Master of Social Work

  • CRICOS code: 061212E

The experience


Students of the Master of Social Work join the alumni of the longest running social work course in Victoria. A highly integrated practical and theoretical degree awaits those who choose to join the thousands who have graduated from this course, going on to leading roles in social work and the broader human services.

The breadth and depth of course materials ensure students can work within any sector of social work post-graduation. Benefit from many opportunities to specialise your skills and interests through immersive placement experiences.

Day-to-day learning and experience

The two-year qualifying Master of Social Work offers a broad base for students who aspire to work in the field of social work, from individual counselling to policy development. Balancing a combination of theory and practice, the Master allows you to absorb knowledge and apply it in practice from your very first semester.

A strong integration between theory and practice strengthens your learning and practical skills throughout your time in the program. Opportunities exist for hands-on experience throughout the two years as you learn directly from educators researching and practicing in the field.

Students will benefit from industry links through staff already in the sector or who have extensive industry experience. Through two, 14-week placement blocks, you will have opportunities to gain invaluable experience in key fields of practice, including child and family welfare, health and mental health, justice, disability, and community-based practice.


The University of Melbourne’s Master of Social Work offers a clear path to a fulfilling career. By taking advantage of ongoing research opportunities in growing fields such as health and mental health, disability and family violence, you will be well positioned to make a genuine impact on the lives of others.

Graduates of this program may also progress to higher study, including advanced practice degrees such as the Master of Advanced Social Work and research degrees including the Master of Advanced Social Work (Research), Master of Philosophy or the Doctor of Philosophy.

Meet our students

Ru, a Master of Social Work student

Image of Yuanru, Master of Social Work student

Ru started her Master of Social Work at the University of Melbourne in 2019, after completing a Bachelor of Public Administration back home in China.

"My favourite part of my course is that it has helped me develop empathy. Social work is a great job that facilitates and empowers people in need. To prepare us for [our] future careers, the Master of Social Work program offers classes that showed me what life is like for [different] people, as well as classes where I [can] improve my [communication] skills. After taking those classes, I feel like I have become a better communicator both professionally and in my own life. I am able to stand in others’ shoes and avoid words that would possibly hurt others."


Lindiwe Mlalzi

I was attracted to social work because I want to work with families and make a difference in people’s lives. It’s a broad field and you can work in lots of different kinds of settings.

I like the structure of the course, with our time on campus limited to two days. The staff have also been very supportive, and quite a few of them wrote the textbooks we study, which is reassuring!

All my placements have been great. My last placement was in Shepparton, in a volunteer-run space for young children, most of whom came from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s somewhere for them to go after school, where they do their homework and other activities, have dinner and then are taken home.

We do a research project at the end of every placement, and with this one I found the volunteers meant a lot to these young people; the fact they had chosen to be there for them, and that they kept coming back, was important.

My placement this semester has been surprising. I thought I didn’t want to work in a hospital, but when my original placement fell through I swapped to the Royal Children’s Hospital at the last minute. And I’ve discovered I love it!

I’m enjoying the variety, the team environment and being stretched.  I’ve come across vulnerable children, family violence, financial hardship and bereavement, and I’ve worked with lots of different medical teams.  It’s made me much more open to working in a hospital after graduation.

I know I want to work with children and families, but I’m still open to where that might be. I’m excited to see what comes next.