Programs & Courses

Social Work

About This Program

Medicine Hat College is redesigning the online display of programs and courses and some content on this page may no longer be accurate. For official program information, please refer to the current academic calendar.

Learn about tuition and fees or download a program planning guide.

Medicine Hat College’s two-year diploma program combines knowledge of the humanities and behavioural sciences, an understanding of social work theory and philosophy, and the development of practical skills in classroom and fieldwork settings. The program is designed to meet the knowledge, skills and practice competencies as defined by the Alberta College of Social Work.

Post-diploma you have the option of applying to the Bachelor of Social Work program through the University of Calgary (delivered/hosted by Medicine Hat College), or other Bachelor of Social Work programs. Medicine Hat College has a transfer agreement in place with the University of Calgary. Other institutions will assess applicants on a course by course basis. You may also apply your social work diploma as credit towards a Bachelor of Professional Arts (Human Services) from Athabasca University.

Medicine Hat College’s Social Work program offers advantages that include small class sizes, excellent practicum placement options, and faculty who are committed to student success. The program requires your personal commitment, an open mind, and a willingness to question your own values and beliefs. The program is taught from a broad and inclusive perspective. You will be given a foundation of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary to enter into social work practice. There is a strong emphasis on maintaining ethical practices and an understanding of personal and professional values and professionalism. There is also a focus on diversity, anti-oppressive practice, and social justice.  

Most classes are designed to provide you with the theoretical understanding of various concepts and skills necessary to work with individuals, families, groups and communities. The practicum experiences are where you bring your knowledge and skills together, formulating your identity as a social worker. You will develop critical thinking skills, interpersonal communication skills, and group work skills. As a social worker, you may provide assessment, counselling, and referral services to individuals and their families. You may also work with clients and families to overcome emotional, behavioural, social and financial difficulties.

Graduates of the program will find employment opportunities with:

  • Government departments
  • School boards 
  • Group homes and residential services 
  • Health and mental health agencies
  • Family and social service agencies
  • Employment assistance 
  • Correctional services and agencies 
  • Addictions services
  • Non-profit community agencies

For all routes, you must first apply to Medicine Hat College indicating your interest in the Social Work Diploma program. You will then receive an application package specific to the Social Work program that outlines details of the pre-program requirements. Please note that the information that you provide on the personal profile, and that provided by references, will be considered during admission screening to ensure you meet basic standards and have reasonable chance for success in the program and in the profession.

High School

  • 60% or greater in ELA 30-1
  • Three grade 12 5-credit courses
  • 18 years of age or older by the last day of the semester to which you are applying

Mature Student

This route is applicable if you do not meet the minimum requirements for admission but possess other post-secondary and/or work experiences that create potential for success in the program. You must have a 60% or higher in ELA 30-1 (or equivalent) or a university level English.

Transfer Route

If you have previously attended a recognized college or university, you must be accepted on the basis of your college or university level coursework. You must have 60% or higher in ELA 30-1 (or equivalent) or a university level English course.

Academic Transition Plan (ATP)

If you do not possess all of the admission requirements, the Academic Transition Plan (ATP) may provide conditional acceptance to this program, provided space is available. ATP is individualized to meet your needs.

Other Admission Considerations

  • A current resume
  • A personal profile questionnaire providing information related to your background and suitability for the program
  • One reference from a volunteer or workplace supervisor (You must have a minimum of 100 hours of volunteer or work experience in a social service environment.)

Continuation Requirements

In order to be considered a continuing student of record in the Social Work program, you must:

  • achieve a minimum of a C grade in all required courses.
  • only repeat a SLWK course once.

If you have been absent from the program for one calendar year and are returning to complete a practicum course, you will be required to successfully complete a comprehensive evaluation.  Depending on the outcomes of the evaluation you may be required to successfully complete remediation in preparation to enter the practicum.


You are selected for practicum on the basis of academic performance, professional suitability, fitness and conduct, volunteer community service, and availability of practicum sites.

In order to ensure the protection of clients, you are required to provide up-to-date child welfare and criminal record checks, at your expense, prior to entry into practicum placements.  You are responsible for providing copies of the Alberta Children's Services Intervention Record Check and Police Information Check to practicum supervisors prior to starting placements  You are obligated to inform the Program Coordinator immediately of any changes in the status of your criminal record.  Prior involvement with Alberta Children's Services or a criminal record may limit the practicum options available to you.

Should the program coordinator judge, in consultation with faculty, that there is evidence that your are professionally unsuitable or a risk to clients, the coordinator may prohibit you from attending or completing a practicum.

International Practicum
Different opportunities may arise for you to participate in an international practicum.  Social Work students from Medicine Hat College may be invited to participate in international practicum placements with other institutions or Medicine Hat College Social Work program may offer this opportunity by itself.  In both situations you must go through an application process and suitability for participation will be evaluated on a case by case basis.  You will be expected to complete all prerequisite requirements before departure.


Graduation Requirements


In addition to the courses required for graduation your progess in the program will be reviewed each semester by the program faculty.  Should you be found to be in academic difficulty or should your professional suitability be of concern, you may be referred for remedial assistance or, in extreme cases, asked to withdraw from the program.

  • You must achieve a minimum of a "C" grade in all required courses in order to be eligible to graduate.
  • One D grade allowed in non Social Work courses

The Code of Ethics of the Alberta College of Social Workers will be used as a measure of professional behaviour and suitability.



Athabasca University
Graduates of the Social Work diploma program are eligible to transfer 60 credits toward the Bachelor of Professional Arts - Human Services program.

University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work 
Graduates are leigible to apply to the post diploma BSW program, the Learning Circles Social Work program, or the two-year post diploma BCR program.

Thompson Rivers University
You are eligble to receive advanced credit towards the Bachelor of Health Science or the Bachelor of General Studies.

University of Regina
Graduates of the Social Work diploma program are eligible to receive credit towards the Bachelor of Social Work degree.

International Transfer Opportunities

Griffith University

Graduates with a diploma in Social Work are eligible to receive advance standing toward a Bachelor of Human Services in Child and Family Studies or a Bachelor of Social Work degree at Griffith University in Australia.  For more information visit the International Mobility Program website or the Social Work Program Coordinator.


International Exchange Opportunities

You can explore short-term education abroad opportunities in countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Ecuador. Visit the International Mobility Program section to find out more.

Scholarship Info

Medicine Hat College distributes over $300,000 in scholarships and bursaries each year. Applying online is easy!

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Funding Your Education

There are several options to assist you in funding your education at MHC. Find out what option is best for you.

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