We offer a Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) programme with a Criminology component.

Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) Programme

Social work is a multi-skill profession and requires general knowledge and skills as well as highly specialised skills. A degree in social work will qualify you to be a generalist social worker.

There are, however, a wide scope of specialist areas of social work, for example adoption, marital and family counselling, health care, occupational social work, community development, social planning, social development, social policy and poverty alleviation and reduction. After finishing your BSW degree, you can decide to embark on a specialist career or training.

We would advise you to do the following if you consider a career in social work:

  • Speak to social work students.
  • Speak to trained social workers about the scope and demands of the profession.
  • Do volunteer work at a non-government organisation of your choice.
  • Read books or articles on social work to familiarise yourself with the wide scope of the profession.
  • Take school subjects in the human and social sciences.                                                    

What can I do with this qualification?                                                   

With a BSW degree you will have a wide range of job opportunities. As a social worker you will be able to practise in various settings within South Africa, such as:

The public sector:

  • Government departments: national, provincial and local
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centres
  • Schools
  • Higher tertiary institutions

The NGO (non-government organisations) sector:

  • Child and family welfare organisations
  • Substance abuse rehabilitation centres
  • Community-based organisations
  • Faith-based organisations

Private Sector:

  • Industry
  • Health sector
  • Schools
  • Private practice

This degree will also equip you to work as a social worker internationally.

All practicing social workers have to register at the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACCP). This is the professional board that regulates social work education and practice. Students from their second study year have to register as student social workers.

It is expected that from 2007 social workers’ annual registration will also be linked to CPD- (Continuous Professional Development) points obtained through attending training opportunities like workshops and conferences.

The Baccalaureus in Social Work (BSW) provides the theoretical and practical training which leads to a professional career in social work. Our curriculum complies with the minimum standards set by the National Qualifications Framework.

What does the programme entail?

The Baccalaureus in Social Work (BSW) has 27 learning outcomes, covering a number of learning areas. It will provide learners with the knowledge, skills and attitude to:

  • promote, restore, maintain and enhance the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, and communities;
  • challenge structural sources of poverty, inequality, oppression, discrimination and social exclusion;
  • help to empower individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities to enhance their social functioning and their problem-solving capacities;
  • provide social work services aimed at protecting people who are vulnerable, at risk and unable to protect themselves;
  • respond to social needs and issues within the South African social welfare policy and legislation context; and
  • demonstrate social work values and the principles of human rights and social justice in their interaction with people in their full diversity.

Admission requirements

The admission requirement for the Baccalaureus in Social Work (BSW) is an APS of at least 30.

Online applications for 2023 will open on the 1st of April 2022. As soon as study spaces are filled, it will be closed for further applications.

The first year social work theory and practice modules are open to any student studying in a related field.

Departmental selection of students for the BSW Programme

All students who wish to proceed with the second year of study for the BSW programme are subjected to a selection process during the second semester of the first year of study. A student must have obtained the prescribed number of credits for social work modules, as determined by the Department of Social Work and Criminology, in order to be selected for the BSW Programme. The steps followed during the three phases of this process are the following:

  • academic achievement;
  • psychometric tests; and
  • a personal interview.

As these selection phases all carry the same weight, the result obtained for each phase contributes one third towards the final selection outcome. Selection begins in August of each year and also applies to students from other universities who wish to continue their social work studies at UP.

Should you need any additional information, you can contact:

The Programme Coordinator: Dr C Giliomee
Department of Social Work and Criminology
University of Pretoria
Private Bag X20
Tel: (012) 420 6437
E-mail: [email protected] 


Our department does not offer an undergraduate programme in criminology. However, criminology on a third-year level provides entry to postgraduate programmes and qualifications.

On the undergraduate level, criminology can either be taken as a major or ancillary subject towards other degrees.

Criminology is an important subject for many professions and disciplines, including law, psychology, social work, sociology, education and nursing. The teaching content in criminology includes crime and victimisation, the criminal justice system and other forms of criminal justice such as restorative justice and our aim is to prepare learners to deal effectively with crime, conflict and victimisation.

What can I do with criminology?

Criminology prepares you for a wide spectrum of job opportunities. These include:

  • The criminal justice system
    • South African Police Service: Forensic Science Laboratory; Ballistics Unit and Disputed Document Unit; criminal investigation; crime analysis (at national, regional and local level e.g. Crime Information Analysis Centre)
    • In court: pre-sentencing reports, victim impact statements and offender assessment.
  • The Department of Correctional Services: assessment: pre-sentencing (diversion, correctional supervision), placement in prisons, sentencing and pre-parole
  • The National Prosecuting Authority.
  • The Directorate of Special Investigations (Hawks) as analysts and special investigators
  • The National Defense Force (Crime Prevention Unit)
  • The National Intelligence Agency (training officers and special agents)
  • Non-governmental organisations (for example the National institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Crime Prevention Centre, Centre for the Prevention of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), Inter Trauma Nexus, Bee Courtwise
  • The private security industry
  • The private sector (Gambling Board, private auditing firms, forensic units in the banking industry)
  • Opportunities in private practice (court work, court support and preparation)

What does the criminology curriculum entail on an undergraduate level?
On the undergraduate level the curriculum includes the following on the respective year levels:

  • First-year level:
    Fundamental criminology; violent crime; penology; crime prevention and control
  • Second-year level:
    Forensic criminalistics; youth misbehaviour; victimology; political offences
  • Third-year level:
    Psycho criminology; criminology theories; female crime; contemporary criminology issues

Should you need any additional information, you can contact:

The Programme Coordinator: Dr L Coetzee
Department of Social Work and Criminology
University of Pretoria
Private Bag X20
Tel: (012) 420 3481
E-mail: [email protected]


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