Courses Australian courses Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying)

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Social Work

Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying)

Townsville, Cairns
February, July
2 years full time
Part-time available
Attendance mode
Internal, Mixed
Entry Requirements
AQF level 7 bachelor degree in a relevant discipline other than Social Work; or equivalent
Not applicable
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Enhance your current qualifications and gain the critical skills to improve the lives of others, working towards creating a just and equitable society. This specialist post-graduate course is designed by JCU to give you valuable opportunities to network and gain practical professional experience in social welfare agencies, both in Australia and overseas.

Acquire valuable hands-on experience working with individuals, families, groups and communities through on-campus classes and/or residential workshops. JCU’s world-class lecturers provide consistent support and regular feedback to help you get the most out of your learning experience.

Students complete a series of essential core subjects, tailored to the unique and complex challenges of social work. Subjects consider global issues and international perspectives with those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Work while you study with JCU’s flexible delivery options. You may be eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning for one field education placement if you already have significant social welfare and human services experience.

View the handbook for a detailed overview of subjects.

Career Opportunities

Further your passion for social work and expand your career opportunities with professional accreditation, recognised by the Australian Association of Social Workers.

You could pursue a career in government and non-government organisations throughout Australia or internationally.

Graduates find employment in areas like hospital and community health services, child protection services, youth and family services.

You could work in a range of occupations, such as case work with individuals and families, community work and development roles, or social policy, research and advocacy roles.

Complete an online application through our Online Application Portal.

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Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying)

Handbook year


Course code


Course type

Masters Degree (Coursework) (AQF Level 9)

Professional Accreditation Status

This course is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Graduates are eligible for full membership of AASW. Student preliminary membership is available.


Division of Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Completion of an approved AQF Level 7 Bachelor Degree in a relevant discipline other than an Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) recognised social work degree; or

Other qualifications recognised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Tropical Environments and Societies as equivalent to the above.

Minimum English language proficiency requirements

Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 2 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)

Clinical placement/professional practice:

This course includes prescribed professional or clinical placements. Students may be required to undertake such placements away from the campus at which they are enrolled, at their own expense (Note: health professional courses generally involve extensive professional or clinical placements).

Further information about placements can be found at Coursework Enrolment Policy.

Post admission requirements

On-campus attendance requirement:

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) requires all students to demonstrate that they have attended 20 days on campus face-to-face through their entire course.  Students need to be aware that meeting the AASW attendance requirements does not mitigate the attendance requirements for specific subjects within this course.  Throughout this course more than 20 days attendance face to face on campus may be required.

Students commencing in Study Period 1 (SP1) are required to attend either Cairns or Townsville campus for up to 5 days of compulsory workshops within the first 4 weeks of the semester and up to 5 days of compulsory workshops during the scheduled Lecture Recess.  Students commencing in Study Period 2 (SP2) are required to attend Townsville campus for up to 5 days of compulsory workshops during the third week of lectures and up to 5 days of compulsory workshops during the scheduled Lecture Recess.

For Cairns based students who commence in SP2, any additional costs incurred to attend the Townsville campus will be at the students own expense.

Suitability to Work with Children Card (blue card):

This course includes prescribed professional or clinical placements that may involve contact with children under 18 years of age. Students are required to obtain a Suitability to Work with Children Card (which involves a criminal history check undertaken by the Queensland Police) before the start of the first placement. Students must retain a current Suitability to Work with Children Card for the duration of their course, as failure to do so will result in the termination of their admission to the course.

For more information, refer to: Blue Card Services

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

48 credit points as per course structure

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of the Master of Social Work (PQ), graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of an advanced and integrated body of knowledge, with depth in the underlying values, ethics, theories, research principles and methods, professional practice and workplace contexts in the social work discipline

  • Reflect critically on the unique, complex and contemporary relationships between social work and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and their diverse histories and cultures

  • Reflect critically on the impact of complex social, political and historical issues on environmental and social sustainability in Australia and internationally, with a focus on the tropics

  • Investigate, analyse critically and transform complex social systems, institutions, structures, processes, practices and inequities

  • Consolidate, synthesise, research and evaluate recent developments in social policy and evidence to devise practical and knowledge solutions that reduce social barriers, inequalities and injustice

  • Interpret and communicate, to specialist and non-specialist audiences, theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions in the social work discipline through advanced literacy, numeracy and technological skills

  • Design, plan and execute a substantial research based project

  • Manage service provision and professional practice to engage with and enable individuals, groups and communities to achieve social and environmental justice

  • Apply and adapt expert and specialised professional practice knowledge and skills, autonomously and in collaboration with others, to address social barriers, inequity and injustice across diverse contexts

  • Demonstrate creativity and initiative, and expert judgement and adaptability in engagement, planning, decision-making, problem-solving, provision and evaluation of specialist advice and functions, to achieve practice, organisational, policy and/or system level outcomes

  • Demonstrate high-level responsibility and accountability for own learning and professional development.

Course Structure


WS5517:06 Foundations for Social Work Practice

WS4503:03 Social Work and Mental Health

WS2121:03 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Skills and Frameworks for Practice

WS4514:03 Theories for Social Work Practice

WS5304:06 Field Education 1

WS3027:03 Social Welfare Practice with Children and Families

WS5103:03 Community Development

WS5005:03 Social Policy Analysis

SS5103:06 Post-Graduate Research Methods for the Social Sciences

WS5611:03 Professional Development for Social Work Practice

WS5605:09 Advanced Social Work Practicum





Mixed-mode Attendance

Cairns-based and External students who commence mid-year will be required to travel to Townsville twice during their first Study Period to attend compulsory workshops, as described in the Post Admission Requirements.


Mixed-mode Attendance


Expected time to complete

2 years full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

5 years

Maximum leave of absence

1 year


Course progression requisites


Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Further information about placements can be found at Coursework Enrolment Policy.

Students may be required to undertake placements away from the campus at which they are enrolled at their own expense.

Special assessment requirements

Refer to Review of a Student’s Suitability to Continue a Course Involving Placement policy.

Professional accreditation requirements


Maximum allowed Pass Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

A student who has failed the final subject towards the award and who gained 40% or more of the marks for that subject, may be granted a supplementary examination in that subject. However if that subject is required for accreditation, then the criteria specified by that accreditation will apply.



Students may apply for credit transfer for previous tertiary study in accordance with the Credit Transfer Procedure.

Maximum allowed

24 credit points


Credit will be granted only for studies completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course.


Credit gained for any subject shall be cancelled 15 years after the date of the examination upon which the credit is based if, by then, the student has not completed this course.

Other restrictions


Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on testamur

Not applicable - this course does not have majors

Exit with lesser award

Not applicable

Course articulation

Not applicable

Annual Tuition Fee: $6,684. (Estimate only)

Student Services and Amenities fee is payable per subject up to a maximum amount per year.

A variety of Scholarships are available to suit different student types.

Consult the admission requirements section in the Handbook for prerequisites and pathways into this course.

Experience has no substitute

Find out how you can make a difference by studying Social Work. Hear from JCU staff and students about their experiences.