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Bachelor of Social Science

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

About this course

The Bachelor of Social Science focuses on understanding society and its institutions, and the way in which they impact on people and their lives. Underpinned by the values of social justice, human rights and environmental sustainability, the degree facilitates knowledge and skills to help students critically analyse social arrangements and identify opportunities for change. It also enables students to gain skills in working effectively with people in a wide range of organisational settings.

This degree includes majors in sociology and policy and governance. It also provides options for further streams in areas such as development studies, cultural studies and welfare studies. A selection of majors from across the University is also available in this course.

The degree builds transferable knowledge and skills that can be applied in many different settings, such as the public service, community agencies, advocacy and lobbying organisations, and international aid organisations.

Career opportunities

This is a flexible, versatile and practical degree that can be used to effectively position graduates for many different jobs. There are diverse private and state government agencies that employ social science graduates, drawing on their skills in problem-solving, critical analysis, social research and advocacy. These include departments of family and community services, and child safety and disability services. The federal government also employs social science graduates. Examples include the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Department of Human Services. The degree also qualifies students to study for higher degrees that can lead to careers in fields as diverse as international relations and social work.

Professional placement

Students can undertake an optional professional placement unit towards the end of the degree, to gain on-the-job experience in their chosen field and advance their career goals. Placements can be undertaken in many types of establishments or organisations such as government departments and non-government community organisations. Typical activities during placement can include policy development, specific projects, community engagement, or grant applications.

Major areas of study

Sociology examines the many forces that affect how people experience society and provides an understanding of how particular groups within society may be disadvantaged. It examines the operation of key social institutions, such as the family, religion and the economy. Students develop skills in critical analysis and social research and apply these to contemporary issues and debates. The major includes an analysis of the changing conditions of work and personal relationships, as well as the impact of social forces on health and wellbeing. It also addresses changing patterns of social communication, including the use of social networking. Students have the opportunity of undertaking independent studies in sociology, as well as participating in work-integrated learning and a community partnership project.

Policy and Governance examines the multi-faceted systems and processes involved in policy-making and governance. This involves developing an in-depth knowledge not just of the formal institutions of government, but also the organised practices that determine how citizens are governed. The major enables students to develop high level skills in critical analysis through exploring how ideology and social discourse impact on governance, policy-making and people’s everyday lives. The major includes an examination of policy-making processes, how policy problems are analysed and the relevance of social research. Students have the opportunity to apply their learning through a professional placement or a community partnership project, as well as extending their learning through independent study.

Streams: These include development studies, which addresses local and global community development strategies and issues; cultural studies, which engages with various understandings of identity, power and place; and welfare studies, which enables students to understand the processes involved in the planning and delivery of community services. Students have the option of selecting up to two streams (made up of a minimum of four units).

Additional majorsUniversity-wide majors are also available in this course.

Please note that some units in this course are only available to study by distance education.

Assessment methods

Assessment items may include essays, research reports, case analysis or video presentations. Some units have an examination.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including face-to-face lectures and tutorials. Some units offer online activities, classes, pre-recorded and/or live lectures. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

The online study option is highly interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students may receive online pre-recorded and/or live lectures, electronic study materials, workshops, online discussion forums and virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents


Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Social Science degree a candidate shall successfully complete not less than twenty-four (24) units comprising:
    1. all units listed in Part A of the Schedule of Units attached to these Rules; and
    2. two (2) majors from Part B; or
    3. one (1) major from Part B plus two (2) streams of four (4) units each from Part C; or
    4. one (1) major from Part B plus one (1) stream of four (4) units from Part C and four (4) elective units chosen from any undergraduate degree offered by the University; or
    5. one (1) major from Part B plus eight (8) electives chosen from any undergraduate degree offered by the University; or
    6. one (1) major from Part B plus one (1) University-wide Major.
  2. To be eligible for the award of Associate Degree of Social Science a candidate shall successfully complete not less than sixteen (16) units comprising: any units from parts A, B or C listed in the Schedule of Units attached to these Rules.
  3. A candidate who, while enrolled for the Bachelor of Social Science, has completed the requirements for the Associate Degree of Social Science may elect to be awarded the Associate Degree of Social Science following withdrawal from the Bachelor Degree.
  4. To be eligible for the award of Diploma of Social Science a candidate shall successfully complete not less than eight (8) units comprising: any units from parts A or B listed in the Schedule of Units attached to these Rules.
  5. A candidate who, while enrolled in the Bachelor or Social Science, has completed the requirements for the Diploma of Social Science may elect to be awarded the Diploma of Social Science following withdrawal from the Bachelor Degree.

Advanced standing

Candidates who have completed the requirements for the Associate Degree of Social Science may be granted advanced standing of up to sixteen (16) units in the Bachelor of Social Science.

Schedule of units

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How to apply

Domestic students

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'