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Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying)

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

About this course

The Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) is an innovative course based on a problem-based learning paradigm. This course is suited to applicants who have undertaken prior study in the social sciences, psychology, or related fields. The course enables students to gain the skills, knowledge and values to be strategic, ethical and reflective social work practitioners in a wide range of organisational settings, including working with individuals, groups and communities. Students are provided access to a personalised online learning environment, which facilitates professional learning and demonstration of professional capabilities through an ePortfolio.

Career opportunities

Graduates of this degree will qualify as social workers in Australia. Graduates may also be eligible to apply to work as social workers overseas.

Graduates will be suited to employment in a wide range of jobs in the health and community services sectors. These include positions that are designated solely for social work-qualified staff (e.g. in hospitals), as well as other human services jobs that are open to other graduates. Graduates may be employed in organisations such as Centrelink, public and private hospitals, child protection agencies, Australian Defence Force, domestic violence services, housing and homelessness agencies, aged care and disability services, mental health agencies, family counselling agencies, rehabilitation services and private practice.

Professional recognition

Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS) This is an Australian Association of Social Workers AASW-accredited qualification. It is an entry qualification into the social work profession and has been determined to meet the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS).

Professional placement

In line with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) requirements, students will be required to undertake 1000 hours of supervised practice. All students, studying on campus or by distance education, are required to attend two field education placements. These placements are completed in two separate organisations in different fields of practice so that students gain a diversity of experience.

Social Work Field Placement I involves 400 hours (57 days) across sessions 2 and 3 of the first year (of full-time study), with a minimum of three days per week spent on placement. Social Work Field Placement II involves 600 hours (86 days) across sessions 2 and 3 of the second year (of full-time study), also with a minimum of three days per week spent on placement. These time commitments apply to both full-time and part-time students.

Major areas of study

The course includes core content in child protection, cross-cultural practice, mental health work, and work with people from Indigenous communities. It covers essential theories and methods of social work practice including effective practice in working with individuals, groups and communities. Students are also exposed to key knowledge in using social policy and the law to advance the rights of clients and community members.

Assessment methods

Assessment items may include essays, research reports, case analysis, assessment of competence on field placement, and DVD recording of interviewing skills. Students will develop an ePortfolio, drawing on assessment items to evidence practice competence and their own framework for practice.

Teaching methods

All students need to have access to high speed broadband in order to complete the online activities, which are a core part of this course.

On-campus students have unlimited internet and email access and can connect to the University’s library catalogues, online full-text journal databases and book and article request service. Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, workshops, and online discussion forums and problem-based learning material.

The distance education study option for this course is interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students have contact with tutors, access to online problem-based learning material and discussion forums, study guides and access to all library services.

On-campus students take three units in distance education mode. For international students, this complies with international visa requirements.

Residential schools: Distance education students are required to attend three seven-day residential schools 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, 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

General campus resources are available including access to computer laboratories for individual study purposes. Access to DVD recording facilities will be made available to on-campus students during classes and for distance education students during residential schools.

Course structure

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

Table of contents


Admission requirements

  1. All applicants must normally have completed a three-year undergraduate degree.
  2. All applicants must normally have undertaken some prior study in the social sciences, psychology, or related cognate fields.
  3. All applicants must have an assessable entry qualification from a country where English is the main language and where the medium of instruction for that qualification was English, or demonstrate proficiency of English by an IELTS overall score of 7.0 with no less than 6.5 across each of the bands of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Course requirements

To be eligible for the award of Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) degree a candidate shall successfully complete all units listed in Part A of the Schedule of Units.

Inherent Requirements apply to this course as defined on the Student Access & Inclusion website. If you have a disability or health condition which may impact on your ability to meet these requirements please refer to the Student Access & Inclusion website for further information and contact details.

Advanced standing

Candidates, who have completed the SCU Bachelor of Social Welfare, or equivalent degree, may apply to have not more than 25% or four (4) units assessed for advanced standing, on a case by case basis.

Schedule of units

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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.

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