Bachelor of Social Work Bachelor of Social Work

Qualifications and courses A-Z study guide
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Key Information for Students

Entry Requirements

Minimum requirement

University Entrance. If English is not your first language, IELTS 6.5 Academic (no lower than 6.5 in any band).

Any minimum or preferred criteria for entry to this qualification.

Detailed requirements

Click here for more information on any additional entry criteria for this qualification.


The minimum amount of time it takes to complete this qualification.

Tuition Fees

Student fees

Annual: - Total Qualification:
The annual and total qualification tuition fees payable by a student to study this qualification, additional to what the government contributes. (These are averages based on recent course enrolments. Your fees may differ depending on your course selection.)

Government tuition subsidy

Annual: - Total Qualification:
The average annual and total amount paid by government towards the tuition fees for this qualification, additional to what the student pays. (These are estimates based on the fees subsidy paid by government to tertiary providers last year.)


Annual: - Total Qualification:
The combined total of the annual and total amount paid by both student and government towards the tuition fees for this qualification. (These are estimates based on recent course enrolments and the fees subsidy paid by government to tertiary providers last year.)

For more information on compulsory student services fess, loans and allowances.

Student Success

Successful course completion -

The percentage of students who successfully completed courses towards this qualification last year.

National Graduates Outcomes

3 years after completion

Earnings -

(lower quartile, median, upper quartile)
The median represents the middle value for all earnings of young graduates who completed a qualification in this subject area at this level nationally. Earnings do not relate specifically to graduates who completed qualifications at this TEO. The upper and lower quartile values represent the one quarter point and three quarters point for earnings. Half of all graduates had earnings within this range.

In employment -

This percentage relates to young graduates who completed a qualification in this subject area at this level nationally and does not relate specifically to graduates who completed qualification at this TEO.

In further study -

This percentage relates to young graduates who completed a qualification in this subject area at this level nationally and does not relate specifically to graduates who completed qualification at this TEO.


Gain the skills and understanding needed to help people during crucial times in their lives. You will develop the attributes for professional social work practice in New Zealand as you engage in study integrating practice and community within the classroom. This programme is underpinned by a philosophy of bi-culturalism and anti-oppressive practice.

Our four year programme will take you from the fundamentals of professionalism, research skills, critical thinking and informed decision making, in your first year through to your second, third and fourth years when you will take these skills to an advanced level.

Each year has an integrated practice course where learning is linked to the practice environment. In the second, third and fourth years integrated practice includes significant time in social work agencies.

Please note that integrated practice in Years 2, 3 and 4 may be outside of Christchurch and a full driver's licence is required otherwise agency options are likely to be limited.

The programme includes two compulsory 24-hour marae visits (including overnight stays).

By the end of the degree, you will have developed the professional values and attitudes for social work practice as identified by the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and the Social Workers Registration Board Code of Conduct and will be able to apply for provisional registration.

There is currently a shortage of social workers, including people identifying with the following groups: Maori, Pacific, migrant, refugee, male and disabled persons who are encouraged to apply.

Please note, if you are thinking about studying part time in Year 1 you need to be working in the social services either in paid or voluntary employment.

Word processing of assignments is required during this programme.

In our most recent graduate survey, 81% of 2016 Bachelor of Social Work graduates were in employment (Ara Graduate Outcome Survey, 2016).

Credit recognition

Credit Recognition may be available for this programme. If you’ve previously completed study in this area please contact the relevant academic department for cross credit/credit transfer options. If you’ve gained related skills and knowledge through work experience, talk to our Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Programme structure

To complete this Degree you are required to complete a minimum total of 480 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) which must include 14 credits at Level 3 in each of:

    • English or an approved literacy* subject
    • two other subjects from the list of approved subjects* and
    • Literacy* - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading, 5 credits in writing and
    • Numeracy* - 10 credits at Level 1 or above (specified achievement standards, or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627)

    Note: Students who have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (eg International Baccalaureate, Cambridge examination) should contact us for requirements.

    * NZQA approved subjects: see

Alternative requirements
  • Skills for tertiary study (including literacy and numeracy) may be acquired through study, work and/or life experience. Students who can demonstrate these skills may be approved for alternative entry. Literacy and numeracy assessments are available.

Additional requirements
  • Provide evidence of good character and personal attributes via two referee reports and a 500-word personal statement.

    • In your application you need to demonstrate formal or informal experience in a social work, social services or a related helping role, and the ability to analyse and relate this experience to a social work context. Your referees reports, word processed personal statement, and interview should provide evidence of appropriateness to study for the social work profession: commitment to social justice, openness to explore biculturalism, self-awareness and openness to change and being challenged, openness to participate in interactive group learning, willingness to be honest and reflective about personal experiences, high level of skill in interpersonal communication and personal maturity.
  • Consent to Disclosure of Information
    Successful applicants will be required to complete a New Zealand Police Vetting Service Request and Consent Form. The form will be sent to the NZ Police Vetting Service, and returned in confidence to the Head of Department. For more information go to: .

  • Applicants who meet academic entry criteria will be required to attend an interview

  • Current Class 1 Drivers Licence unless medical verification is provided in relation to a disability or impairment that prohibits the applicant from being able to drive.

English requirements
  • For students for whom English is not their first language evidence of their English language skills may also be required as listed below. If students have no evidence of their English language skills and are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, then they can make contact with us for an assessment.

    Note :

    • IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible) and are valid for two years from the date of the test.
    • All students for whom English is not their first language will be informed of the SWRB requirement of IELTS 7.0 Academic for registration.










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Selection criteria

A selection process will be used when making decisions about offering places on the BSW. The selection process will include an assessment of the information provided in the application form and a group interview. All applicants will be considered and weighted on their academic achievement, character and suitability for social work practice.

All applicants will be assessed against the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) Fit and Proper policy as a guide for determining whether to offer a place on the BSW. Where an applicant does not meet the SWRB Fit and Proper guidelines, the applicant will be interviewed on an individual basis and given the opportunity to provide further background or explanatory information. A final decision regarding entry to the BSW will be made on a case by case basis following this interview and having considered the additional information provided by the applicant.

Domestic: Applications extended until 14 December, late applications may be considered.
International: Applications extended until 14 December, late applications may be considered.
Domestic: $5,600 - $6,500
International: $21,710
LOCATION: Christchurch - Madras Street
ADDITIONAL COSTS: $1,000 text books per year. Expenses associated with work placements (Years 3 - 4)

Next steps

To apply for this programme please:

  • complete an social work application pack and an Admission and Enrolment form

If you feel you have gained your learning through on the job experience talk to us about recognition or assessment of prior learning .

Application documents

Career opportunities

As a graduate of this programme you will be ready for social work practice in statutory organisations eg Child Youth and Family, Probation and Prison Service, faith based services, community organisations and health and hospital services.

Study pathways

On completion of this programme you can advance your studies with a Master in Social Work at a variety of New Zealand universities.

Recommended school subjects

  • English
  • Mathematics