Master of Social Work (Qualifying)
Duration: 2 years full-time/4 years part-time (domestic students only)
Delivery: On campus
Credit points: 96
CRICOS CODE: 102798H
Available to: Domestic (FEE-HELP) and International
IELTS: 7.0 with no band less than 6.5
Course accreditation: AASW (Provisionally accredited)*
AQF: Level 9
Tuition Fee: International students: $10,260 per semester/$41,040 total tuition fee
* The accreditation ascribed to a social work program that has not met one or more of the standards articulated in the ASWEAS and/or to a new program which has not yet delivered its first graduates. Provisional accreditation does not impact graduates of a course with this status. Graduates have the same eligibility and standing as graduates fully accredited programs. Source AASW.
The Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (MSW [Q]) is an Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) provisionally accredited qualification. It is an entry qualification into the social work profession and has been determined to meet the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS).
Social work is an academic practice-based profession that promotes social justice, inclusion and wellbeing. The MSW (Q) aims to produce graduates who are professionally competent, aware of socio-political realities in the human services and committed to social change through supporting and promoting the strengths of disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.
The course focuses on face-to-face small classes, and intensive interaction with fellow students and experienced social work academics. As social work engages with a changing world where social media, online material and interactivity are prevalent, student learning will also include blended learning technologies.
The learning will be delivered through: workshops; case studies; in-class exercises; experiential learning strategies; flipped classrooms; social work laboratory; written reports; oral presentations; blogs; essays; and research reports. Finally, students will explore social work practice through field education practicums.
Why study Social Work at Excelsia College:
- • A powerful, hands-on introduction to the world of social work.
- • Highly-qualified, friendly and experienced academic staff who are ready to help you on your journey.
- • Smaller class sizes where you are treated as more than just a number.
- • Study with a community of likeminded students.
- • Work placements give students hands-on experience (1000 hours in total, two of 500 hours) and professional skills in a range of settings (health, aged care, community services, child and family welfare, mental health, community work, research, policy and planning).
- • Course includes assisting students with locating professional practicums’ in agencies such as Anglicare, Catholic Care, Centrelink, Department of Community Services, Hospitals, Community Health Centres, Local Government, etc.
- • Prepare social work graduates to have a career locally, regionally and internationally.
Where this will take me
Once a social work student graduates, their career can change quite dramatically over the following five years. They could be working in the non-government community services sector, a private practice, or other faith-based agencies such as Catholic Care, Baptist Care and Wesley Mission. They could work in State government in family and children services, or in the hard edge of social work in child protection. A social worker’s healthcare area could include hospitals or community healthcare centres, the Department of Social Services or policy development roles.
What do our students say?
‘The Master of Social Work has brought me a lot of learning and personal and professional growth. Also, I feel very happy to be at Excelsia College, where the academic team is very good and support the students beyond expectations.’
Isabella Pezolato De Luca
Master of Social Work student
Year 1 Semester 1
Context for Social Work Practice
The unit explores the history of the social work profession in Australia and internationally and the purpose, practices and fields of practices of social work. The human service system and how it responds to social issues will also be examined as well as the different human services contexts to help students gain an understanding of the diverse and dynamic nature of social work. The unit provides an understanding of how different social policy responses are developed in relation to changing conceptions of social ‘problems’. The unit also focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ social issues, policy and service responses.
Diversity, Power and Identity in Social Work Practice
The unit focus is on exploring diversity and intersectionality in social work practice including the relationships between culture and language, gender and sexuality, and abilities. The unit’s underpinnings of social work practice are the principles of social justice and human rights and these are explored to enable students to investigate contemporary social issues and debates related to culture, language, disability, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and other categories of individual identity and collective belonging.
Social Work Practice in Groups and Communities
The unit explores social work practice in groups and communities. The theories and skills in group work are examined and developed with attention to therapeutic group work, self-help groups, teamwork and community organising. Students will explore the theoretical frameworks and practical skills for group and community work. The unit focuses on assessing the need for a group, understanding group formation, development and processes and closure.
Skills and Models of Intervention in Social Work Practice 1
The unit focus is on developing skills in working with service users and carers. This unit provides an initial overview of the perspectives of service users and carers and gives students an opportunity to develop an understanding of the needs and perspectives of service users and development of beginning skills of engagement with and empathy for key people in the sector. The students will develop skills in complex assessment, planning, and intervention with service users with high needs. Exploration of social work theories and practice frameworks will also be undertaken.
Year 1 Semester 2
Law, Accountability and Professional Judgement
The unit focuses on exploring the Australian legal system and the relationship between the law and social work. Areas of relevance to social work practice such as child wellbeing and safety, mental health, guardianship law, probation and parole, ageing and income security will be reviewed. The legal responsibilities of social work, particularly duty of care, will be explored, as will the issues of professional negligence, mishaps and misdeeds and the impact on accountability. Social workers are like other human service professionals required at times to appear before, and provide reports and other documents to bodies such as courts, complaints commissions, and human rights bodies.
Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing in Social Work Practice
The unit focus is on exploring a person’s psychosocial health and wellbeing across their life course and the interconnectedness of spiritual, mental, physical and environmental health and wellbeing. Attachment relationships and major life transitions are important topics for social work practice. The organisation of healthcare (physical and mental health and wellbeing) is dominated by medical discourses and the impact this has on personal and community healthcare needs is critically discussed. The importance of social determinants of health is essential to understanding the health and wellbeing of people and their communities. The relationship of physical environment and the impact on people and communities through climate change is critically examined.
Field Education Practicum 1
The unit provides professional social work experiences in a range of settings that may include health, aged care, community services, child and family welfare, mental health, community work, research, policy and planning. Through the field education practicum, students will integrate theory and practice and develop competencies in a variety of methods and fields of practice. The practice will be determined by the setting in which the student is placed. This is the first of two practicums designed to ensure that students meet the requirements of the AASW accreditation standards. The practicum consists of 500 hours.
Year 2 Semester 1
Child, Youth and Family Social Work Practice
The unit focus is on developing skills in working with children, youth and families. It considers challenges that children, young people and families may experience, including physical abuse, neglect, child sexual assault, emotional abuse, family violence, trauma, and poverty. Students will develop skills in complex assessment, planning and intervention with high need or complex service users. Protective factors and strengths of diverse families, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, are also explored. Services and organisations along a spectrum from prevention to treatment are identified and discussed.
Social Work Practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities
The unit has a focus on building skills and knowledge of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. Working with these communities is an important field of practice for social workers in community contexts as well as statutory ones. The unit critically analyses the history of the relationship between social work, human services and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples. Partnership models of helping are to be developed through collaboration and building skills in working with and engaging communities. This involves developing practice principles, strategies and skills.
Research and Evaluation in Social Work Practice
The unit builds upon research skills developed at the undergraduate level to focus on collaborative and community research processes and evaluation design. In particular it draws upon multi-method research design to develop research projects addressing social issues and problems at local, national and international level. Students will address the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ethical guidelines in developing projects with human participants.
Skills and Models of Intervention in Social Work Practice 2
The unit provides students with advanced practice approaches and skills in working with individuals, families and groups. Trauma-informed practice and narrative approaches are significant for social workers working across a variety of settings. Students will focus on clinical practice with individuals and/or families with trauma and abuse. Narrative therapy as a specifically developed social work intervention will be critically examined and the skills for this practice approach to working with individuals, and communities developed.
Year 2 Semester 2
Leadership, Organisational Practice and Policy Development in Social Work
The unit examines the nature and role of leadership in social work practice including leadership development and how students might develop leadership qualities in others, and themselves in all aspects of their practice. The unit also examines leadership in the context of the challenges that have confronted human service organisations. This unit will also develop students’ understanding of the organisational contexts in which their professional practice will take place. The role of social workers in a range of organisations will be explored, with students developing skills in areas such as organisational analysis and change.
Integrated Research Project
The unit focuses on completing a research project integrated with their final fieldwork placement. It builds upon the unit Research and Evaluation in Social Work Practice. Students will have worked through the phases of research, including topic selection, research design, ethics approval, and literature review in that unit. In this integrated project students will undertake data collection and analysis, writing up findings and a research paper ready for publication. The project will outline research methods and theoretical frameworks.
Field Education Practicum 2
The unit provides professional social work experiences in a range of settings that include health, aged care, community services, child and family welfare, mental health, community work, research, policy and planning. Through the field education practicum, students will integrate theory and practice and develop competencies in a variety of methods and fields of practice. The practice will be determined by the setting in which the student is placed. This is the final practicum and students must ensure that they meet the requirements of the AASW Practice Standards (2013) for entry-level proficiency. The practicum consists of 500 hours of which 100 hours will be involved in the Integrated Research Project.
Academic staff for social work
Professor in Social Work
Professor Peter Camilleri
Social Work Lecturer
Dr Penny Kansiime
Social Work Lecturer
Dr Shannon Said
Social Work Lecturer
Social Work Lecturer
Field Education Supervisor
Social Work Lecturer and Field Education Coordinator
Field Education Liaison Officer
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 Counselling (Bridging Course).
Criminal History Record: Provide a National Criminal History Record check at time of application obtainable from: nationalcrimecheck.com.au
Working with Children Check: Provide a Working with Children authorisation at time of application obtainable from: wwccheck.ccyp.nsw.gov.au/Applicants/Application
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.
|IELTS||7.0 with no band less than 6.5|
|TOEFL iBT (Internet-based)||94* with no score less than 20|
|PTE Academic||65 with no score less than 58|
For students undertaking English language proficiency tests other than IELTS please note AASW requirements below are required when applying for skills assessment:
• a minimum score of 7.0 is achieved in either one or two settings and
• a minimum score of 7.0 is achieved in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing and speaking) in a maximum of two sittings in a six-month period, and no component score is below 6.5. Where a component score falls below 6.5, the test would not be acceptable.
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 Application Guide for International Students.
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 International Student page
Recognition of Prior Learning
If the applicant is successful they will be issued an offer letter and a written agreement. Students will need to respond to the offer within 6 weeks. This is done online and a confirmation will be emailed back to the applicant. At this point, applicants are welcome to apply for Credit or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). If you are eligible for credit or RPL, you may be exempt from completing some units and you may be able to finish your degree in a shorter amount of time.
Please refer to the Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy reference.
Download the Student Selection and Admission Policy and Procedure.
PLEASE NOTE: IF UNABLE TO MEET THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS, PLEASE REFER TO the graduate Certificate in counselling (bridging course) on page 11 of the Course Brochure.