Frequently Asked Questions


You must first apply to VIU. When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

Applications and fee payments are accepted at all VIU campuses.

There is a solid demand for this program. We anticipate approximately 50-60 applicants to the program each year.

The number of students admitted each year varies depending on the number of part-time students. However the average size of the yearly intake is approximately 34 students.

Students are selected based on the status of their academic record, letters of reference, personal profile, and extent of their paid and/or volunteer experience.

The only prerequisite is English 12 with a minimum C grade, or equivalent. If you do not meet this prerequisite, please see VIUConnect, call 1.888.920.2221 or 250.753.3245 or email for details on upgrading options.

Yes, students can take courses and elective requirements before they have been accepted into the program. Consequently, students can enroll in any of the SOCW 200-level courses (except for practicums) if seats are available. All students accepted into the program will be given priority for seats in the diploma courses.

* Please note that taking SOCW courses or electives does not guarantee admittance to the program.

Students should ensure that their application for admission is complete and current, and submitted on time. Volunteer and/or paid experience in the field is an asset.

You may submit your official transcript(s), letters of reference, resume, and personal profile in-person at any one of the VIU campuses, or via mail to the address noted above.

Transcripts must be submitted in the original sealed envelope from the issuing institution. Please ensure you include your full name and VIU student number on all personal documentation.

A current letter of reference is one that is completed within the past 6 months. Your reference letter must be written by someone not related to you and from a person who is most familiar with your character e.g. someone currently supervising you in either paid or volunteer work within the human services; a counsellor or teacher; etc.

All applicants will be informed of their admission status within a few weeks after the applicant assessment process is complete, generally in early to mid-May.


See Program Fees. Other costs such as texts and student materials are estimated at $100 - $150 per course. Travel costs to and from your practicum site are your responsibility.

Yes. See Financial Aid and Awards website or call 250.740.6423 for details.

Yes. Students may apply to ladder into various human services diplomas and degrees, such as the Bachelor of Social Work degree; the Child and Youth Care diploma, or the Child and Youth Care degree, and the program also ladders into a general Bachelor of Arts degree at VIU. If you have credits from another university or college program, applicable credits may be recognized towards entry into other VIU programs.

For more information on laddering, please contact our Advising Centre, email them at, or phone 1.888.920.2221 Ext: 6410 or 250.740.6410.

Yes. Students who have successfully graduated or are on track to graduate in the current academic year from the VIU social services diploma program will be granted 54 credits towards the 60 credits required for application to the VIU BSW program. They will be required to complete an extra 6 credits with a specific emphasis on arts and humanities and social sciences courses, assuming they have no other prior courses completed. The VIU social services diploma graduates will need to ensure that they meet all academic requirements to apply to the BSW including a GPA of at least 2.33; 2 English courses with grades of C+ or better; and SOCW 200A and 200B with grades of B- or better.

No. Some students prefer to complete a Social Services Diploma and work for a year or two prior to applying to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. Other students choose to complete courses with the required number of credits to enable application to the program. See BSW Admission Requirements. Other applicants for the BSW program may have a degree in another field along with the specific social work courses required for admission.


For students completing the program full-time, year 1 consists of a set schedule of mandatory courses. In year 2, students will take mandatory courses and 5 elective courses. There is a list of approved electives available for students. If students have specific interests they want to pursue through other electives, they need permission from the Social Work Chair. These electives will provide students with a broad understanding of people and their environments that are relevant to their intended practice.

The majority of classes are offered during the weekday. Full-time students attend 5 classes during the week usually of 3 hours duration each, not including the practicum courses. Practicums are a total of 210 hours in second year, typically from April to early June. Weekly schedules for practicum depend on the agency and student preferences.

Students can expect to spend 4-6 hours per course per week studying course material.

Yes, this program is offered on both a full-time and a part-time basis. If you take it part-time, you are allowed up to five years to complete all the requirements.

Yes, Prior Learning Assessment is available to students admitted into the program. Once admitted, a student who believes they may qualify for PLA credit should make an appointment with the program Chair by contacting,

Yes, students will have two practicum courses, offered as a block placement of 210 hours in one agency. Practicum placement generally occurs at the end of the second year from April to June. Students must have successfully completed 80% of the program to be eligible for practicum placement.

Employment Outcomes

The Social Services diploma will prepare you for employment in a supportive role in the human services delivery system. Graduates from this program work in addictions agencies, shelters, child and family servicing agencies, etc.

Other specialized skills and knowledge would certainly be an asset (i.e., Class IV Drivers License). Some further training may be required by employers, for example, first aid and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

The starting wages range from approximately $12-$25 an hour depending on the agency and type of service provided.

It is likely that graduates will find work in the mid-island region. However, this diploma is recognized throughout British Columbia and other jurisdictions in Canada. The availability of employment increases if graduates are prepared to move to where employment is located.

This program has a very low dropout rate. Students may take the program on a part-time basis and are allowed up to five years to complete the course requirements.

Most graduates have found employment in the field, unless they chose to go on to further studies. In our most recent program review, it was found that approximately 79% of graduates found employment within 6 months of graduating.