Social Work
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
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Welcome to the Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University. We invite you to learn more about our Department during your visit to our website.

The Department of Social Work was established in 1931 as part of a larger Department that included Psychology and Sociology. On 1 July 1957 a separate Department of Social Work was officially established. Throughout its history, the Department was known for its outstanding academics and alumni, notably Prof Erika Theron and Prof Narisscia Botha, who conducted  ground-breaking research in social work, and who were instrumental in establishing social work as a profession in South Africa.  

Therefore, our longstanding hallmark is student-centred, value-driven teaching and learning to cultivate thought leaders in social development.

We offer a four-year Bachelors-degree, which is accredited by the South African Council for Higher Education, as well as a Master's (minimum one-year registration) and PhD (minimum two-year registration) programmes entailing research projects.

Our teaching and learning philosophy is guided by our core values namely: excellence; accountability and integrity; human dignity and respect; innovation and criticality; and ownership and leadership. Ultimately, our values not only cultivate thought leaders, but also engender overarching attributes as typified by engaged citizens, well-rounded individuals, and dynamic professionals.

We strive to produce cutting-edge research, which is disseminated consistently in leading local and international publications. Two of our staff members have recently received recognition from the South African Academy for Science and Arts for their significant research and publications. Social Work/Maatskap­like Werk, a journal for the social work practitioner (since 1965), is published quarterly by this Department. Each permanent staff member specialises in one or more of our six research focus areas, namely social development; child and family welfare; mental health and substance misuse; management, supervision and leadership; teaching and learning; and cultural practices.

The practice education programmes of the Department are regarded as the standard bearer of our social impact. Around 300 students are annually placed for field practice (service learning) at approximately 40 welfare organisations.

The Department is committed to ongoing and rigorous efforts to promote professional values that are responsive to social development, human rights, social inclusion, and the needs and aspirations of local communities in our teaching, research and social impact. The Department is therefore dedicated to passing on a scholarly theoretical body of knowledge as well as substantive practice experience and wisdom to subsequent social worker generations, by building on the legacy of the founders and alumni of the Department.

If any additional information is required about this Department, please contact our office at +27 21 8082069 and we will respond promptly.

Enjoy your visit to our website and we look forward to seeing you on campus and/or to collaborate with you in the near future!