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Social Work study options

19 March 2024

UC offers a highly regarded interdisciplinary Bachelor of Social Work with Honours. It will engage you in theory and practice and equip you for a wide range of work with people. Check out Social Work study options at UC.


This highly regarded interdisciplinary degree will engage you in both theory and practice, equipping you for a wide range of people-related work.

The Bachelor of Social Work with Honours (BSW(Hons)) at UC is Aotearoa New Zealand’s most established Social Work programme. The BSW(Hons) is ideal for those with a commitment to working with others in overcoming personal and institutional barriers to well-being, and promoting the full potential of people.

This four-year qualification is intended for those without a prior degree. If you already have a degree you might want to consider the two-year Master of Social Work (Applied) instead. 

Planning your Bachelor of Social Work with Honours degree

For full info on the structure of the BSW(Hons), please  view the Bachelor of Social Work with Honours regulations.

Required 100-level courses

Three compulsory courses in Social Work:

  • SOWK 101 Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Human Services
  • SOWK 102 Human Services in Aotearoa
  • SOWK 104 Youth Realities

One compulsory course in Human Services:

Students also take four elected courses, selected from Psychology, Sociology, Māori and Indigenous Studies and Te Reo Māori depending on which elective stream they would like to specialise in.

Required 200-level courses

Three compulsory 200-level courses in Social Work:

  • SOWK 201 Communication in the Human Services
  • SOWK 202 Human Behaviour and Human Systems
  • SOWK 203 Policy Debates in the Social Services

Two compulsory Human Services courses:

  • HSRV 204 Culture, Indigeneity and Citizenship
  • HSRV 206 Child Protection Practice

One compulsory Māori course:

  • MAOR 212 Māori and Indigenous Development

Students also select two elective courses from Psychology, Sociology, Māori and Indigenous Studies and Te Reo Māori depending on which elective stream they want to specialise in.

Please contact the Arts student advisors for more information on the pre-2019 BSW degree structure. Limited entry requirements for 300-level courses

Entry to the third year of the Bachelor of Social Work is limited to students who have successfully completed the compulsory 100 and 200-level courses and who have been accepted into the programme following an interview and selection process.

If you decide not to continue with a Social Work degree you can credit 100 and 200-level courses to a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Human Services, Psychology, Sociology or Māori – depending on your elected stream.

The third year of the BSW includes courses in Social Work theory and method, skills for practice, research methodologies, mental health, the law, and indigenous social work. The third year fieldwork skills course provides opportunities for students to identify and develop professional interpersonal skills using role plays, video and small group discussions.

The fourth year of the BSW includes two fieldwork internships, a theory/practice integration course and an applied research course.

BSW students wishing to enrol in 400-level BSW courses need to complete an additional application process confirming their ongoing suitability in relation to the Social Workers Registration Board: Entitlement to Registration: Fit and Proper Person.   Application forms are available from the department administrator.  See Options for studying Social Work for more detail.

Students from other disciplines

Social Work courses at 100 and 200-level can also be taken by students studying for other degrees who want to build knowledge of social work practice, policy and research into their studies.

Only students who have been accepted into the BSW may take 300 and 400-level Social Work courses.

Interested in Social Work studies?

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