Social Work

Do you aspire to become a qualified social worker? Social work courses at UNE are innovative and flexible and provide students with the theoretical and practical skills for working with individuals, groups and communities who experience marginalisation, isolation or discrimination.

Our social work courses have a particular emphasis on social work in rural and remote communities, as well as focussing on issues surrounding Indigenous peoples, child protection and the Law. Social work at UNE is designed around an interactive problem-based learning approach to equip students for the challenge of being agents of change in the 21st century.

UNE offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Social Work.

Which Social Work degree is for me?

Undergraduate (Bachelor of Social Work) is a four-year Bachelor of Social Work degree for school leavers and for those without a university degree.

Postgraduate (Master of Social Work - Professional Qualifying) is a two-year graduate-entry program for people who have previously completed an undergraduate degree.

You can study our social work programs either on campus or off campus, full time or part time. The courses are provisionally accredited with the Australian Association of Social Workers and graduates will be eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Social work is one of the professions in the human services industry that is increasingly in demand in Australia and overseas. With its emphasis on skill development and continuing lifelong education, a social work degree from UNE can open doorways to careers in management, education, research, policy development, politics and community planning.

What is a Social Worker?

The social work profession is committed to the pursuit of social justice, the enhancement of quality of life and the development of the full potential of each individual, group and community in society.  In practice, social workers are trained to undertake roles in casework, counselling, advocacy, community engagement and social action to address issues at both the personal and social level. Social workers also contribute to policy development, education and research, particularly around issues of social justice, disadvantage and marginalisation.

Social workers are employed in a diverse range of government, non-government and community agencies such as hospitals, community health centres, early intervention and child protection programs, family support services, schools, employment services, justice, housing, mental health, disability and aged care services.

This is an AASW-accredited qualification. It is an entry qualification into the social work profession and has been determined to meet the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS).

Bachelor of Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work is a four year undergraduate degree. Upon completion, Bachelor of Social Work graduates will be eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

For further information, please visit the course and unit catalogue, which includes the program of study.

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) is a two year graduate entry program which provides specific social work knowledge and skills for students who have completed an undergraduate degree and want to qualify as professional social workers eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers. This degree incorporates the core requirements of a professional social work degree including the mandatory field education components.

For further information, please visit the course and unit catalogue which includes the program of study.

Bachelor of Community Services (Aboriginal Care)

In this degree you will learn how to evaluate and apply evidence in your practice as a community services worker; provide counselling and low intensity interventions to specific areas of working with Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander people and; consolidate your development as a community services worker through field placement.

For further information, please refer to this brochure.

Research Studies and Social Work

The School of Health offers the following postgraduate research awards:

Further Study

Social workers who are looking to further their studies may be interested in research degrees and also courses in Counselling and Mental Health.

Field Placements

Field Education is a core component of the Bachelor of Social Work and the Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying).

Students are allocated to placements in a range of human service agencies where they can be supervised by qualified social workers.

All students are required to complete 1000 hours of field placement. This is separated into two separate field placement units.

Field Placement 1




Bachelor of Social Work


500 hours

Master of Social Work (PQ)


500 hours

Field Placement 2




Bachelor of Social Work


500 hours

Master of Social Work (PQ)


500 hours

Requirements for Field Education

Federal Police Certificate (criminal record clearance): All students will be required to have a Federal Police Certificate in order to attend placement. Students are required to apply for this certificate in the year prior to their first field placement (or in the first week of trimester for fulltime Master of Social Work students).

Vaccinations: The NSW Ministry of Health currently have the most rigorous compliance checking process for student placements and all students are required to meet these requirements. Students who meet NSW Health vaccination requirements will be well prepared for placement in any state or territory, in both government and non-government organisations.

For further information regarding vaccination requirements, please contact the Social Work Field Education Office on 02 6773 3722 or

Pre-Requisite Units: Before you can enroll in a Field Education Unit, there are pre-requisite units that must be completed. For detailed information regarding pre-requisite units, please refer to the Course and Unit Catalogue (links to the relevant units available in the table above).


Can I complete my field placement units part time?

It is possible to undertake your field placement on a part-time basis, however you must attend placement at least three days per week. In addition to this, you must complete two weeks of the placement on a full time basis as required by the AASW.

Can I receive credit for field education hours if I am already employed in the human services field?

If you have experience in the field related to social work practice, you can apply for Advanced Standing for the first field education placement based on non-formal learning. See the section about “Advanced Standing towards Social Work Courses including Field Education Units" in the Student Services's information about Advanced Standing.