Degree details

The Master of Social Work provides graduates with a postgraduate professional social work qualification that will allow them entry into the profession. It is specifically designed for graduates holding degrees with specified social and behavioural science components. Students who have already completed a Bachelor of Social Work are not eligible to apply.

Graduates are likely to be employed in a variety and range of settings and contexts including government and non-government agencies in a range of health and human service sectors.

This degree prepares graduates for practice in a range of social work roles including working with individuals, groups and families, community work, advocacy, research, planning and policy development and management and administration. The frameworks for practice embedded in the program are designed to ensure graduates are effective, ethical and innovative thinkers, communicators, problem-solvers, change facilitators and leaders.

There are career opportunities for social workers in government, non-government and private sector agencies with jobs in hospital and community health settings, youth work, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, child and family welfare, child protection, youth and adult offending, employment and income support, aged care, community development, family support, disability services, services for women, multicultural services and many other social welfare organisations.

Enrolled students and graduates of this program will be eligible to apply for registration with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) subject to meeting any additional requirements that may be stipulated by the AASW.

Professional recognition

This program is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) 

Higher education

To be eligible for admission to the Master of Social Work, a student must hold a relevant three-year degree in a related field (other than social work)* which includes at least one year of full-time studies in social sciences (studies of the individual and society) or equivalent.

* This includes programs in human services, social sciences, behavioural sciences, counselling and psychological sciences.

Note: Applicants are not permitted to defer an offer. Should you be unable to accept an offer, you must re-apply for entry in the following year.

English Proficiency Requirements

English language requirements apply to International applicants and other applicants whose previous study was undertaken in a language other than English. The minimum English language requirements for such applicants for entry to these programs are as follows:

A minimum overall band score of 7.0 on IELTS (Academic) with no sub-score of less than 7.0

English test results must be no more than two years old.

Students who successfully complete the Direct Entry Program (DEP) will satisfy the English Language requirements for this Griffith degree.

Graduates from a non-English speaking background should be aware that an IELTS score of 7.0 with no sub-score less than 7.0 is required for eligibility for membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

On campus requirements

In accordance with AASW on-campus requirements, students must attend a total of 20 days on-campus throughout the entirety of the Master of Social Work program.

This program requirement can be achieved by attending the 10 day compulsory intensive in 7060HSV Foundations of Social Work Practice as well as the 5 day compulsory intensive in 7063HSV Critical Reflective Practice in Social Work and one of the following 5 day, on-campus, undergraduate units:

  • 3007HSV Ethics and Professional Practice
  • 3020HSV Counselling Individuals and Families
  • 3023HSV Working with Family Violence
  • 3024HSV Contemporary Issues in Ageing

Note: Students are only permitted to undertake one undergraduate unit in the Master of Social Work. Once intensive dates are confirmed for the year, students will be notified.

The Program commences with an introductory unit 7060HSV Foundations of Social Work Practice which is offered in Sessions 2 (July) and 3 (November) of each year. The introductory unit (7060HSV) includes a compulsory two week, ten-day face-to-face intensive at Griffith's Gold Coast campus. The focus of the intensive is to assess a student's interpersonal communication skills in preparation for their subsequent practical placement. An additional unit intensive (of 5 days) will need to be completed through the choice of an on campus unit as listed below:

  • 3007HSV Ethics and Professional Practice
  • 3020HSV Counselling Individuals and Families
  • 3023HSV Working with Family Violence
  • 3024HSV Contemporary Issues in Ageing

Note: Students are only permitted to undertake one undergraduate unit in the Master of Social Work. A one week on-campus intensive is part of the final unit, 7063HSV Critical Reflective Practice in Social Work. Intensives are compulsory and are required as part of the accreditation standards.

Students must pass the introductory unit 7060HSV Foundations of Social Work Practice to continue in the program and undertake the practicum unit 7034HSV (HSV7034) Social Work Field Placement 1. The face-to-face intensive will provide students with an invaluable opportunity to meet and network with their student cohort, lecturers and industry practitioners.

Session 2 (July-Oct) intensive is scheduled in approx. October each year.

Session 3 (Nov-Feb) intensive is scheduled in approx. January of each year.

Practicum placement

The Master of Social Work Degree contains two Field Placement units. Students must complete all requirements for the field placements as outlined by Griffith University. The first preparation for field placement requirements are completed during the same period as enrolment in 7060HSV Foundations of Social Work Practice, (prior to enrolling in the field placement units).

The OUA website refers to these units as Field Placement 1: HSV7034 and Field Placement 2: HSV7044, however on the Griffith University website you will find these are referred to as 7034HSV and 7044HSV. These units are designated units for the purpose of exclusion. If a students fails either of these units they may be excluded from the course.

7034HSV- Social Work Field Placement 1 (refer to HSV7034 on OUA website)

Situated near the beginning of the course is a designated course for the purpose of exclusion. Students who do not pass this unit may be excluded from the course. Field Placement 1 requires students to complete a minimum of 500 hours of placement, ie. 500 hours of on-site practice with a social work qualified field supervisor in a suitable human service organisation/agency.

Placement within an organisation/agency fulfilling a social work type role

Field Placement 1 can be completed within a student's current place of work if the workplace meets strict requirements as per accreditation standards. If you are interested in finding out more about a work based placement, please enquire about this once registration for preparation for placement has begun, (during completion of the introductory course).

Students can also apply for a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to reduce the time of their field placement based on previous work experience in the field (work experience must be equivalent to 5 years or more and have been completed within the last 10 years). Again, this can be applied for once you have commenced the Master of Social Work degree.

7044HSV- Social Work Field Placement 2 (refer to HSV7044 on OUA website)

Situated at the end of the course and a designated course for the purpose of exclusion. Students who do not pass this unit may be excluded from the program. Field Placement 2 requires students to complete a minimum of 500 hours ie. 500 hours of on-site practice with a social work qualified field supervisor in a suitable human service organisation/agency.

Placement within an organisation/agency fulfilling a social work type role

Recognition of prior learning can not be applied for in Field Placement 2.

The Field Placement course convenors will work with students to arrange suitable field placement positions before the beginning of enrolment in the Field Placement units.

Griffith University grants credit and recognition of prior learning which may relate to prior formal learning or prior informal and non-formal learning. For more information, please visit the following website:

Award Requirements

To be eligible for the award of Master of Social Work (MSocW), a student must acquire 180 credit points as prescribed below:

  • Generalist Practice pathway:
    • gain 170 credit points for core courses and
    • gain 10 credit points for a listed elective course.
  • Dissertation pathway:
    • gain 150 credit points for core courses and
    • gain 30 credit points for the research dissertation courses.