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Bachelor of Social Work

Course summary for local students

Award granted Bachelor of Social Work
CampusOffered at Waterfront (Geelong)
Cloud (online)Yes
Length4 years full-time or part-time equivalent
Next available intake

March (Trimester 1)

Indicative annual fee 2015$6,341* - Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)
Faculty contactsHealth - Student and Academic Services
Tel 03 9251 7777
CRICOS course code015207F
VTAC Codes1400415431 - Waterfront (Geelong), Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)
1400615431 - Cloud (online), Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)
Deakin course code H330

Course sub-headings

Course overview

Social work is concerned with enhancing the wellbeing of people in their social environments. It is a broad profession with diverse practices that may include working with individuals, families, groups, communities and organisations.

The Bachelor of Social Work provides a progressive and innovative approach to social work with emphasis on personal, community and social development in urban, rural, local and global contexts. The course engages with the interplay between diversity, power and social inequality through anti-oppressive, empowerment and critically-reflective approaches to social work practice and social policy.

Throughout the course, you will develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • the interplay between the broad socio-economic, interpersonal and personal influences on individual peoples’ lives;
  • how the socio-political and policy contexts in which people work influences their day-to-day practice;
  • a range of social research methods and the ability to design and conduct research directly relevant to social work practice;
  • the broad inter-disciplinary nature of social work and an ability to apply knowledge from theories, research and experience in practice
  • principles of non-discrimination, human rights and social justice, and an ability to apply these in relation to traditionally marginalised and disadvantaged groups;
  • working  across social and cultural differences, whilst respecting difference and multiple diversities of identities;
  • personal and professional standards of practice in the context of a capacity for life-long learning.


The Bachelor of Social Work is offered at pass or honours level. An honours stream is available in the fourth year.

Professional recognition

The course is accredited with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Students completing the course are eligible to apply for membership of AASW and can practise professionally throughout Australia.

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Fees and charges

Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL)
EFTSL is the standard annual full time load. Eight credit points is the standard full time load for one year of study.

Commonwealth supported place (CSP)
A Commonwealth supported place is one for which the university receives some government funding. As such, students enrolled in these places are required to contribute only part of the cost of their course. To be eligible for a Commonwealth supported place you must be an Australian citizen, or a New Zealand citizen or holder of a permanent visa who will be residing in Australia for the duration of your unit/s of study.

* The "indicative annual course fee" cited has been provided as a guide only. It has been calculated on the basis of a typical enrolment of a student undertaking the course in 2015, and reflects the cost involved in undertaking a full-time quota of units within the specified discipline.
The actual fees charged by Deakin University will depend upon the discipline from which each individual unit is chosen, and may vary from the indicative course fee cited, particularly if units are chosen from a number of disciplines. The cost of each unit offered in 2015 can be viewed from the Unit Search.
Please note that the fees per unit/credit point may increase annually due to rises in the cost of course delivery and service.
Deakin assumes no responsibility for persons relying on "indicative course fees" to calculate the total future cost of their course.

Career opportunities

Social work is part of a growing human services field, with graduates working across local, state and federal government departments; in private and non-government human services organisations; and in various advocacy, policy making and tribunal capacities.


As a Social Work graduate you may be involved in activities as diverse as policy development and research, counselling, family therapy, drug and alcohol counselling, community development, refugee assistance and tribunal capacities. Social workers also work as program managers or coordinators, as advocates, facilitators, activists or consultants. You may work in specialist areas such as health, housing, education, or with groups such as the aged, women, youth or multi-cultural populations.

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Course rules

Students are required to successfully complete 32 credit points of study.


To be awarded the Bachelor of Social Work degree with honours a person must complete the honours units HSW456 and HSW457 (refer course structure).

Failure of a field education placement will normally lead to exclusion.

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Course structure

(For students commencing 2009 onwards).

Note: Students who commenced prior to 2009 must follow the course structure applicable to their level of commencement.


Level 1
Trimester 1

AIP107 Contemporary Australian Politics  

ASC101 Introduction to Sociology A  

HSW101 Introduction to Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice A  

HBS107 Understanding Health  

Trimester 2

ASC102 Introduction to Sociology B  

HSW111 Theories for Social Work Practice: Social Work Theory and Practice B  

HSW118 Social Work Methods in Context: Social Work Theory and Practice C  

HBS110 Health Behaviour  

HPS111 Psychology A: Fundamentals of Human Behaviour  

Level 2

Trimester 1
AIP230 Public Policy in Australia  

HSW221 Social Work Research in Ethical and Political Contexts  

HSW235 Community Development: Social Work Theory and Practice D  

plus one (1) elective

Trimester 2

HSW212 Social Work Processes and Interventions: Social Work Theory and Practice E  

HSW219 Self and Society  

MLS231 Legal and Ethical Contexts of Social Work  

plus one (1) elective

Level 3

Trimester 1

HSW314 Social Work Field Education A  

Trimester 2

ASC304 Culture and Control: Boundaries and Identities  

HSW313 Anti-Oppressive Approaches to Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice F  

HSW316 Critical Social Policy  

HSW322 Applied Social Research in Ethical and Political Context  

Level 4

Trimester 1
HSW402 Critical Approaches to Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice G  

HSW434 Administration and Policy Development: The Organisational Context  

HSW452 Working in Uncertainty: Social Work Theory and Practice H  

plus one (1) elective

Trimester 2

HSW415 Social Work Field Education B  

Elective units
Elective units may be chosen from any faculty in the University provided that prerequisites are met. A maximum of 2 elective units may be studied at level 1.


Level 4 Honours stream


Trimester 1

HSW402 Critical Approaches to Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice G  

HSW434 Administration and Policy Development: The Organisational Context  

HSW456 Honours Research Project in Social Work A  

Trimester 2

HSW415 Social Work Field Education B  

HSW457 Honours Research Project in Social Work B  

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Work-Integrated Learning

Field education placements provide an opportunity for students to learn from experience under the supervision of qualified social work practitioners. During the course you will complete a minimum of 980 hours of fieldwork placements that are conducted in a variety of communities and workplaces in metropolitan and regional settings. As social work at Deakin has a rural focus, one of the two fieldwork placements will have a rural focus.


Department of Human Services policy and Working with Children Check


In accordance with Department of Human Services policy* all students are required to obtain a Police Records Check (PRC) each year prior to undertaking field placements. Students may also be required to obtain a Working with Children Check (WWC).


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


** Department of Justice 2007, Working with Children Act 2005, Victoria, Australia retrieved April 2012.

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Entry requirements - general

Deakin University offers admission to undergraduate courses through a number of Admission categories.
In all categories of admission, selection is based primarily on academic merit as indicated by an applicant's previous academic record.
For more information on the Deakin Admissions Policy visit The Guide.

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Credit for prior learning - general

The University aims to provide students with as much credit as possible for approved prior study or informal learning which exceeds the normal entrance requirements for the course and is within the constraints of the course regulations. Students are required to complete a minimum of one-third of the course at Deakin University, or four credit points, whichever is the greater. In the case of certificates, including graduate certificates, a minimum of two credit points within the course must be completed at Deakin.

You can also refer to the Credit for Prior Learning System which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree.

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How to apply

Applications for campus and Cloud (online) study for Trimester 1 must be made through the Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre (VTAC). For more information refer to VTAC (external site).


Applications for Trimester 2 and Trimester 3 must be made directly to the University through the Applicant Portal. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the Apply web page. Please note that closing dates may vary for individual courses.


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

8th June 2007