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  • Social Service Worker

    Social Service Worker

Program Code:SSW
Campus:Seneca@York, King, Yorkgate
Duration:4 Semesters (2 Years)
Start Dates:Fall, Winter,
Start dates are subject to change. King & Seneca@York only for Fall. Yorkgate only for Winter.
Credential Awarded:Ontario College Diploma

Program Description

The Social Service Worker program provides you with the knowledge and skills required to make a meaningful contribution in the human service field. You will be challenged to examine your own beliefs and values, develop interpersonal communication skills, and promote social justice, human dignity and equality. Your success in this program will be measured by both your ability to grow and change, and your academic performance.

Your studies will include: interviewing; counselling and relationship–building capabilities; effective membership and leadership in group settings; working with families; the creation and maintenance of helping relationships; and practice in such specialized areas as case management, community development and social policy.

Upon graduation, you’ll have a deep understanding of social justice and anti– oppression principles. You’ll also possess a comprehensive set of human service skills which are transferable to a wide range of settings. You’ll benefit from group interaction, as well as independent problem solving and research. Your experiences will include a variety of classroom, seminar and experiential modalities that integrate field placement experience with theoretical knowledge. The field placement is an important component to your employment preparation process.

Advanced Standing and Prior Learning Assessment opportunities are available. An official transcript and course outlines for the courses that students wish to present for consideration for advanced standing, must accompany such requests. Only courses from recognized post–secondary institutions where the student has achieved at least a final mark of 60%, will be considered for advanced standing.

Program Learning Outcomes:

This Seneca College program meets the system-wide standards as set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

As a graduate, you will be prepared to reliably demonstrate the ability to:

  • Develop and maintain professional relationships which adhere to professional, legal, and ethical standards aligned to social service work.
  • Identify strengths, resources, and challenges of individuals, families, groups, and communities to assist them in achieving their goals.
  • Recognize diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families, and communities to promote accessible and responsive programs and services.
  • Identify current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, and/or economic systems and their impacts on service delivery.
  • Advocate for appropriate access to resources to assist individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and community partners.
  • Develop strategies and plans that lead to the promotion of self-care, improved job performance, and enhanced work relationships.
  • Integrate social group work and group facilitation skills across a wide range of environments, supporting growth and development of individuals, families, and communities.
  • Work in communities to advocate for change strategies that promote social and economic justice and challenge patterns of oppression and discrimination.

Essential Employability Skills:

Graduates of this program are also expected to demonstrate the essential employability skills learning outcomes as outlined on the Ministry of Training, College and Universities website.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with:
    • Grade 12 English: ENG4(C) or ENG4(U)
  • OR Mature Student Status (age 19 or older) with the above prerequisite course(s), their equivalent(s), or appropriate Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate program credits (see Academic Upgrading).

The Importance of Learning Skills:

Student success in college requires well developed learning skills (such as being able to work independently, participate in a team, be well-organized, develop good work habits, and show initiative). These skills are as important as prior academic achievement. While it is expected that applicants would have developed these skills through previous education and life experiences, Seneca offers support to assist students with further development of these important skills. Seminars, workshops and tutoring are available at Seneca's Learning Centres.


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Your Career

Learn the broad skills of social service work and use them to plan and evaluate programs, assess community resources and co–ordinate service delivery for people in need. Your career may lead you to employment in youth, women’s, and ‘disabled’ persons' programs, as well as in housing, community development, rehabilitation, mental health and many other settings. Our Social Service Worker diploma program will prepare you for a rewarding career in human services.

Provincial Registration

In order to practice in Ontario as a "Social Service Worker" or a "Registered Social Service Worker", graduates must apply for registration in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Graduates of the SSW program will meet the education requirement for registration. For more information, please visit

Field Work

Field work provides you with a valuable opportunity to apply your learnings to the workplace. In order to be eligible for field work, you’ll be required to meet the criteria as set out in the “Social Service Worker Program Student Code of Conduct”. You will assume the role of a ‘beginning professional’ in a supervised field placement setting, working within an employer–employee relationship.

You’ll benefit from supervision, and have specified hours, duties and accountabilities to both the College and agency representative. Field work is a mutually agreed contract for which you’ll be evaluated by the field placement supervisor. The minimum commitment is the successful completion of specific periods as set out in the Field Placement Student Contract.

These periods are typically:

  • The equivalent of two full days per week in semesters two, three and four;
  • Full week block placements as scheduled throughout the program duration.

The Social Service Worker program courses are lecture and tutorial–based utilizing assigned texts; some are practice–oriented, stressing interpersonal skills and group dynamics. Students can expect to spend 20 to 25 hours each week on assignments, as well as two days per week in field placement.

Please note that individuals considering the Social Service Worker program should carefully evaluate their reasons for entering this field. The work calls for a person mature enough to examine his/her own values and beliefs while focusing upon the needs of vulnerable populations.

Note: A current Police Reference check is REQUIRED for entry into the field placement component of this program.

Diploma to Degree... and Beyond

Through transfer agreements and institution partnerships, graduates of this Seneca College program may be eligible for credit at the following post-secondary institution(s):


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Ryerson University• Bachelor of Social Work (Full-Time or Part-Time Advanced Standing)
Tyndale University College• Bachelor of Arts (Human Services, Early Childhood Education, Human Services-Social Service Worker) or Bachelor of Religious Education (Degree Completion or Modular)
York University• Bachelor of Social Work


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Algoma University• Bachelor of Arts in Community Development, Bachelor of Arts in Community Economic and Social Development
• Bachelor of Social Work
• Bachelor of Arts in a related field
Brock University• Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Psychology degree or a 4-year with Major Psychology degree, or a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Women’s Studies degree
Carleton University• Bachelor of Social Work
King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario• Bachelor of Art, Arts or Social Science
Lakehead University• Honours Bachelor of Social Work
Laurentian University• Bachelor of Arts (General) - Gerontology
• Bachelor of Social Work
• Honours Bachelor of Social Work (Native Human Services)
Nipissing University• Bachelor of Arts
University of Ontario Institute of Technology• Bachelor of Arts (BA) (Honours) in Forensic Psychology – Bridge
Wilfrid Laurier University - Brantford Campus• Honours Bachelor of Arts
• Honours Bachelor of Social Work
University of Windsor• BA Honours in Disability Studies


University/CollegeDegrees Available
University of New Brunswick• Bachelor of Applied Management (General Business)


University/CollegeDegrees Available
University at Buffalo• Bachelor of Arts in Social Science Interdisciplinary with a concentration in Health and Human Services with an optional Master of Social Work combined degree


University/CollegeDegrees Available
Griffith University• Bachelor of Human Services
• Bachelor of Social Work

Important Academic Dates

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant semester.


Semester 1 Course Name Hrs/Wk
EAC150 College English 3
SLL307 Sociology: A Practical Approach 3
SSW101 Interpersonal Communications 3
SSW102 Diversity: Awareness and Practice 3
SWL136 Introduction to Social Problems 3
SWL147 Field Work Seminar I 3
Semester 2 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SSW201 Group Dynamics for Social Service Professionals 3
SWL206 Human Development for Social Service Professionals 3
SSW212 The Helping Interview and Principles of Practice 3
SWL227 Community Studies: Families in Change 3
SWL247 Field Work Seminar II 2
SWL257 Field Work (2 days per week) 14
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 3 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SSW311 Case Co-ordination and Advocacy Strategies 3
SSW312 Supportive Counselling 3
SSW347 Field Work Seminar III 2
SSW357 Field Placement (2 days per week) 14
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Students take ONE of the following courses:
SSW371 Selected Issues: Intimate Partner Abuse and Violence 3
SSW372 Selected Issues: Addictions 3
SSW373 Selected Issues: Mental Health 3
SSW374 Selected Issues: Child Welfare 3
Semester 4 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SSW402 Community Practice 3
SWL401 Social Policy 3
SWL447 Integrative Seminar 2
SWL457 Field Practice (2 days per week) 14
XXXXXX General Education Option 3

Contact Us

Admissions Advisors:
Domestic Admissions Advisor (Seneca @ York): Mary Campbell
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22815
Domestic Admissions Advisor (King): Cathy Dawson
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55026
International Admissions Advisor: Valentyna Gorodovych
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22432
Registration & Records Advisors:
Seneca@York Campus: Julie Berns
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 33007
King Campus: Cathy Dawson
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55026
Program Contacts:
Program Coordinator (Seneca@York): David Sernick
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55273
Program Coordinator (King): Kevin Kennedy
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55389
Program Coordinator (Yorkgate): Tanya Shute
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 33656
Program Chair: Biljana Bruce
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55002
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“Seneca College provided me with the opportunity to challenge myself in a safe and supportive environment, where I was encouraged daily by my professors and colleagues. Not only did I learn valuable information, I was taught how to apply the things I learned effectively in my chosen field.”

Katie Keating
Street Outreach Worker,
Scarborough Homelessness Committee

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