How To Become A Social Worker In South Africa

Social work is a rewarding career that offers many opportunities for personal and professional growth. Becoming a social worker in South Africa allows you to make a positive impact on people’s lives while developing your own skills. To get started, you’ll need to study social work at university and then apply for registration with the South African Council for Social Work Education (SACSW). In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about studying social work in South Africa including which universities offer degrees and diplomas, how much they cost, their application processes and more!

How To Become A Social Worker In South Africa

To become a social worker in South Africa, you need to complete your Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. The following universities are the best places to study Social Work:

  • University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  • University of the Free State (UFS)
  • Unisa
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
  • University of Pretoria (UP)
  • University of Stellenbosch (US

University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is one of South Africa’s leading universities. The university was formed from a merger between Rand Afrikaans University and Technikon Witwatersrand, the latter being a technical university based in Johannesburg. It is located on a large campus about 16 kilometres west of M1 highway’s exit 13 (Downtown south) in the suburb of Parktown, Johannesburg..

University of the Free State

If you are thinking about studying social work in South Africa, the University of the Free State is the right place for you. The university was established in 1904 and is located in Bloemfontein, which is a city that has many historical buildings and monuments.

The University of the Free State offers undergraduate programs such as Bachelors Degree Social Work, Honours Bachelor’s Degree Social Work and Certificate Level Professional Practice Programmes (Social Workers). The postgraduate program offered by this university includes Masters’ Degrees Social Work Studies, Masters’ Degrees Special Education and Master of Arts Research.


Unisa is a public university in South Africa. It offers a Bachelors of Social Work degree and a Masters of Social Work degree, making it an excellent choice for students who want to study this field.

University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

The University of KwaZulu-Natal offers a 4-year Bachelor of Social Work degree, along with two postgraduate diploma and degree programmes.

The two-year Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work is designed to give you an introduction to the theory and practice of social work through learning both by lecture and clinical practice. It provides participants with core knowledge and skills required for entry into a career as a frontline worker in community development, child protection, health care or disability services. The course can be taken full time or part time on campus at UKZN’s Durban or Pietermaritzburg campuses respectively; it is also available online via Open Universities South Africa (OUSA).

The Postgraduate Degree in Social Work requires three years of study full time on campus at UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus; it can also be completed part time over six years via OUSA. This course prepares students who wish to pursue careers within mental health services, children’s rights advocacy groups or community development organisations where they will act as advocates for those less fortunate than themselves

University of Pretoria (UP)

The University of Pretoria (UP) is a public research university located in Pretoria, South Africa. It is the oldest and largest university in the country by enrollment, and it is also the most highly rated.[4][5] The university operates six campuses, with its main campus in Hatfield on the eastern side of Pretoria.

University of Stellenbosch (US)

The University of Stellenbosch (US) is a public research-intensive university. It has a low acceptance rate, but is also highly accessible to applicants because it offers several bursaries and scholarships. The University of Stellenbosch produces excellent results and has an international student body that accounts for around 50% of the student population. As a result, you will find yourself surrounded by people with diverse worldviews and cultural backgrounds. This can be both beneficial and challenging at times!

The alumni network at US is very strong as well, which means that if you choose this university to study at, your future career prospects are almost guaranteed in South Africa or abroad.

University of the North West (NWU)

The University of the North West (NWU) is a public university located in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. The university offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree and Master of Social Work degree. It also offers a PhD in Social Work through its Centre for Social Work.

Tips for Studying Social Work in South Africa

To become a social worker in South Africa, you need to have a passion for helping people. You will spend most of your time working with people who are in crisis and need help. Social workers are involved with mental health issues, drugs and alcohol abuse, family problems and many other areas that affect people’s lives.

A good social worker has empathy and compassion but they also have the ability to work under pressure when things get difficult or stressful. They must be able to understand the different issues that impact on each person’s life as well as support them through their problems.

Social workers often deal with complex issues such as domestic violence or abuse which means they need excellent communication skills so that they can explain things clearly enough for those receiving support from them understand what is happening in their own lives.

How To Become A Social Worker In South Africa

You can become a social worker in South Africa by studying social work at a university. There are many universities in South Africa that offer degrees in social work. In this section, we’ll discuss the three main ones: University of Johannesburg (UJ), University of the Free State (UFS) and Unisa.


This article has given you an idea of what the study of social work entails and the different universities where you can study it in South Africa. It is important that graduates from these institutions have a basic understanding of all aspects of social work, before they decide on their specialisation. In order to become a Social Worker in South Africa, you need to complete at least four years at university level with a degree (BA) or diploma in Social Work

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