Why study social work online? Studying online is the easiest way to complete the academic parts of a social work degree.
- You can’t complete a professional degree just through online study. It’s social work after all. But mostly online courses are available.
- Convenient, flexible distance education courses allow you to complete academic units from your home or office.
- Distance learning students might attend a multi-day residential school just once per term.
Australian universities offers courses that combine online study with on-campus sessions. Through mixed-mode study, you can complete a professional, accredited degree and become qualified to do social work.
Social Work Careers
Online degrees in social work prepare you for a career in helping people.
A degree in social work equips you to work in a variety of job roles, including on the front line and in administration and organisation. You may work in settings such as schools, hospitals, health centres and government agencies.
Fields in which you could specialise include
- child and family services
- counselling, mediation and alleviating substance abuse
- disability and mental health
- aged care, youth support and assistance for new Australians.
Social workers make a difference by supporting people in need. They work with the community to improve lives and make our society more just and equitable.
Online Bachelor Courses
Bachelor of Social Work courses give you the knowledge and practical skills to be a social worker.
A Bachelor of Social Work is a professional degree.
- For first-time university students, you do the equivalent of 4 years of full-time study.
- To meet requirements for professional recognition, students complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised field education in 2 placements.
- You may be able to gain experience close to where you live (in approved social welfare agencies).
Degrees are accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).
CSU Bachelor of Social Work
Charles Sturt University’s Bachelor of Social Work is a 4-year degree designed to meet the initial requirement of professional training in social work. Distance education students are required to attend 4 week-long residential schools during the course of their study. The program is based in Wagga Wagga but can also be studied at Dubbo and Port Macquarie.
CQU Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Social Work program has a compulsory Honours (4th) year. The course can be studied at campuses in Bundaberg and Rockhampton and through distance education. Residential schools are held at different Queensland locations. A minimum of 20 days of attendance are required throughout the course. Study areas include psychology, sociology and Indigenous studies.
Deakin Bachelor of Social Work
Deakin University’s 4-year Bachelor of Social Work program is based in Geelong (Waterfront campus). Cloud (online) students are required to attend on-campus intensive workshops in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years. The program also has 2 field education placements of 500 hours each, one of which must have a rural focus. In addition, "inherent requirements" are stipulated to ensure graduates are suited to being social workers from a non-academic standpoint.
ECU Bachelor of Social Work
Edith Cowan University’s Bachelor of Social Work course is based in Bunbury, Western Australia. Students who elect to study in off-campus mode are required to attend on-campus activities for a minimum of 5 days per semester. It provides a professional education in the field of social work, after which graduates are eligible for membership of AASW.
Griffith Bachelor of Social Work
Griffith University’s external Bachelor of Social Work program requires attending occasional intensive residential sessions (which may be up to 5-days at a time) at the Gold Coast or Logan. Apart from these and work placements, the remainder of the program is online. Work placements may be outside of the Brisbane metropolitan/Gold Coast area including northern NSW and (by negotiation) interstate or overseas.
UNE Bachelor of Social Work
The University of New England’s Bachelor of Social Work program includes units with mandatory intensive schools at Armidale in NSW. The course covers all the core requirements of a professional social work degree but emphasises rural issues. It gives provisional accreditation with AASW. Students with a degree already can apply for the 2-year Master of Social Work program.
Master of Social Work Degrees
Aside from research degrees, there are 2 main types of postgraduate social work degree. Both are at masters level.
- One type is a study and training program for graduates who want to become social workers.
- The other is a professional development program for qualified social workers.
A Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) program is for graduates of other disciplines.
- The program is similar to a Bachelor of Social Work course but compresses the academic components. It can be completed in 2 years.
- Distance students must attend intensive on-campus residential sessions and do around 1,000 hours of community practice.
The Master of Social Work (Advanced Practice) program is for qualified social workers who want to develop advanced and specialist skills. Advanced Practice courses can normally be studied 100% online and take 1-1.5 years at a full-time pace.
CSU online masters
Charles Sturt University’s Master of Social Work program includes both Professional Qualifying (in Wagga Wagga) and Advanced Practice (100% online) courses. The 2-year Professional Qualifying course includes 4 subjects with residential schools. A total of 140 days (980 hours) are allocated to field education. The 1-year Advanced Practice course offers many electives.
Deakin Master of Social Work
Geelong-based Deakin University offers a 2-year online Master of Social Work degree that qualifies graduates for professional practice. The program has a strong emphasis on practical experience gained through practicum placements. It aims to develop your skills in research, communication, interpersonal relationships, politics, and community development. The course is offered exclusively online, though students are required to attend at least 20 days of face-to-face classes.
Flinders Master of Social Work
Flinders University in Adelaide has an online Master of Social Work program for university graduates. If you have a BSW or equivalent, you can do the 1-year "Qualified Social Work Entry" course. If you have a degree in another discipline, you can do the 2-year "Graduate Entry" professional course, which includes field placements and on-campus intensives. The masters program aims to provide students with skills in areas of policy, research, clinical and community based practice.
Griffith Master of Social Work
One of the most attractive ways to become a social worker is to do Griffith University’s Master of Social Work program. This is run through Griffith’s Gold Coast and Logan campuses. You can study online for nearly all the program, with the exception of a 5-day residential at the beginning (to make sure you have some interpersonal skills) and another at the end of the 13-unit course. So you mix online study with work placements and a couple of weeks in south-east Queensland.
UNE Professional Qualifying
The University of New England has a 2-year program that qualifies graduates of other disciplines to be social workers. External students attend a limited number of on-campus residential session in Armidale, NSW. There are also 1000 hours of fieldwork. Two work placements are arranged for the 2nd and 4th semesters of the 4-semester course. Each includes 5 days on campus.