M6012 - Master of Social Work - 2017

Postgraduate - Course

Commencement year

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2017 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.

Course code


Credit points


Abbreviated title




Managing faculty

Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Admission and fees


Course type

Master by coursework

Standard duration

2 years FT, 4 years PT

Students have a maximum of 6 years to complete this course including any periods of intermission and suspension, and must be continuously enrolled throughout.

Mode and location

On-campus (Caulfield)

Off-campus (Caulfield)

This course requires students to undertake field education placements. Mandatory attendance is required by off-campus students for workshops held at the Caulfield campus.


Master of Social Work


The course includes studies in theory, skills development and supervised professional practice, and opportunities for group-based learning, community engagement, practice research and integration of social work theory and practice. Theoretical content builds on knowledge acquired by graduates in previous higher education, while social work skills components and professional practice introduce students to contemporary social work practice.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 9 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 9 and Monash Graduate Attributes (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/handbooks/alignmentofoutcomes.html).

On completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate the capacity to effectively apply the theory and practice of social work to assessment, intervention and evaluation and to research and social policy analysis
  • apply the principles of social justice and human rights in their professional social work careers
  • apply advanced knowledge of individual development and the impact of key life events on individual wellbeing
  • analyse and evaluate ethical issues in practice and apply ethical decision-making frameworks
  • critically analyse aspects of society, especially the impact on individual and community wellbeing of social, political and economic arrangements
  • assess and critique the social welfare system, the law and concepts of power and oppression
  • implement a broad range of interpersonal skills for effective engagement and social action that demonstrates respect for diverse Indigenous and other cultures, and engages sensitively and confidently with individuals, groups and communities in local, national and international social work contexts
  • define and explore the requisite qualities for leadership roles in the social work and human services sector
  • implement practice decisions based on critical reflection, research and analysis of current evidence
  • demonstrate the skills and dispositions required for continuing professional development.

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. Refer to the faculty's Police checksPolice checks (http://www.med.monash.edu.au/current/police-checks.html) webpage.

Working with Children checks

Students must have a current Working with Children check regarding their suitability to undertake placements. Refer to the faculty's Working with Children checksWorking with Children checks (http://www.med.monash.edu.au/current/wwc-check.html) webpage.

Immunisation and infection requirements

In accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations, this course requires that students comply with the faculty's Immunisation and vaccination policy and proceduresImmunisation and vaccination policy and procedures (http://www.med.monash.edu.au/current/immunisation/). These are designed to provide maximum protection against the increased risk of some vaccine preventable diseases for students, patients and workers in a health care setting.

This policy, and the associated procedures require that students have certain specified vaccinations, and have their blood borne virus status determined, before they commence a clinical placement. Students who have not complied with this policy may not be able to undertake clinical placement, with the attendant academic consequences.

Prospective students are provided detailed information on the effect of blood borne virus infection on the scope of practice of health care workers. Students who test positive to a blood borne virus (including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C) will be required to consult a specialist medical practitioner approved by the faculty to provide advice on any necessary restrictions on work practices to protect patients and others from infection.

Professional recognition

The course is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), including 1000 hours of supervised professional practice. Graduates are eligible to gain accreditation with AASW.


The course is structured in three parts: Part A. Foundations for social work, Part B. Specialist social work practice and Part C. Advanced application in social work.

Part A. Foundations for social work

These studies will provide an orientation to the field of social work at graduate level.

They will provide an overview of the context of social work practice, the social justice principles, the international human rights regime and foundations of the Australian legal system framework within which social work is practised, so that you will understand the link between social policy and the goals of social work. It introduces you to social work theory and social work practice skills.

Part B. Specialist social work practice

These studies provide students with skills and knowledge to work effectively in social work practice in the health and mental health field, working with people at all stages of life. It provides students with social work theory and practice skills and covers risk and protective factors at individual, family and community level. It includes the role of social policy and principles and the link between social work principles and methods. Selected students have the opportunity to complete a research project that can provide a pathway to a higher degree by research (PhD).

Part C. Advanced application in social work

The focus of these studies is professional or scholarly work that can contribute to a portfolio of professional development. You will complete a program of supervised professional practice involving advanced study and an industry experience.


The course comprises 96 points structured into three parts: Part A. Foundations for social work (24 points), Part B. Specialist social work practice (48 points) and Part C Advanced application in social work (24 points).

The course progression mapcourse progression map (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2017handbooks/maps/map-m6012.pdf) will assist you to plan to meet the course requirements, and guidance on unit enrolment for each semester of study.

Units are 6 credit points unless otherwise stated.

Part A. Foundations for social work (24 points)

Students complete:

  • SWM5100 Social work: Leading sustainable change
  • SWM5101 Human rights, law and ethics contexts for social work practice
  • SWM5112 Social work research (12 points)

Part B. Specialist social work practice (48 points)

Students complete:

  • SWM5102 Critical social work 1: Frameworks for practice with children and families (12 points)
  • SWM5104 Critical social work 2: Frameworks for practice in health and mental health (12 points)
  • SWM5106 Critical social work 3: Community engagement group project
  • SWM5109 Critical social work 4: Social policy, social change and community practice
  • SWM5170 Applied research study* (12 points) or 12 points of elective study chosen from the elective list below

* Enrolment in this unit is subject to a quota.


  • SWM5120 Criminology and social work (12 points)
  • SWM5160 The child in society: Promoting child well-being and responding to child maltreatment (12 points)
  • SWM5220 Longevity and social work (12 points)
  • SWM5241 Mental health practice (12 points)
  • SWM5260 Social work in post-disaster site (12 points)

Note: not all units are offered in each semester or year.

Part C. Advanced application in social work (24 points)

Students complete:

  • SWM5003 Planning for supervised professional practice 1 (0 points)
  • SWM5103 Supervised professional practice 1** (12 points)
  • SWM5008 Planning for supervised professional practice 2 (0 points)
  • SWM5108 Supervised professional practice 2 (12 points)

** Recognition of prior learning may be granted for previous practice experience and may exempt the student from this unit.

Progression to further studies

Students who have completed SWM5170 (Applied research study) will be eligible to apply to undertake a master's by research degree or a doctorate (PhD).