Skip to main content - Skip to contact information

Human Services Programs

Social Services

VIU also offers the Bachelor Arts, Child and Youth Care and Bachelor of Social Work degrees.

Program requirements prior to June 2015

The Program

The program provides advanced-level training for working in the social services field and is available on a full-time or a part-time basis. The program includes the following components:

  • courses in addictions and addiction treatment, conflict resolution, leadership and supervision, community development, interpersonal skills, and special topics;
  • elective courses drawn from a wide-ranging selection of elective options in many different disciplines relevant to the human services field.

The program uses workplace-based projects and assignments to help students integrate and apply classroom learning in practice.

Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Vancouver Island University diploma. Completion of the program also earns credit towards VIU's Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care degrees.

Students may also complete courses towards the diploma at the Cowichan campus.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the diploma program will gain skills to prepare them for work in a broad range of social services positions, including supervisory/administrative roles and more specialized direct service roles with community agencies, private service providers, and some government services.

Admission Requirements

Notes on Admission

  • Students who have completed a Human Services Certificate (e.g., Community Support Worker or Special Education Assistant) at VIU, or elsewhere, or have completed one or more years of University-level courses, may apply for advanced standing on a course-by-course basis. For further information, please contact the program Chair.
  • Individuals who have gained knowledge and skills, through considerable experience in the field and through non-formal learning, may wish to explore Prior Learning Assessment towards credit.
  • Fieldwork and/or practicums will require a satisfactory criminal record check prior to placement. Criminal Record Checks are requested through VIU. The Registration Centre at VIU will contact prospective students by mail regarding the requirements for a Criminal Record Check. Criminal Record Checks are processed through the Ministry according to the Criminal Records Review Act. A check completed through the RCMP is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act. A criminal record may limit practicum possibilities and work opportunities in the human services field.

Start Date and Application Deadline

The program starts in September and applications are accepted between October 3 and March 15. For further information regarding late applications and program contacts check the Program Availability List.

Program Outline



CRIM 290 - (Alternative Conflict Resolution in Criminal Justice Systems)


PSYC 121 - (Developmental Psychology I) or
CYC 111 - (Child Development)


PSYC 122 - (Developmental Psychology II) or
CYC 112 - (Adolescent Development)


SOCW 200A - (Intro to Social Work Practice) or approved alternative


SOCW 200B - (Intro to Social Welfare in Canada) or approved alternative


SOCW 211 - (Family Studies)


Degree English Requirement*


Two approved electives**


Total Credits


* ENGL 115 and ENGL 125 are recommended.

** Electives must be chosen in consultation with program faculty. Note: Students planning to apply to the Bachelor of Social Work program must choose electives from the Arts & Humanities and/or Social Sciences faculties.



SOCW 252 - (Interpersonal Communication Skills)


SOCW 270 - (Social Work Practice in Mental Health and Addictions)


SOCW 280 - (Methods in Social Work Practice)


SOCW 281 - (Practicum I)
SOCW 282 - (Practicum II)


12 credits chosen from the following list:
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
FNAT 101 - (Exploring Indigenous Identities)
FNAT 102 - (Exploring Indigenous Communities)
FNAT 103 - (Introduction to First Nations Studies I)
FNAT 104 - (Introduction to First Nations Studies II)
HIST 206 - (Canadian Society: New and Changing Identities Since 1960)
HIST 208 - (North American Popular Culture After World War II)
HIST 210 - (Canadian Women's History to 1920)
HIST 231 - (First Nations People in Canadian History since 1867)
MEDI 112 - (Popular Culture and Mass Media)
MEDI 200 - (Media, Audience and Society)
WOST 200 - (Intro to Women's Studies I)
WOST 210 - (Intro to Women's Studies: First Nations I)
Faculty of Health & Human Services
CYC 165 - (Introductions to Group Work in Child & Youth Care Practice)
CYC 362 - (Child Abuse and Neglect Concerns)
Faculty of Social Sciences
CRIM 200 - (Aboriginal Issues in the Canadian Criminal Justice System)
GLST 210 - (Introduction to Global Studies)
PHIL 112 - (Intro to Philosophy: Ethics)
POLI 200 - (International Peace and Security)
POLI 201 - (An Introduction to International Political Economy)
POLI 221 - (Canadian Politics and Government)
POLI 245 - (Ideologies and Political Thought)
POLI 260 - (Justice and the Good Life: an Introduction to Political Thought)
SOCI 111 - (Introduction to Sociology)
SOCI 112 - (Introduction to Sociology: Canadian Society in the Contemporary World)


One approved elective*


Total Credits


* Electives must be chosen in consultation with program faculty. Note: Students planning to apply to the Bachelor of Social Work program must choose electives from the Arts & Humanities and/or Social Sciences faculties.

Note: Not all courses are offered each year.

Additional Notes

    • Students planning to apply to the third year of VIU's Bachelor of Social Work degree require the following:
      • 6 credits of Degree English Requirements or equivalent. A minimum grade of "C+" is required in each course.
      • 6 credits of SOCW 200A and SOCW 200B or equivalent. A minimum grade of "B-" is required for each course.
      • 24 credits of Arts & Humanities and/or Social Science courses.
      • 24 credits of other post-secondary courses not including Social Services/Social Work courses.
      • A minimum Grade Point Average of 2.33 (“C+”) calculated on the most recent 24 credits completed.
    • Students planning to apply to the third year of VIU’s Bachelor Arts, Child and Youth Care degree program must choose CYC 111 and CYC 112 and should consult with the Child and Youth Care advisor.
    • SOCW 281 and SOCW 282 (Practicum) are usually taken as a block between April and June (210 hours) and are assessed tuition fees the same as other courses in the program.

    Program Completion Requirements

    To earn the diploma, students must:

    • complete all required courses, and maintain a minimum “C” grade average;
    • complete all requirements for program completion within a 5-year period.

    Updated: July 3, 2015