Sample courses

Dalhousie' s School of Social Work is known for its critical, reflective approach to learning social work practice. Our courses embrace a critical and anti-oppressive approach to social policy, professional values, theoretical perspectives, and practice methods.

After a recent revision of our curriculum, our redesigned courses develop a broader range of skills and theoretical perspectives that are usable in a wider variety of job settings. Our curriculum ensures social work students graduate with a good understanding of:

  • Historical and current manifestations of inequity and injustice;
  • How social work practice, theory, policy and research can both advance and impede the building of a socially just society;
  • How to locate yourself and others in the political and ethical contexts of social work;
  • Theoretical foundations of social work policies, programs and practices;
  • How to engage and work with service users in a variety of practice contexts;
  • Principles and processes of critical reflection and analysis.

SLWK 2222
Advancing Social Justice

Social Justice: what does it mean – for you? for me? for the world we live in? This class raises many perspectives of what it takes to contribute to a just society; how we understand the oppressions and privileges experienced by those with whom we work, and also ourselves. Indeed, this class begins with the idea that a separation between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is not useful when visioning equitable social relationships. Come to this class and have your worldview expanded. This course attends to cognitive, affective, and spiritual learning processes.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

SLWK 2333
Field Education for Beginning Practice

Practice, practice, practice: and more practice! Educating in social work means having opportunities to practice your analysis and your skills in situations with individuals, families, organizations, communities and policy makers. Preparing to enter the field of social work is the aim of all our courses, with particular emphasis on two in particular: Beginning Social Work Practice, a classroom based class where we learn the basics of where, when and how social workers practice, and we practice ourselves, through observation, role plays and reflection; and Field Practicum and Seminar, where students undertake a 700 hour agency-based placement, under the supervision of a community social worker and faculty member.

Prerequisites: Co-requisite SLWK 2111, SLWK 2222

SLWK 3220
Cross-cultural issues and social work practice

It can be easy to hear a course title such as "cross cultural issues" and think the learning will be all about "other people," and indeed, in this class you will learn about the experiences of people marginalized by racialized, ethnic and identity positions.  At the same time, much of how we think of culture is rooted in our own cultural positioning, and the assumptions and beliefs supported by that positioning. Come to this class and learn about "other people" as well as yourself to develop skills and approaches to work effectively together.

Prerequisites: SLWK 3083.03 is recommended

Inside the classroom

Why is there still so much injustice in the world?
Social Work Students

One of our core courses, Advancing Social Justice, sets out to answer that question in an innovative way. Carolyn Campbell and Gail Baikie designed the course to challenge students’ deeply-held values, beliefs and assumptions. The goal is to strengthen social work students’ committment to making the world a better place.

I feel like I left the class with a whole new person being brought into the world. Even my way of thinking, the way I put myself forward is completely different,” says student Chynna Coulter.