Master of Social Work

Graduate Diploma

The MSW and its component graduate diploma have been designed to develop and support the careers of social workers and social policy professionals, enabling students to evaluate existing social-work practice and provision, including their own, and to study and appraise alternative practices and theories as well as investigate the impact of various initiatives in social policy.

The program does not lead to accreditation as a social worker. Candidates interested in a graduate-level social work qualification should consult the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) pages.

Unique to Sydney Uni

By combining social work and social policy units of study, the MSW program gives intellectual rigour to its study of equity, social-justice and social-empowerment issues.

The program has a broad range of available areas of study, including:

  • specific population groups such as women, migrants and Aboriginal Australians

  • theories of social work practice

  • comparative studies of welfare policy and practice in a range of sociocultural settings (including Europe and Asia)

  • the history and theory of the welfare state.

As well, academic staff maintain a broad range of community involvements, including sitting on local, state and national advisory boards, serving on community welfare organisations' boards, and providing advice to a range of welfare agencies.

Entry requirements

To be accepted into the master's program at entry (graduate-diploma) level, applicants must have a Bachelor of Social Work degree or equivalent recognised by the Australian Association of Social Workers; and have been in full-time employment (or equivalent) in social work for at least one year.

Students who successfully complete the Graduate Certificate in Human and Community Services (GradCertH&CS) are eligible to apply for credit towards either level of the MSW program.

Please note that the Master of Social Work program is not a qualifying degree. Completion of this program will not enable graduates to be qualified as social workers in Australia.

Course structure

The units of study offered as part of the Graduate Diploma in Social Work are identical to those studied by candidates for the Master of Social Work. This ensures that graduate-diploma students will receive full credit for the units they have completed if they choose to enrol later in a master's program.

Completing four units of study from the electives' list as well as both core units constitutes a graduate diploma. Successfully completing six elective units in addition to the two core units is required for the award of a Master of Social Work.

Core units of study

All graduate-diploma and master's candidates must complete both of the following units of study.

Elective units of study

Graduate-diploma applicants must enrol in four of the following units; master's candidates, six.

Capstone units of study

Further study

Students undertaking the Master of Social Work are able to proceed to enrolment in a postgraduate research degree in social work on the basis of exemplary results in their studies.


Tuition fees vary according to whether the candidate is a local or international student and are reviewed annually. The most up-to-date estimate for the MSW articulated program course fees can be found under Fees & Admissions for the Master of Social Work in the Courses Online database. Comprehensive information about payment of international fees is available from the International Office fee-payment page.