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Key details


1 year/s full-time
2 year/s part-time
1 year/s full-time


Semester 1, Semester 2
On campus - Semester 1, Semester 2
Online - No


Casuarina campus, Online
Casuarina campus

Credit points required


Course code



Whether you are seeking a new career, or looking to build on your existing experience, our Diploma of Social Care provides you with knowledge and skills for a range of community and human service roles. The social care and community sector is a rapidly growing field offering a wide variety of employment options.

You will learn about working with individuals, groups and communities to help people access the care, support and services they need. You will also learn to locate and analyse key information to help you make practice decisions.

As a graduate you will have the skills for employment in community work, residential care, support services, youth work and aged care. This course provides a direct pathway into the Bachelor of Social Work degree at Charles Darwin University, with full credit for the first year of study.

Credit transfers and advanced standing

Credit transfer

For further information on credit transfer and how to apply visit ASK CDU


Commonwealth supported places

Commonwealth Supported places are available in this course to students who meet one of the following residency requirements:

(a) Australian Citizenship; or

(b) a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident visa holder who will be resident within Australia for the duration of the unit.

2022: Information about fees and charges can be found at Fees and Payments.

2023: Information about fees and charges will be published no later than 1 December 2022.

International tuition fees

The annual tuition fee for full time study is AUD $25,832.00. This equates to $3,229.00 per 10 credit point unit (0.125 EFTSL).
These fees are subject to increases annually, effective at the start of each calendar year.

You can find a list of International fees and payments you can expect to pay as part of your studies in Australia.

CDU offers a number of scholarships to international students to assist with the cost of study.

CDU College of Health & Human Sciences student

Why study community services & social work at CDU?

Study Social Work with us and make a real difference to local communities, families and individuals, or in the humanitarian aid industry abroad. You'll gain knowledge and skills through placements, intensive units and theoretical knowledge, and graduate as a culturally competent specialist ready to create change.

  • #2 Australian uni for graduate employment outcomes (GUG 2022)
  • #3 in Australia for social work starting salaries (GUG 2022)
  • Flexibility and support to study full-time or part-time, on campus or online

What will I study?

The Diploma of Social Care comprises six core units and two specialist electives. Core units include communication skills, dynamics of group work, Indigenous contemporary perspectives, introduction of human services, academic literacies, cultural intelligence and capability. This diploma is offered on campus as well as externally online by distance education.

Course structure

A candidate must successfully complete units totalling 80 credit points (cp) as detailed below. All units are valued at 10 credit points unless indicated.

Unit type

Credit Points

Specific requirements
Core Units
(6 units)


 Compulsory Core units totalling 60 credit points as detailed below. 

 HSC132 Introduction to Health Promotion
 SWK101 Introduction to Human Services
 SWK102 Communication Skills
 IAS245 Indigenous Contemporary Perspectives
 HSC220 Society, culture and health: A sociological introduction (replaces HSC230 from 2021)
 SWK202 Dynamics of Group Work

Specialist Elective
(2 units)


Specialist Elective Units totalling 20 credit points selected from the following specialist elective streams: 

 PSY140 Psychology A (replaced by PSY150 2022)
 SWK103 Social Work Skills A
 SWK201 Human Service Organisations
 AOD201 Alcohol and Other Drugs (replaced by AOD202 2022)
 PSY202 Developmental Psychology (replaced by PSY203 2022)



Total Credit Points

Students who commenced in or after 2013
The grade of "PC" cannot be counted towards a Diploma AQF Level 5 course award. 
Students should refer to the current Grading Policy and Common Course Rules for further information.

AOD201 has been replaced by AOD202. Students that have completed AOD201 prior to 2022 should not complete AOD202.
PSY140 has been replaced by PSY150. Students that have completed PSY140 prior to 2022 should not complete PSY150.
PSY202 has been replaced by PSY203. Students that have completed PSY202 prior to 2022 should not complete PSY203.

Course Changes - 2021

HSC220 Society, culture and health: A sociological introduction has replaced HSC230 Cultural Safety in Health from 2021. Students have completed HSC230 do not need to complete HSC220.

Study plan

Students commencing in Semester 1

The Recommended Study Plan provided below is suitable for a student commencing in semester 1 and enrolling in a standard load. Students entering this course with advanced standing, or wishing to reduce or vary their study plan due to work, personal, financial or other reasons should use the table as a guide to create an individual study plan.

Legend:CO = Core UnitSE = Specialist Elective


Semester 1Semester 2
Year 1
HSC132 Introduction to Health PromotionCOHSC220 Society, culture and health: A sociological introduction (replaces HSC230 from 2021)CO
SWK101 Introduction to Human ServicesCOSWK102 Communication SkillsCO
IAS245 Indigenous Contemporary PerspectivesCOSWK202 Dynamics of Group WorkCO
Specialist elective 1SESpecialist elective 2SE


Students commencing in Semester 2

The Recommended Study Plan provided below is suitable for a student commencing in semester 2 and enrolling in a standard load Students entering this course with advanced standing, or wishing to reduce or vary their study plan due to work, personal, financial or other reasons should use the table as a guide to create an individual study plan.

Legend:CO = Core UnitSE = Specialist Elective


Semester 1Semester 2
Year 1
  HSC132 Introduction to Health Promotion (External only) CO
  SWK102 Communication SkillsCO
  SWK202 Dynamics of Group WorkCO
  Specialist elective 1SE
Year 2
HSC220 Society, culture and health: A sociological introduction (replaces HSC230 from 2021)CO  
SWK101 Introduction to Human ServicesCO  
IAS245 Indigenous Contemporary PerspectivesCO  
Specialist elective 2SE  

Entry requirements

Admission criteria

Admission requirements are met by one of the following:

  • Successful completion of the Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (or equivalent) and the awarding of an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) of at least 60*.
  • Successful completion of a national qualification at Certificate III level or higher.
  • Successful completion of at least 0.5 year of full-time study (or equivalent) of a higher education degree/diploma.
  • Overseas secondary or tertiary qualifications considered equivalent to the above Australian qualifications.
  • Attainment of a STAT Multiple Choice score of 140.
  • Successful completion of the Tertiary Enabling Program, the Preparation for Tertiary Success courses, or other recognised tertiary preparation course.
  • Submission of an acceptable personal competencies statement and/or employment experience.
  • Defence members with service of 1 year or more at the following ranks (or higher) meet the academic entry requirement for this course:
    ~Air Force: Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman, Corporal, Leading Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman
    ~Army: Corporal, Lance Corporal, Private
    ~Navy: Able Seaman, Leading Seaman, Seaman

* After any applicable adjustment factors have been applied.

Essential requirements

English language requirements

To gain entry into Charles Darwin University, all Higher Education applicants must satisfy the University's English Language Proficiency Requirements for their chosen course of study. International applicants will be required to supply evidence of this at the time of application.

The minimum English language requirement for this course is met by either undertaking previous education in an English-speaking country or undertaking one of the following English language tests and obtaining the minimum requirements listed below.

IELTS Academic ModuleA minimum overall score of 6.0 with no band less than 6.0.
Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)A minimum overall score of 169, with no skill below 169.
Common European Framework Certificate of English ProficiencyA minimum overall grade of B2.
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic moduleA minimum overall score of 50 with no score lower than 50.
TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT)A minimum overall score of 60 and a minimum writing score of 21.

* All tests are valid for two years from the date of the test to the date of commencement at CDU, unless otherwise specified.
* Where applicable, international applicants must also satisfy the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) English language requirements for student visa applications.

Do you have a question regarding English requirements at CDU? Please email:


ATAR profile

The following table represents the ATAR and selection rank profile for applicants offered a place on the basis of their ATAR in semester 1, 2021

ATAR based offers onlyATAR
(excluding adjustment factors)
Selection Rank
(ATAR plus any adjustment factors)
Lowest rank to receive an offer<5<5
Median rank to receive an offer<5<5
Highest rank to receive an offer<5<5

"<5" indicates less than 5 ATAR-based offers were made.

CDU brings social work to life. The lecturers are experts from various sectors of social work practice.


CDU Student

Chigozie on campus

Course details


This course is accredited by the University in accordance with the Higher Education Standards.

Australian qualification framework

This course is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 5.

Student profile

The table below gives an indication of the likely peer cohort for new students in this course. It provides data on students that commenced this course and passed the census date in Semester 1, 2021.

Applicant background (Semester one intake 2021)No. of Students% of all Students
A. Higher education study
(includes a bridging or enabling course)
18 67.0
B. Vocational education and training (VET) study<5N/P
C. Work and life experience
(Admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
D. Recent secondary education
  • Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR

(regardless of whether this includes the consideration of adjustment factors such as equity or subject bonus points)

  • Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered

(e.g. portfolio, audition, extra offer conditional on minimum ATAR)

  • Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor

(e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation scheme with no minimum ATAR requirement)

International students<5N/P
All students 27 96.0

"<5" - the number of students is less than 5
N/A - Students not accepted in this category
N/P - Not published: the number is hidden to prevent calculation of numbers in cells with less than 5 students.

Additional information

Can offers be deferred?
Diploma of Social Care
College of Health and Human Sciences
Area of study
Community Services and Social Work, Health, Allied Health Sciences

Contact details

For further information about the course, enrolment procedures, closing dates and other administrative issues please contact Student Central on: 8946 7766 or 1800 061 963 (free call)

You make CDU

Together we are a positive force for change in our communities and the world.

How to apply

There are many ways to apply to CDU. The method you use depends on your course type, where you live and whether you are a new or returning student to CDU.

Remember to apply early for your best chance at securing an offer to study with us.


SATAC is the application channel for residents of NT, ACT, SA, WA, QLD, VIC or TAS.


UAC is the application channel for residents of NSW.


Direct applications are available to students who have completed a CDU or BIITE course at a Certificate III level or higher. Most CDU and BIITE enabling programs are also accepted through this process.

International applications

Applications must be submitted online through our application portal, Studylink. You'll need a valid email address to create your online account. Once you have started your application, you will be able to save it and resume it later. There is no application fee when you apply online.

You may be able to lodge a direct application; however, there may be restrictions on your geographic location. If you cannot submit a direct application via the application portal, please apply through one of our registered agents.

Apply through StudyLink or through an Agent.

International applicants currently studying year 12 in Australia should apply via SATAC or UAC.

If you do not meet any of the criteria above please visit Pathways to study to view the options available to you.


UAC Code
Casuarina campus (CSP)
Online (CSP)
* CSP = Commonwealth supported place
FF = Full fee

CRICOS codes

Casuarina campus

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