Program Perspective


York's MSW and PhD programs adopt a critical perspective which:

  • Encourages students to deconstruct dominant ideologies to address power inequalities inherent in society;
  • Analyzes and addresses social and political issues by recognizing that individual problems are shaped by social structures that reflect deeply inequitable power relations in larger social structures;
  • Deconstructs dominant ideologies to understand, address, and challenge power inequalities;
  • Exposes and examines functions of social control and oppression, and ways that social structures contribute to the dislocation of oppressed and disenfranchised populations;
  • Challenges the status quo by questioning and analyzing both positive and negative power relations and the role of empowerment; and
  • Advocates strategies that work towards social, economic, political, and cultural change.

Our program is rich in theory and examines both social control and possibilities of social transformation in everyday practice. As a graduate student in the School of Social Work, you will be challenged on several levels:

  • At the theoretical level, you will be encouraged to shift your thinking from individualism towards structural and collective understandings of social issues.
  • At the policy level, you will become aware of how cuts to programs and services have created a political economy of uncertainty that diminishes people's options and opportunities for support.
  • At the practice level, you will be exposed to alternative intervention strategies to critique and address how structural inequalities impact personal struggle and contribute to the dislocation of oppressed and disenfranchised populations.