectionality and interlocking of oppressions and seek to address their causes.
  • Our program reflects ongoing attention to the rigor and relevance of our undergraduate and graduate degree programs which prepares our graduates with the requisite knowledge, skills and values to work with marginalized populations in a constantly evolving global context.
  • We foster student-centered learning environments that engage and challenge students, and which are responsive to life circumstances and societal forces that create barriers to the student experience.
  • We build relationships with communities, expressed in our collaborative community-based research, community service and in educational relationships with field placement settings.
  • We stand with communities and populations that experience oppression and marginalization, including poverty, exploitation and domination, and seek to work with all those committed to the advancement of anti-oppression/anti-racism, anti-Black racism, anti-colonialism/decolonization, Aboriginal reconciliation, feminism, anti-capitalism, queer and trans liberation struggles, issues in disability and Madness, among other social justice struggles.

Our program reflects ongoing attention to the rigor and relevance of our undergraduate and graduate degree programs which prepares our graduates with the requisite knowledge, skills and values to work with marginalized populations in a constantly evolving global context.

Our history

A few highlights:

  • 1964: This year, under the directorship of Russell Jolliffe, our school opened its doors for the first time. We offered a two-year certificate course in social work to just 25 students.

  • 1971: Based on the initial success of our certificate program, we began to offer a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Social Services.

  • 1976: We became a provisional member of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work.

  • 1982: We became fully accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work.

  • 1991: This year, we offered a Bachelor of Social Work degree for the first time.

  • 2007: Recognizing the need to prepare students for advanced practice, we launched a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. With an emphasis on anti-oppression practices, the MSW challenges students to critically reflect on power relations in social work.

What is social work?

When people can access the services and resources they need to more fully participate in society, it is often because of the efforts of social workers.

Social workers promote social justice and equity by supporting individuals to access multiple social services in order to meet their fundamental needs and accomplish their goals. They work in areas that include child welfare, hospitals, schools, community agencies and government.

Practitioners have a deep understanding of how gender, race, ethnic-cultural origin, class, sexual diversity, age, and physical and mental capacities shape the experiences of those who require social services. They are self-evaluating, knowledgeable and reflexive in their practice.

As skilled advocates and collaborators, social workers transform social structures into more equitable and inclusive social, economic, political and cultural processes.

At a glance

Ryerson’s School of Social Work is unlike any other.

A few highlights:

  • Pursue a range of program pathways. We offer full-time and part-time Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs for high school, college and university graduates, one full-time Master of Social Work (MSW) program and three certificate programs.

  • Learn within your own community. We've partnered with the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) to deliver a part-time BSW for Indigenous students off campus.

  • Gain hands-on experience. BSW students spend 840 hours working with various social agencies, while MSW students spend 450 hours in the field.

  • Learn from outstanding professors. Many of our faculty are distinguished with awards for their teaching, research, service and leadership.

  • Pursue innovative research. Our faculty regularly contribute new research to the field in areas including anti-oppression/anti-racism, anti-Black racism, anti-colonialism/decolonization, Aboriginal reconciliation, feminism, anti-capitalism, queer and trans liberation struggles, issues in disability and Madness, among other social justice struggles.

  • Get involved. We are home to the Centre for Research in Critical Social Inquiry and Action —  a leader in the development of knowledge on communities affected by exclusion and marginalization, and the Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy — a trailblazer in creating a hub of interaction between social justice activists and academics at Ryerson.
Our people

Our faculty members bring a robust depth of experience as teachers, scholars and researchers to Ryerson’s School of Social Work.

They pursue innovative research on issues fundamental to the well-being of our society, such as:

  • community practice
  • youth wellness
  • violence against women
  • anti-racism practices
  • sexuality and sexual diversity
  • disability issues

Deeply embedded in the community, and responsive to their needs — our faculty regularly make important contributions to policy, practice and teaching.

Integrating research and field experience into their teaching, they create unique learning opportunities in the classroom. Together with our dedicated staff, they help students to achieve their goals.

Our partnerships

We work with a number of stakeholders to create important learning opportunities for students.

First Nations Technical Institute - Ryerson Collaborative program

We partner with the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) to offer a joint Bachelor of Social Work program that delivers courses off campus to Indigenous students in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, near Belleville.

The FNTI-Ryerson Collaborative program provides Indigenous students with access to a culturally relevant university education in their own community. The integration of teachings under the leadership of Indigenous Elders and social work practitioners is a cornerstone of the partnership.

Since 2003, over 150 students have graduated from the program.

 


 

Field placement partners

Field placements are a core component of our undergraduate and graduate programs.

They provide students with exceptional learning opportunities under the guidance and mentorship of qualified field instructors.

They position students for critically engaged social work practice by encouraging them to apply theory, develop a professional self-identity, and integrate the knowledge, skills and values they learn in the classroom.

We partner with a wide variety of social work settings across Toronto and the surrounding area to provide field placement opportunities. These include:

  • Child welfare agencies
  • Community health centres
  • Grassroots community groups
  • Food banks
  • Legal clinics
  • Municipal governments
  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • School boards