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Indigenous Social Work

Type: Bachelors Degree

Length: 2 Years

Next Intake: Fall 2024 (Advanced Standing Only)

Delivery: Hybrid Intensive (Virtual Classroom, In-Person, and Land-Based Learning )

Tuition: *$7,500 / year

Please note that there are some in-person courses included in the program. Travel costs etc. for these courses are not included in the tuition fee. 

*Subject to change.


The Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work (BISW) degree program will provide FNTI’s typical high level of academic rigour and Indigenous education, with traditional practices and cultural knowledge, which are expected by Indigenous Peoples across the province. 

Indigenous social workers play an integral role in families' and communities' health and well-being. Changes in legislation have resulted in networks of First Nations child and family services agencies building greater workforce capacity in communities across Ontario and Canada. 

Backed by invaluable Indigenous education, and they will improve systems to be truly child and family-centred, community-directed, and focused on prevention and early intervention. 

This advanced standing program is designed to provide students with a robust and culturally-grounded educational experience. The curriculum is crafted to ensure that students gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary for contributing to child and family wellness within Indigenous communities.



To view the full list of courses included in the BISW Advanced Standing program, click HERE.



Advanced Standing Pathway, Honours

Students with the following qualifications will be considered for admission to the Advanced Standing Program (in third year):

  1. A baccalaureate degree in the humanities, health sciences or social sciences (B average /70% GPA minimum) from a recognized Indigenous Institute, College, or University; OR,
  2. A Diploma in Social Services Work (SSW), Mental Health and Addiction (MHA), or other relevant program with a minimum “B” grade average. 


  1. At least two (2) years of paid experience in the social service field, OR 
  2. A portfolio of relevant life/work experience. See Portfolio: Life /Work Experience outline below. 

Advanced Standing Admission Requirements include: 

1. Statement of Intent

  1. Applicants must submit a Statement of Intent outlining their reasons for applying to the BISW program. This Statement of Intent may outline their professional goals, commitment to their community/Nation, and/or personal aspirations. 
    1. Please note that supplemental multi-media submissions are welcomed and must include applicant name and details on relevant file(s). 
      1. Files will be kept for the duration of the admission review process and will be kept on file for one year. Applicants are responsible for keeping a copy of their files for their own records.
    1. This Statement of Intent should be maximum of 500 words.

2. 100 hours of community and/or volunteer work. 

3. Vulnerable Sector Check 

  1. Applicants must submit a Vulnerable Sector Check that has been acquired within 6 months prior to the date of application. 
  2. Please note that an updated Vulnerable Sector Check may be required prior to the conclusion of the BISW program, pending Integrated Experiential Learning Plan arrangements. 

4. Two Letters of Support 

  1. Letters can be completed by community/cultural; academic; or professional referees. 
  2. For the Advanced Standing stream, one letter must be from a professional referee. 

5. Resume 


English Language Proficiency – applicants whose first language of study is not English are welcome to apply. There may be additional elements to the application process that may be applicable, to assess the likelihood of learner success.

Portfolio: Life/Work Experience

For applicants without 2 years paid employment experience in social services, we will consider life /work experience such as volunteer hours with social service agencies or related organizations, cultural leadership activities such as support for ceremonies, advocacy with social service organizations to respond to special needs in personal / family relationships, and/or training programs of various types (excluding social service diploma practicum hours).

Such life /work experience in one area or multiple areas require applicants to document at least 2 years life experience, to describe their learning from such activities, and to have confirmation provided by an Elder, Knowledge Keeper, agency supervisor or any combination of such persons who have knowledge of the applicant’s activities.

*Please Note: OSAP approval for this program is currently pending.