Bachelor of Social Work

Undergraduate degree

If you're interested in human rights, anti-oppressive practice and the value of critical reflection, Deakin's Bachelor of Social Work could be for you.

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Key facts


Lowest selection rank


4 years full-time or part-time equivalent.

Students who meet eligibility requirements will enrol in H430 Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) for their fourth year of study.

Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.

Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course information

If you are passionate about human rights and have a strong sense of social justice, this is the perfect course to begin your journey towards a rewarding career in social work. Deakin’s Bachelor of Social Work equips you with the knowledge and skills to enhance the wellbeing of others through an understanding of policy, socioeconomic factors and social equity issues.

Gain the skills to work effectively with individuals, families and communities to address key factors causing inequality. With an emphasis on progressive, student-centred teaching practices, we ensure you learn the latest approaches to enable social change and improve the lives of others. 1000 hours of practice education placements will give you invaluable hands-on experience as you learn from qualified social work practitioners. You’ll complete two placements in a variety of communities and workplaces in metropolitan, regional or rural settings, ensuring you gain multiple perspectives and graduate job-ready.

Want to graduate with the skills and professional experience to launch a career in helping others?

This course will empower you to become an enabler of positive social change, helping you to improve the quality of life for those who need it most. You’ll cover contemporary social topics including:

  • human behaviour
  • public policy
  • processes and interventions
  • social justice.

You’ll gain an understanding of a range of social research methods and contemporary health issues - learning how to design and conduct research relevant to social work practice.

Deakin places an emphasis on equipping our students with valuable hands-on skills and practical workplace experience. Plus, our strong links with industry and partnership organisations gives you access to a range of guest lecturers, exposing you to a broad range of professional experiences and knowledge. The practice education placements included within this course enable you to graduate with confidence, ready to launch your career in this highly rewarding industry. 

The Bachelor of Social Work is an Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) accredited qualification, so you will graduate with an entry qualification into the social work profession.

Read More

Course structure

To complete the Bachelor of Social work students must attain 32 credit points. Units (think of units as 'subjects') may be worth 1, 2, 3 or 4 credit points - check each unit for its credit point value in the course structure below. Most students choose to study 4 credit points per trimester and usually undertake two trimesters each year.

The course comprises 32 credit points which must include the following:

Pass stream:

  • 29 core units (these are compulsory)
  • 3 elective units (you can choose which ones to study)

H430 Bachelor of Social Work (Honours):

  • 30 core units including HSW401, HSW402, HSW404, HSW416 and HSW417 (these are compulsory)
  • 2 elective units (you can choose which ones to study)

Students must complete two practice education units as part of the core units, each involving a minimum of 500 hours (across at least 65 days) of practicum (field placement) in a social or community service agency or program.

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

Inherent requirements

Students should also be aware of the inherent requirements of the course.

All commencing Faculty of Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work students are required to complete HAI010 Academic Integrity in their first trimester of study (0 credit point compulsory unit).

Students are required to meet the University's academic progress and conduct requirements. Click here for more information.

Core units

Level 1 - Trimester 1

  • Academic Integrity HAI010 (0 credit points)
  • Introduction to Aboriginal Studies IND101
  • Introduction to Sociology A ASC101
  • Introduction to Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice A HSW101
  • Understanding Health HBS107
  • Level 1 - Trimester 2

  • Introduction to Sociology B ASC102
  • Theories for Social Work Practice: Social Work Theory and Practice B HSW111
  • Social Work Methods in Context: Social Work Theory and Practice C HSW118
  • plus

  • Health Behaviour HBS110
  • Or

  • Psychology A: Fundamentals of Human Behaviour HPS111
  • Level 2 - Trimester 1

  • Public Policy and Politics for Critical Social Workers HSW216
  • Social Work Research in Ethical and Political Contexts HSW221
  • Community Development: Social Work Theory and Practice D HSW235
  • plus one elective

    Level 2 - Trimester 2

  • Human Rights and Social Justice: Values, Ethics and the Legal Context of Social Work HSW201
  • Practice Skills: Social Work Theory and Practice E HSW212
  • Self and Society HSW219
  • Placement Readiness: Preparing for Supervised Social Work Practice HSW202
  • Level 3 - Trimester 1

  • Social Work Field Education A HSW314
  • Level 3 - Trimester 2

  • Doing Critical Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice F HSW313
  • Critical Social Policy HSW316
  • Applied Social Research in Ethical and Political Context HSW322
  • Plus one elective 

    Level 4 - Pass stream

    Trimester 1

  • Critical Approaches to Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice G HSW402
  • Administration and Policy Development: The Organisational Context HSW434
  • Working in Uncertainty: Social Work Theory and Practice H HSW452
  • plus one elective

    Trimester 2

  • Social Work Field Education B HSW415
  • Level 4 - H430 Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

    Trimester 1

  • Social Work Research Methods HSW401
  • Critical Approaches to Social Work: Social Work Theory and Practice G HSW402
  • Social Work Honours Research Project A HSW416
  • Trimester 2

  • Social Work Field Education B Research Focused HSW404
  • Social Work Honours Research Project B HSW417
  • 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.

    Key information

    Award granted
    Bachelor of Social Work

    2020 course information

    VTAC code
    1400415431 - Waterfront (Geelong), Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)
    1400615431 - Cloud (online), Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)
    Deakin code
    CRICOS code?
    Approval status
    This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
    Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition
    The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 7.

    Campuses by intake

    Campus availability varies per trimester. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Read more to learn where this course will be offered throughout the year.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Waterfront (Geelong)
      • Cloud Campus


    This course structure is for students commencing Trimester 1 2019 onwards. Students who commenced their course prior to 2019, please go to the previous university handbooks. 

    Deakin splits the academic year into three terms, known as trimesters. Most students usually undertake two trimesters each year (March-June, July-November).

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can apply directly through the NIKERI Institute.

    Additional course information

    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.

    Cloud (online) students are required to attend a minimum of 20 days of face to face time delivered during the four-year degree.  Dates to be advised. Attendance requirements will also apply to some units in other modes of study, including campus, and community based delivery at the NIKERI Institute.  See Handbook entries for details of individual units.

    Course duration - additional information

    Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.

    Mandatory student checks

    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.

    In accordance with the Department of Justice 2007, Working with Children Act 2005, amended 2017, all students are required to undertake a Working with Children Check at the commencement of their course. Students who fail to obtain a Police Record Check and a Working with Children Check prior to the commencement of clinical placement will not be able to undertake clinical placement and this will impede progress in the course.

    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. A health organisation may refuse to accept a student for placement if the student’s immunisation status is not satisfactory to the health organisation.


    Attendance requirements for Cloud students

    Cloud students will be required to attend on-campus intensive workshops depending upon units of enrolment. Dates for 2020 are listed here: .

    Participation requirements

    Two practice education placements of 500 hours each, totalling a minimum of 1000 hours that are conducted in a variety of communities and workplaces in metropolitan and regional settings.

    International students studying through the Cloud Campus may not be granted a visitor visa to complete mandatory onsite components of the course.

    Placement can occur at any time, including during the standard holiday breaks listed here:

    Elective units may be selected that include compulsory placements, work-based training, community-based learning or collaborative research training arrangements.

    Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. Click here for more information.


    Work experience

    Practice Education 

    Students must complete two practice education units, each involving a minimum of 500 hours (across at least 65 days) of practicum (field placement) in a social or community service agency or program. Students must also attend and participate in the associated pre-placement preparation seminars at Waterfront (Geelong) in the Trimester prior to the placement being undertaken - dates to be advised.

    Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) is possible for the first placement only (HSW314-Social Work Field Education A) for students who are able to demonstrate that their prior experience has provided them with the knowledge and experience that would normally be provided in the first placement. Applications for RPL are due 30 November of the year prior to students undertaking their first placement. Late applications cannot be accepted.

    Further information is available in the RPL Guidelines

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    Ask a question about studying at Deakin

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    Entry requirements

    Entry information

    Deakin University offers admission to undergraduate courses through a number of Admission categories.

    All applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements

    Please note that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee selection, which is based on merit, likelihood of success and availability of places in the course.

    For more information on the Admission Criteria and Selection (Higher Education Courses) Policy visit the Deakin Policy Library

    Entry for applicants with recent secondary education (previous three years) will be based on their performance in a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, with pre-requisite units 3 and 4; a study score of at least 30 in English EAL (English as an additional language) or 25 in English other than EAL. Applicants will be selected in accordance with the published Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for that year.

    Refer to the VTAC Guide for the latest pre-requisite information

    Entry for applicants with previous Tertiary, VET, life or work experience will be based on their performance in:

    • a Certificate IV in a related discipline or


    • a Diploma in any discipline


    • successful completion of relevant study at an accredited higher education institution equivalent to at least two Deakin University units


    • other evidence of academic capability judged to be equivalent for example relevant work or life experience

    Inherent requirements

    Applications are accepted from students who possess the skills and prerequisites required to complete the course, gain professional certification and practise safely. The inherent requirements of the course are available here.


    Admissions information

    Learn more about this course and others that Deakin offers by visiting VTAC for more information. You can also discover how Deakin compares to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning by visiting the ComparED website.

    Special entry access schemes (SEAS) enables Deakin to consider disadvantageous circumstances you may have experienced and their impact upon your studies. SEAS also allows us to identify if you're from under-represented groups when making selection decisions for some courses. SEAS does not exempt you from meeting any of the course entry requirements.

    You can also find out about different entry pathways into Deakin courses if you can't get in straight from high school.

    Finally, Deakin is committed to admissions transparency. As part of that commitment, you can learn more about our first intake of 2020 students (PDF, 581.6KB) - their average ATARs, whether they had any previous higher education experience and more.

    Recognition of prior learning

    Students may be eligible to apply for credit for this course.

    You can also refer to the Recognition of Prior Learning System which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree and how to apply for credit.
    Applications for RPL on the basis of prior study should be submitted at least one week prior to the commencement of the trimester of offer.

    Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) is possible for the first placement only (HSW314-Social Work Field Education A) for students who are able to demonstrate that their prior experience has provided them with the knowledge and experience that would normally be provided in the first placement.

    RPL cannot be granted for informal learning for any Bachelor of Social Work units other than HSW314 – Social Work Field Education A.

    There is a separate process in applying for this type of RPL and more information is available in the RPL Guidelines.

    Applications for RPL are due 30 November of the year prior to students undertaking their first placement. Late applications cannot be accepted and students are encouraged to apply earlier than this if possible.

    Guaranteed entry schemes exist for students enrolled in some diploma courses. Details can be found at Guaranteed pathways work in conjunction with the Recognition of Prior Learning Database.

    The University aims to provide students with as much credit as possible for approved prior study 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.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place
    Not applicable
    Estimated tuition fee - (CSP)?
    $7,252 for 1 yr full-time - Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)
    Learn more about fees.

    The tuition fees you pay will depend on the units you choose to study as each unit has its own costs. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students undertaking the first year of this course. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the time it takes to complete your course and any approved Recognition of Prior Learning you have.

    Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together 8 credit points of a typical combination of units for that course. Eight credit points is used as it represents a typical full-time enrolment load for a year.

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.

    Learn more about fees and available payment options.

    Scholarship options

    A Deakin scholarship could help you pay for your course fees, living costs and study materials. If you've got something special to offer Deakin - or maybe you just need a bit of extra support - we've got a scholarship opportunity for you. Search or browse through our scholarships

    Apply now

    How to apply

    Apply through VTAC

    Applications through VTAC have now closed.

    Apply direct to Deakin

    Applications can be made directly to the University through the Course and Scholarship Applicant Portal.

    NIKERI Institute

    NIKERI Institute applicants must apply via the How to apply webpage. You’ll need to complete a declaration statement and application form. If your application is successful, you’ll then be invited to an interview.

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For more information on the application process and closing dates, visit the how to apply page.

    How to apply

    Register your interest to study at Deakin

    Please complete the Register your interest form to receive further information about our direct application opportunities.

    Entry pathways

    View pathways into the Bachelor of Social Work with our pathways finder.

    H330 is a qualifying degree and does not have a formal pathway to further study. Graduates can however enrol in an HDR masters in social work or another discipline. Graduates of H430 can enrol in an HDR masters in social work or another discipline or an HDR doctoral program.

    Contact information

    Prospective Student Enquiry Centre
    1800 693 888


    Why choose Deakin

    Want a degree that’s more than just a qualification? Our industry connections, world-class facilities and practical approach to learning are just some of the reasons why Deakin students graduate confident and ready to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow.

    Graduate with 1000+ hours of practice education placements

    Accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers

    Top 200 worldwide for public health**

    5-star rated university##

    Career outcomes

    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.

    After completing this course, you will be a sought-after graduate, ready to pursue a rewarding career in social work. You may work in many general and specialist areas of social work such as:

    • activism
    • advocacy
    • community development
    • consultancy
    • counselling
    • drug and alcohol counselling
    • education
    • facilitation
    • family therapy
    • health
    • housing
    • policy development and research
    • program management and coordination
    • refugee assistance and tribunal capacities
    • assisting groups such as the aged, women, youth or multicultural populations.

    Examples of specific roles you may pursue include:

    • careers counsellor
    • case manager
    • child and family counsellor
    • child protection officer
    • community development access officer
    • community development and education officer
    • disability support coordinator
    • diversity officer
    • drug and alcohol case manager
    • family relationship adviser
    • mental health coordinator
    • school counsellor
    • youth projects officer

    Professional recognition

    This 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.

    Note: All information regarding professional recognition is accurate at the date of publication. Enquiries regarding accreditation and professional membership should be directed to the School of Health and Social Development in order to ascertain the current status of accreditation at any future point in time beyond publication. Representations about accreditation apply only to the course, and the AASW retains discretion as to who they admit as members of their association. Deakin University cannot exercise any control over membership of an external body.

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline Specific knowledge and capabilities

    Apply a broad and coherent understanding in contemporary Australian and international contexts of the histories, aims, values, ethics, theories and practice approaches of social work. This knowledge is to cover all domains including working with individuals, families, groups, communities, management, research education and social policy. Practise social work reflectively according to the code of ethics and professional practice standards of the Australian Association of Social Workers.


    Evaluate and apply appropriate communication and interpersonal skills in a broad range of social work practice contexts and with a diversity of people, communities and organisations.

    Digital Literacy

    Use digital technology in social work practice ethically and appropriately, including in service provision and management, information acquisition and dissemination, and research and evaluation.

    Critical thinking

    Analyse, synthesise and apply knowledge of social work theories, methods and skills, with an emphasis on critical social work with the goal of social change.

    Problem Solving

    Apply social work knowledge and intervention skills to appropriately and creatively respond to the needs of individuals, groups and communities in diverse settings, client groups and geographic locations. Apply research knowledge and skills to evaluate evidence and contribute to the role of research in social work practice.


    Engage in critical reflective, reflexive and responsive practice, demonstrating an awareness of social location and positioning of self and others. Demonstrate a developing sense of identity, integrity and self-management as a professional social worker in all areas of practice. Participate in on-going professional development including engaging in professional supervision.


    Work and learn respectfully and inclusively in collaborative intra and inter disciplinary settings.

    Global Citizenship

    Engage in decolonising practises in order to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people as Traditional Owners of Australian lands. Evaluate and apply local and global knowledge of the social, political, cultural, legal and economic contexts of social work practice to respond effectively within a human rights and social justice framework. Work and learn across diverse social, cultural and political locations.


    * 2019 Student Experience Survey, based on undergraduate students
    # ARWU Rankings 2019
    ~ According to the Voice Project IT Service Quality Support Benchmark Survey
    ^ Australian Graduate Recruitment Industry Awards, 2017, 2018, 2019 winner
    ^^ Australian Graduate Survey 2010–2015, Graduate Outcomes Survey 2016–2019 (GOS), Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)
    **ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019
    ##QS Stars University Ratings 2016–2017

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