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Master of Social Work

Masters by Coursework


The Master of Social Work by coursework, (the MSW), at Monash University is designed to provide ongoing stimulation, inspiration, learning and support to human service professionals. The program is available in the off campus mode to both Australian students and International students studying from their own country.  The off campus mode is specifically designed to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of professionals seeking higher degrees who find it difficult to work and/or experience family pressures with on-campus studies. There are no workshops or compulsory class attendances for the off campus learning mode.

Course Outline

Masters by Coursework Coordinator
Deborah Western

Department of Social Work
Monash University
P O Box 197
Caulfield East
Victoria 3145
Phone: +61 3 9903 2610
Fax:    +61 3 9903 1141

Social Work at Monash

In addition to our MSW, Social Work at Monash offers a Bachelor of Social Work (both on-campus and off campus) to about 300 students, and a new BA/BSW both on and off campus. We have over 100 postgraduate students enrolled in our MSW by coursework and in our research degrees, the MSW by Research and PhD. Social Work at Monash joined the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences in 2002 and there are now exciting developments in our post graduate programmes. In 2006 the degree participated in the University's special global on line development program to deepen its on line access and approach.

Master of Social Work by Off Campus Learning Mode

All learning in the MSW is undertaken on-line.  Resources, readings, links to other information and assessment information is provided on-line.  E-mail and phone contact with lecturers also occurs. Students are advised to gain access to email communication links where possible.

Our online discussion groups are a popular way for students to meet with each other for discussion; some online groups are an integral part of the unit with tasks delegated by the lecturer, and others offer opportunities for students to get together and discuss common issues.

Eligibility for the PhD Program

The Coursework MSW may facilitate entry to the PhD programme at Monash University. Whilst the usual route to a PhD is through an Honours Programme or Masters by Research, students who have completed an MSW by Coursework including a research and/or special research study unit, or who have other research experience, may be eligible to apply for the Ph.D. programme.

Intending applicants interested in this possibility should consult with the coordinator prior to enrolment.

AASW Membership

The usual route to admission to the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is via the Bachelor of Social Work degree, which includes experience and learning in the required fieldwork or through the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) degree.  The degree of Master of Social Work (Coursework) is not AASW accredited.

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Course Information

Entry Requirements

Students will be required to have a Bachelor of Social Work degree or other equivalent, relevant degree, with a credit average which enables them to be eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers or the equivalent professional organisation in the country where they completed this qualification. Relevant work experience is also necessary. Evidence of this experience must accompany the candidate's application for entry into the programme and be presented with the application in the form of two referee's, a comprehensive curriculum vitae, plus a statement of purpose up to 300 words indicating the applicant's career objectives and reasons for applying for entry. Academic record, publications and work experience in the human services are also taken into account in the selection process.

Course Structure

Students undertaking the M.Soc.Wk. by Coursework are required to complete four 12 point subjects. Those subjects may be chosen from any of the subjects offered in the degree. This course is to be completed in one year full-time or two-years part-time.

Course Objectives

The degree provides an opportunity for Social Workers to enhance and develop their professional skills and knowledge and to make links between practice in the field and new academic knowledge and theory.

It aims to provide for the needs of managers and policy developers involved in direct work with clients.

The course provides sufficient choice for students to specialise in management and policy development or in direct work with clients. For this reason students are free to choose from a wide range of subjects within the MSW programme.


Different subjects have different requirements for assessment; each unit or subject will have a number of assessment tasks. These may require students to email, fax or post to the unit or subject coordinator on a regular basis and/or to make audio or video tape recordings or to complete essays or short take home exams. In total, assessment tasks should comprise nine thousand words consistent with requirements for 12-point subjects.

Whilst different subjects will have different work requirements it is generally expected at Masters level that students will present work of an analytical nature. Students will be expected to develop themes and arguments rather than merely presenting descriptive material.

Grades will be awarded on the following basis:

  • N - Fail (0-49%)
  • P - Pass (50-59%)
  • C - Credit (60-69 marks)
  • D - Distinction (70-79 marks)
  • HD - High Distinction (80-100 marks)

If a student is dissatisfied with the grade allocated to an assignment prior to the Semester Examinations Board Meeting, they may request a re-mark from the lecturer in charge of the unit. The request must be made in writing with a copy to the Coordinator of the MSW. When a re-mark is carried out the final mark will be the grade allocated by the last marker. If a grade and mark has been allocated and processed through the Semester Examinations Board Meeting, all inquiries regarding that grade and mark must be addressed, in writing, to the Chair of the Examinations Board who is usually the Head of the Department. Other issues can be addressed to the Coordinator of the MSW, with a copy to the Head of the Department, or vice versa.

Contact with subject co-ordinators

In the MSW by Coursework, face-to-face contact with university staff members is not required. For off campus students regular contact is maintained, however, through the assessment tasks, or interaction through email and online group discussion.

Change of subjects

Students may change or discontinue subjects prior to the start of each semester. The University publishes principal dates each semester after which students cannot obtain a refund of tuition and amenity fees, and after which students cannot discontinue subjects. These dates are available from the Monash website at

Intermission from the course

Students who have already started the course and passed a subject may intermit for up to one year. Students wishing to intermit should contact the Social Work office in order to obtain the appropriate forms

Transfer from other universities

Students may be granted credit for up to half of the degree for equivalent work successfully undertaken in other universities at Masters Degree level.

Ph.D. and MSW by Research

Social Work at Monash has a large and active postgraduate research programme and an international reputation for research. Contact Associate Professor Rosemary Sheehan if you are interested in pursuing research. At present our research degrees are usually HECS-free.

Masters by Research
Ph.D. Co-ordinator
Associate Professor Rosemary Sheehan


Students may be granted credit for up to half of the degree for equivalent work successfully undertaken in other universities at Masters Degree level. Students wishing to apply for credit should provide official results and documentation concerning subject point values and content, and submit an application to the Social Work Department through the Masters Coordinator. Students must have achieved results of credit level or above to be considered for any credit transfer. There is a 10 year limit in credit transfers.  International Students must apply for Credit at the time of application.


Master of Social Work application form

To apply online:

Application forms for Australian residents are also available in hard copy from the Department of Social Work.

MSW by Coursework Administration

Administrative Officer
Ms Pat Sykes
Phone Local: (03) 9903 2610
Phone International: +61 3 9903  2610
Fax Local: (03) 9903 1141
Fax International: +61 3 9903 1141
Email: or

Mailing Address:
Department of Social Work
Monash University
PO Box 197
Caulfield East, VIC, 3145

Department Web Address:
Monash Web Address:


Full time students -    2 units per semester

Part time students -   1 unit per semester

Staff Contact Numbers

Staff Research Interests

Departmental Staff Research Interests