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Social Service Worker - Immigrants and Refugees (Accelerated)

Available: Summer

Program Description

The Social Service Worker - Immigrants and Refugees (Accelerated) program prepares you to succeed as a social service provider working with immigrants and refugees. This program provides you with a thorough understanding of pre-migration conditions that cause individuals and communities to leave their countries of origin. The program also prepares you to help clients with challenges they face throughout the process of migration and during the process of integration at the host country.

This is the accelerated version of the Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees (SSWI) program. The accelerated program is demanding and requires students with good academic, time management and interpersonal skills.

Field Work

As a student in SSIA, your field work will begin in semester two. Field work provides you with a valuable opportunity to apply your learning to the workplace. In order to be eligible for field work, you will be required to meet the criteria as set out in the "Social Service Worker Student Code of Conduct". You will benefit from supervision and have specified hours, duties and accountabilities to both the college and agency representative. Field work is a mutually agreed contract for which you will be evaluated by the field placement supervisor. The minimum commitment is the successful completion of specific periods as set out in the Field Placement Student Contract.

Please note that students may be required to return to school during the Academic Advisement Week in January in order to do a block placement. Students can expect to spend 20 to 25 hours each week on assignments, as well as two days per week in field placement in semesters two and three.


This is an accelerated program for those who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences or other undergraduate degree. This program consists of a 7-week intensive summer semester (Semester 1) starting in early May each year, followed by a regular academic year commencing the day after Labour Day and concluding in mid-April (Semesters 2 and 3).

Provincial Registration

In order to practice in Ontario as a "Social Service Worker" or a "Registered Social Service Worker", graduates must apply for registration in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Graduates of the SSIA program will meet the education requirement for registration. For more information, please visit



3 Semesters (12 Months)

Credential Awarded

Ontario College Diploma

Your Career

Earn your Social Service Worker – Immigrants and Refugees (Accelerated) (SSIA) diploma in three semesters with this accelerated program. As a SSIA student, your career may lead you to employment with mainstream service organizations as well as settlement agencies, schools, shelter for refugees, community centres, parenting drop-in centres, the criminal justice system, health, reception centres, women’s programs and shelters and agencies offering services for immigrant youth, people dealing with disabilities, mental health, addiction, poverty and intergenerational challenges. Based on your skills, interest and professional background, you can work as a job search workshop facilitator, host program worker, settlement worker, housing worker, school settlement worker or within settings that directly deal with advocacy or policy-related initiatives.

Graduates of the SSIA program are eligible for registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility

  • A recognized Bachelor of Art degree in Social Sciences from an accredited institution. Under special circumstances, graduates from other related program areas may be considered.
  • Academic equivalents for four social service or general education related credits and College English.
    • Students with credentials from a foreign institution must be evaluated course by course through WES or ICAS.
  • English proficiency at the postsecondary level.

Prior to Field Placement

A current Police Vulnerable Sector screening:

  • Applicants living in the city of Toronto can expect to wait a minimum of 8-12 weeks to receive a Police Check.

Under special circumstances, graduates from other areas of study or from diploma programs in a related area of study may be considered.


Previous experience in settlement related agencies is recommended for your success in the program.

Program Costs

Choose academic year:

Tuition – Domestic


Tuition – International


Book & Supply Costs


Please note: All costs are approximate, may vary by campus and are subject to change at any time without notice. Parking, locker and some mandatory incidental fees are among the charges not included in the figures above.

Program Details

The Degree and Credit Transfer Office provides a number of services for students continuing their education at Seneca, and for graduating students considering degree transfer options.

Through transfer agreements and institution partnerships, graduates of this Seneca College program may be eligible for credit at various post-secondary institutions. Please refer to the Degree Transfer Guide for more information.

Transfer Credit may be granted for courses deemed equivalent to courses at Seneca that have been completed at recognized postsecondary institutions. Additional information is available online.

Students who successfully complete this diploma program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, may be considered for admission into the 5th semester of the Honours Bachelor of Community Mental Health program, after a bridge semester in the summer.

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant term.

Please select the curriculum from the Academic Year in which you started (or will be starting) your studies. An Academic Year begins in September and ends in August of the following year.


Need to know more about your application and/or the application process? Reach out to our admissions advisors for assistance.

416.491.5050 ext. 22840

Student Recruitment

Have questions about Seneca’s campuses, financial aid, student supports and more? Connect with one of our student recruiters for more information or to book a campus tour.

Additional Contacts
Financial Aid & Awards

Program Coordinator

Philip Ackerman 416.491.5050 ext. 33540

Program Chair

Biljana Bruce 416.491.5050 ext. 55002

Why Choose Seneca?

Passionate, expert faculty from a range of professions

Real-world learning experiences through paid and non-paid work opportunities

Curriculums developed in collaboration with industry advisory committees

A variety of credentials offered from certificates, diplomas, degrees, and graduate certificates

Opportunities to pathway to higher level credentials at Seneca and other universities in our transfer partnership network