Social Welfare and Social Development

Do you think about changing the world and making it a better place, but you aren’t sure where to start? Do you want to empower people and enrich the lives of others? If you have a passion for social issues and want to advocate for social justice, then the Social Welfare and Social Development program at Nipissing University is the right home for you.

Our interdisciplinary program is unique in Canada in both name and content. It focuses on inequality and the groups that have been underrepresented in the distribution of resources, opportunities, and power. Our students graduate with a thorough understanding of the causes and consequences of inequality in global, national, and local contexts, and an ability to formulate options for improving collective well-being.

Click here to see what students in this program have to say »

Collaborative Degree-Diploma Program

Once you have registered with us, you will have the option of applying for entry into our collaborative program with Canadore College (conveniently located next door). In just four years, you can earn an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Welfare and Social Development as well as a Social Service Worker diploma.

You will attend Nipissing in your first, second, and fourth years. In your third-year, at Canadore, you will receive training in the practical knowledge and skills of the Social Service Worker profession. In your final semester (April-June) at Canadore, you will complete a 350-hour fieldwork placement at a human service agency, enabling you to acquire valuable skills in a workplace setting.

Advanced Standing: Social Service Worker Diploma

Have you earned a two-year Social Service Worker diploma from an Ontario college? If you have, you can receive up to two full years 
(60 credits) of advanced standing toward a 4-year Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in our program.

For further information, email or call 705.474.3450 ext. 4600.

Considering Social Work?

If you are considering taking Nipissing’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, you will first have to complete two years of general, liberal arts studies. If this is your plan, we offer many courses that will provide you with excellent preparation for the BSW.​​​​​​

SWLF 2995 Community Service-learning for Social Development

In recent years, students in SWLF 2995 (Community Service-learning for Social Development) have undertaken placements at a number of local agencies. Click here to view the complete list.

Graduate Studies Workshops

Academic Support Services

Our goal is to support your academic and personal development. Look for assistance with accessibility services, learning style assessments, writing skills, writing formats, study strategies, time management, note-taking skills, academic resources, group seminars, peer support, career development activities, and more. Learn More...

Financial Support Services

Achieve your goals on time and on budget. We’ll help you fund your education through scholarships, awards, bursaries, government assistance, and work study programs. Learn More...

Scholarships, awards and bursaries for students in the Social Welfare and Social Development program

Internationalize your Degree

If you want to experience a year or a semester at one of our partner schools across the globe, we have support services and programs to help you get there. If you want to assist International students with adjusting to life in Canada, we’ll connect you. Check out your options...

Personal Counselling Services

Our registered counsellors offer free, year-round personal counselling services, specialized therapeutic groups, referral services and a host of wellness, educational and awareness events to all full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. Learn More...


Our top-rated residences will make you feel right at home. You will make fast friends with your residence community. Our student leaders, Residence Dons, and award winning residence staff give tutorials on everything from the basics of laundry and cooking to making connections within the community. Learn More...

Social Welfare And Social Development Student Club

Social Welfare and Social Development has an active and engaged Student Club. The Club is a way for students to get to know each other socially and help each other academically. Check out one of the activities of our Club, as covered in the local media.

Would you like to hear a student perspective on some of your questions about SWLF? If so, just drop the Club a line at:

You can find further information on the Student Club on the department’s Facebook page.

Leadership and Community Engagement

If you are eager to get involved beyond the classroom, take part in the annual Undergraduate Research Conference, which gives you the opportunity to present your work to peers, professors, and family members. You may also have opportunity to work as a Research Assistant to help a professor conduct research and gain valuable experience at the same time.

Record of Student Development

Your experience at Nipissing University is more than just the time spent learning great things in lectures, labs, and seminars. It’s also about the activities you are involved in outside of the classroom, the causes you champion to make change on campus, the clubs you organize, the awards you receive, the workshops you participate in, the volunteering you do, and all the learning that occurs outside of the classroom. 

The Record of Student Development (RSD) is Nipissing University's way of recognizing that learning is happening everywhere on campus. It is a formal record, otherwise known as a co-curricular transcript, where you can include workshops, volunteer experiences, awards, activities, and on campus employment experiences that you participate in throughout your degree. 

Each RSD Approved activity in our database is linked to competency areas employers are looking for such as:    

  • Critical Thinking 
  • Leadership  
  • Digital Literacy  
  • Equity and Diversity 
  • Emotional and Interpersonal Intelligence 
  • & more!  

To see the full list of competencies and get started building your Record of Student Development go to:

Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU)

Students attending Nipissing University in North Bay and long distance students are members of the Nipissing University Student Union. Our organization strives to represent students democratically, provide a communication framework, and lobby for legislative change on issues that affect students.


Exercise and healthy competition always help to clear the mind.


Nipissing’s Athletics Department offers a wide range of intramural activities to keep you on your game


Club sports are available to all Nipissing students and are both recreational and competitive.


Go Lakers! Our varsity athletes always bring their “A” game. Get your friends together and come out to cheer on your favourite teams.


Whether you are a gym enthusiast or a weekend warrior, Nipissing has just what you need.

Acting Chair

Program Representative

Full-time Faculty

Part-time Faculty

Career Options

After you graduate, you could be employed in a variety of occupations, mostly in the public sector at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.

You might find yourself in departments like education, health, housing, immigration and citizenship, international development, labour, social services, or veterans’ affairs, working perhaps as a claims adjudicator, employment planning officer, housing management officer, immigration officer, public affairs officer, or policy analyst.

Furthermore, you could be employed in government-funded institutions such as hospitals, human service organizations, prisons, or universities. You might also find yourself working for foundations, advocacy associations, interest groups, charities, trade unions, religious institutions, Aboriginal organizations, political parties, or global non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

These examples demonstrate the range of potential employers for whom you might begin your career as a researcher, media relations officer, legislative assistant, fundraising officer, intake worker, grants administrator, or volunteer coordinator – and these are just a handful of possible job titles.

In addition, if you complete our Honours Specialization with a Social Service Worker diploma, you might find employment as a case manager, child and youth worker, client support worker, crisis intervention worker, day program facilitator, employment counselor, intake worker, intellectual disability support worker, outreach worker, trauma counselor, or youth worker.

Academic Options

Many of our students have gone on to pursue careers in social work, after earning a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a Master of Social Work (MSW); and teaching, after completing a Bachelor of Education (BEd).

There are also many more opportunities for higher education at the graduate level. See the following selected list of Canadian MA programs, chosen specifically for their relevance to students in Social Welfare and Social Development.​

Real Jobs of our Graduates

Many of the SWLF graduates have found good jobs in various fields. The following list, divided into five categories, includes forty-four real job titles (and real places of employment), which SWLF graduates with Honours, Majors, or Double Majors have obtained over the years. While some of these individuals graduated up to twenty years ago, most have graduated from our program since 2012.

Social Services

  • Policy Analyst, Children’s Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound
  • Supervisor, Skills Advance Ontario & Youth Employment Skills Strategy, St. Leonard’s Community Services
  • Intake and Housing Support Worker, Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Outreach Settlement Worker, YMCA Canada
  • Support Worker / Instructor Therapist, Hands – The Family Help Network
  • Child and Family Therapist, Hands – The Family Help Network
  • Employment Placement Consultant, YMCA Employment Services
  • Social Worker, Yukon Health and Social Services
  • Peer Support Worker, Sudbury Women’s Centre
  • Support Worker, Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre of Nipissing
  • Direct Support Professional, Supported Independent Living, Community Living North Bay

Health Organizations

  • Women and HIV-AIDS Community Development Coordinator, AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area
  • Hepatitis C Community Coordinator, AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area
  • Brief Intervention Case Manager, Nipissing Mental Health, Housing and Support Services
  • Manager, Release from Custody Case Management, Nipissing Mental Health, Housing and Support Services
  • Addictions Counsellor, DeNovo Treatment Centre
  • Addictions Counsellor, Salvation Army
  • Child and Family Therapist and Mental Health Worker, Madame Vanier Children’s Services
  • Case Manager, Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Registered Nurse, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care
  • Midwife, Westhill Midwifery

Indigenous Organizations

  • Director, Social Development Department, Union of Ontario Indians / Anishinabek Nation
  • Program Coordinator / Developer, Temagami First Nation
  • Prevention Service Worker, Lac La Ronge Indian Child and Family Services, Lac La Ronge Indian Band
  • Child Protection Worker, Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services
  • First-Line Services Manager, Kebaowek Health and Wellness Centre, Kebaowek First Nation
  • Frontline Workers, Ojibway Women’s Lodge

The Broader Public Service

  • Project Manager, Critical Care Services Ontario
  • Import Specialist and Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Library Technician (Off-Campus / Information Literacy / Reference), Harris Learning Library
  • Student Recruitment Officer, Nipissing University
  • Senior Human Resources Adviser, Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Correspondence Officer, Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General
  • Education Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education
  • Rehabilitation Officer, North Bay Jail
  • Constable, Ontario Provincial Police
  • Secondary School Teacher, Lambton Kent District School Board
  • Lead Instructor, Indigenous STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) Camp Program, Canadore College
  • Project Lead, General Carpenter Pre-Apprenticeship Program for Women, Canadore College

The Private Sector

  • Associate Advisor, Izzio Financial Solutions
  • Senior Associate, Marketing and Events Coordinator, Roche Healthcare
  • Front of House Manager, Port Stanley Festival Theatre
  • Director of Fitness and Nutrition, Grounded Roots Wellness
  • Owner, Green Medicine, Nipissing First Nation