Use your research skills to drive social change.
Social work is a demanding profession that is constantly expanding as society and individuals face new challenges. In this program, you’ll deepen your knowledge and understanding of social work practice and can tailor a research project to suit your individual interests.
Complete one required research course and a thesis. The research component involves individualised research relevant to your key area/s of interest as a professional social worker. You can make a start at the beginning of any semester.
This program has your name on it if you want to advance your academic credentials in social work, have worked in the industry for some time, or want to gain a higher degree by undertaking practice-based research.
To be eligible for admission to Master of Social Work by Research candidature, applicants must have completed a professional qualification in social work, duly accredited or recognised by the Australian Association of Social Workers.
Entry by non-graduates who have relevant governmental or industry experience may be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.
In exceptional cases applications may be considered on the basis of other evidence of general and professional qualifications as approved by the Research Degrees Committee.
Refer to the University’s English language requirements.
No advanced standing will be granted to students with an undergraduate qualification.
Application and admission advice
Contact Student Central
+61 7 5430 2890
Ground floor, Building C, Sippy Downs
21 January 2015
Researcher aims to enhance animal-assisted therapy
New research is being conducted at the University of the Sunshine Coast to help improve the delivery of animal-assisted therapy.
18 August 2014
Social work book aims to drive change
The founding Associate Professor and Head of Social Work at USC will give a public lecture and launch her new book on campus on Tuesday 19 August.
27 May 2013
USC study program inspires whole family
The University’s Tertiary Preparation Pathway program has inspired a whole family to pursue their career dreams.
10 May 2013
Three USC professors inducted into academy
Three USC professors have been inducted as Fellows in the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences, in a move that boosts USC’s eminence, influence and ability to share research and ideas.
29 April 2013
Women's advocate to give free USC lecture
The head of Sisters Inside Inc, a group advocating for the rights of women in Queensland’s criminal justice system, will give a free public lecture at the University of the Sunshine Coast tomorrow, Tuesday 30 April, from 2-3pm.
5 March 2013
Social Work student receives Indigenous scholarship
Mt Coolum resident Nicole Watson, who is starting a Master of Social Work at USC, has received a USC Indigenous Postgraduate Scholarship.
What will I study
During candidature you must complete one course, CMN575 Research Design: Method and Literature Review (24 units), and compile a thesis of 30,000–35,000 words (120 units).
You are required to conduct research that can be written up as a scholarly thesis. You must demonstrate research competency and the ability to make a significant and original contribution to the body of knowledge in your chosen area of specialisation.
As a candidate you must clearly articulate in your research outline, the topic, background, rationale, research question, aim and objectives, methodology, research methods and techniques, and timeframe. Your research outline is to include a literature review that relates to the research question and objectives.
The results of your research activities should be presented succinctly and accurately and as necessary could be supported by more detailed annexures.
Your syntheses analysis and discussion must clearly focus on the research question and the objectives of the work.
Conclusions and recommendations must be drawn from your analysis and discussion and reflect the attainment of the aim and the way in which the research question is addressed.
- Prospective applicants wishing to undertake a Master of Social Work will need to find a suitable supervisor by contacting the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.
- Students are required to successfully complete one 24-unit course and a thesis as specified in the Master of Social Work program structure.
- For further information, refer to the Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy.
- Refer to related policies, rules, plans and procedures.
- Refer to the research areas for the Faculty of Arts and Business.
- Refer to the University's English language proficiency requirements.
- Not available to international students on a Student Visa.
Enrolment and fees
- Domestic candidates: Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are not required to pay tuition fees for the standard duration of their HDR program. The Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP) covers the cost of HDR tuition fees for these candidates. Research Master candidates are entitled to a maximum of two years full-time equivalent study. Candidates who do not complete their degree within the maximum RTP allowable completion times may be required to pay fees for any additional periods of enrolment. Please refer to Higher Degree by Research fees.
- International candidates: tuition fees apply. Refer to International HDR tuition fees.
- In any semester, full-time enrolment comprises 0.500 EFTSL.*
- In any semester, part-time enrolment comprises 0.250 EFTSL.*
- The census date for withdrawal without financial penalty or academic penalty is the Semester 1 or 2 census date.
* EFTSL - Equivalent Full-Time Student Load. One year of full-time study equates to 1.000 EFTSL.
Total units: 0
Recommended study sequence
Students who commenced prior to the current semester must complete the courses from their original program structure unless otherwise advised. For courses no longer included in the current sequence, use the course links in your structure for details of requisites and scheduling. This is a recommended study sequence to complete your program within the specified full-time duration.
How to apply
Step 1: Consider entry requirements
Review the admission requirements on the Why study this program tab of your chosen program.
Entry is highly competitive and depends on:
- your academic background
- your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language, see step 4)
- the submission of a suitable research proposal
- the availability of a registered supervisor
- the availability of resources to support your proposed research topic
For further information, please refer to the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature – Procedures and the Higher Degrees by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines which include admission pathways into specific higher degree by research programs.
Step 2: Find a supervisor
Use the Research Supervisor Search to find a potential supervisor in your area of research. You may nominate a supervisor on your application form regardless of whether you've been able to contact them prior to submitting your application.
Step 3: Complete an application form
- The application form must be completed electronically. Download the Application for admission HDR (PDF 247KB)
- You must complete all questions
Step 4: Prepare supporting documentation
- Research Proposal. Download the Research proposal template (Word 13KB)
- Evidence of academic background
- Academic transcripts and completion certificates (transcripts must include a Key to Grading) - Please note, for studies completed outside of Australia you must provide certified copies of documents
- Formal notification from the qualifying university stating the allocation of marks to research component of a degree where not evident on the transcript
- If transferring from another Australian university, a statement from your current/former university stating HDR candidature consumed to date, probationary or confirmed status, and tuition fee type
- Evidence of research publications/experience
- For example - Abstract (in English), details of publication, copy of the front page of the article/paper, link to article's location
- Evidence of citizenship or Australian Permanent Residency
- Birth certificate, passport, citizenship certificate, or visa
- Evidence of English language proficiency (required for applicants who are not from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America)
- Review USC’s English language requirements. Some disciplines may require a higher level of English language proficiency, as provided in the Higher Degree by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines.
- Please note that Language of Instruction will only be accepted from the countries listed above.
- Where original documents are not provided by the test provider, applicants must be able to verify results online.
Step 5: Submit completed application form
Please note incomplete applications cannot be processed:
- Email an electronic copy of your application with scanned copies of supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- USC International requires hardcopies of original or certified copies of supporting documents before assessing overseas qualifications. Applicants must post their original or certified copies to:
Graduate Research Studies Management
Office of Research – ML 26
University of the Sunshine Coast
Locked Bag 4
Maroochydore DC Qld 4558 Australia
- International students: Additional information is available for International students.
- Only complete applications will be considered (including original or certified copies of supporting documents for international applicants).
- Complete applications take approximately 6-8 weeks to be processed (this may vary during peak periods).
- Applications can be accepted at any time, however applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the nominated commencement date.
- Visit askUSC to find instant answers to frequently asked questions, or to lodge a more specific question
- Contact the relevant faculty (Faculty of Arts, Business and Law or Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering) to discuss your intended research topic and for assistance to locate a possible supervisor
- Email email@example.com for other enquiries