What will I learn in a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree?

The Master of Social Work program gives candidates the skills needed to promote social change for both individuals and communities within this challenging field.
Hannah Chapman
Hannah Chapman
Team PostgradAustralia
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The Master of Social Work program prepares candidates to launch a career as qualified social work practitioners. Programs typically consist of a number of core study modules, supplemented by elective modules and a final dissertation or independent study module. Some institutions, however, also offer work placements to balance academic study with hands-on experience in the field. Core study modules will cover topics such as ethical social work practice, critical social theory and advanced social research. The elective element of the program allows candidates to explore more specialised fields of study such as community work, global social policy and social work for environmental change. Social work is a flexible discipline that gives candidates the ability to understand and help people within many different social structures and contexts.

When selecting a Master of Social Work program, candidates should seek courses accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Upon graduation, students of a recognised course will then be eligible for professional membership of the AASW. Only Social Work practitioners who are members of the AASW can pass on Medicare rebates to their clients, making membership extremely important for anyone wanting to practice within the public sector.

In a world where issues such as child protection, disability inclusion and immigration are at the forefront of social discussion, qualified specialists in the matter are in growing demand.

Upon graduation, students can opt to enter practice within both the public and private sectors. Government agencies, at both state and federal level, as well as community organisations and charities directly recruit graduate practitioners into their ranks. Alternatively, careers in healthcare administration, international development, and student guidance are also available to qualified candidates. Ultimately, the core values and competencies learned during a Master of Social Work program can be applied in almost any industry that influences the well-being of individuals and communities.