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Social Work Degrees: Online Courses in Australia

You can study a social work degree online for the most part. Courses to become a social worker include work placements and occasional on-campus sessions. Other courses are fully online.

Young woman looking up at a social worker or case worker

Why study social work online? Studying online is the easiest way to complete the academic parts of a social work degree. Convenient, flexible distance education courses allow you to complete knowledge units anywhere, anytime.

You can’t complete a professional degree and become a social worker just through online study. It’s social work after all. Work placements are an essential component by law. But mostly online courses are available across Australia.

Australian universities offers professional courses that combine online study with on-campus sessions. Through mixed-mode study, complete a professional, accredited degree and become qualified to do social work. Distance learning students might attend a multi-day residential school just once per term.

A Career Serving Your Community

Smiling woman with glasses clutching laptop and tablet

If you want to be a social worker in Australia, know that this can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career choice. Doing social work is satisfying for people who are passionate about helping others and making a positive impact on their community.

Social workers play a vital role in helping people, whether they're individuals, families or communities, to overcome challenges and improve well-being. You may support and counsel people dealing with psychological issues, addiction, poverty, homelessness, and other problems.

As a case worker or similar, you may support vulnerable people, such as children and young people, older adults, and people with disabilities. Social workers may also advocate for policy changes to improve lives. Overall, this kind of work is about aiding individuals but also lessening community inequalities and improving social justice.

Bachelor of Social Work Courses Online

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A Bachelor of Social Work gives you the knowledge and hands-on experience to become a professional social worker. The four-year degree is open to first-time university students.

Included in all accredited programs is a mandatory field education component of 1,000 hours, split between two placements in approved social welfare agencies. Students gain practical experience in the field, often within a reasonable distance of home. Upon successful completion, the degree is recognised by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

Charles Sturt University

The Bachelor of Social Work from CSU is available on-campus or online. Attendance at intensive schools is required for some online subjects. The program includes 1000 hours of supervised workplace experience, where students observe, question, and model professional social work behavior. Topics include child protection, cross-cultural and Indigenous studies, ethics, human rights, law, mental health, psychology, social policy, and sociology. Campuses are located in Dubbo, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga. The minimum ATAR for this course is 65.


CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Social Work is a four-year program that will develop your understanding of the methods and values of the social work profession. Students complete two field education placements where you apply your developing knowledge and skills to real-world cases. The course can be studied at campuses in Bundaberg and Rockhampton and through distance education. Residential schools are held at different Queensland locations. A minimum of 20 days of attendance are required throughout the course.

Deakin University

Deakin University’s four-year Bachelor of Social Work is offered in Geelong (Waterfront Campus) and Cloud Campus (online). Cloud students are required to attend on-campus intensive workshops depending upon units of enrolment. Practical workplace learning is a strong feature of the course, with students completing two work placements each involving a minimum of 500 hours in a social or community service agency or program. The Bachelor of Social Work is an Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) accredited qualification, so you will graduate eligible to apply for membership of AASW and practise professionally throughout Australia.

Griffith University

Griffith University’s external Bachelor of Social Work program requires attending occasional intensive residential sessions (which may be up to 5-days at a time) at the Gold Coast or Logan. Apart from these and work placements, the remainder of the program is online. Work placements may be outside of the Brisbane metropolitan/Gold Coast area including northern NSW and (by negotiation) interstate or overseas.

University of New England

The University of New England’s Bachelor of Social Work program includes units with mandatory intensive schools at Armidale in NSW. The course covers all the core requirements of a professional social work degree but emphasises rural issues. It gives provisional accreditation with AASW. Students with a degree already can apply for the 2-year Master of Social Work program.

Master of Social Work Degrees Online

Mediation or counselling session with a young couple

Aside from research degrees, there are two main types of postgraduate social work degree. Both are at masters level. One type is a study and training program for graduates who want to become social workers. The other is a professional development program for qualified social workers.

A Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) program is for graduates of other disciplines. The program is similar to a Bachelor of Social Work course but compresses the academic components. It can be completed in 2 years. Distance learners must attend intensive on-campus residential sessions and do around 1,000 hours of community practice.

The Master of Social Work (Advanced Practice) program is for qualified social workers who want to develop advanced and specialist skills. Advanced Practice courses can normally be studied 100% online and take 1 to 1.5 years at a full-time pace.

Charles Sturt University

The Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) at CSU is available online. The courses gives you the opportunity to upgrade your undergraduate qualifications and attain professional recognition from the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Starting in 2023, students are eligible to apply for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) to reduce tuition fees. A HECS-HELP will also postpone repayments. The CSP yearly fee for this course is $8,280 in 2023. The program requires attendance at Intensive schools for some online subjects.

Charles Sturt University (Advanced Practice)

The Master of Advanced Social Work Practice from CSU allows qualified social workers to expand their professional practice with advanced, specialised studies. Available online, you can choose between research and coursework strands and tailor your studies by area of interest. Core and capstone subjects include Advanced Social Work Practice Theory, Future Directions in Social Work, and Social Work and Human Services Dissertation. Numerous electives are available, with topics such as children from adversity, mental health, leadership in human services, mediation, and public sector management.

Deakin University

Deakin University offers a two-year online Master of Social Work that qualifies graduates to enter the social work profession and prepares you for a more advanced level of practice. The course has a strong emphasis on practical experience, which is gained through a minimum of 1000 hours of fieldwork placements completed in different communities and workplaces. A minimum of 20 days of face-to-face time is also required during the two-year degree. Students develop skills in research, communication, interpersonal relationships, politics, and community development.

Flinders University

Flinders University in Adelaide has an online Master of Social Work program for university graduates. If you have a BSW or equivalent, you can do the 1-year "Qualified Social Work Entry" course. If you have a degree in another discipline, you can do the 2-year "Graduate Entry" professional course, which includes field placements and on-campus intensives. The masters program aims to provide students with skills in areas of policy, research, clinical and community based practice.

Griffith University

One of the most attractive ways to become a social worker is to do Griffith University’s Master of Social Work program. This is run through Griffith’s Gold Coast and Logan campuses. You can study online for nearly all the program, with the exception of a 5-day residential at the beginning (to make sure you have some interpersonal skills) and another at the end of the 13-unit course. So you mix online study with work placements and a couple of weeks in south-east Queensland.

University of New England

The University of New England has a 2-year program that qualifies graduates of other disciplines to be social workers. External students attend a limited number of on-campus residential session in Armidale, NSW. There are also 1000 hours of fieldwork. Two work placements are arranged for the 2nd and 4th semesters of the 4-semester course. Each includes 5 days on campus.

† Online courses are available in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast, Newcastle. Australia-wide.