Skip to content

Social Work

Social Workers aim to enhance individual and community wellbeing by addressing structural challenges that are harmful to people, such as discrimination, inequality, violence and other forms of oppression—focusing on social justice and human rights.

Social Work can assist in generating sustainable change by engaging in interpersonal practice, groupwork, advocacy, community work and social action to address both personal difficulties and public issues.

Through their advocacy, Social Workers utilise skills in research, social policy development, administration, management, consultancy, education, training, supervision and evaluation to affect positive social change.

Why study Social Work?

We offer two professional qualifying courses in social work, opening the door for graduates to work in Australia and overseas in this dynamic and progressive profession. Students learn a foundation of social work principles, research and theory, complemented by two professional supervised field education work placements.

We have a strong reputation in social work research and offer two higher degrees by research to develop advanced research knowledge and skills to influence social policy or facilitate change.

Our graduates work in roles requiring a deep understanding of the relationships between people and their physical, cultural, social, economic and political environments.

Read more about our Study Options

Career Options

Social work is a part of a growing service industry with graduates working across local, state and federal government departments, in private and non-government human service organisations and in various advocacy, policy making and tribunal capacities. Opportunities range from direct practice, education, community and policy development, and research.

  • Case Manager
  • Child and youth worker
  • Community engagement officer/co-ordinator
  • Education and career support consultant
  • Human rights advocate
  • Mental health and wellbeing coordinator
  • Migrant and refugee settlement officer
  • Policy adviser/analyst/researcher
  • Public servant
  • Public health consultant
  • Rehabilitation support worker
  • Social Worker
  • Victims advocate
  • Youth support coordinator


Alison Birchall
Bachelor of Social Work

Alison Birchall Graduate in Social Work

"I got the job I wanted straight away with a domestic violence service in the Department of Health and Human Services. The experience I gained here was invaluable."

Study Options

Students learn a foundation of social work principles, research and theory, complemented by two professional supervised fieldwork placements.

Our courses are accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards.

Interested in studying with us? Explore our course and research opportunities below.

Each course and unit is linked to its own page with more detailed information and entry requirements on the Courses & Units website.


In 2020, the School of Social Sciences is offering the below units in Social Work. Please refer to course pages to determine which of these units can be included in your course of study, as well as a complete list of units.


Semester 1

  • HGA101 Sociology: Understanding the Social World
  • XBR113 Indigenous Lifeworlds: local to the global

Semester 2

  • HGA102 Sociology: Experiencing Social Life
  • HGW101 Practice Frameworks for Change
Intermediate / Advanced


  • XBR207 Human Rights and Global Justice

Semester 1

  • HGA206 Crime and Criminal Justice
  • HGA237 Juvenile Justice and Child Protection
  • HGW308 Contexts of Social Work Practice
  • HGW312 Social Innovation and Sustainability and 21st Century Social Work
  • HGW327 Communication and Assessment Skills in Social Work
  • HPP222 Modern Political Ideologies


  • HGW302 Social Work Theories, Values and Frameworks for 21st Century Practice

Semester 2

  • HGA259 Crime and Deviance
  • HGW303 Social Work Practicum 1
  • HPP205 Australian Politics and Policy
  • HPP216 Key Concepts in Social Justice
  • XBR212 Interdisciplinary Social Research


In 2019, the School of Social Sciences is offering the below postgraduate units in Social Work. Please refer to course pages to determine which of these units can be included in your course of study, as well as a complete list of units.

Year 1

Semester 1

  • HGW503 Social Innovation and Sustainability and 21st Century Social Work
  • HGW516 Contexts of Social Work Practice
  • HGW527 Communication and Assessment Skills in Social Work


  • HGW512 Social Work Theories, Values and Frameworks for 21st Century Practice

Semester 2

  • HGW513 Social Work Practicum 1
Year 2

Semester 1

  • HGW611 Direct Practice 2
  • HGW612 Community Work Practice
  • HGW614 Intercultural Social Work Practice
  • HGW615 Specialist Fields of Practice

16 week fieldwork placement commencing in July

  • HGW613 Social Work Practicum 2

Semester 2

  • HGW616 Advanced Critical Practice

Your learning experience in Social Work goes beyond the lecture and tutorials.

You will be taught by experts, and gain perspective from guest lecturers and forums; gain a competitive advantage with real-world experience prior to graduation; have options to complete your studies your way, whether on-campus, online, part-time or full-time;  pursue your passion or specialisation with a range of scholarships, bursaries and financial assistance programs, or meet your career goals with our pathway options.

The real-time educational experience of being, knowing and doing within social work practice, is the most valuable method of integrating learnt theory into practice.

Field education placement forms a significant part of your learning experience and provides a unique opportunity for you to develop Social Work practice skills by participating in a range of professional activities including; service delivery, policy, research and project work in an agency context; and learn more about the practice of Social Work as a change agent.

It prepares our graduates to be self-initiating, critically reflective, innovative and able to solve problems across a wide range of issues and situations and in a diverse range of contexts.

Find out more about our Field Education Placements

The School of Social Sciences, as part of the College of Arts, Law and Education offers a growing collection of units that are available to be completed either wholly or partially online to enable flexible study.

* The online availability for each unit is indicated on each individual unit page under ‘Availability’, then ‘Attendance options’ by the ‘Off-Campus’ icon .

Read more about Online Study options available in Arts

Read more about Online Study options available in Justice

As a student of Social Sciences both the University and the School provide access to a variety of scholarships and bursaries at a University, College of Arts, Law and Education and Discipline level. The main application period begins in August, and closes on the 31st October the year prior to study commencing.

Browse Scholarships

The College also offers a financial assistance program for students wishing to undertake Short Term Overseas Study Programs.

Short Term Overseas Study Program College assistance and mobility grants

Don't meet the traditional entry requirements? The School of Social Sciences offers an alternative entry pathway into our undergraduate programs. The Arts pathway is a great introduction into university study, and can assist you in gaining the qualifications and experience you need for your chosen career. This foundation year of study provides students with the skills and knowledge related to studying the arts and social sciences, with additional support and guidance to help you succeed.

If you would like to study a Bachelor of Social Work, completing this year of foundation study in Diploma of University Studies (Arts Specialisation) (21A) will assist you in achieving your goals.

Pathway Programs at the University

Applications for the summer 2019/20 round are open 5 August through 30 August.

Are you studying:

  • law or law/business
  • social sciences * anthropology * archaeology * sociology * community development * cultural heritage * education * environmental management * history * human geography * Indigenous studies * media/communications * film * music * creative arts * STEM
  • health science/social welfare * psychology * social work * paramedicine

Aurora Internship Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and graduates

Are you interested in a funded internship in your area of study?

See the Aurora Internship Program Flyer | Indigenous (PDF 2.1 MB ) or speak to your Course Coordinator.

Are you keen to experience working in the Indigenous sector?

Do you have an interest in native title, land rights, policy development, social welfare, legal aid, community/environmental development?

See the Aurora Internship Program Flyer (PDF 2.1 MB) or speak to your Course Coordinator.

For more information go to The Aurora Project Internship Program

Take your passion for ideas further than you ever imagined.

We offer a collegial, supportive environment, with experienced supervision, regular seminar series, research skills training, and many opportunities to work with peers and academics on your areas of interest. We supervise across a range of methodologies and conceptual/theoretical approaches, and encourage scholarship that draws on ideas from across diverse fields.

Choose a research topic that reflects your interests and identify a supervisor with the expertise to guide you in your research. Search for a discipline staff member via our staff profiles, or by their area or expertise through the University Research page.

The School of Social Sciences welcomes qualified applicants to undertake a research degree with us in any of our areas of research strengths and interests.

Masters by Research
Doctorates (PhD)

To find out about application procedures, entry requirements, and scholarships, please visit the Research Degrees web page.


Our research in Social Work focusses on on engaging critically with a diverse range of social and practice concerns at local, national and international levels. Staff are recognised as leaders in research on social inclusion; mental health; migrants and refugees; ageing; grief and bereavement; risk; Whiteness and decolonisation; and ethics and morality in social work practice.

Our work is published in leading journals and by top-tier academic presses, we have access to an international network of top-flight researchers, and members of our team have received prestigious research grants and fellowships.

We welcome proposals from qualified applicants to undertake research degrees in PhDs and Masters, and are pleased to discuss research proposals that cross disciplines, including law, science, creative arts, business, economics and health sciences.

Read more about our research

Dr Anthea Vreugdenhil

Featured Researcher | Dr Anthea Vreugdenhil

Anthea has an active research program in the area of care, with a focus on aged care, caring societies and social work education. Her research has a strong policy and practice focus, employing both quantitative and qualitative methods.

View Anthea's full researcher profile Browse our academic staff profiles