Social Work - Placement | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Social Work - Placement

The social work field education subjects provide an opportunity for students to integrate theory and knowledge with practice, during a placement within an organisation or agency where qualified social workers are required and/or employed. Placements enable students to develop a range of essential professional practice skills and frameworks sought by employers and required for accreditation with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

The Australian Association of Social Work (AASW) governs and informs the academic and placement content of all University level social work degrees in Australia to ensure a similar standard is met across the country.

The AASW stipulates that Social Work students must complete a minimum of 1000 hours of social work placement, in a minimum of 2 distinctly different field education settings. At UniSC social work students complete 2 separate placements of 500 hours each, across their degree. It is important to note that students cannot be approved to complete ‘back-to-back’ placements. There must be at least one semester of studying other courses at the university, in between the student completing the two field placement courses.

Social Work placements regularly occur in a number of government or non-government agencies. Fields of practice may include, but are not limited to:

  • Youth Work and Services
  • Queensland Health and Hospitals
  • Mental Health Services
  • Domestic and Family Violence
  • Young Parents Programs
  • Community Centres
  • Child Protection
  • Social Work and the Law
  • Income Security/Services Australia
  • Department of Youth Justice
  • Disability Services
  • Private Practice working with participants of the NDIS
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Crisis intervention and emergency relief
  • Intensive family support and foster care
  • Working with Multicultural Communities
  • Policy
  • International social work practice (final placement only.)

It is important to note that interstate placements cannot always be guaranteed. If this is something you may wish to consider, please contact the Field Education Team as soon as possible on to gain further information and commence discussions.

Social Work placement courses are as follows:

Bachelor of Social Work:
  • SWK300 Social Work Field Education 1 (Bachelor of Social Work)
  • SWK400 Social Work Field Education 2 (Bachelor of Social Work)
Master of Social Work (Qualifying):
  • SWK700 Master of Social Work Field Education 1
  • SWK701 Master of Social Work Field Education 2

A standard social work placement is 4 days per week across approximately 16 – 18 weeks. Students can request to be considered for a part-time placement of 3 days per week (minimum of 24 hours per week). This is subject to placement agencies being able to provide this option. Wherever possible, the Field Education Team will work with students and placement providers to facilitate this, as required.
It may be possible for a student to apply for Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) for the first placement course in their degree, if they have significant, relevant prior employment experience that aligns with the AASW accreditation requirements. Students who wish to enquire further about RPL should email to request a copy of the RPL policy and application process and to organise a time to discuss their circumstances further with a staff member of the Field Education Team.

Preparation and assessment

Pre-placement processes are coordinated by the Field Education team and commence almost 6 months prior to students beginning placement.

All students enrolled in a social work program will receive an email from very early in the semester, prior to the one in which they are due to undertake a placement. For example, if a student is eligible and planning to undertake their placement in semester 2, they will receive an email from in approximately weeks 1 – 3 of semester 1 just prior, advising that the pre-placement processes have commenced.

It is essential that students read this email and promptly start completing the pre-placement activities that are detailed in the email. Students who do not adhere to the dates and timeframes detailed in the email, may not be able to proceed to placement in the following semester. They may need to defer and discuss their further progression in the degree with an Advisor from Student Central.

Each placement course has a pre-placement workshop timetabled for the week prior to Orientation week each semester (i.e., 2 weeks prior to the official start of the semester.) Attendance and participation on campus at the pre-placement workshop is compulsory, in order to meet accreditation requirements with the AASW.

Integration workshops are also taught throughout the semester and count towards the 500 hours of placement required for each placement course. Each placement course also includes assessment tasks similar to any university course. Further details about this can be obtained from the relevant placement course outline, available from the UniSC website.

Remuneration and insurance

No remuneration or payment is made by the agencies or organisations to the students (unless under prior arrangement) or to the University for hosting a student. Students undertaking an unpaid placement are covered by the University’s insurance policies for worker’s compensation and third party insurance.

It may be possible for a student to apply to undertake a Work-Based Placement (WBP) for one of their two social work placements. This may be possible in instances where a social work student is currently employed in a human services organisation that ordinarily offers social work student placements. Students who wish to enquire further about WBPs should email to request a copy of the application process and to organise a time to discuss their circumstances further, with a staff member of the Field Education Team.

Further information

Placements and pre-placement processes are coordinated by the Field Education Team in conjunction with the UniSC Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Team and the Fit For Placement Office (FFPO).
All students will be invited to a pre-placement information session provided online each semester. This session provides further details about social work placements including mandatory compliance requirements, steps involved in securing a field placement, agency requirements and processes, and information to assist students with preparing. Following this, students who are eligible for placement will have an individual pre-placement interview with a staff member from Field Education to discuss their circumstances and to begin the placement matching process.

Students must continue to check their UniSC student emails regularly for further updates and details about field education that are provided throughout each semester.

We look forward to working with you, to organise your social work field placements.


For more information about placements for Social Work courses please contact:

The Social Work and Human Services Field Education Team
(Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Fraser Coast campuses.)
School of Law and Society

For general enquiries about work integrated learning opportunities or assistance accessing Social Work Sonia Online resources please contact:

Tania Halliday
Senior Work Integrated Learning Placement Officer
Tel: 07 5456 5846