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Social Work Education in Australia

IMG_8182I have been quite fortunate to travel to Australia multiple times, first during the SWSD Conference in Melbourne in 2014 and second time during grading retreat in 2017. I have visited  Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Gold Coast while meeting with social work educators and learning about Schools of Social Work in Australia. Special thanks to Drs. Lorraine Muller and Jim Ife as I was able to meet with them a number of times during my visits to Australia and learn a lot about current issues in Australian social work education. I also had an honour to learn from Jim’s (Community development in an uncertain world) and Lorraine’s (A theory of Indigenous Australian health and human service work) books and highly recommend them to my students.


My original connection with Australia started in 2001 when Dr. Yaro Starak taught our group of social workers in Lviv NationalPolytechnic University the Human Behavior and Social Environment course (first photo). During my second visit to Australia I was able to reconnect with Yaro in Brisbane (second photo) and had a  great discussion on development of social work education in Ukraine (still need to map all Schools in my birth country).

Here is the list of 30 Schools of Social Work in Australia:

Name of the University Website
AUS Australian Catholic University http://www.acu.edu.au/courses/undergraduate/social_work
AUS Australian College of Applied Psychology https://www.acap.edu.au/courses/social-work/
AUS Central Queensland University https://www.cqu.edu.au/courses/study-areas/psychology,-social-work-and-community-services/undergraduate/bachelor-of-social-work
AUS Charles Darwin University http://www.cdu.edu.au/health/social-work
AUS Charles Sturt University https://arts-ed.csu.edu.au/schools/humss/research#horizontalTab4
AUS Curtin University http://courses.curtin.edu.au/course_overview/undergraduate/social-work
AUS Deakin University http://www.deakin.edu.au/course/bachelor-social-work
AUS Edith Cowan University http://www.ecu.edu.au/degrees/courses/bachelor-of-social-work
AUS Federation University Australia https://study.federation.edu.au/#/course/DHW9
AUS Flinders University http://www.flinders.edu.au/sabs/ssps/social-work/
AUS Griffith University https://www2.griffith.edu.au/study/health/social-work
AUS James Cook University https://www.jcu.edu.au/college-of-arts-society-and-education/social-work
AUS La Trobe University http://www.latrobe.edu.au/courses/social-work
AUS Monash University https://www.monash.edu/medicine/spahc/socialwork
AUS Queensland University of Technology https://www.qut.edu.au/health/about/schools/school-of-public-health-and-social-work
AUS RMIT University https://www.rmit.edu.au/study-with-us/community-services/social-work
AUS Southern Cross University https://www.scu.edu.au/school-of-arts-and-social-sciences/social-welfare-and-social-work/
AUS The University of Queensland https://health.uq.edu.au/study/social-work
AUS University of the Sunshine Coast https://www.usc.edu.au/learn/courses-and-programs/bachelor-degrees-undergraduate-programs/bachelor-of-social-work
AUS The University of Western Australia http://www.sph.uwa.edu.au/home/social-work-policy
AUS University of Melbourne http://healthsciences.unimelb.edu.au/departments/socialwork
AUS University of New England http://www.une.edu/socialwork
AUS University of Newcastle https://www.newcastle.edu.au/about-uon/governance-and-leadership/faculties-and-schools/faculty-of-education-and-arts/school-of-humanities-and-social-science
AUS University of New South Wales https://socialsciences.arts.unsw.edu.au/disciplines/social-work/about/
AUS University of South Australia http://www.unisa.edu.au/School-of-Psychology-Social-Work-and-Social-Policy/
AUS University of Sydney http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/
AUS University of Tasmania http://www.utas.edu.au/social-sciences/social-work
AUS University of Wollongong https://socialsciences.uow.edu.au/has/UOW199132.html
AUS Victoria University https://www.vu.edu.au/courses/bachelor-of-social-work-absw
AUS Western Sydney University https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/school-of-social-sciences-and-psychology/ssap/course_areas/community_and_social_work

The development of social work profession and education in Australia is well documented.

The Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS) set the principles and graduate attributes for social work education in Australia. They are the criteria for the Australia Association of Social Workers (AASW) accreditation of professional social work courses across the country. The current accreditation standards are under revisions and all updates are posted online. One can also found online the list of all social work accredited programs.

Discussion Paper prepared for the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission Social Work Education on Professional Development and Registration: perspectives, issues and implications also lists all the Schools of Social Work in Australia and provides brief overview of each school as well as current research on social work in South Australia.

An excellent book by Lawrence, R. J. (2016). Professional social work in Australia. ANU PPress is fully available online and provides “the first historical account of the social work profession in Australia. It traces the development of social work education and professional social work in the larger, more industrialised societies overseas before the same developments began in Australia in the late 1920s, and it notes the part played by overseas influence in the subsequent 30-odd years”.

Another article by Mendes, P. (2005). The history of social work in Australia: A critical literature reviewAustralian Social Work58(2), 121-131. Is a helpful resource to learn about “both the strengths in the existing literature, and also to the major gaps in our knowledge of social work practice, education, activism and professional organisations in Australia”.  All issues of Australian Social Work journal is also available online.

Careerfaqs.com.ua provides a helpful resource on how to become a social worker in Australia. The website emphasize that “social workers play a variety of roles in the community working with people to improve their wellbeing. This can include individuals, families or groups. They can be employed in a variety of fields, such as child welfare, education, health, the justice sector or disability services. These roles are typically found with government agencies, in private practice or in the not-for-profit sector. In Australia, to work as a social worker, you will need a Bachelor of Social Work or a Masters of Social Work degree”. It also lists all the key resources for social workers in all parts of Australia.

I will keep updated the post and adding relevant resources related to social work education in Australia.



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