Master of Social Work

Graduate Diploma

The Master of Social Work (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. Applicants 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

Applicants must have a Bachelor of Social Work or equivalent qualification 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 is not a qualifying degree. Completion of this course does not enable graduates to qualify as social workers in Australia.

Course structure

Master’s candidates are required to complete eight units of study, including:

  • two core units; and
  • one capstone unit.

Graduate Diploma candidates are required to complete six units of study, including:

  • two core units.

Core units of study

Elective units of study

Capstone units of study

Master’s candidates are required to complete either SCWK6908 (6 credit points) or the Dissertation (12 credit points), normally in the final semester of enrolment. Candidates must have departmental permission to enrol in Dissertation units.

Further study

Students who complete the Master of Social Work with sufficient merit may apply to proceed to a higher degree by research.


Tuition fees vary according to a candidate’s residency status and are reviewed annually. Details on course fees can be found on the Master of Social Work entry in the Sydney Courses database. General information regarding international student fees is available here.