Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2012 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleBHlthSci/BSW
CRICOS code075624C
Total credit points required192
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Caulfield)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Telephone: +61 3 9903 1657, email: or visit

Course coordinator

Catherine Joyce


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • Full-time study only
  • This course requires students to undertake off-campus fieldwork placements.


NOTE: This course has had one or more changes made to it since publication on 1 October 2011. For details of change/s, please consult the change register at

This course equips students for careers in social work with specialised knowledge of the health and social care system.

All students undertake a foundation year in applied, social and health sciences. Study covers areas of research, communication, health systems, health promotion, and the determinants of health. Later-year core units include studies in epidemiology and public health, indigenous health and wellbeing, and health promotion, plus social work subjects.

Although the course is principally intended to prepare graduates for a career in social work, the health science major sequence completed by all students also provides a grounding in health promotion and community development and partnerships, and expands career options.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  • access, select, critically appraise, interpret and apply best available evidence to inform policy and practice
  • demonstrate understandings of human rights, justice and equity frameworks as tools for evaluating the effectiveness of public policy, programs and practice
  • describe the structure, function and biology of the human body, and explain the interface between disease processes and strategies for prevention and management
  • recognise local, national and global disparities in health status and the determinants of inequity
  • design effective health promoting interventions for communities, organisations and populations using theory and evidence to guide the selection of strategies and measurement of outcomes
  • build intersectoral coalitions and strategic alliances and work collaboratively in partnerships with other health professionals, consumers, communities, and organisations across multiple sectors to advance population health
  • demonstrate respect for diversity underpinned by a concern for equity, equality, humanity and social justice
  • interact sensitively, effectively, and in a professional manner with individuals and communities regardless of age, gender, cultural/ socioeconomic/educational/racial/ethnic background, or lifestyle preferences
  • integrate the principles and provisions of Indigenous ways of knowing and cultural safety into public health policies, program and services
  • demonstrate appropriate oral, written and IT skills, including the ability to present coherent arguments, negotiate effectively and manage conflict
  • understand and critically analyse the historical, political and social context of the social services
  • have an understanding of and be able to critically analyse the nature and role of social work, its values, ethical base, and sources of knowledge
  • understand, critically analyse, and apply a variety of social work theories and models of intervention to the solution of individual, family and community problems
  • understand and be able to apply an understanding of factors affecting people's functioning - their life stage, health, and mental health - to the solution of their problems
  • understand the organisational context of human services, how this affects the workings of human services, and how to develop and change organisations
  • have a beginning understanding of the processes of planning and evaluating the effectiveness of human services
  • demonstrate the skills to function as a graduate in employment in the human services
  • demonstrate understanding of themselves as individuals and as professionals, critically analyse the way their experiences can affect their work with clients, learn to handle these constructively, and learn to use their personal capacities effectively in helping clients resolve problems.

Special requirements

Police checks and Working with Children checks

Organisations that host clinical and community placements require students to have current Police and Working with Children checks regarding their suitability to undertake such placements. All enrolled and prospective students are advised that they will be required to obtain Police these checks prior to undertaking their course. Working with Children checks are valid for five years and are available free. Police checks must be applied and paid for annually, however, in some community-partnered programs there may be a requirement to have a police check renewed every six months

Health requirements

In order to meet health requirements for working in the healthcare facilities and for the protection of other students, and themselves, students may need to comply with certain precautionary procedures. These may consist of confidential tests for immune status (including blood tests and skin tests), receiving vaccines and having x-rays where the evidence indicates that these are appropriate.


The faculty recommends that all students accept responsibility for having up-to-date immunisations before commencing this course. Recommended immunisations include diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis and hepatitis B.


Fieldwork practice units

This course requires students to undertake off-campus fieldwork placements. In the fieldwork setting students will have an opportunity to apply theory to practice under supervision. Attendance is mandatory for the fieldwork component of each unit.

Where a student's skill or knowledge is found to be inadequate, access to the fieldwork component of the unit will be denied. A student may be withdrawn from a fieldwork practicum if required skills and knowledge are deemed inadequate, or on other grounds deemed appropriate by the head of school.

Fieldwork expenses

Students are responsible for all travel and accommodation expenses during fieldwork placement. Uniforms and accessories are required for clinical placements and students will be notified regarding purchase arrangements upon commencement.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers.


The normal pattern of study is 24 points per semester. Depending on the point value of units, this may equate to three or four units per semester, or in semesters where a field placement is undertaken, this is reduced to two units plus the placement.

The course is undertaken in the following sequence:

  • first year is comprised of health science units only
  • second year is comprised of five health science units and three social work units
  • third year includes three health science units (these complete the health science major sequence); the remainder are social work units (including the first field placement)
  • the final year is comprised of social work units only, including the second field placement.

All units are compulsory.


First year

Semester one

  • HSC1061 Data, evidence and critical thinking
  • HSC1101 Biological basis of health and disease 1
  • PSY1011 Psychology 1A
  • SWK1011 Introduction to human services practice

Semester two

  • HSC1052 Health and social care systems and policy
  • HSC1081 Foundations of public health
  • HSC1102 Biological basis of health and disease 2
  • HSC1112 Global health: Opportunities and challenges

Second year

Semester one

Semester two

  • HSC2022 Culture, society and health
  • HSC2051 Health program planning
  • HSC2141 Analysing patterns of health and disease
  • HSC3002 Health for all in a global world

Third Year

Semester one

  • HSC2062 Communicating health
  • HSC3011 Contemporary health challenges
  • SWK3400 Critical social work 1 - Individual and families: Context and practice

Semester two

  • SWK3180 Supervised professional practice 1
  • SWK3410 Critical social work 2: Community work, context and practice
  • SWK3440 Leadership in social work and human services

Fourth year

Semester one

  • SWK4030 Human rights, law and ethics contexts for social work practice
  • SWK4031 Working with complexity
  • SWK4400 Critical social work 3 - Group work: Context and practice
  • SWK4450 Social policy and social justice

Semester two

  • SWK4401 Critical social work 4 - Individual, health and society: Context and practice
  • SWK4560 Supervised professional practice 2


Bachelor of Social Work
Bachelor of Health Science