Home' The Good Universities Guide : The Good Universities Guide 2014 Contents SOCIAL WORK 211
Courses and specialisations
Courses in this field are of two types — an undergraduate degree
with no prior study (which may take four years, or less under a
trimester system) or a two-year course taken after the completion
of two years of related tertiary study (with certain prerequisites).
Some providers also offer postgraduate programs. In recent
years there has been a move to expand the skills of social work
graduates by offering the courses combined with related fields
such as psychology, social science, health science and law.
The diverse areas of specialisation that social workers can
choose from may include family, youth and child welfare services;
medical and health services; psychiatric and general mental
health services; disability services; juvenile and family law courts;
aged care; income support; and mediation.
Where to study
Note that there are relevant occupations at the paraprofessional
level, which require the completion of a diploma course (available
mostly through TAFE institutes), and at the professional level,
which require a university degree.
Social work degrees are offered at numerous universities
and campuses in all states and territories, and typically involve
four years of full-time study. They are not difficult to get into at
many institutions, but some may have stricter criteria for entry
than others. To compare entry difficulty and the cost of
Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) at different institutions,
see ‘What’s on offer and who’s there’. Note that public
universities only offer CSPs.
AASW is working to achieve registration of the social work
profession in Australia through the National Regulation and
Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).
A new degree structure, which has already been established
at selected institutions, has the potential to become more
common in social work. The structure follows a US-style model
where undergraduates enter a general pre-professional degree
(perhaps in arts or social science) and then transfer to a
postgraduate qualification in social work.
Rosemary — Bachelor of social work/bachelor of social science (psychology)
Why did you choose to study social
I’m passionate about social justice, so
I’m hoping that the course will give me
the skills to be an effective practitioner as
well as allowing me to help those most
disadvantaged in our society. In this
course we’re trained to see the broader
structural problems that people face in society and, with some
luck, help them to overcome these through critical and
reflective practice. Combining social work with psychology
adds a really interesting dimension to my understanding of
social issues, and I think they work well together in terms of
seeing the big and little picture all at once.
What is the best thing about your course?
The best thing about this course would be the focus on critical
theories, which have really broadened my thinking and
understanding of the world. Also, there are two placements
we have to undertake later in the course, which will be a great
opportunity to get some fieldwork experience.
What is the worst thing about your course?
The worst thing is that it’s quite difficult to learn sad or
upsetting things and not let them affect you, but I guess that’s
good experience for when you’re working in the field.
What does your course involve?
The course is four years long, with placements in the field in
third and fourth year (70 days each).
There are lectures and tutes for each subject and the option
to pick up a few electives as well.
What are your job prospects after graduating?
Job prospects after graduation seem pretty good but, as in
most social service fields, are heavily reliant on continued
government funding. That being said, I think the double
degree will be an advantage once I graduate, as social
workers and psychologists often work together in
multidisciplinary teams. Being able to relate to both fields will
be very useful.
What advice would you give to students considering
studying social work?
I would advise students considering social work to get some
experience working in the field of human services, whether
through paid employment or volunteering. This course can be
a bit heavy at times, so I would suggest people do some
research before applying and make sure they have a good
support network of friends and family around them. Another
thing is to have some savings before going on placement, as
it’s difficult to do any sort of paid work!
Will you complete further study?
I would consider undertaking further study after graduating,
maybe to do some research, but I’d like to work for a while
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