Help people develop their full potential. Become a social work professional whose practice is underpinned by reflective and critical thinking. Understand the context of individuals, families and communities. Work towards Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) registration.

Programme outline 

The Bachelor of Social Work Degree programme provides a framework for individuals to gain a qualification that enables them to develop social work practice capabilities, professional scholarship, and provides for extensive career opportunities on completion.

This four-year full-time programme is designed to meet the professional and educational requirements of the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) and New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) and in doing so provides those who choose to study at Whitireia with a sound social work education, a recognised qualification, and a pathway to higher qualifications.

More detail about this qualification

Teaching and learning

Theory hours are usually 9:00 am-3:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays during theory weeks. Tutorials are compulsory and these are on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Tutorial times are negotiated by the lecturers at the beginning of the year, so students can plan their study ahead of time. A variety of teaching processes are used in the programme including lectures, tutorials, learning packages, workshops, student presentations and online learning.

Fieldwork placements

Students must complete their fieldwork placement experience of 12 weeks (60 days) in both Years 3 and 4. Over this 12-week period, students can expect to complete 60 days full time, with varied hours of work. Please note, fieldwork placements may not be in the area that you live. The cost of transportation to and from fieldwork placements is the student’s responsibility. If students are working part-time priority must be given to attending fieldwork placements

Year one

The first year is centred on developing the student’s understanding of their individual and collective responsibilities as a social work learner.

Year two

The second year of the programme is centred on consolidating the learner experiences that will continue to support positive study habits, maintain the student’s enthusiasm to learn and more directly focus them on the social work curriculum. 

Year three

The third year of the programme is centred on preparing students for their first field placement. They will have developed sufficient skills to undertake a monitored and supervised field placement where they will observe and participate in service delivery. 

Year Four

students are enabled to confirm the competencies expected of them as work-ready, new social work practitioners. They take responsibility for their actions, are informed by the many dimensions of social work knowledge, and critically reflect on their own actions and responses, as well as those of others.

Entry requirements 

Applicants must meet both the academic and suitability entry requirements.

Academic Entry Requirements

Whitireia degree academic entry requirements (i.e. University Entrance) or equivalent. Applicants for whom English is an alternative language and who have not undertaken secondary education in English, Māori or New Zealand Sign Language: require IELTS 6.5 academic in each band.

Suitability Requirements

Attend an interview to determine the applicant’s preparedness for study and ability to meet the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (if applicable), as well as any registration board requirements, in terms of being fit for registration. Applicants must be able to demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Effective interpersonal communication skills
  • Understanding of, and capability to work in, the professional health and social services sector
  • Commitment and motivation to succeed Suitability will also be assessed with reference to the applicant’s health screening, safety check* and referee reports.

*Safety Check: The Children’s Act (2014) requires all students, who may work with children during the course of their study, to be safety checked. Safety checking includes reference checking, work history, identity check, police vet and an overall assessment of the applicant’s safety to work with children.

Course-related costs

Health screening*: $250
Stationary: $150

* Health Screening: In Years 3 and 4, health screening/vaccinations may be a prerequisite for attendance at some of the fieldwork placements. Students will be advised whether this is a requirement when their placement is confirmed. Please note students are responsible for any costs involved

How to apply

Applications for this programme close Friday 10 December 2021. Applications received after this date will only be processed if places are still available.

We recommend you apply online from the Whitireia website.

Before you start your online application, you will need to have the following documentation available to upload when requested:

Give the referee report to someone who is willing to be your referee. Ask them to complete the forms and either return to yourself (so you can upload with your application), or scan and email to within 10 days. Please note applications will not be processed until the referee report has been received.

Credit recognition

If you have relevant skills and knowledge through study or experiences in work or other activities, you may be able to receive credit for them when enrolling in a programme of study. Credit recognition may not exceed two-thirds of your chosen programme and cannot be attributed to practicum courses (SOWK7321, SOWK7322, SOWK7341, SOWK7342). Information (including the Credit Recognition Application form and fees information) is available here.

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