Breadcrumbs

Welcome to Social Work

What is Social Work?

Social Work is a practice-based profession and academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Social workers work with people, their families, whānau, communities, and social structures to address life challenges, promote self-determination and autonomy, and enhance wellbeing. The overarching principles of social work are respect for the inherent worth and dignity of human beings, doing no harm, respect for diversity and upholding human rights and social justice. Social work is underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities, and indigenous knowledge (IFSW, 2014).

Who are we?

The Social Work programme is located in the School of Social Sciences, within the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology, and Social Sciences. The Social Work Programme aims to advance the values and ethical principles of social work through its teaching and research. The mission of the Social Work Programme is “to prepare social work students to be critically reflective, ethical practitioners and leaders of learning imbued with values of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility, and respect for diversities grounded in the articles and principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”


Social Work is a valuable and necessary profession in our society, particularly as society grows increasingly complex. If you are a person who wants to contribute to society, the professional qualifications offered by the Social Work Programme will help you achieve just that. When studying Social Work at the University of Waikato, you will be learning how to make a positive difference in the lives of others.