Social work & the sustainability agenda

Exploring how Australian social work education tackles the sustainability agenda: integrating the decolonising and indigenising agenda with socio-eco justice education.

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

In 2019 both the International Federation of Social Workers and the Australian Association of Social Workers declared a climate emergency. However, to date only around 3.3% of Australian social work university programs have deployed a sustainability perspective within their courses and are addressing sustainability issues within their curricula (Reu & Jarldorn 2022). Furthermore, whilst it is broadly understood and acknowledged by the Australian Social Work Education Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS) that social work education needs to emphasise the health and wellbeing impacts of climate change, Australian social work education is still lagging in introducing teaching content that shows students how to respond in practice to the impacts of climate change. There is also a disconnect in Australian social work education given it spouses a commitment to decolonisation and indigenisation whilst there is an absence of sustainability focused education. This begs the question: Is Australian social work education hearing the voices of Australian Indigenous social work academics who have explicitly stated that human health and wellbeing is intrinsically connected to the health and wellbeing of the planet? This project seeks to explore the reasons behind this disconnect by examining how and where is sustainability focused social work education being developed, how are students responding to these curricula and are there identifiable challenges and opportunities for Australian social work to strengthen its commitment to decolonisation and indigenisation by embedding sustainability into its core curricula.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Joselynn Baltra-Ulloa


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to applicants from social work discipline background only
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Must hold a social work qualification at minimum bachelor’s degree level and be eligible for registration with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
  • Must hold IELTS only English language score of 7 minimum with no band less than 7 in accordance with AASW registration eligibility. These results must have been acquired within the last 3 years
  • Must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Joselynn Baltra-Ulloa to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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