These inherent requirements apply to the following course:

  • Bachelor of Social Work (Pass and Honours)

If you are intending to enroll in an undergraduate social work course in the School of Allied Health, you should look at these Inherent requirement statements and think about whether you may experience challenges in meeting these requirements.

If you think you may experience challenges related to your disability, chronic health condition or any other reason, you should discuss your concerns with a campus Disability Advisor or the School of Allied Health staff, such as the Course Co-ordinator. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine reasonable adjustments to assist you to meet the Inherent Requirements. In the case where it is determined that Inherent Requirements cannot be met with reasonable adjustments, the University staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

These inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other course information and Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) publications such as the AASW Code of Ethics 2010 and the AASW Practice Standards 2013.

The inherent requirements are made up of the following five components and domains:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - description of what the inherent requirement is
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the course
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the requirement
  • Level 5 - examples of tasks that show you've met the requirement. These are examples only and not a comprehensive list

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the abilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course or unit, while preserving the academic integrity of the university's learning, assessment and accreditation processes. The inherent requirements are the abilities, knowledge and skills needed to complete the course that must be met by all students.

Students with a disability or chronic health condition may be able to have reasonable adjustments made to enable them to meet these requirements.

The School is committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, field placement and other activities to enable students' to participate in their course. Reasonable adjustments must not fundamentally change the nature of the inherent requirement.

Students are required to undertake activities which reflect the Australian social work context which may include mixed gender, religious and culturally diverse environments. For further information, contact your Course Co-ordinator.

To support potential and current students' decision making a series of inherent requirement statements has been developed. These statements specify the course requirements of the undergraduate social work courses for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under eight domains consisting of ethical behaviour, behavioural stability, legal, communication, cognition relational skills, reflective skills and sustainable performance.

Inherent requirement domains

There are eight domains of inherent requirements in each of the undergraduate social work courses. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Students undertaking social work studies are governed by practice standards and codes of ethics where students are both accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts.
2 Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice.
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Compliance with thecodes, guidelines and policiesfacilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people they engage with. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of allKnowledge of, and compliance with theAASW Codes of Ethicsis a requirement of course accreditation and graduate standards as mandated in theAASW Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards June 2012
4 Adjustmentsmust ensure the codes and standards are not compromised or result in unethical behaviour. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Demonstrating appropriate behaviour with confidential information in classroom and field placement settings.Demonstrate ability to reflect on ethical dilemmas and issues and take responsibility for ensuring awareness of ethical behaviour.
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role.
2 Student demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and field placement environment.
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments. Social work students will be exposed to highly complex human situations and will be required to have behavioural stability to manage these events.
4 Adjustmentsmust support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and field placement settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Demonstrating respectful behaviour and being receptive and responding appropriately to constructive feedbackCoping with own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals in the field placement setting
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Social work is mandated by specific legislation and professional regulations to enable the delivery of safe and appropriate professional practice.
2 Student demonstrates knowledge and compliance with Australian Law, professional regulations and scope of practice.
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Knowledge, understanding, and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements are necessary prerequisites to field placements in order to reduce the risk of harm to self and othersCompliance with these professional regulations and the Australian Law in the field placement setting ensures that students are both responsible and accountable for their practice
4 Adjustmentsmust be consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Complying with relevant child protection and safety legislation and reporting any notifiable concerns to your field placement supervisor
This course requires effective, verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills.
Verbal communication
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Effective and verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe delivery of support.
2 Student demonstrates: Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences.The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely mannerThe ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situationTimely clear feedback and reporting
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationshipsCommunication may be restricted to verbal because of physical limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions)Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for individual safety and or assessmentTimely, accurate and effective delivery of instructions is necessary to provide safe professional support
4 Adjustmentsmust address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure appropriate support. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Participating in tutorial and clinical discussionsResponding appropriately in any exchange or encounter in the field placement setting, e.g. interviews, meetings

Non-verbal communication
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to social work and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and non-judgmental.
2 Student demonstrates: The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cuesConsistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours and its impact on othersSensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
3 Justification of inherent requirement: The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationshipsDisplaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationshipsBeing sensitive to individual differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships that are essential for effective professional supportThe ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues is essential for effective observation of client reactions to facilitate assessment and to provide professional support
4 Adjustmentsmust enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Recognising and responding appropriately in classroom situationsRecognising and responding appropriately to cues in the field placement environment

Written communication
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Effective written communication, in English, is a fundamental social work student responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.
2 Student demonstrates capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice standardsAccurate written communication, including record keeping, client instructions and case notes is vital to provide consistent and accurate assessments and professional support in the field placement context
4 Adjustmentsmust allow students to meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and field placement settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Constructing an essay to academic standardsConstructing a social worker's report in a timely manner that meets professional standards

This course requires knowledge of theory and the skills of cognition and literacy.

Knowledge and cognitive skills
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Consistent and knowledge and effective cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide professional and competent social work practice.
2 Student demonstrates: Capacity to locate appropriate and relevant informationAbility to process information relevant to practiceAbility to integrate and implement knowledge in practice
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Safe and effective social work practice is based on knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriatelyA demonstrated defined range of knowledge and cognitive skills is a requirement for course accreditation, field placements and professional registration by the AASW
4 Adjustmentsmust ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment itemsAppropriately applying knowledge of policy and procedures in the field placement setting

Literacy (language)
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective professional support.
2 Student demonstrates: The ability to accurately acquire information and convey appropriate, effective messagesAbility to read and comprehend a range of literature and informationThe capacity to understand and implement academic and practice conventions to construct written text in an appropriate manner for the intended audience
3 Justification of inherent requirement: The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and professional supportThe ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective professional support in the field placement context
4 Adjustmentsmust demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Conveying a spoken message accurately and effectively in a field placement settingParaphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic and/or professional practice conventionsProducing accurate, concise and clear case notes which meets legal and professional practice requirements
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Social work practice requires the ability to make and maintain strong relationships with a wide range of individuals, groups and communities.
2 Student demonstrates: The ability to establish and maintain rapport with clients, academic staff, supervisors and peersThe ability to engage in effective and empathic counselling skillsAbility to engage and relate appropriately in individual and group clinical supervision and experiential learning groups
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Highly developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective relationships that permit effective assessment and intervention
4 Adjustmentsmust not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable level of effective relational skills. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5 Exemplars: Rapidly building rapport with a client in order to engage them in an assessment while on placementEffectively using relational and interpersonal skills to manage relationships with clients while on placement
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Social work practice requires self-awareness and a capacity for reflectivity in order to consider the effect of one's own issues, actions, values and behaviours on practice.
2 Student demonstrates: The ability to accurately reflect on their professional performanceThe ability to accept feedback on their professional practice and respond constructively
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Participation in supervision is a key teaching strategy in social work education which requires well developed understanding of oneself in order to appropriately engage in this activityWorking with clients while on placement and understanding and responding to them requires well developed understanding of oneself and the ability to effectively manage one's reactions to situations that may arise
4 Adjustmentsmust not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity in this area. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5 Exemplars: Identifying when a practice issue is outside one's scope or expertise or when one's practice may be negatively affected by personal experience and/or reactions.
Level Inherent requirements statements
1 Social work practice in the field placement context requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level.
2 Student demonstrates: Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over timeThe capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time
3 Justification of inherent requirement: Sufficient physical and mental resilience is an essential requirement needed to perform tasks in an assigned period to provide effective, safe and professional support in the field placement context
4 Adjustmentsmust ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Adviser.
5 Exemplars: Participating in tutorials, lectures, skillsProviding consistent field placement practice over a negotiated time frame

uws-logoInherent Requirements www.uws.edu.au/ir © University of Western Sydney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International licence.


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