Social Services

The Social Services Diploma program provides entry-level training for working in the social services field and is available on a full-time or a part-time basis.

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities

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

These include:

  • group homes
  • shelters/housing
  • mental health and substance use
  • peer support
  • disabilities
  • older adults
  • community support
  • food security
  • children and youth

The program includes the following components:

  • Mental health
  • Addictions
  • Child and family development
  • Group work
  • Community development
  • Conflict resolution
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Social welfare policy
  • Social work skills and practice

Students may select elective courses from a wide-range of options in many different disciplines relevant to the human services field. Students will complete a community based practicum at the end of the program, which will help students to integrate and apply classroom learning and development.

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 who have successfully graduated (or are on track to graduate in this coming academic year) from the VIU Social Services Diploma program will be granted 54 credits towards the 60 credits required for application to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. They will be required to complete an extra 6 credits (with a specific emphasis on arts and humanities and social sciences), assuming they have no prior courses completed. VIU social services diploma graduates will need to ensure that they meet all academic requirements to apply to the BSW including GPA; 2 English courses at C+ or better; and SOCW 200A and 200B at B- or better.

For more information, please contact the program chair,

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

Learn more about the Social Services Diploma including Admission Requirements and Start Dates and Application Deadline.

Statement Of Commitment to Reconciliation and Anti-Colonial Social Work Education 

VIU’s Social Work Program is steadfast in its commitment to the education of future social workers in anti-colonial practices that recognize and address the profound effects of historical and ongoing colonialism on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.  

  • As educators and practitioners, we support the growing self-determination of Indigenous-run services and the vital role they play in healing and strengthening communities. In alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), we uphold this as a critical foundation for reconciliation with justice.
  • We are committed to integrating Indigenous place-based worldviews and approaches to health and well-being into our curriculum and practice opportunities. This includes developing strong ties with local Indigenous social service and community organizations. 
  • We are committed to fostering cultural safety in social work practice, particularly when working with Indigenous families and communities. This commitment extends to ensuring students grasp the importance of equitable access to social services for Indigenous peoples, and the ways that they are offered, designed, and evaluated.
  • As educators, we commit to teaching and practicing in ways that critically address and resist colonial, unjust, and unfair policies.
  • We are committed to improving access for Indigenous people in our program, including opportunities for teaching and research.
  • We are committed to conducting respectful research with Indigenous communities.  
  • Moving forward, we will develop initiatives to honor and commemorate the valuable contributions of Indigenous social work educators, researchers, practitioners, and students in alignment with the TRC Calls for Actions for Educators.

We will continue to strive for a future where social workers practice through anti-colonial lenses, upholding and valuing the rights, cultures, and knowledge of Indigenous women, men and Two Spirit/Queer (2SQI) peoples in the pursuit of a just and equitable society.

Hay ch qa’ sii’em siye’yu mukw mustimuxw.

In keeping with regional protocol, Vancouver Island University students, staff, faculty and administration would like to acknowledge and thank the Snuneymuxw First Nation, Tla’amin First Nation, Snaw-naw-as First Nation and the Cowichan Tribes for allowing students, staff, faculty and administration to teach, learn, live and share educational experiences on the traditional territories of these nations.