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About Us

The Department of Social Development offers professional education and training in a range of social service fields. Social Work is historically the foundational professional programme and has been taught at the University of Cape Town since 1924.

Today the Department of Social Development (formerly School of Social Work) is one of the largest of its kind in Southern Africa.

At the Undergraduate Level the Department offers:

1) Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programme: A 4 year professional degree programme which leads to the registration as a professional social worker with the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). Convenor: Ms Fatima Williams 

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2) Social Development Major: Students undertaking a general degree can opt for Social Development to be one of their majors for their degree. Convenor: Dr Somaya Abdullah

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At Postgraduate Level the Department offers a suite of specialist degrees by coursework as well as degrees by research:

A) Specialisation Course Work Honours Degrees:

1) BSocSc Honours specialising in Social Development: (eligibility: BSW or bachelor’s degree in a cognate field) - Completed in one year. Convenor: Ms Cindee Bruyns

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B) Specialisation Course Work Master’s Degrees:

1) MSocSc specialising in Criminal Justice Social Work: (eligibility: BSocSc Honours specialising in Criminal Justice Social Work & registered with the SACSSP) - Completed in two years may be extended to 3 years. Convenor: A/Prof Leon Holtzhausen 

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2) MSocSc specialising in Clinical Social Work: (eligibility: BSW degree, registered with the SACSSP and a minimum of 2-years practice experience in social work) – Completed in two years may be extended to 3 years. Convenor: Mr Ronald Addinall 

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3) MSocSc specialising in Social Policy & Management: (eligibility: BSocSc Honours specialising in Social Policy & Management) - Completed in two years, may be extended to 3 years. Convenor: Ms Lauren van Niekerk 

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4) MSocSc specialising in Social Development: (eligibility: BSocSc Honours specialising in Social Development) - Completed in one year, may be extended to 18 months. Convenor: Ms Cindee Bruyns

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C) Master’s Degrees by Research: Convenor for all Research Masters: Dr Khosi Kubeka

1) MSocSc in Social Work

2) MSocSc in Social Development

3) MSocSc in Social Planning & Administration

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D) PhD Degrees by Research: Convenor for all PhD's: Dr Khosi Kubeka

1) PhD in Social Work

2) PhD in Social Development

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Social work and related social development services are declared a scarce skill in South Africa and with the existing pool of qualified professionals extremely limited, there is an increasing demand from government and non-governmental sectors for social work and social development graduates. More and more social work professionals and social development practitioners are also opening private practices and consultancies.

The Department’s core academic programmes benefit from contributions made by cognate Departments such as Psychology and Sociology.