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Course summary

Social workers can be a lifeline for people facing difficulties related to financial, medical, mental health or relational circumstances. This course enables you to develop the skills, knowledge and values to become a strategic, ethical and reflective social work practitioner.

Our accredited Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) is suited to applicants with previous experience in the study of the social sciences, social welfare, psychology or related fields.  

In this program, you'll examine child protection, social policy and law, health issues impacting Indigenous communities, and leadership in social work organisations. You'll also undertake practice under the supervision of an experienced social worker.  

As a graduate, you'll be ready for a career as a professional social worker in Australia and may also be eligible for employment overseas.

Residential Schools 2020 (mandatory for online students)

Session 1: 15-21 April 2020 

Session 2: via weekly online workshops

Session 3: 15-21 November 2020 (usually held at the Gold Coast campus but will be conducted online in 2020).



Gold Coast1
Online1, 3


Gold Coast1, 3

The course includes core content in child protection, cross-cultural practice, mental health work, and work with people from Indigenous communities. It covers essential theories and methods of social work practice including effective practice in working with individuals, groups and communities. Students are also exposed to key knowledge in using social policy and the law to advance the rights of clients and community members.

Please note, in accordance with Australian Association of Social Work (AASW) accreditation standards, this course requires online students to attend mandatory residential schools throughout the year. As an online student, you must be available to attend the residential schools on the following dates:

Session 1: WEL91003/4 and WEL92001/2: 15-21 April 2020. 

Session 2: WEL91005: Delivered via weekly online workshops in 2020.

Session 3: WEL91003: 15-17 November 2020 and WEL91004:18-21 November 2020. Please note: these will be conducted online in 2020).

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

Ability to apply social work values, knowledge and skills in research processes to address client needs, organisational goals and social policy change.


Ensure that client needs, organisational goals and community expectations of social work services are met in the most appropriate manner, using social work knowledge, skills and resources.

Ethical practice

Engage in direct social work practice, through mutual engagement and the application of knowledge, ethics and skills, to ensure that clients’ needs are met, that their potential is developed and that their control over their lives is fostered.

Knowledge of a discipline

Promote and implement policies and practices to achieve a fair, equitable and efficient allocation of social resources, and identify inappropriate or inequitable policy goals and outcomes.

Lifelong learning

Demonstrate a commitment to continually increase professional knowledge and skills and to continuing education and lifelong learning.

Communication and social skills

Effectively communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, including clients, colleagues, and managers, including within a multi-disciplinary team environment.

Cultural competence

Ability to apply knowledge of organisational and societal systems and processes to identify inequality and ensure appropriate action is taken so that social barriers, inequality and injustice are reduced.

Assessment items may include essays, research reports, case analysis, assessment of competence on their field placements, and recording interviewing skills. 

All students need to have access to high speed broadband in order to complete the online activities, which are a core part of this course.

On-campus students have unlimited internet and email access and can connect to the University’s library catalogues, online full-text journal databases and book and article request service. Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, workshops, and online discussion forums and problem-based learning material.  Some units require compulsory class attendance in line with AASW accreditation standards.

The online study option for this course is interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students have contact with tutors, access to online problem-based learning material and discussion forums, study guides and access to all library services.

On-campus students take three units in online mode.  For international students, this complies with international visa requirements.

Residential schools: Online students are required to attend compulsory seven-day residential schools to be held at the Gold Coast campus, in line with AASW accreditation standards. See dates above.

Graduates of this degree will qualify as social workers in Australia. Graduates may also be eligible to apply to work as social workers overseas.

Graduates will be suited to employment in a wide range of jobs in the health and community services sectors. These include positions that are designated solely for social work-qualified staff (e.g. in hospitals), as well as other human services jobs that are open to other graduates. Graduates may be employed in organisations such as Centrelink, public and private hospitals, child protection agencies, Australian Defence Force, domestic violence services, housing and homelessness agencies, aged care and disability services, mental health agencies, family counselling agencies, rehabilitation services and private practice.

In line with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) requirements, students will be required to undertake 1,000 hours of supervised practice. All students, studying on campus or online, are required to attend two field education placements. These placements are completed in two separate organisations in different fields of practice so that students gain a diversity of experience.

The Social Work Field Placement I unit involves 400 hours (57 days) across Sessions 2 and 3 of the first year (of full-time study), with a minimum of three days per week spent on placement. In addition, the Social Work Field Placement II unit involves 600 hours (86 days) across Sessions 2 and 3 of the second year (of full-time study), with a minimum of three days per week spent on placement. These time commitments apply to both full-time and part-time students.

Please note: All students must obtain a National Police Check and Working with Children Check. Some agencies also require students undertaking placements to be immunised for a number of conditions and to have up-to-date vaccinations. Most agencies require students to have a driver’s licence.

This is an Australian Association of Social Workers AASW-accredited qualification. It is an entry qualification into the social work profession and meets the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS).


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'