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Bachelor of Social Welfare

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

About this course

The Bachelor of Social Welfare provides the theoretical and practical foundation for work in the human services industry. During their studies, students gain skills in case management, community development, counselling, social research, policy work, advocacy, and grief and loss counselling. Particular emphasis is placed on social justice and human rights as the basis for social welfare practice.

The course articulates with a range of VET awards. It can also provide a pathway to the University’s Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying).

Career opportunities

Graduates typically find employment as welfare and community workers in various roles within the community services sector. These include government and non-government positions in fields such as child protection, disability services, housing services, youth work, aged care, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, community engagement, mental health services, and domestic violence services.

Professional recognition

The course is accredited by the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA). Graduates are eligible to join ACWA.

Professional placement

In line with ACWA requirements, students undertake 400 hours of supervised on-the-job training. This is completed in two separate organisations in different fields of practice so that students gain a diversity of experience.

Placements may include working across a variety of client groups, such as older people, or young people and families at the individual, group, organisational or community level of practice. The social welfare settings such as child protection, drugs and alcohol, criminal justice, community education, housing, emergency relief, family interventions and domestic violence.

Major areas of study

Majors available are:

Children and Young People provides students with a comprehensive introduction to social welfare practice with children and young people in a range of organisational settings including government and non-government agencies. The latest research is explored to understand the ways in which children and young people are conceptualised and identified for human service practice. 

Health and Disability examines health and wellbeing as they impact on people and their life opportunities, as well as issues for social welfare workers negotiating the health and disability care systems. 

Indigenous Studies assists students to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous world views and history, as well as identifying culturally appropriate ways of working with Indigenous communities. Students gain an appreciation of the origins and effects of trauma across generations and within particular communities. 

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

Southern Cross University also offers the AASW-accredited Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) for graduates who have undertaken prior study in the social sciences, psychology, or related fields. Graduates of this degree will qualify as social workers in Australia and may also be eligible to apply to work as social workers overseas.

Assessment methods

Assessment items may include essays, research reports, case analysis, assessment of competence on field placement, DVD recording of interviewing skills.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including lectures, tutorials, online activities and video-linked or podcast virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Our distance education study option is highly interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students may receive a combination of podcast or video-linked lectures, electronic study materials, workshops, online discussion forums and virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Please note: Distance education students are required to attend one three-day residential school to be held at the Gold Coast campus.

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, email, phone, and one-on-one support.

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

Admission requirements

Applicants from non-English speaking backgrounds who have less than 2 years of high school education in Australia or other English speaking country must be able to demonstrate proficiency of English with an IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 across each of the bands of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Social Welfare degree a candidate shall successfully complete not less than twenty-four (24) units (288 credit points) comprising:
    1. all units listed in Part A; and
    2. one (1) major from Part B; or
    3. all units listed in Part C plus four (4) electives chosen from any undergraduate degree offered by the University.
  2. To be eligible for the award of Associate Degree of Social Welfare a candidate shall successfully complete not less than sixteen (16) units (192 credit points) comprising:
    1. any units listed in Part A, B or C
  3. A candidate who, while enrolled for the Bachelor of Social Welfare, has completed the requirements for the Associate Degree of Social Welfare may elect to be awarded the Associate Degree of Social Welfare following withdrawal from the Bachelor degree.
  4. To be eligible for the award of Diploma of Social Welfare a candidate shall successfully complete not less than eight (8) units (96 credit points) comprising:
    1. any units from Part A
  5. A candidate who, while enrolled in the Bachelor or Social Welfare, has completed the requirements for the Diploma of Social Welfare may elect to be awarded the Diploma of Social Welfare following withdrawal from candidature for the Bachelor degree.

Advanced standing

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

Schedule of units


How to apply

Domestic students

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Southern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

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