Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges
Dean: Dr. Michael Yellow Bird
Associate Dean(s): Dr. Maria Cheung- Undergraduate Programs; Judith Hughes- Graduate Studies & Research
Director: Dr. Marlyn Bennett
Campus Address/General Office: William Norrie Centre, 485 Selkirk Avenue
Telephone: 204-474-6663
Fax: 204-663-8857
Email Address:
Academic Staff: Please refer to our website for current staff listing:

The Master of Social Work degree based in Indigenous Knowledges (M.S.W.- I.K.) is an advanced degree built on an Indigenous foundation, and the B.S.W. degree or Pre-M.S.W. program. While the program focuses on preparing graduates to work in Indigenous organizations and/or with Indigenous peoples, and to confront the structural barriers Indigenous peoples face, it will also prepare graduates with skills transferable to a wider range of organizations and peoples. A range of positions within the human services are open to graduates, such as family therapists, case managers, group workers, community developers, policy analysts, and administrators. In addition, graduates may be active as scholars, politicians, senior civil servants, private consultants, and international development.

The objectives of the program are to support students to:

  1. work from Indigenous perspectives;
  2. understand the colonial history of events which have led to present circumstances;
  3. understand social justice, anti-oppressive practices, anti-colonialism, and Indigenism;
  4. explore Indigenous forms of helping and support(s) applicable to social work;
  5. recover and support Indigenous values, practices, and structures;
  6. empower Indigenous identities;
  7. maintain a close connection with Indigenous communities and agencies, and
  8. develop as advanced social work practitioners.

The foundational material of this program gives particular attention to knowledges, perspectives, values, and practices of Indigenous peoples that will support graduates to work from both Indigenous and critical social work theory perspectives. This material is relevant to Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons in their personal and professional development as social workers with advanced training. The degree is designated as Master of Social Work degree.

Considerable attention is given to issues of educational equity. Like the M.S.W. program, these matters are included within the M.S.W. based in Indigenous Knowledges program’s curriculum, and every effort is made to ensure that people from marginalized groups have access to the M.S.W. based in Indigenous Knowledges program. The purpose of this initiative is to achieve equity in professional education so that no person shall be denied educational opportunities to benefits for reasons unrelated to ability. In fulfillment of this goal the aim is to correct the conditions of disadvantage in professional education experienced by First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Canada, persons with disabilities, immigrants and refugees to Canada, LGBTTQ and persons who are members of a visible minority in Canada. Educational equity does not mean treating people in the same way. It requires overt measures and the accommodation of difference while maintaining a particular focus on the experiences and perspectives of Indigenous peoples.

Supplemental Regulations

Individual units may require specific requirements above and beyond those of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and students should consult unit supplemental regulations for these specific regulations on the Graduate Studies website at:


Admission Requirements

In addition to the minimum admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies found in the Graduate Studies Regulations Section of this calendar, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Possession of a B.S.W. degree (by June 30th of the application year) from an accredited university which is recognized by the University of Manitoba
  • Participation in an admissions interview process
  • Participation in a program orientation
  • A well developed statement of intent
  • Three letters of reference from academic, employment, and Indigenous community sources
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) is required in the last sixty credit hours of university study
  • If courses have been taken subsequent to the degree as a Special Student and/or Occasional Student and/or in a subsequent degree or a Pre-Masters program, they will be calculated into the grade point average as part of the last 60 credit hours
  • Applicants who self-identify as members of one or more of the Educational Equity priority groups, and who possess a grade point average between 2.5 and 2.99 will be reviewed for special consideration. Applicants with a grade point average below 2.5 will not be considered.


Application Deadlines

Students should complete and submit their online application with supporting documentation (if applicable) by the date indicated in the following table:

Start Date




January 15

October 15


Program Requirements

Students must meet the minimum course requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies found in the Graduate Studies Regulations Section of this calendar.

Students may take the M.S.W. based in Indigenous Knowledges program on a full time or part time basis. Students have a limit of four years to complete the full time program and a limit of six years to complete the part time program. 

The program requires at least 12 months of full time study. Students who choose the thesis option are likely to require more time depending on the nature of their research.

Students choose either the project-based option, which includes the completion of SWRK 7760 (0 credit hours) and SWRK 7790 (0 credit hours), and SWRK 7820 (3 credit hours), or the thesis option, which includes completion of SWRK 7760 (0 credit hours), and SWRK 7790 (0 credit hours). Students choosing the thesis option must register for GRAD 7000 (0 credit hours).

The total credit hours required for the program are 27 credits in the project based option plus the zero credit courses. The thesis option is 24 credit hours plus the zero credit courses. Students must successfully complete all courses in the program in order to graduate.

Note: The M.S.W.-I.K. program is not offered through distance delivery. The MSW-IK program will incorporate Blended Learning that includes one-week intensive courses, face-to-face interactions, and the use of Educational Technology.


Course Requirements

Course Number

Course Name

Credit Hours

SWRK 7700

 Grounding Our Foundation in Indigenous Knowledges and Social Work


SWRK 7710

 Remembering our Histories: Setting our Knowledges


SWRK 7720

 Critical Theory and Indigenous Peoples


SWRK 7730 

 Indigenous Research Methodologies and Knowledge Development


SWRK 7740

 Indigenous Peoples, Identity and Social Work 3

SWRK 7750

 Indigeneity, Power, Privilege, and Social Work 3
SWRK 7760  Project/Thesis Seminar I 0

SWRK 7770

 Social Challenges and Indigenous Helping Practices 3

SWRK 7780

 Social Work, Social Challenges and Indigenous Peoples  3 

SWRK 7790

 Project/Thesis Seminar II 0

SWRK 7800

 Indigenism 3
SWRK 7810   Anti-Colonial Social Work 3
Project Based Route

SWRK 7820

 Project Seminar III


Thesis Based Route

GRAD 7000

 Master's Thesis


All students must successfully complete:

  • GRAD 7300 Research Integrity Tutorial (0 credit hours), prior to applying to any ethics boards which are appropriate to the student’s research or within the student’s first year, whichever comes first; and
  • GRAD 7500 Academic Integrity Tutorial (0 credit hours), within the first term of registration;

unless these courses have been completed previously, as per Academic Guide sections 2.5 and 2.6.

Expected Time to Graduate:
 2 years. See 4.4.7 Time in Program