Master of Social Work - 2019

Postgraduate - Course

Commencement year

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2019 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.

Other commencement years for this course: 2018 and 2017

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


Dr Jennifer McConachy

Admission and fees


Course progression map

M6012 (pdf)

Course type

Master by coursework

Standard duration

2 years FT, 4 years PT

You 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 you 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 you 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 (

On completion of this course it is expected that you will be able to:

  1. 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
  2. apply the principles of social justice and human rights in your professional social work careers
  3. apply advanced knowledge of individual development and the impact of key life events on individual wellbeing
  4. analyse and evaluate ethical issues in practice and apply ethical decision-making frameworks
  5. critically analyse aspects of society, especially the impact on individual and community wellbeing of social, political and economic arrangements
  6. assess and critique the social welfare system, the law and concepts of power and oppression
  7. 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
  8. define and explore the requisite qualities for leadership roles in the social work and human services sector
  9. implement practice decisions based on critical reflection, research and analysis of current evidence
  10. demonstrate the skills and dispositions required for continuing professional development.

Mandatory Compliance

If you are undertaking a course with clinical or fieldwork placements you must demonstrate compliance with the following checks and requirements. For more information refer to the Mandatory ComplianceMandatory Compliance ( webpage and carefully read the Clinical/Fieldwork Placement HandbookClinical/Fieldwork Placement Handbook ( It is your responsibility to ensure that the correct documentation is obtained prior to commencing clinical/fieldwork placements.

Police checks

A current national and/or international Police check is required regarding suitability to undertake clinical/fieldwork placements.

Working with Children checks

A current Working with Children check is required regarding suitability to undertake clinical/fieldwork placements.

Immunisation and vaccination requirements

In accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations, this course requires that students comply with the faculty's Mandatory ComplianceMandatory Compliance ( requirements regarding immunisation and vaccination. These requirements are designed to provide maximum protection against the increased risk of some vaccine preventable diseases for students, patients and workers in health care settings.

You are required to have certain specified vaccinations and have your blood borne virus status determined, before commencement of clinical/fieldwork placement. Non-compliance of this requirement may result in the student being unable to undertake the clinical/fieldwork placement, with the attendant academic consequences. If you test positive to a blood borne virus (including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C) you 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. You 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 you 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 you 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 ( provides 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)

You must complete:

  • SWM5100 Social work: Fields of practice
  • SWM5101 Human rights, law and ethics contexts for social work practice
  • SWM5112 Research for social work practice (12 points)

Part B. Specialist social work practice (48 points)

You must 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)
  • SWM5113 Critical social work 3: Group work and social work leadership
  • 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.


Note: these units have an enrolment quota and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

  • SWM5120 Criminology and social work (12 points)
  • SWM5160Not offered in 2019 The child in society: Promoting children's well-being and responding to child maltreatment (12 points)
  • SWM5200 Social work in a hospital context (12 points)
  • SWM5220 Longevity and social work (12 points)
  • SWM5225 Family violence and social work practice (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)

You must 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 you from this unit.

Alternative exits

You may exit this course early and apply to graduate with the following award, provided you have satisfied the requirements for that award during your enrolment in this master's course:

  • Graduate Diploma of Health Studies after successful completion of 48 credit points of which 36 must be at level 4 or higher.

Progression to further studies

Successful completion of this course may provide a pathway to a higher degree by research if you have completed the SWM5170 Applied research study and SWM5112 Research for social work practice.