In Singapore, the minimum educational qualification to be a social worker is a recognised full-time / part-time Bachelor degree in Social Work, a Graduate Diploma in Social Work or a Masters in Social Work from an SASW accredited tertiary institution.

Option 1: National University of Singapore (NUS) Bachelor of Arts (Social Work) /Graduate Diploma in Social Work

Social Work as a subject in the University first started in 1952, when it offered the first professional social work qualification in Singapore, the two-year Diploma in Social Studies. Since then, it has evolved with the changing times, circumstances and requirements of the country into its present form. The Social Work curriculum follows the modular system in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Besides the undergraduate degree, Social Work graduate education at NUS is also available, both by coursework and by research. Candidates who wish to read Social Work at the Department must be successful in gaining admission to read the Bachelor of Arts at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. To read Social Work as a subject major, students must have a strong interest in working with people and should have obtained good results at the GCE 'A' level examinations. Visit for more information

Option 2: Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) (formerly known as SIM University or UniSIM) - Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work

The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), formerly known as SIM University (UniSIM), is unique in Singapore. It is the country’s first and only private university focusing on the upgrading and learning needs of working professionals and adult learners. The University has a rich education legacy, having evolved out of the highly successful SIM Open University Centre that has graduated more than 5,000 students since 1991. SUSS fulfills an important mission in reaching out to the diversity of adult learners in Singapore.The School of Human Development and Social Services offers a Bachelor in Social Work. This programme is available at both basic and honours levels.  Click here for more information. 

SUSS also offers a Graduate Diploma (leading to a master's degree) in Social Work.Graduates of the basic degree in Social Work may register with the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW) after they have met the requirements of supervised practical work. Graduates with an honours degree will qualify for registration immediately. Click here for more information. 

The Master of Social Work Programme is a practice-based programme, designed to prepare social workers aspiring to take up leadership positions in the social service sector by equipping graduates with clinical social work skills, administration skills and supervision skills to function at management positions in the sector.

The programme is designed to cater for both graduates with a social work degree and those with other degrees. Click here for more information. 

For graduates without prior social work training, bridging courses will first equip you with the basic social work knowledge and skills so as to ease you into the Masters programme. You will be required to complete three pre-requisite courses and a supervised practicum on top of the requirements for the Masters Programme. An additional 15 weeks of classes and 400 hours of practicum will be needed for this pre-requisite programme.

This Masters programme also allows flexibility for participants to graduate with a graduate diploma (GDSWK) upon finishing six compulsory core courses within the Masters programme. Re-entry to the Masters programme may be allowed within the maximum candidature of 3 years.

Graduates from the Masters programme (including Graduate Diploma route) will be recognized social work professionals with administrative and supervisory abilities as well as domain specialists, as accepted by the SASW and the main employers of social workers namely the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).

VWO Capability Fund (VCF) Local Training Grant

The Bachelor/Bachelor (Hons) of Social Work degree programme is supported under the VWO Capability Fund (VCF) Local Training Grant. Candidates approved for VCF funding will be given 30% subsidy of the course fees. Applicant must be a staff with the NCSS member Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs). For more details on the VCF grant, please click here.

The Masters in Social Work programme also enjoys the support of the VCF Local Training Grant and NCSS initiatives as stated in the Professionalisation Package.

Option 3: Foreign Social Work Degree Programmes

As far as recognition of foreign degree programmes in social work is concerned, SASW will look into recognising social work programmes completed by full-time or part-time study and also having fulfilled one of these two conditions:

  • whether the educational institution is accredited at the national level, and that its social work programme is registrable with the national association of social workers where it is located; or
  • whether the social work programme is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.
SASW has yet to recognise any undergraduate or graduate degree in social work offered through off-shore study / distance-learning except for the social work degrees which were offered previously by the Social Service Institute in partnership with the Monash University, Australia. SASW does not keep a list of foreign social work programmes. For enquiry with respective social work associations on their recognition of social work programmes in their country, please visit here.