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Key facts

Become an agent of positive change in diverse communities with UNE’s accredited Bachelor of Social Work. With an emphasis on social work in rural and complex community environments, our flexibly delivered course will equip you with the practical skills to work with and empower individuals, groups and communities who experience marginalisation, isolation or discrimination.

In our complex world, skilled social workers are valued and in demand. You’ll be choosing a rewarding profession, with the qualifications to work in a range of professional environments.

  • 4 years full-time
  • Up to 10 years part-time
  • Trimester 1 - Mar 2021
  • Trimester 2 - Jun 2021
  • Online
  • On Campus
  • Armidale Campus
Entry requirements
  • Guaranteed ATAR: 72.55
View full entry requirements
  • Commonwealth Supported Place
    Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)

    An Australian Government subsidised university place. Students eligible for admission to a CSP only pay the student contribution amount for their study.

  • International

    Tuition fees for international students, i.e. those not Australian or New Zealand citizens or residents.

View more fees information
  • 064581M
UNE Course Code

Course information

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Why study the Bachelor of Social Work with UNE?

Social workers address barriers, inequality and injustices faced by many groups, particularly those who are socially excluded. UNE’s Bachelor of Social Work is an innovative and flexible social work degree with an emphasis on rural and complex communities. Learn online or on campus with interactive problem-based learning.

Covering the core requirements of an accredited professional social work degree, the course gives you the skills to understand how human behaviour interacts with complex social environments and institutions.

With a shortage of social workers in many countries, your UNE qualification can take you around the world. Our social work degrees are recognised internationally and locally.

What makes our course different?

Our Bachelor of Social Work is delivered flexibly, and we focus on developing both your theoretical and practical skills to fully equip you to work in a broad range of professional contexts. We offer opportunities to:

  • Study flexibly —either on campus or online (with on campus intensive schools for some units), Choose the option that suits your lifestyle and learning needs by studying with us — we understand that students come to UNE at different stages of their lives and professional careers.
  • Learn theoretical skills, enabling you to future proof your career in diverse areas of social work, including work with Indigenous peoples, child protection, rights-based practice, mental health and the law.
  • Learn practical skills by undertaking 1000 hours of professional fieldwork (clinical) placements in diverse social work settings, either locally or internationally.

Our clinical placements are supervised by experienced practitioners who support you in developing the skills needed to work with disadvantaged and marginalised individuals, groups, and communities. Our approach uses a social justice framework in counselling, advocacy, and community development to enhance people's health and wellbeing.

In order to meet the accreditation requirements of the Australian Association of Social Workers, you must complete a minimum of 140 hours (20 days) of face-to-face teaching, even if you are studying online. For most units of the course, this can be achieved by way of the mandatory intensive schools that are held on campus.

Applying for advanced standing for existing professional experience could be an option if you have already completed:

  • Diploma (AQF Level 5) or advanced diploma (AQF Level 6) from a Vocational Education Training (VET) Community Services Package
  • Vocational Education Training (VET) Health Training Package in one of the following areas, or
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Care, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice, Nursing.

Our honours stream for the Bachelor of Social Work is worth considering to progress your studies, solve complex problems, and to develop your research and analytical thinking skills. Places are offered on academic merit, based on grade point average. Successful completion of the honours stream will equip you with the skills necessary for further postgraduate research, and allow you to demonstrate enhanced discipline knowledge.

UNE is Australia’s longest continuous provider of distance (now online) education and we're highly rated by our students. Year after year, students award UNE the maximum 5-star ratings for Overall Experience and Student Support in The Good Universities Guide.

Study online

Most of our students choose to study online across three study periods with 24/7 tutor support* and fit study around work and family commitments. Uniquely, our online students are mostly over 30 and bring valuable experience with them. They form a community of adults juggling the same challenges and priorities and who bring their life and work experience together to build real world networks for the future.

Study on campus

Many of our students choose to take advantage of the on-campus lifestyle in Armidale, in the beautiful New England region, with access to unparalleled support, accommodation and sporting facilities. These students are often starting their first degree and have left school recently. Through access to academic and career support they get a fantastic start to their careers.

* 24/7 tutor support includes: essay feedback (within 24 hours); live chat 24/7 for generic feedback on academic writing; and subject-specific help at a foundation or first-year level for subjects including mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, business, accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics. There are also a wide range of workshops, resources and courses available in academic skills support to assist you and help you to succeed.


Admission periodMode/location
Trimester 1On Campus, Armidale Campus
Trimester 1Online
Trimester 2On Campus, Armidale Campus
Trimester 2Online

Entry requirements

A candidate shall:

(a) hold an AQF Level 5 Diploma or an AQF Level 6 Advanced Diploma qualification from: a Vocational Education Training (VET) Community Services Package; or from a Vocational Education Training (VET) Health Training Package in one of the following areas: Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Care; Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Practice; Nursing.For more information go to; or

(b) be qualified for admission (see Admission Undergraduate and Postgraduate (Coursework) Rule and the Admission Undergraduate and Postgraduate (Coursework) Procedures).

All students must meet the University's English Language Requirements for Admission Rule.

Any two units of English.

Students must meet the Inherent Requirements in order to complete this course.

Candidates admitted under Rule (a) shall be granted 30 credit points of Specified Advanced Standing based on their admission to candidature. Up to a further 18 credit points of Advanced Standing may be granted on the basis of the qualification on which admission was based where equivalence of units can be demonstrated. Up to a further 78 to 90 credit points may be granted based on units that were not part of the degree on which admission was based. The overall maximum amount of Advanced Standing granted towards the course is 67 per cent.

Candidates admitted under Rule (b) are referred to the University Policy on Advanced Standing.

Formal Learning:

Advanced Standing for Formal Learning will only be considered where a candidate meets admission criteria and has successfully completed prior study with an accredited Australian Social Work program at a recognised Australian university or, alternatively, has successfully completed formal study as part of another qualification where learning outcomes that are substantially equivalent to the learning outcomes of units within UNE's Bachelor of Social Work course or the course learning outcomes. Consideration can be given for Field Placement units - please refer to the Non-formal Learning section directly below for instructions on How to Apply for this.

No Advanced Standing will be granted for HSSW412 or HSSW410H or HSSW402H.

Non-formal Learning:

Students who have prior work/field placement experience in the social work field may apply for Advanced Standing for Non-formal Learning for the first field education unit only, and in some cases other academic units, due to their Non-formal Learning achieved through prior work experience. Applications are submitted through the Directorate of Student Administration and Services via the Advanced Standing Application after the student has first discussed this possibility with the School of Health Social Work Course Coordinator. Applications must be received in the trimester prior to enrolling in the first field placement unit in accordance with the AASW guidelines and School of Health Social Work Fieldwork Procedures on Advanced Standing for Fieldwork.

Fees and scholarships

How much will it cost?

Estimated fees for your first year of study in this course are:

Fee typeCost
Commonwealth Supported Place$8,200*
*The costs will depend on the units you choose to study as the cost of individual units vary. “Estimated fees” are provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students undertaking a study load of 48 credit points in the first year of this course. For courses that require less than 48 credit points the fees indicated are based on the total credit points required for completion of that course. For more information, please see fees and costs.


UNE scholarships are open for all to apply and offer financial help while you are studying. If you are commencing your university studies or if you are already a student at UNE, there are a number of scholarships to help you throughout your studies. There are UNE scholarships for students:

  • with high academic achievement
  • from rural areas
  • studying specific degrees
  • in disadvantaged groups
  • who excel at sport
  • living in a UNE residential college.

UNE scholarship applications are free and confidential. You may apply for more than one scholarship.

Course structure

(a) To qualify for the award a candidate must pass units to the value of 192 credit points which includes 36 credit points of field work.
(b) To qualify for the award of Honours a candidate must pass units to the value of 192 credit points which includes 36 credit points of field work and 24 credit points Honours units.

192 credit points

For candidates admitted under Rule (a)

30 credit points

30 credit points specified Advanced standing granted for candidates who have completed a relevant AQF Level 5 or AQF Level 6 VET Training Package.

Complete the following units:

Note: Includes 1000 hours of field placement experience (HSSW310 and HSSW411).

Coursework students complete the following units:
Coursework students complete 12 credit points chosen from the following units or as negotiated with the course coordinator. Units not on this list must be at 300-level or above.
Honours students complete the following units:

192 credit points

For candidates admitted under Rule (b)

Complete the following units:

Note: Includes 1000 hours of field placement experience (HSSW310 and HSSW411).

Coursework students complete the following units:
Coursework students complete 12 credit points chosen from the following units or as negotiated with the course coordinator. Units not on this list must be at 300-level or above.
Honours students complete the following units:

See UNE Handbook for more details. The Handbook contains detailed course information designed for enrolled students, including course plans, intensive schools, and work placement requirements.

Course outcomes

The Bachelor of Social Work aims to prepare graduates for employment as professional social workers in a variety of roles and fields, including government and non-government agencies, and community-based organisations that provide services to redress the impacts of social conflict, mental illness, social inequality and disadvantage. With a wide range of practice possibilities within Australia and internationally, in a diversity of employing organisations, the course aims to equip graduates with: (i) values, skills and knowledge for social work practice aiming to address issues of social change and social justice; (ii) evidence-informed, creative and accountable responses to people's presentations of social issues; (iii) structured learning experiences in supervised agency settings assessed against the Practice Standards of the Australian Association of Social Workers; (iv) lifelong learning skills with a firm preparation for professional and career development; and (v) capstone experience in applied research and evaluation skills for entry-level social work practice.
  1. apply and adhere to the principles of ethical practice as defined by the Australian Association of Social Workers' Code of Ethics and professional Practice Standards;
  2. demonstrate knowledge of the human rights of all individuals and groups in society, and how social, economic and other factors affect the achievement of these;
  3. evidence knowledge of, and understand, injustice, inequality, and human rights, particularly the implications for marginalised groups, including Indigenous Australians;
  4. understand the impacts of disadvantage, disability and trauma upon the health and well-being of people, and its implications for practice and policy responses;
  5. demonstrate the linkage between theory and practice and how this is informed by evidence and the ability to critically reflect on their practice;
  6. develop a critical framework for effective practice, policy and organisational responses to meet individual, familial and group needs in rural and complex community settings;
  7. demonstrate an understanding of, and ability to, respond to rapidly changing social and environmental issues that influence the lives of individuals within a given community at local, natonal and international levels; and
  8. articulate an understanding of the place of research in furthering social work theory and practice.
  9. BSW with Honours students will also be able to demonstrate discipline knowledge, problem-solving and analytical skills necessary to conduct research that contributes to the social work discipline and adheres to principles of ethical practice;
  10. capacity to devise and complete all components of a thesis under supervision for an approved research proposal within an appropriate timeframe;
  11. skills and techniques necessary to advance to postgraduate research and/or further career progression; and
  12. academic writing skills necessary to produce a thesis and/or papers for scholarly publication.
Knowledge of a Discipline

BSW: Students study theory and practice units covering increasingly complex social work practice knowledge, skills and values. Social work students are taught to practise using local and global perspectives of social work and thereby develop an understanding of disadvantage, marginalisation, and the ways in which societal structures and culture contribute to these. This will be assessed through assignment tasks. BSW Hons: Students study theory and practice units covering an increasingly complex social work practice knowledge, skills and values. Students in the honours cohort will be taught how to contribute to discipline knowledge by identifying a research problem, conduct research and complete a dissertation, which will be assessed. Social work students are taught and practise from local and global perspectives of social work. This will be assessed through assignment tasks and the course dissertation.

Communication Skills

BSW: Cooperative peer feedback is an essential part of tutorial/online discussions as students are taught to develop their understanding of the course materials which will be assessed and practised through a range of assessment tasks. BSW Hons: Cooperative peer feedback will be an important part of tutorial/online discussion as students are taught to develop their understanding of the course materials and their thesis work. This attribute will be assessed and practised through a range of assessment tasks related to students chosen research topics and the course dissertation.

Problem Solving

BSW: Many social work theory and practice units are taught using case scenarios to critically examine the biopsychosocial implications and develop practice options. This process is assessed and practised through assessment tasks. BSW Hons: Students in the honours cohort will extend, practise and be assessed on problem solving skills through the identification of a research problem, the articulation of the research methods/processes and the conduct of research related to the problem.

Information Literacy

BSW: All social work and practice units are taught in ways which will build information literacy and capability. Through completion of an academic literacy unit early in their course, guidance is provided so students utilise a variety of quality sources of information. Students are encouraged to embrace digital technologies to identify and locate information and analysis relevant to their particular enquiry. This attribute will be assessed through all assignments. BSW Hons: Students will demonstrate their information literacy skills through successful and relevant literature searches using a variety of sources that relate to the chosen topic of study.

Ethical Conduct and Social Responsibility

BSW: Ethical practice and social responsibility are core social work requirements that are taught, assessed and practised across the course in assessment tasks. BSW Hons: Students develop this attribute through engaging with the research project process, interacting with potential participants, agencies, peers and supervisors.

Lifelong Learning

BSW: Consistent with the AASW Practice Standards, students will be exposed to, taught about and expected to develop independent learning plans and strategies throughout the course and in subsequent practice.BSW Hons: This attribute will be practised through identifying and investigating a research problem and methodologies that illustrates how continuous development processes work for individuals and groups.

Independence and Collaboration

BSW: Social work theory and practice units are taught using case scenarios where students are expected to contribute to group analysis and learning and reflective practice. This is assessed and practised in assessment tasks. BSW Hons: Students will demonstrate this attribute during field placement and the research project process, through interacting with service users, peers, agencies and supervisors.

A five-star experience

Teaching Quality
Teaching Quality NSW
Good Universities Guide 2021
#1 in Australia Postgraduate Teaching Quality
Postgraduate Teaching Quality
Good Universities Guide 2021
Student Support
Undergraduate Student Support
Good Universities Guide 2021
Overall Experience
Overall Experience
Good Universities Guide 2021
Woman studying online at home

Studying online

At UNE we know it takes more than just being online to be a great online university. It takes time and experience. We pioneered distance education for working adults back in the 1950s, so we’ve been doing this longer than any other Australian university.

We understand the challenges faced by busy adults studying at home. We know that a vital part of online study is your engagement with the learning community. Communication with your classmates, teaching staff and university support staff will enhance your study experience and ensure that your skills extend beyond the subject matter. UNE’s teaching staff are experts in their field which is why UNE consistently receives five stars from students for teaching quality, support and overall experience.*

*The Good Universities Guide

Your career

Career outcomes

Our social work graduates are in demand in Australia and overseas for rewarding and challenging careers. Choose the direction you want to take, with strong projected future growth in the field.

With its emphasis on skill development and continuing lifelong education, a social work degree from UNE can open doorways to careers in counselling, case management, management, research, policy development, politics and community planning.   

Social workers are employed in a diverse range of government, non-government and community agencies such as:  

  • hospitals and community health centres 
  • early intervention, child protection programs and family support services 
  • schools 
  • justice systems 
  • housing services 
  • mental health 
  • disability and aged care services. 
Professional recognition

UNE’s Bachelor of Social Work is an entry qualification into the social work profession and meets the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards. 

This course and its qualification are fully accredited with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). As a graduate you will be eligible for membership of the AASW.  

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Why study with us?

If ever there is anything I am unclear of academically the teaching staff and the Academic Skills Office are always available and willing to help.

Bachelor of Social Work student Natasha Jutas smiles in denim jacket and UNE lanyardNatasha Jutas, Bachelor of Social Work student

What happens next?

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1. Decide on your course

Got any questions about a course you would like to study? Don’t hesitate to contact us, our Future Student team is standing by to help.

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2. Apply

2021 applications are now open. The application process only takes 20 minutes to complete. Don’t delay, apply now!

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3. Receive an offer, enrol and start studying

Your start date is based on the study period you choose to apply for.