Graduate Diploma of Social Science

Graduate Diploma of Social Science

Graduate Diploma of Social Science

Duration: 1 year (2 semesters)
Intake: February and July
Delivery: On campus
Credit points: 48
Available to: Domestic and international
IELTS: 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
AQF: Level 8
Tuition Fee: Domestic students: $18,000 International students: $20,520

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Applicants who have been assessed for the MSW(Q) and require to complete the Graduate Diploma
for entry.

This unit focuses on introducing students to central concepts and theories in sociology and their relevance for social work. It provides for the use of critical thinking to explore social issues and how these impact service users. It introduces students to the founding theorists in sociology and the impact of these on our understanding of society. The unit explores our understanding of social stratification including key concepts of class, gender, ethnicity, family, youth, work etc. The key issues of poverty, diversity, crime, and deviance are explored in the unit. The importance of developing a ‘sociological imagination’ and how that transforms our understanding of our social world and what that means for social work is explored.  

The unit provides students with an introduction to psychology and the key theories central to social work practice. The importance of developmental psychology for social work is outlined. The unit also focuses on theory of life course, temperament, and attachment; learning theories (classical and operant conditioning) memory; personality; social psychology; motivation; and abnormal psychology.

This unit is to provide students with an introduction to the key social and political institutions in Australia. While Australia was in essence ‘born’ a modern democracy, becoming a nation on January 1, 1901, it had both a long history of Aboriginal sovereignty and colonial invasion. Australia developed its social and political institutions within the framework of British traditions, laws, and perspectives. Australia also borrowed heavily from other democracies, particularly the USA. The unit will examine the formal political institutions that characterise Australia, focusing on the Australian Constitution, Parliament, the High Court, role of the Governor-General, Federal–State relations, etc. It will also focus on the social institutions that provide the basic framework for our wellbeing – education, health, housing, social security, employment, personal and community security.

This unit is designed to introduce students to concepts of critical thinking and self-reflection in the context of social work. This unit will provide them with the skills, tools and sets of knowledge to understand, identify, and work through the cultural, gendered, and political framework which underpins the context of learning. Studying social work requires that students are able to utilise self-reflection and demonstrate awareness of this practice and how it impacts both their direct and indirect practice, how these practices enhance their learning and development, and how these practices steer them towards strategies for exploring complex ideas. The unit will specifically focus on the cultural and gender issues that exist in learning and will provide a forum for students to work through these in preparing for their social work course. Students will develop insight and specific skills to develop the ability to undertake both self-reflection and critical analysis.

Relational dynamics are at the heart of human engagement and communication and, from the earliest years, social workers and clients alike are influenced and affected by significant relationships in their lives. For this reason, processing adverse effects of relational experiences within the psychotherapeutic space is often central to client psychological health, wellbeing and recovery. Responding appropriately within the therapeutic space relies on social workers having developed a repertoire of interpersonal skills, and the ability to understand and conceptualise interactive processes, so as to effectively co-create and sustain safe therapeutic relationships. It is the ability to navigate their own and their clients’ relational histories which significantly contributes to client psychological health, wellbeing and recovery.

Across the lifespan humans grow and change, and an individual’s personal growth trajectory is affected by a range of developmental and sociocultural factors which, ideally and in combination, contribute to normative outcomes. Non-normative outcomes, where they occur, may be the result of genetic mutation or genetic variation, illness, disability, psychopathology, and/or the influence of a range of family, community and societal factors. Employing bio-psychosocial and sociocultural lenses, this unit introduces students to the major theories of human development, with an emphasis on the characteristic developmental changes in individual behaviour that arise from the interdependent and interactive effects of maturation and experience. Particular emphasis is given to the influence of environmental, societal and cultural factors on individual development and growth, enabling students to identify and understand the factors that may lead to perceived dysfunction, and a need to seek counselling to facilitate coping.

In this unit students learn how to ethically and responsibly manage this position, becoming conversant with all relevant regulatory codes and Australian legislative requirements that govern the health sector. They explore ethical principles in professional decision-making processes, reflect on the benefits of professional association membership, and are encouraged to be aware of, and thoughtful about, how their personal moral stance and ethical framework informs and influences their professional practice.

This special topic elective unit is a shell unit that gives the School flexibility to pick any topic of relevance. Introduction to Australian Society is the special topic for this stream.

Educational Prerequisites (DIRECT ENTRY)  

Applicants may be admitted to the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) if they have previously successfully completed a relevant bachelor (AQF Level 7) degree course that contains at least one year, or the equivalent (8 units) of full-time studies in the social and behavioural sciences, as required by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Units from the following broad fields may be considered:

• Psychology

• Sociology

• History

• Media and arts

• Community and welfare studies

• Human development

• Gender studies

• Nursing, allied health

• Anthropology

• Law

• Counselling

• Philosophy

• Politics


Educational Prerequisites (pathway ENTRY)  

Applicants may be admitted to the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) if they have successfully completed a relevant bachelor (AQF Level 7) degree course with 4 units from the above list and the Graduate Certificate in Social Science. 


Suitability Assessment

Criminal History Record: Provide a National Criminal History Record check at time of application obtainable from:

Working with Children Check: Provide a Working with Children authorisation at time of application obtainable from:

International Students

The Master of Social Work (Qualifying) is available to international students, subject to satisfying the aforementioned admission criteria. 

In addition to meeting the educational prerequisites above, international applicants who have not completed an educational qualification in English must provide proof of proficiency in English through internationally recognised tests such as IELTS or TOEFL, or through satisfactory completion of an approved course at one of the College’s partner language colleges.


Examination Minimum Score

IELTS: 6.5 with no band less than 6.0

OR meet the exemption requirement below

• Demonstration that you have been taught, assessed and completed all your secondary education in English in the nominated countries* AND successfully completed (with a pass grade or higher) the equivalent of three years or more full-time tertiary study (at bachelor degree level or higher) which was taught and assessed in English in nominated countries*

Nominated countries include:

• Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom or United States of America

The AASW reserves the right to ask an applicant to take the Academic IELTS examination if there is uncertainty about their level of English proficiency.

For other ways of demonstrating English Language Proficiency visit

Overseas students applying for admission to Excelsia College courses must have reached the age of 18 years by the commencement of their studies. Excelsia College will not admit overseas students who have not yet reached 18 years of age.

For more information visit the


Recognition of Prior Learning

Please refer to the Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy reference.

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