What to expect in your first year of social work at UQ

Interested in studying social work? Learn more about the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at UQ and make a positive impact on society.

“What would a degree be like, for a career so multi-dimensional and diverse such as social work?”

This question buzzed around my mind in my final year of high school. Along with others, like: “Should I go straight to university, or get some work experience first?”, “Perhaps I should study social sciences instead?”,  “Maybe I could take a gap year?”,  “Or do something different?”

If you also have questions about studying social work, then hopefully I can put your mind at rest by opening a window into my life as a first-year social work student.

A glimpse into learning

In first semester, groups of eight students get to visit a social work agency of their choice, learn all about it and then write an assignment based on the agency. This is one of the most amazing things about the course:  straight away you get out of the classroom and into the practical applications of social work. A team leader, a case worker and a social work student each explained a day in the life at the agency. They told us the A to Z of their work and listened patiently when we asked passionate question after passionate question. It was followed by a tour around the office, showing us all the different areas of social work that they do.

I remember intensely studying the 60-page booklet containing information on every aspect of my agency, Youth Justice Caboolture, on the train home after the visit. With all my new insight into social work, I was now certain that it was the right career for me. If you have any questions or confusions about social work in your mind, this visit will clear them up. Also, as first year is quite theoretical, it is good to be able to relate the theory to your experience at the agency visit. It is really motivating! 


It can be a time of uncertainty, transitioning to university, but luckily the first semester of the Bachelor of Social Work lets you choose any elective from the Bachelor of Arts. You can explore with a social work related subject or do something random that peaks your interest. Also, all of the lectures are recorded and available online, allowing you to revisit the content any time you like.

University life

Learning social work at UQ isn’t just lectures and tutorials. It’s REALLY important in your first year to get involved in university life, and there are so many social work related opportunities. UQ Volunteers Society is a club that offers humanitarian opportunities, so you can get hands-on experience and form connections. Additionally, there is a new UQ SW Peer Mentors group who run all sorts of workshops and exciting events that allow you to get advice from other social work students and social workers. Of course, these clubs are amazing for social work but also for making like-minded friends! UQ really is a fabulous place to study social work, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Last updated:
25 January 2023