- How do I apply for Admission?
- How many people usually apply for this program?
- How many students are admitted into the program each intake?
- How are students usually selected for the program?
- Should I apply for the program if I do not have all the prerequisites?
- If I don’t get accepted into the program this year, can I apply again next year?
- If I am not admitted into the program this year, can I take any classes that will give me credit in the program?
- What can I do to increase my chances of getting into this program?
- How much and what type of paid or volunteer experience is recommended?
- How Do I Submit My Supporting Documentation?
- What is considered to be a current letter of reference? Who would be a suitable referee?
- When will I hear if I have been accepted?
- What are the costs of the Social Services diploma program?
- Does this program qualify for a student loan?
- Does this program ladder into or from any other University or College programs?
- Can I move directly into the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Vancouver Island University (VIU) once I have completed all courses required in the Social Services Diploma program?
- Do I need to complete a Social Services diploma prior to applying to VIU’s Bachelor of Social Work program?
- What are the Approved Electives?
- Which courses can be approved for the two required electives in Year 1 and one elective in Year 2?
- What is a typical weekly schedule?
- How much homework should I expect if I am a full time student?
- Can I access this program on a part-time basis?
- Does this program offer Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?
- Is field work, practicum or internship available/required in this program?
- What types of jobs will I be qualified for after I graduate?
- Is further training necessary in order for me to enter the job market?
- What are the starting wages a graduate could expect?
- Will I have to travel in order to find employment in this field? If so, where would this be?
- On average, what percentage of the class successfully complete the program?
- On average, what percentage of the graduates get employment in the field?
1.You can apply online via the Provincial Application Service of British Columbia at: Apply to VIU or by submitting a paper application to:
Vancouver Island University
900 Fifth Street
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5S5
A non-refundable application fee will be charged for the processing of your application. Please note that application fees for undergraduate programs are valid for a 12 month period from the date of payment.
Applications and fee payments are accepted at all VIU campuses.
There is a solid demand for this program. We anticipate approximately 50-60 applicants to the program each year.
The number of students admitted each year varies depending on the number of part-time students. However the average size of the yearly intake is approximately 34 students.
Students are selected based on the status of their academic record, letters of reference, writing skills, and extent of their paid and/or volunteer experience.
The only prerequisite is English 12 with a minimum C grade, or equivalent. If you do not meet this prerequisite, please see the VIUConnect webpage, call (1-888-920-2221 ext 2088 or 250-753-3245, ext 2088) or e-mail VIUConnect@viu.ca for details on upgrading options.
Yes, students can apply the next year.
Yes, students can take courses and elective requirements that they possess prerequisites for before they’re accepted into the program. Consequently, students can enroll in any of the SOCW 200-level courses (except for practicums) if seats are available. *Please note that taking SOCW courses or electives does not guarantee admittance to the program.
Students should ensure that their application for admission is complete and current, and submitted on time. Volunteer and/or paid experience in the field is an asset.
Prospective students should have at least 100 hours of paid or volunteer work to apply for the program. Any experience that informs you about people and their environments that you can draw upon in completing your personal profile is valuable. Such experience can include a range of activities such as volunteering at fund-raising events which support causes that enhance the well-being of individuals, families, groups and communities as well as volunteer or paid work in agencies or organizations that support individuals and families where family violence is an issue, where mental health and/or substance misuse is a concern, where homelessness is a concern, where poverty is an issue preventing individuals and families from achieving their full potential. Consequently, volunteer work can occur at a Big Brothers or Big Sisters organization, Women’s Transition Homes, homelessness shelters, foodbanks, Boys and Girls Clubs, anti-bullying programs at schools, promoting peer mentorship programs in schools, men’s wellness centers and other related activities.
You may submit your official transcript(s), letters of reference, resume, and personal profile in-person at any one of the VIU campuses, or via mail to the address noted above.
Transcripts must be submitted in the original sealed envelope from the issuing institution. Please ensure you include your full name and VIU student number on all personal documentation.
A current letter of reference is one that is completed within the past 6 months. Your reference letter must be written by someone not related to you and from a person who is most familiar with your character e.g. someone currently supervising you in either paid or volunteer work within the human services; a counsellor or teacher; etc.
All applicants will be informed of their admission status within a few weeks after the applicant assessment process is complete, generally in early to mid-May.
Information regarding tuition costs is available in the VIU Calendar Fee Schedule. Other costs such as texts and student materials are estimated at $100 - $150 per course. Travel costs to and from your practicum site are your responsibility.
Yes. See Financial Aid and Awards website or call (250-740-6423) for details.
Yes. Students may apply to ladder into various human services diplomas and degrees, such as the Child and Youth Care diploma, Child and Youth Care degree, and the Bachelor of Social Work degree; the program also ladders into a general Bachelor of Arts degree at VIU. If you have credits from another university or college program, applicable credits may be recognized towards entry into other VIU programs.
No. If you have no additional course credits beyond those required for the Social Services Diploma you will need to complete courses worth 18 additional credits. These courses will typically be courses from Liberal Arts and Humanities and/or Social Sciences. Completion of these additional credits will then make you eligible to apply to the 3rd year of the BSW program at VIU. The Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) which accredits all BSW and MSW programs in Canada stipulates that at least 40% of a 4 year degree in social work must be comprised of “general education” courses. They interpret general education to include courses such as child and youth care, nursing, management, social sciences, liberal arts, early childhood education, etc. – not social services or social work courses.
No. Some students prefer to complete a Social Services Diploma and work for a year or two prior to applying to a Bachelor of Social Work program. Other students choose to complete courses with the required number of credits to enable application to the (scroll down to “Admission Requirements”). Other applicants for the BSW program may have a degree in another field along with the specific social work courses required for admission.
There are three required electives. Approved electives are any university-level credit courses (usually social sciences such as psychology, sociology, Women’s studies, First Nations studies, etc.) that provide you with a broad liberal arts understanding of people and their environments.
Any courses such as sociology, psychology, First Nations Studies, Women’s studies, criminology, anthropology, political science, global studies, etc. which informs you about people and their environments are acceptable electives in the program. If you are not sure about a particular course contact the Chair of the Social Services Program.
The majority of classes are offered during the weekday. Full-time students attend 5 classes during the week usually of 3 hours duration each, not including the practicum courses. Practicums are a total of 210 hours in second year, typically from April to early June. Weekly schedules for practicum depend on the agency and student preferences.
Students can expect to spend 4 – 6 hours per course per week studying course material.
Yes, this program is offered on both a full-time and a part-time basis. If you take it part-time, you are allowed up to five years to complete all the requirements.
Yes, students will have two practicum courses, offered as a block placement of 210 hours in one agency. Practicum placement generally occurs at the end of the second year from April to June. Students must have successfully completed 80% of the program to be eligible for practicum placement.
The Social Services diploma will prepare you for employment in a supportive role in the human services delivery system. Graduates from this program work in addictions agencies, shelters, child and family servicing agencies, etc.
Other specialized skills and knowledge would certainly be an asset (i.e., Class IV Drivers License). Some further training may be required by employers, for example, first aid and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
The starting wages range from approximately $12-$25 an hour depending on the agency and type of service provided.
It is likely that graduates will find work in the mid-island region. However, this diploma is recognized throughout British Columbia and other jurisdictions in Canada. The availability of employment increases if graduates are prepared to move to where employment is located.
This program has a very low dropout rate. Students may take the program on a part-time basis and are allowed up to five years to complete the course requirements.
Most graduates have found employment in the field, unless they chose to go on to further studies. In our most recent program review, it was found that approximately 79% of graduates found employment within 6 months of graduating.