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Course summary

With an emphasis on social justice and positive change, the Bachelor of Social Science develops your ability to interpret, analyse and offer creative solutions to problems in contemporary society, encouraging you to become a dynamic citizen in the public sphere.

You’ll develop high-level critical and analytical skills with core units covering development across the lifespan, social research, Australian politics, Indigenous world-views, philosophy, communication and community.

Shape your studies through majors in sociology and politics and government; or choose from study streams in development studies, cultural studies and welfare studies. University-wide majors are also available in this course, as is the option to undertake a professional placement towards the end of your degree.

A wide range of career opportunities exist in government, social justice and welfare agencies, environmental and non-governmental organisations. Graduates may also choose to continue their studies with the Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) to qualify as a social worker.



Gold Coast1, 2
Lismore1, 2
Online1, 2

Sociology examines the many forces that affect how people experience society and provides an understanding of how particular groups within society may be disadvantaged. It examines the operation of key social institutions, such as the family, religion and the economy. Students develop skill in critical analysis and social research and apply these to contemporary issues and debates. They have the opportunity to undertake independent studies in sociology, as well as participating in work-integrated learning.

Politics and government offers a range of Australian and international politics and policy units. Students are introduced to ideas of power, resistance and social justice by studying institutions of government as well as non-government organisations and political forces that challenge the formal structures of power. This major enables students to develop high level skills in critical analysis by exploring the role of ideology, ideals and political culture, and how these shape outcomes that impact at the family, community, national and global levels. It includes an examination of policy-making processes and offers skills in social research methods. Students also have an opportunity to apply their learning at a practical level as well as pursuing their particular interests through independent study.

Streams: These include development studies, which addresses local and global community development strategies and issues; cultural studies, which engages with various understandings of identity, power and place; and welfare studies, which enables students to understand the processes involved in the planning and delivery of community services. 

Additional majorsUniversity-wide majors are also available in this course.

Please note that some units in this course are only available to study online.

Course Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a course. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes.

Graduate AttributeCourse Learning Outcome
Intellectual rigour

Think critically and contextually in a diverse range of professional and personal settings.


Engage in advocacy and problem-solving regarding contemporary social and political issues.

Ethical practice

Become effective and ethical practitioners in a wide range of vocations in public, private and community sectors.

Knowledge of a discipline

Demonstrate an understanding of political and social processes impacting on people's life opportunities. 5. Demonstrate a commitment to issues of human rights, social justice and ecological sustainability.

Lifelong learning

Become reflective practitioners and lifelong learners.

Communication and social skills

Research issues and construct and present an argument in written and oral forms.

Use contemporary technologies effectively.

Cultural competence

Communicate constructively in a manner that is respectful of the diverse communities in which we live and work.

Assessment items may include essays, research reports, case analysis, the use of blogs and wikis, or video presentations. Some units have an examination.

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including lectures, tutorials, online activities and video-linked or podcast virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Our online study option is highly interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students may receive a combination of podcast or video-linked lectures, electronic study materials, workshops, online discussion forums and virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Career opportunities exist in state and federal governments and agencies in various capacities, including policy roles. Pathways to careers exist in the non-government sector, for example in social justice, environmental and charitable organisations. Many graduates also find employment in agencies that deliver community and welfare services to disadvantaged groups.

Graduates may also choose to continue their studies in the Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying), accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers, to qualify as a social worker.

You can undertake an optional professional placement unit towards the end of your degree, to gain on-the-job experience in your chosen field and advance your career goals. Placements can be undertaken in many types of establishments or organisations such as government departments and non-government community organisations. Typical activities during placement may include policy development, specific projects, community engagement, research or grant application.


The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this web page again before acting and see our disclaimer

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'