Over two years you will enrol in 175 points of coursework subjects and 50 points of field education subjects. You will undertake four theory subjects totaling 50 credit points per semester in your first year. At mid-year you will undertake a block of supervised field placement of 500 hours (approx. 67 days) duration, worth 25 credit points. In the second year you will undertake three theory subjects totaling 37.5 credit points per semester with a mid-year block of supervised field placement, also of 500 hours (approx. 67 days) duration worth 25 credit points. In the final semester one subject is an elective subject. By completing 25 credit points of research (taken in the MSW as Researching Social Work Practice 1 and 2), you are eligible to apply for the PhD directly after your MSW.
Degree structure (full-time enrolment)
Not all elective subjects will be available every year. Some may be on a two year cycle. Students may vary their course plans by negotiation with the Course Coordinator if they wish to undertake a specific elective subject.
The 2018 academic calendar for the Master of Social Work is available here.
|Year 1 - Semester 1|
|Counselling and Interviewing SkillsCore||12.5|
Counselling and Interviewing Skills
This subject provides students with an introduction to the microskills of interpersonal communication for professional practice. It is an experiential subject designed to prepare students for entry into supervised agency-based practice. The subject focuses on the development of communication, basic interviewing and counselling, and critical self-reflection skills, for application in a variety of social work contexts. Cultural diversity is explored throughout. In addition to large group discussions and exercises, students engage weekly in role plays and videoed interviews to develop specific micro-skills - in particular, the skills of engaging, attending, listening, questioning, and respon...
Detailed Information SCWK90053
|Lifespan Risk and ResilienceCore||12.5|
Lifespan Risk and Resilience
This subject examines the ways in which social work understands the inner and outer world dimensions of human vulnerability, adaptation and resilience across the lifespan. The usefulness of theories of grief, stress and trauma for understanding individuals’ capacity for coping with adversity is examined critically, as are understandings of diversity.
Detailed Information SCWK90064
|Social Policy for Social Work PracticeCore||12.5|
Social Policy for Social Work Practice
This subject will give students a foundational understanding of the policy context in which they live and practice and develop their capacity to critically read, analyse and evaluate the impact of policy in everyday lives. It will introduce the domain of public policy making and sensitise students to the inherently contested nature of political decision-making regarding the allocation and distribution of resources. It will give an overview of the current workfare paradigm and regime and place this in international and historical perspective. It will introduce key concepts and intellectual debates in contemporary social policy and provide a framework for policy analysis that can be used in...
Detailed Information SCWK90065
|Social Work Theory and PracticeCore||12.5|
Social Work Theory and Practice
The aim of this subject will be to enhance the theoretical and skill base of direct practice in social work. Emphasis will be given to innovative and advanced approaches in line with recent developments in professional practice with individuals. The subject will be taught using interactive groups as well as formal lectures. This will enable students to participate in an opportunity to integrate and advance theoretical and practice knowledge in relation to an evidence base for psychosocial practices in the field. Lecture topics will include an appraisal of professional expertise in social work, psychosocial assessment and the therapeutic alliance. New developments in key direct practice ap...
Detailed Information SCWK90066
|Year 1 - mid year|
|Supervised Field Placement 1ACore||12.5|
Supervised Field Placement 1A
This agency-based supervised placement subject provides an intense practice learning experience. It provides students with opportunities for both professional learning and development and workplace preparation. Students will learn to integrate theory and practice. They will develop practice skills, increase their knowledge of the interface between policy, research and evidence-based practice and increase their understanding of the organisational context of policy and practice. This subject requires students to attend university and agency-based preparation seminars, early placement seminars and an integration seminar and complete the first 34 days of the first professional placement requi...
Detailed Information SCWK90048
|Supervised Field Placement 1BCore||12.5|
Supervised Field Placement 1B
This agency-based supervised placement subject provides an intensive practice learning experience. It provides students with opportunities for both professional learning and development and workplace preparation. Students will learn to integrate theory and practice. They will develop practice skills, increase their knowledge of the interface between policy, research and evidence-based practice and increase their understanding of the organisational context of policy and practice. This subject requires students to attend university and agency-based preparation seminars, early placement seminars and an integration seminar and complete the second 35 days of the first professional placement re...
Detailed Information SCWK90049
|Year 1 - Semester 2|
|Assessing Risk and VulnerabilityCore||12.5|
Assessing Risk and Vulnerability
This subject critically examines perspectives on risk and vulnerability relating to a range of psychosocial issues – mental health, child abuse and family violence, substance abuse, disability and chronic illness. These experiences will be critiqued using a number of perspectives – including epidemiological, consumer, human rights and social constructivist perspectives. The implications for social work assessment and practice will be explored.
Detailed Information SCWK90054
|Legal and Ethical Contexts of PracticeCore||12.5|
Legal and Ethical Contexts of Practice
This subject provides an overview of social work ethics and the Australian and Victorian legal systems. It explores values and principles upon which human services law and social work ethics are based. The subject examines current legal and practice issues which practitioners can expect to encounter in such practice areas as child protection, family law, domestic violence, mental health, guardianship, and working with refugees.
Detailed Information SCWK90055
|Social Work Practice: Indigenous PeoplesCore||12.5|
Social Work Practice: Indigenous Peoples
This subject is designed to introduce students to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the context of social work responses. The subject begins with an overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, including pre-contact, colonisation and contemporary developments. Specific attention will be paid to engaging communities - including practice principles, strategies and skills. This subject will emphasise the importance of critical self reflection.
Detailed Information SCWK90063
|Researching Social Work Practice 1Core||12.5|
Researching Social Work Practice 1
The aim of the subject is to familiarise students with a range of approaches useful for researching social work practice. In this subject “practice” is defined broadly to encompass policy and organizational practice as well as practice with individuals, groups and communities.Social work research methods are used in all aspects of social work practice from describing and attempting to understand the issues with which, and the people with whom we work, to establishing the effectiveness of what we do. There is increasingly an emphasis on evidence-based practice, which necessitates an ability to evaluate and use research evidence to inform practice. Social workers move in increasing numbers ...
Detailed Information SCWK90069
|Year 2 - year long|
|Researching Social Work Practice 2Core||12.5|
Researching Social Work Practice 2
This subject builds on the theoretical and skill base of SCWK50001 Researching Social Work Practice, with students learning to apply the research method of a scoping review. Students will be encouraged to select a field of social work practice of interest, and to explore, organise and develop an overview of the existing published evidence base. This subject will introduce students to each phase of the research method, including establishing a research question, identifying relevant studies, selecting appropriate studies and collating summarizing and reporting the results of the review of literature. The subject concludes with a focus on preparing research findings for publication in a pee...
Detailed Information SCWK90058
|Year 2 - Semester 1|
|Engaging with FamiliesCore||12.5|
Engaging with Families
This subject introduces students to family-centered practice and engaging with families across the life course. Theories of family engagement are explored in the context of contemporary social work practice. The course will have a particular emphasis on the development of practice skill.
Detailed Information SCWK90059
|Working with Groups and CommunitiesCore||12.5|
Working with Groups and Communities
This subject is designed to introduce students to social work practice with groups and communites. The subject begins with an overview of group and community work practices, showing how historical context has affected use of the different methods of social work. The subject then examines theoretical frameworks for working with groups and communities, explores group and community work practices within current policy and government program contexts and features presentations from practitioners from a range of practice settings.
Detailed Information SCWK90057
|Year 2 - mid year|
|Supervised Field Placement 2ACore||12.5|
Supervised Field Placement 2A
This agency-based supervised placement subject provides an intensive practice learning experience. It provides students with opportunities for both professional learning and development and workplace preparation. Students will learn to integrate advanced theory with practice. They will further develop and consolidate practice skills, increase their knowledge of the interface between policy, research and evidence-based practice and increase their understanding of the organisational context of policy and practice. This subject requires students to attend university and agency-based preparation seminars, early placement seminars and integration seminars and complete the first 35 days of the ...
Detailed Information SCWK90050
|Supervised Field Placement 2BCore||12.5|
Supervised Field Placement 2B
This agency-based supervised placement subject provides an intensive practice learning experience. It provides students with opportunites for both professional learning and development and workplace preparation. Students will learn to integrate advanced theory with practice. They will further develop and consolidate practice skills, increase their knowledge of the interface between policy, research and evidence-based practice and increase their understanding of the organisational context of policy and practice. This subject requires students to attend university and agency-based preparation seminars, early placement seminars and integration seminars and complete the second 35 days of the ...
Detailed Information SCWK90051
|Year 2 - Semester 2|
|Program Planning and EvaluationCore||12.5|
Program Planning and Evaluation
This course introduces a number of approaches to program planning and evaluation, and highlights both practical aspects of the program design and evaluation process, and more conceptual or theoretical aspects.
Detailed Information SCWK90056
|Working in Human Service OrganisationsCore||12.5|
Working in Human Service Organisations
This subject aims to give students an appreciation of the nature of human service organisations as a context, vehicle and target of social work interventions. Several theoretical perspectives on human service organisations will be explored and students will be introduced to a number of specific dimensions useful in understanding organisations, like goals, mission, technology and culture. They will also examine the different ways in which such organisations are structured for line and task accountability and what difference the overall size of the organisation makes for both workers and clients. The environment in which an organisation operates and its inter-organisational field are of inc...
Detailed Information SCWK90070
|Year 2 - Semester 2 - Elective Subjects|
|Ageing Health & Human ServicesCore||12.5|
Ageing Health & Human Services
This course explores the interface of policy and practice in the delivery of aged care services. The responses to policy shifts in aged care over time will be explored. The course will then focus on the present day impact of health care, mental health, income security, housing, and employment, educational and recreational policies on the delivery of services to older citizens collectively and as individuals. Case studies will be used to illustrate both the theoretical and practical aspects of designing and delivering services.
Detailed Information POPH90267
|Child and Family WelfareCore||12.5|
Child and Family Welfare
Child and family welfare is a long established major field of practice for professional social workers. This subject, delivered predominantly online, offers flexibility and opportunities for self-directed learning. The subject gives students a foundation for social work practice in the field of services to children at risk of harm, and their families and carers. It uses a framework for understanding and responding to the child in the family, network and community. The subject pays particular attention to the theoretical and practical aspects of understanding and responding to risk and serious harm to children. It considers state-level, national and international approaches to protecting c...
Detailed Information SCWK90039
|Social Work Practice: Mental HealthCore||12.5|
Social Work Practice: Mental Health
This subject focuses on social work practice in the mental health field. Topics covered include the nature of mental illness and how consumers, their relatives and friends experience it, and contemporary approaches to treatment and recovery, including trauma-informed practice. Also, examined are the national and state policy context, how services are organised and the particular contributions of social work practitioners within the different settings that they operate. The elective will utilise guest speakers to provide practitioner and consumers perspectives.
Detailed Information SCWK90038