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Start date


2 year(s) full-time

Program Code

2021: AUD$ 31,900 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)

English Language Requirements
  • IELTS total [7.0]
  • IELTS reading [7.0]
  • IELTS writing [7.0]
  • IELTS speaking [7.0]
  • IELTS listening [7.0]
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements


Degree overview

  • Gain advanced knowledge and understanding of current social issues, social work values and ethics.
  • Get practical experience and build pivotal networks with supervised local, rural and international work placements.
  • Build your practical skills in our innovative, on-campus Social Work Studios.
  • Gain advanced research skills.
  • Study a curriculum informed by world-class research in Social Work and Psychology1.
  • This master degree is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)



This master degree will help to further extend practical skills, as well as provide you with an advanced understanding of:

  • social work values
  • ethics and identity
  • human rights
  • current social issues
  • mental health
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures
  • child protection
  • cross cultural practice

A key focus is on the development and application of research processes and methodologies, and you will graduate with the cognitive skills needed to review and analyse information. You will also gain valuable practical experience as part of the field education placement component.

What you'll need

All students studying this degree will be required to complete criminal history screening through the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion prior to being accepted for work placements. The clearance is valid for three years and can take up to eight weeks to be processed.  

You must also hold a current Child Safe Environments Certificate. Some placements may also require a current driver's licence and a recognised First Aid Certificate.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

On completion you will have an advanced knowledge and understanding of current social issues, social work values and ethics.

Building on knowledge and skills already attained through previous study, you will explore topics such as:

  • social work values
  • ethics and identity
  • human rights
  • current social issues
  • mental health
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures
  • child protection
  • cross cultural practice 

A portion of this degree will include practicum, with the remaining courses in social policy and social work theory. There is a major focus on leadership, innovation and research driven practice.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Effective Human Service Delivery WELF 5099 4.5
Contemporary Practice Theories for Social Work WELF 5098 4.5
Social Work Practice Skills WELF 5104 4.5
Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing SOCU 5011 4.5
Social Work in the Australian Context WELF 5109 4.5 Note(s): 2
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Social Work Practicum 1 WELF 5105 13.5 Rule(s): 1,2,3
Ethical Decision Making WELF 5096 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Innovation and Research WELF 5101 4.5
Innovative Social Work Practice with Children and Families WELF 5102 4.5
Mental Health and Social Work Practice WELF 5108 4.5
Human Rights Based Practice and Community Development WELF 5100 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Leadership in Social Work WELF 5103 4.5
Social Work Practicum 2 WELF 5106 13.5 Rule(s): 2

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for various classes such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and practicals. Plus you will need additional hours to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings and projects and contribute to online discussion forums (independent study). So as a general rule, if you are studying full-time you would need to allocate 12 – 26 hours of study when at university and 14 – 28 hours of independent study per week.



Your studies will incorporate practical, professionally focused and research-based learning, so assessment types will vary. You can expect them to include:

  • presentations
  • practice analysis
  • case study analysis
  • portfolios

There may also be essays, assignments and examinations.

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. Australian and international students may have the option to do an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas. We have links with universities worldwide. You can choose short-term or semester-long study from a range of universities and countries depending on your area of study and cultural interests.

Take a look at the global opportunities available.

Global opportunities

Why Master of Social Work

Why this Degree

Learn from industry experts and award-winning researchers, gain hands-on experience in our on-campus Social Work Studios, and build workplace networks when you complete field education placements. You will also graduate with advanced research skills.

In the custom-built Social Work Studios you will work alongside field practitioners and academic staff in simulated, real-life situations. Using state-of-the-art recording equipment and cameras, you can review your work and learn from your experiences. Work placements will also provide valuable real-world experience during which you will experience first-hand what it’s like to work in local, rural and international settings.

If you would like to continue to work while you study the timetable for this master degree makes that possible, with flexible study options that accommodate other life commitments. As Australia’s university of enterprise:

  • we are number one in South Australia for student satisfaction1
  • we are the largest university in South Australia with more than 31,000 students
  • we hold 26th spot in the QS World University Rankings for institutions under 50 years old in 20172

Our commitment to research with an industry focus is unprecedented in South Australia. In the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia evaluation, 97 per cent of our assessed research was rated world-class or above. It’s a very good time to choose UniSA for your postgraduate study.

1 QILT: Course Experience Questionnaire 2015-2016 Overall Satisfaction Item
2 2017 QS Top 50 Universities Aged Under 50

Real-world connections

As part of your studies you will complete 1,000 hours of work placement over two years. This real-world experience is a critical focus of your studies and provides valuable practical experience and the opportunity to build important industry relationships.

We also host regular University-wide employee master classes and employment expos, and alumni events in Australia and overseas.

Career outcomes

Your career

Social work requires a strong commitment to and passion for social justice and human rights. If you think you’ve got what it takes the employment opportunities in Australia are excellent and the demand for graduates is high1, with graduating students quickly finding work in a range of fields.

Careers to consider:

  • aged care worker: provide personal, physical and emotional support to older people who need assistance with everyday living
  • correctional services officer: aid in the rehabilitation and counselling of offenders
  • domestic violence victim services officer: counsel, investigate and report on incidences of domestic violence
  • disability services officer: provide support for people in the community with intellectual, physical, social and emotional disabilities
  • social planner: a pivotal role in creating liveable, sustainable communities; social planners create strategic policy and action that policy in order to meet the needs and wants of the people

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015

Professional accreditation and recognition

Graduates of the Master of Social Work are eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)

Industry facts


Employment for social and welfare professionals in Australia is projected to increase by 39,300 (24.3 per cent) by May 2024.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2019


By 2024, employment for counsellors in Australia is projected to increase by 24.8 per cent.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2019


Healthcare and social assistance has been the primary provider of new jobs in the Australian labour market since the 1990s.

Australian Government Department of Employment 2019

How to apply

How to apply for international students will give you helpful information about the application process at the University of South Australia. When you are ready, apply through our International Application System. If you would like to talk to someone near you about studying at the University of South Australia, we have agents all over the world who can assist you. Find an Education Agent in your country.


Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your study experience and support

As a student at the University of South Australia you will have unique access to work placement opportunities, overseas study tours and exchanges, networking events, internships, guest speakers and more.

Our campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments. These are all supported by the latest technologies and a 24/7 online learning platform. We have health services on campus, gymnasiums, technology zones and great student lounges. You will also have access to a range of community clinics, which provide professional and cost effective services in areas of health, law and psychology. There are campus sport activities to keep you active, and if you are keen to explore the social side of university life, there are movies, cooking demonstrations, parties and lots more.

Adelaide has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation or private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages for plenty of options. If you need somewhere to live, our new student accommodation by urbanest is on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, a perfect location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

International Student Services will make your life at university easier. We want you to be successful, and if you need help we will be there to assist. Support services include:

  • careers advice
  • help with student visas and health cover
  • personal counselling
  • academic counselling
  • fees and finance help
  • common rooms
  • prayer rooms
  • security officers
  • services offered through our student association, USASA
  • accommodation services 

We also offer study support from our Learning Advisers. You can work with them face-to-face or online. They are here to help you develop academically and professionally during your studies. They also offer help with the English language. When you become a UniSA student you can contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and any other questions you might have.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

As a social work student you will have access to state-of-the art social work studios, which are equipped with recording equipment and cameras so that you can practice your skills with the help of field practitioners and academic staff.

Your study spaces

Your program director

My teaching philosophy is grounded in the view that learning is a lifelong and personal quest. My role as a teacher is not to fill the heads of students with all they need to know about a subject, but to point out the landmarks that have been helpful in my own journey.

Dr Nilan Yu

Program Director

Portrait image for Dr Nilan Yu
Portrait image for Dr Nilan Yu

Dr Nilan Yu

Program Director


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What others are saying

I like that this degree is comprehensive - we’re not just studying about helping people with their social functioning but also about social policies, issues and the implications they might have. It encourages us to put our critical lenses on, which I think is really important.

Rubina Chitrakar

Master of Social Work

Rubina Chitrakar

Rubina Chitrakar

Master of Social Work

The Social Work degree provides me with a window into the cultures of Australian society, something that is interesting and challenging. Once I graduate, I aim to use my intervention and assessment knowledge to listen to the stories of my clients and help them face their issues positively, and with new thinking.

Yi Bin

Master of Social Work

Yi Bin, Master of Social Work student

Yi Bin

Master of Social Work