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Master of Social Work

Course summary for current students

Award granted Master of Social Work
CampusThis course is only offered in Cloud (online) mode
Cloud (online)Yes

2 years of full-time study or 4 years part-time study

Deakin course codeH703

Course sub-headings

Course overview

The Master of Social Work has an emphasis on rural and regional communities; race and gender issues; equity, power and diversity issues; social and community development; and anti-oppressive and empowerment approaches to social work practice and social policy. As a student in this course, you will develop a body of knowledge and a broad range of skills for critical, competent and effective professional social work practice both within the local social and community services industry and the broader national and international context. The program has a strong emphasis on practical experience and skills gained through practicum placements.

You will develop knowledge and an integrated understanding of:

  • how the broad and immediate political and welfare policy in which people work influences their specific day-to-day practice;
  • a range of social research methods,  and the ability to design and conduct research of the broad inter-disciplinary nature of social work
  • approaches to social work and be able to work at a range of levels (policy, research, administration) using a range of skills (research, communication, interpersonal, political, community development);
  • basic social work theories, anti-oppressive theories and empowerment perspectives and skills in field placement practice.

Professional recognition

The professionally qualifying Master of Social Work creates a new pathway for entry into the profession and prepares graduates for a more advanced level of practice. The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) has fully accredited the Master of Social Work. The AASW has also singled out Deakin for our ‘critically reflective practice’, setting us apart from other social work programs in Australia.

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Department of Human Services policy

In accordance with Department of Human Services policy*, all students are required to undertake a National Police Record Check prior to clinical placements in each calendar year of their course. Students who fail to obtain a Police Record Check prior to the commencement of clinical placement will not be able to undertake clinical placement.


Students may also be required to declare their immunisation status to satisfy the requirements of health organisations where they will be undertaking their clinical learning experience.


* Department of Human Services Policy on Working with Children Check and Police Records Checks can be found at:

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Fees and charges

Unit fees can be viewed within individual unit descriptions. You can search for a unit using the Unit Search.


Please be aware:

  • Fees are calculated on a per unit basis
  • Fees charged will depend on the individual units chosen
  • Fees per unit/credit point may increase annually due to rises in the cost of course delivery and services

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Course rules

The Master of Social Work comprises 16 credit points of study, including 13 credit points of core units and 3 credit points of elective units.  The elective units must be selected from the lists below.


Failure of a field education placement in the Master of Social Work will normally lead to exclusion.

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Course structure

Level 1
Trimester 1

HSW701 Australian Social Work in an International Context  

HSW703 Becoming a Social Worker  

HSW705 Challenging Poverty and Social Exclusion  


Plus one elective unit (refer to Elective Unit Information below)


Trimester 2

HSW702 Understanding Care and Risk  

HSW714 Professional Practice in Social Work A  (3 credit points)


Level 2
Trimester 1

HSW707 Addressing Violence and Abuse  

ADS704 Community Development Theory and Practice A  (previously coded ASD704)


Plus two elective units (refer to Elective Unit Information below)


Trimester 2

HSW704 Reconstructing Professional Practice  

HSW715 Professional Practice in Social Work B  (3 credit points)


Elective units

Students must select one elective unit from each of the three lists below.

In selecting electives, students have the option of taking a stream of units in public policy, public health or international development. Alternatively, students can select electives from more than one stream if desired.


Select one of:

ADS734 Political Development Record  (previously coded AID734) (International Development stream)

AIP740 Public Policy Analysis  (Public Policy stream)

HSH702 Contemporary Health Issues and Policies  (Public Health stream)




Select one of:

AIP747 Policy and Program Evaluation  (Public Policy stream)

HSH725 Research Literacy for Health Practice  (Public Health stream)




Select one of:

ADS711 Non-government Organisations and Development  (previously coded AID711) (International Development stream)

AIP748 Intergovernmental Relations  (Public Policy stream)

HSH728 Health Equity and Human Rights  (Public Health stream)

HBS745 Interprofessional Collaboration in Health Care  (no stream)

HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine  (no stream)

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Income support

Domestic students enrolled in this postgraduate coursework program may be eligible for student income support through Youth Allowance and Austudy.


Further information can be found at Deakin University's Fees website.


Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

8th June 2007