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  • Social Service Worker

    Social Service Worker


Program Code:SSWA
Duration:3 Semesters (35 Weeks)
Start Dates:Summer,
Start dates are subject to change
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 will have a deep understanding of social justice and anti– oppression principles. You will also possess a comprehensive set of human service skills which are transferable to a wide range of settings. You will 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. You will have the opportunity to explore roles in community, health, education, and institutional environments. Field work will allow you to experience the industry and better prepare for employment. The accelerated program is demanding and requires students with good academic, time management, and interpersonal skills.

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:

  • A recognized Bachelor of Arts degree in the Social Sciences. Under special circumstances, graduates from other related program areas may be considered.
  • Students with credentials from a foreign institution must be evaluated course by course through WES or ICAS.
  • English proficiency at the college level.
  • See Accelerated Delivery Mode Section.

Applicant Selection:

  • Acceptance in the program will be based on the feasibility of granting advanced standing in certain required courses as outlined in the Advanced Standing and Prior Learning section. In the event of oversubscription for places in this program, students may be selected using some or all of the following criteria: attendance at a mandatory program orientation; proof of volunteer/equivalent experience in social or community service; prior academic achievement.


  • A current Police vulnerable sector screening is REQUIRED for entry into the field placement component of this program.

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

Earn your Social Service Worker diploma in three semesters with this accelerated program. As a SSWA student, you will learn important social service work skills and be prepared to apply them to the real world. 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. Upon graduation, you will be eligible for registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.


An accelerated, full-time SSWA diploma program for those who have already graduated with a degree or post secondary diploma.

(The standard program is SSW).


Accelerated Delivery Mode

This is an accelerated program for those who have completed a three–year degree or post secondary diploma. This program consists of a 7–week intensive summer semester (Semester 1) starting in early May each year, followed by a regular academic year commencing the day after Labour Day and concluding in mid-April (Semesters 2 and 3).

Field Work

As a student in SSWA, your field work will begin in semester two. Field work provides you with a valuable opportunity to apply your learnings to the workplace. In order to be eligible for field work, you will be required to meet the criteria as set out in the “Social Service Worker Program Student Code of Conduct”. In the placement, you will 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 will 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.

Please note that students may be required to return to school during the Academic Advisement Week in January in order to do a block placement. The Social Service Worker Program courses are lecture and tutorial based utilizing texts; some are practice–oriented and stress 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 in semester two and two days per week in semester three.

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

Advanced Standing and Prior Learning

Qualified applicants should have previous post-secondary credits that will allow Seneca to grant advanced standing in EAC150, the general education components and some professional components of the standard SSW program. An official transcript and course outlines are required for courses to be considered for advanced standing. Only courses with a minimum grade of 60% are eligible. Advanced standing may not be granted until the applicant has registered for the program. Applicants who do not receive advanced standing for EAC150, College English, will be required to sit for the College English Assessment Test. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the General Education Co-ordinator for consideration of Advanced Standing for the General Education courses. The Program Co-ordinator may be contacted for further information.

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
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.


All subjects taken during May/June semester must be successfully completed before entrance into the fall semester.

Students who are granted advanced standing in the May/June semester may be required to substitute another first year course in exchange.

Semester 1 Course Name Hrs/Wk
EAC150 * College English 3
SSW101 Interpersonal Communications 3
SSW102 Diversity: Awareness and Practice 3
SSW147 Field Work Seminar 3
SSW201 Group Dynamics for Social Service Professionals 3
SSW212 The Helping Interview and Principles of Practice 3
Semester 2 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SLL307* Sociology: A Practical Approach 3
SSW311 Case Co-ordination and Advocacy Strategies 3
SSW312 Supportive Counselling 3
SSW347 Social Service Work Seminar 2
SSW357 Social Service Field Work 14
SWL136 * Introduction to Social Problems 3
XXXXXX * General Education Option 3
Students take one of the following subjects:
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 3 Course Name Hrs/Wk
SSW402 Community Practice 3
SSW447 Social Service Work Seminar 2
SSW457 Social Service Field Work (2 days per week) 14
SWL206 * Human Development for Social Service Professionals 3
SWL227 * Community Studies: Families in Change 3
SWL247 * Field Word Seminar II 2
SWL257 * Field Work 14
SWL401 Social Policy 3
XXXXXX * General Education Option 3
XXXXXX * General Education Option 3

* See section on Advanced Standing and Prior Learning Experience.

Contact Us

Admissions Advisors:
Domestic Admissions Advisor: Cathy Dawson
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55026
International Admissions Advisor: Valentyna Gorodovych
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22432
Registration & Records Advisor:
  Cathy Dawson
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55026
Program Contacts:
Program Coordinator: David Sernick
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55273
Program Chair: Biljana Bruce
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 55002
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