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Please note, that due to the current global pandemic and travel restrictions, the ISWD program has been paused. It will resume when deemed safe.

The International Social Work Diploma (ISWD) is offered to Master of Social Work (MSW) students in the Regular Track full-time program. The Faculty of Social Work collaborates with international organizations that offer MSW students challenging and unique opportunities.

The ISWD provides you with an opportunity to advance your knowledge and theory of social work practice in countries with social, economic and political contexts that are significantly different than Canada, while encouraging the sharing of ideas among social work students, schools and practitioners around the world. The program fosters students’ understanding of global interdependence, the universality of social problems and the need to develop responses grounded in the local community.

How Does The Program Work?

The ISWD combines courses, including a pre-departure orientation course, with an advanced international field placement. Students interested in the ISWD attend information sessions during the first term of their program. Students take two quarter-credit and four half-credit courses including the international placement. Students who successfully complete all requirements graduate with a diploma in International Social Work in addition to their Social Work degree.

What Courses are Required?

  • International Placement Orientation
  • International Social Work Research
  • Personal and Professional Identity: Reflexivity and Growth in International Context
  • Trans-National Social Work Practice
  • Advanced International Placement
  • International Social Work Research Paper

When Does the International Placement Take Place?

The advanced international placement takes place between mid-August and mid-December of the second year of the program.

Who can Apply for the International Social Work Program?

MSW students in the Regular Track full-time program are eligible to apply for the ISWD. Final acceptance into the program is subject to an interview process, successful completion of all first-year courses and foundational placement.

Where do Students Complete an International Placement?

MSW students apply for field placement opportunities with international agencies that the Faculty of Social Work has an established agreement with. Availability of placements varies each year. Interested students are provided with detailed information on all opportunities that have been confirmed for the international placement cycle. Students seeking new placement opportunities are encouraged to present their proposed placement to the coordinator during the first term of their program. 

Are there Funding Opportunities?

Some funding to help support student travel may be available, but this funding fluctuates year to year and is not guaranteed. Students should plan to finance their international placements from their own funds. Any Laurier scholarships available are posted on Laurier International’s website

Are there Fees?

You pay tuition fees at Laurier as well as an additional incidental fee of $250 per term for the three terms of the program (Spring, Fall and Winter) and are responsible for all expenses incurred while abroad, including health insurance. In the past, students have offset their expenses through scholarships and organizing various fundraisers. There may also be opportunities to apply for external grants. Some international organizations assist with housing or offer you a stipend towards accommodation or meals. Such financial assistance is offered at the discretion and capacity of the organization.