Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2013 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.

print version

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and 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

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine: telephone +61 3 9903 1657; email

Course coordinator

Associate Professor 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.


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.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that graduates will be able to:

  • access, critically appraise, interpret and apply the best available evidence to the professional practice of public health and social work
  • recognise and respect social and cultural diversity, and apply the skills and resources required for working across diverse populations in global and Australian contexts
  • develop, implement and evaluate public health programs
  • identify and explain the determinants of illness, health, wellbeing and functioning
  • enact the principles of social justice and human rights in their professional social work careers
  • engage sensitively and confidently with individuals, groups and communities in local, national, and international social work contexts
  • employ outstanding interpersonal skills for effective engagement and social action
  • incorporate knowledge of the social welfare system, the law, and concepts of power and oppression into the social work approach
  • apply sophisticated knowledge of individual development, and the impact of key life events on individual wellbeing, in social work practice
  • critically analyse aspects of society, especially the impact of social, political and economic arrangements on individual and community wellbeing
  • demonstrate competence in the theory and practice of social work assessment, intervention and evaluation individuals, families, groups, communities and organisations
  • demonstrate professional skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, working in a team, operating from an ethical framework, reflective practice and ongoing professional development.

Maximum credit allowed

144 credit points.

Special requirements

Students must refer to the information available on the special requirements outlined below. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they have the correct documentation.

Police checks

Students must have a current Police check regarding their suitability to undertake placements. Information available at

Working with Children checks

Students must have a current Working with Children check regarding their suitability to undertake placements. Information available at

Immunisation and infection procedures

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. Information available at


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.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers. Graduates qualify for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Graduates of this course are eligible to join the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Health Promotion Association and the Australian Epidemiology Association.


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 six health science units, one social work unit and one psychology unit
  • second year is comprised of six health science units and two social work units
  • third year includes two 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

  • HSC2062 Communicating health
  • HSC2101 Health promotion: Global and local
  • SWK3220 Social work in globalised world
  • SWK3230 Social work research

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

  • HSC3011 Contemporary health challenges
  • HSC3041 Disease prevention and control
  • 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 and community engagement: 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 Health Science
Bachelor of Social Work