Master of Social Work by Research

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Master of Social Work by Research

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Program summary

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.

Admission requirements

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.

Advanced standing

No advanced standing will be granted to students with an undergraduate qualification.

Application and admission advice

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Contact Student Central

information@usc.edu.au
+61 7 5430 2890
Ground floor, Building C, Sippy Downs

What will I study

Program structure

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.

Program requirements and notes
  1. 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.
  2. Students are required to successfully complete one 24-unit course and a thesis as specified in the Master of Social Work program structure.
  3. For further information, refer to the Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy.
  4. Refer to related policies, rules, plans and procedures.
  5. Refer to the research areas for the Faculty of Arts and Business.
  6. Refer to the University's English language proficiency requirements.
  7. Not available to international students on a Student Visa.
Enrolment and fees
  1. 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.
  2. International candidates: tuition fees apply. Refer to International HDR tuition fees.
  3. In any semester, full-time enrolment comprises 0.500 EFTSL.*
  4. In any semester, part-time enrolment comprises 0.250 EFTSL.*
  5. 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

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)

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 information@usc.edu.au.
  • 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

Additional information

  • 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.

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