Start date


2 year(s) full-time


Program Code

AUD$ 33,900 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL) for students enrolled in 2024

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

  • Study a curriculum informed by world-class research in social work1.
  • Join a university ranked No. 1 in South Australia for teaching quality in social work2.
  • 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 and Human Services Studio.
  • This master degree is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). 2ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2021-22, Teaching Quality Indicator (Postgraduate). SA public universities.



This master degree will provide you with a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential for social work practice, including 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 of critical thinking skills to prepare graduates for leadership and innovation in the field of human services. You will also gain valuable practical experience as part of the field education placement component.

What you'll need

Students studying this degree will be required to undertake Criminal History Checks through the Department of Human Services (DHS), a National Police Record Check, and complete a one-day Safe Environments for Children and Young People course prior to being accepted for work placements. Some placements may also require students to hold a current driver's licence and or additional requirements as requested by a specific placement provider.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

On completion of this degree, 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)
Social Work and Policy Practice 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 Rule(s): 4
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): 1,2,3,4,5,6
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): 1,2,3,5,6

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, as well as to 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. You may have the option to undertake an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas while you study. We have links with universities worldwide, as well as a range of travel grants available to make going overseas much more accessible.

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 world-class educators, gain hands-on experience in our on-campus Social Work and Human Services Studio, and build professional networks that will kick-start your social work career. In our custom-built 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, receive feedback and learn from your experiences. Work placements will enable you to apply your knowledge and demonstrate your practical skills in a real-world scenario.

As Australia’s university of enterprise, we are No. 1 in South Australia for student satisfaction1 and we are the largest university in South Australia with more than 31,000 students.

We are fast becoming a renowned centre of innovation and enterprise in the sectors that will drive Australia's future, including health and biomedicine. It’s a very good time to choose UniSA for your postgraduate study.

1ComparED (QILT) Course Experience Questionnaire 2021-22 – Overall Satisfaction Indicator (Domestic Undergraduate and Postgraduate). SA Public universities.

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.

This could be you

Are you ready to enhance the wellbeing of others through advocacy, social change, relationship building and empowerment? Explore a degree in social work and discover the meaningful role social workers serve in building communities.

UniSA Video

Career outcomes

Your career

Social work requires a strong commitment to and passion for social justice and human rights. 

Careers to consider:

  • Aged care worker: provide personal, physical and emotional support to older people who need assistance with everyday living.
  • Community development officer: employed by a city, neighbourhood or other municipality to ensure the growth, health and vitality of a region.
  • 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.

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 Welfare Support Workers is expected to increase by 25.2 per cent by November 20261.

1Australian Government National Skills Commission Labour Markets Insight, Employment Projections 2021


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 UniSA student, 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 and laboratories, as well as spaces 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 gain access to a range of community clinics, which provide professional and cost effective services in areas of health, business, 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 also has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation and private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages, or explore our student accommodation by Scape on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal 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

Our international student services provide you with all the support you need at university. We want you to succeed, and if you need help, we're here to assist. You can access a full range of support services, including:

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

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

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 modern facilities including lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories, as well as spaces 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 our state-of-the art Social Work and Human Services studio, 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

I have international teaching experience in social work and social development. My main area of interest is critical social work practice towards the advancement of human rights and the challenging of social inequality and injustice. I am passionate about helping social work students gain an incisive understanding of social work and its implications for practice. The courses I teach include human rights and community development, social research and critical practice in organisations. This program is delivered by a dedicated team of world-class academics who are experts in their respective fields, with the assistance of experienced practice professionals.

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
Community Rehabilitation Support Worker, Neami National

Rubina Chitrakar

Rubina Chitrakar

Master of Social Work
Community Rehabilitation Support Worker, Neami National

"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

Further study qualified me to work in an allied health professional stream in government – it helped to diversify my career options and I’m so glad I did it. My role is focused on working with young offenders and their families to try and reduce offending behaviour, and includes making home visits, attending court and writing court reports. I enjoy helping young people strive to make positive choices, which can have significant long-term outcomes.

Steven Goss

Master of Social Work
Youth Treatment Orders Project Officer | Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People


Steven Goss

Master of Social Work
Youth Treatment Orders Project Officer | Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People