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2014 2015
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    • 2014 2015

Bachelor of Social Work BSW


This highly regarded interdisciplinary degree will immerse you in theory and practice over four years, equipping you thoroughly for a wide range of people-related jobs.

The BSW at UC is New Zealand’s most established Social Work programme. The programme is ideal for those who wish to focus their studies on helping people. Graduates provide professional assistance to those experiencing difficulties in their lives and in their communities.

Features of the BSW at UC

  • May be awarded with honours
  • Internationally recognised qualification
  • New Zealand's longest-established Social Work programme
  • Graduates in high demand
  • The BSW has a strong practical component, leading up to 80% fieldwork in your fourth and final year
  • Field placements see students working within social service agencies and the community

Recommended preparation

Entry to the first year of the BSW is open to all students with entry to the University. While no particular school subjects are required, a background in subjects promoting communication skills such as English, history, geography or te reo Māori is useful. Statistics is useful for the further study of Social Work. Volunteer work in the community is also good preparation.

Degree structure

The BSW requires a total of 480 points made up as follows:

BSW degree structure diagram

In your first year, you will take three compulsory courses in Social Work and four courses in Human Services, Psychology and Sociology according to one of four elective streams.

Entry to Social Work courses at 300-level and above is competitive. Completed courses at 100 and 200-level can be credited to a BA with a major in Human Services if you choose not to continue with a BSW.

In your fourth year, 80% of your work will be made up of field work. This is a great opportunity for you to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have gained. Students require a full driving license to undertake field work placements and must be prepared to travel out of Christchurch.

BSW elective streams

See the Regulations for the Bachelor of Social Work (University Regulations website) for more information on each of these elective streams, (including points and courses you can elect) as well as the full degree requirements.

Further study

Postgraduate options include:

Career opportunities

In New Zealand, social workers are employed in both the state and private sectors, providing direct and indirect services. Direct services include those for children, families, the aged, people who have committed offences, and people with disabilities. Indirect services encompass social sector planning, administration and research.

Direct services may include assistance with housing needs, mediation and resolution of family conflict, protection of children who have been abused, facilitating access to benefits and other financial resources, assessment of home and family support for older people, providing group or family therapy, educational programmes for at-risk adolescents, and working with groups aiming to achieve community development.

Graduates are highly employable overseas, particularly in the UK and Australia.

Social Work graduates work in a wide variety of jobs, including as community development workers, therapists, counsellors, case managers, field workers, youth workers, probation officers, iwi social workers, hospital social workers, service coordinators, policy analysts and researchers.

For further career information, please go to


For more information email or freephone in NZ 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

For assistance with planning your programme of study contact a College of Arts Student Advisor (advancing students) or Liaison Office (new students) or visit the Liaison Office's course planning page (new students).