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Community Social Services

Community Social Services

“In my placements I informally counselled children of incarcerated families and I supervised a parenting program for children that needed supervised visits. My fourth-year practicum hired me after graduation!”

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Earn 2 Credentials
from the University of Guelph
from Humber

What are the possibilities for me?

Options include...

  • Addictions Coordinator
  • Case Manager
  • Community Support Worker
  • Community Youth Worker
  • Crisis Counsellor
  • Family & Community Mediator
  • Family Support Coordinator
  • Hospice Support Worker
  • Intensive Behaviour Therapist
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Parole Officer
  • Residential Youth Worker
  • Social Service Coordinator
  • Social Worker
  • Volunteer Coordinator

Graduate school and further education

  • Bachelor/Master of Social Work
  • Bachelor/Master of Education
  • Master of Arts in Public Policy & Administration
  • Master of Arts in Critical Disability Studies
  • Law School
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Addictions & Mental Health
  • Master of Education in Counselling Psychotherapy
  • PhD in Social Justice Education

Note: Some careers and entry into further education may require additional study.

If you don't see your career goal listed here - talk to us! There are many more options.

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What will I learn?

Explore current social issues and understand the challenges faced by vulnerable populations so you can learn how to deliver impactful services, such as counselling and mediation. Build strong clinical skills that exceed the industry standard for undergraduate education. Learn basic communication competencies to more in-depth therapeutic interventions while gaining the transferable skills to improve lives and change society.

Areas of emphasis (AOE)
You may choose to focus on one of two areas of emphasis: Mental Health & Addictions or Youth & Families. You can start taking AOE courses as early as your first year (winter semester). For graduation, you will declare the AOE in your third year, heading into your final year of studies.

1st year
Focus on understanding human behaviour and issues related to individuals, families and groups.

2nd year
Engage in theoretical and practical studies in counselling, ethical and professional issues, and working with various client populations.

3rd/4th years
Work with diverse groups and learn theory and techniques in areas such as family therapy, case management and crisis intervention. If you’re interested in research, you may complete an undergraduate thesis project in your 4th year with the support of a CSS faculty member.

Mental health education
During your studies, you have an opportunity to complete the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health First Aid Certification at no additional cost.

Clinical focus
With many courses in counselling for different populations, our program has a distinct clinical focus. Your toolkit for social services work. Graduate with important skills in social services—how to listen, how to support someone, understanding boundaries, professionalism, cultural awareness, compassion, global citizenship and self-care.

Global issues
Grab the opportunity to strengthen your research, analytical, communication, critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving skills through the investigation of historical and contemporary international issues related to social justice in the Leadership & Advocacy for Global Issues course. The course includes participation in an international conference!

Get registered
In your final semester, apply for registration as a Social Service Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

Social services work vs. social work

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between a Social Service Worker and Social Worker. Our program grants you an Honours Bachelor of Applied Science in Community Social Services (BASc). This means you will be educated in social service work and can get registered as a Social Service Worker.

According to the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, that regulates these professions:

  • Social service workers   assist clients in dealing with personal and social problems by delivering counselling, community services and social support programs.
  • Social workers   collaborate with their clients to address challenges through a process of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and evaluation.

For the full description on differences in scopes of practice, places of employment and more, please visit their website  .

First-year courses

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  • CSS Writing and Communication Skills
  • The Political Process and Social Work
  • Social Work in Canada
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Principles of Sociology
  • Issues in Advocacy and Social Justice
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • Couple and Family Dynamics
  • Social Issues and Social Environments
  • Elective or Restricted Elective*

*For your restricted elective, choose either Child and Adolescent Development or Indigenous Mental Health.


Close to 800 hours of workplace experience

0 hrs Foundation Practicum

2nd Year, Winter:Participate in a job-shadowing experience under the direct supervision of a social services professional

0 hrs Intermediate Practicum

3rd Year, Fall/Winter:Gain in-depth experience with various agency functions by interacting with staff, volunteers, clients and the community

0 hrs Advanced Practicum

4th Year, Fall/Winter:Solidify your knowledge and skills in client services as you prepare for a career in social services or post-graduate education

Past practicum placements include:

  • Addiction centres
  • Children’s mental health centres
  • Correctional facilities
  • Crisis counselling lines
  • Employment centres
  • Probation and parole centres
  • School settings
  • Seniors' residences
  • Settlement agencies
  • Youth drop-in centres

Note: You may be required to complete a Vulnerable Sector Screening prior to each placement.


Profs in the industry

You are largely taught by working practitioners in fields related to helping professions. Learn from their firsthand experience!

Supported learning

  • Your classmates/cohort will move through the program together.
  • Your professors open doors to diverse professional networks. Their mentorship can guide you to new opportunities.
  • Your program team is eager to assist you. With everything in one building and a small student population, they’re a footstep or email away. Check out your team: Academic Advisor, Placement Coordinator, Career Coordinator, Librarian and Student Life Coordinator.

Safe spaces

Once you experience it, you’ll recognize it. UofGH creates a tremendous sense of safety through the support of Program Heads, professors and staff. Feel comfortable to share your voice and care for your mental health.

Learn outside of class

Soka Education Research Centre on Global Citizenship (SERC-GC)

Join SERC-GC: an undergraduate research centre—the first of its kind in the world—led by Community Social Services Program Head Dr. Paul Sherman. Explore how to nurture human potential and happiness for the greater benefit of humankind through the study of Soka (value-creating) education and global citizenship. Travel as a Research Assistant to present study results at professional symposiums.

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Participate in professional development

The CSS Symposium is an annual student-run event that gives you the opportunity to learn from invited practitioners and researchers in your field.

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Get involved with the CSS Society! Societies are related to our seven academic programs and offer a realm of activities outside of class. They can help you develop leadership skills, gain professional experience and network. Check out our Clubs and Societies page.

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Extra! Extra!

UofGH offers more extracurriculars for students in all programs. Learn more on our Extra! Extra! page.

Travel and learn with Study Tours (10 days) and Study Elsewhere (one semester). Visit our Global Learning Opportunities page for details!

photo abroad from singapore by Dylan Cunanan

"I really enjoyed the Social Work in Canada course simply because of the professor. She really opened my eyes to different perspectives and made it fun to learn. If you want to further your knowledge about the social service field, Guelph-Humber is the place."

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After graduation (unique opportunities)

Heading to law school

Graduate ready for Canadian law school or take advantage of our partnerships in England. Earn a senior status law degree (LLB) with The City Law School, City, University of London   in just two years without an LSAT requirement, or a Master of Law (LLM) through distance learning with the University of London   in one year (full-time) or up to five years (part-time). Both with reduced tuition.

london bridge

A step ahead

After graduation, take advantage of our partnership for a Master of Science degree with the University of Guelph (in Guelph, Ontario) MSc in Management. Speak with your Academic Advisor for more information.