Social work

The BA Social Work Major is an Australian Community Workers Association International Accredited Programme.

Social and community work is a growing and exciting practiced-based profession in the Pacific “…and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social [and ecological] justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledges, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing “ (International Association of Schools of Social Work. 2014. Global Definition of Social Work. Electronic access can be found here.

Social and community workers in the Pacific:

  • Work with people to overcome problems.
  • Work with people by finding resources for people.
  • Develop sustainable programmes to assist in meeting the needs of people.
  • Work with people to make plans for the future.
  • Advocate culturally appropriate and gender sensitive policy to government agencies, private sector and non-government organisations and international development and financial institutions.

Why study Social Work?

Social and community work students become critically reflective practitioners and develop the personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities and role specific and generic competencies that will enable graduates to:

  • Advocacy:  Advocate social and ecological justice in the Pacific and beyond
  • Communication: Communicate ideas clearly and persuasively in structured formats using language and other modes of communication that are appropriate for context, audience and specific disciplinary conventions.
  • Creativity: Extend boundaries of current knowledge in a particular discipline or profession.
  • Critical Thinking and Quantitative Reasoning: Evaluate multiple perspectives and arrive at a reasonable independent judgement based on evidence.
  • Ethics: Demonstrate a commitment to high ethical standards in scholarly, professional and socio-cultural practices.
  • Pacific Consciousness: Recognize the cultural heritage and diversity of Pacific societies for sustainable development in a contemporary environment.
  • Policy: Formulate culturally appropriate and gender sensitive policy options for diverse Pacific contexts
  • Practice: Use appropriate practice approaches such as casework, family work,  group work, community  work, social policy, and social enterprise  to strengthen and empower the disadvantaged in diverse Pacific contexts.
  • Professionalism: Demonstrate the ability to carry out tasks to acceptable standards1 within their profession and occupations.
  • Teamwork: Work together in a respectful and collaborative manner to complete tasks within teams to achieve an outcome.


  • The BA Social Work Major is an Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA)  – International Accredited Programme/
  • ACWA Accredited Course


The BA Social Work Major Programme is affiliated to:

Social Work @ USP

Fields of practice and employment opportunities:

Combining social and community work with the study of other disciplines opens a wide range of employment opportunities that are available to graduates in Government and Non-government Organisations, Community Organisations, the Private Sector and International Development and Financial Agencies. The Table below provides suggestions of the combination of discipline majors related to Fields of Practice that can be taken. Applicants are strongly advised to seek course advice for their programme of study to meet professional needs.

Discipline majors

Fields of practice

Social Work and Psychology

Social and family welfare, child protection, hospital and school social work counselling, mental health, disability, senior citizens, disaster management and trauma counselling, drug and substance abuse, HIV/AIDs, domestic violence, human trafficking, correctional services, youth justice

Social Work  and Sociology

Community and village development, social policy practice and gender analysis, youth work, women’s rights, human rights and ecological justice, LGTB communities, family livelihoods and social protection, poverty alleviation,  social enterprise and  ethical entrepreneurship, migration.

Social Work and Pacific Policing or Law

Community policing, youth justice, criminal justice, family law

Social work staff

We have a great team of lecturers in the School of Social Sciences here at The University of the South Pacific who contribute to the teaching of social and community work. Please see our staff page for full profiles.

Social work programmes

  • Certificate in Social and Community Work
  • Diploma in Social and Community Work
  • Social Work Major in the Bachelor of Arts degree
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