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A Guide to Social Work Degrees Abroad

Have you considered earning your social work degree abroad? Social work is a field that seeks to improve the quality of life for individuals, groups, and communities. This interdisciplinary field focuses on multiple issues, including mental and physical health, poverty, and social injustice. Guided by overarching social work values and ethics, you’ll add a culturally sensitive dynamic to the theories and strategies you will learn in the classroom by taking your education abroad. As social environments vary from country to country, earning your social work degree abroad will give you a broader scope and understanding of international issues affecting societies and people around the globe. 

Why Earn a Social Work Degree Abroad

Social work involves collaborating with diverse cultures, while advocating for social and economic justice for individuals, families, communities, and specific populations. As you earn your social work degree abroad, you’ll learn to work with international colleagues and promote cross-cultural understanding in your future career. Students who engage in social work degree programs abroad gain a deeper understanding of real problems facing societies on an international level, and even have the chance to experience social problems firsthand. By earning a social work degree abroad, you will undoubtedly shape your capacity as a professional social worker and the direction of your future career.


Social problems fluctuate based on the political, economic, and social situation of every country. Selecting the location for your social work degree program abroad will play a key role in the type of social work you’ll be exposed to, as well as the type of societal issues you will be faced with daily. As each community has embedded values as a result of socialization and cultural expectations, if there is specific region that you’d like to conduct research in or learn more about then you should begin looking for degree programs there. If you are curious about a specific social service system, then explore social work degrees in countries that follow that system. Considering preferences and interests like these, as well as your own career goals, will allow you to choose the best social work degree program for you.

If you’re interested in studying in a Western focused curriculum and structure, Australia and the United Kingdom are excellent places to earn a social work degree abroad. In Australia, there are various coastal universities and therefore social work degree programs, in locations like Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. Some Australian universities even have strong connections to hospitals, schools, and welfare agencies; by seeking out universities that have such connections, you will have more opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the field.

On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, cities like London have social work degree programs that specialize in specific areas related to social work, such as dementia care, mental health, and quality and service improvement. With a diverse learning environment and emphasis on work experience in a community setting, social work degrees in England specifically will prepare students to work with clients from different backgrounds, and in various capacities. 

Alternatively, in order to gain a better understanding of how Latin American social, political, and economic changes affect individuals and communities, students could earn a social work degree abroad in Argentina. With a blend of European culture, students will experience how social workers, activists, and educators have handled recent economic struggles. Additionally, major cities, like Buenos Aires, have disadvantaged communities with high rates of homelessness, unemployment, and drug abuse. If you’re interested in providing emotional support to vulnerable communities in the future, earning a social work degree in Argentina will give you experience that will help you progress in your career. 

In recent decades, social work has also become a demanding profession in India. With corporate social responsibility becoming a trending topic, India is ready to work with graduates who have a deep understanding of current social issues. Specifically, students should explore social work degree programs offered by universities in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

Social Work Degree Programs

As you begin your social work degree abroad at the undergraduate level, it’s helpful to take classes in several disciplines. Courses that focus on general aspects of society, like social justice, human rights, and social policy, are great starting points. Eventually, you can expand your coursework into a particular area of interest, such as social work with families and children or substance abuse. Depending on the degree program and location you choose, it will take approximately four years to earn your social work degree abroad. Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to work in many capacities, in roles like mental health assistant, resident counselor, and habilitation specialist.

Graduate social work degree programs involve one to two more years of study, and will really help open up more social work job opportunities, at home and abroad. If you earn a master’s degree in social work abroad, you’ll most likely be trained on the social needs of the specific country you’re studying in. While these needs might be different from the location of your next social work job, you’ll surely utilize the knowledge gained during your social work degree program in any future job, you’ll just have to learn to adjust to each community’s needs and situation. During the final stages of social work master’s degree programs, you’ll most likely work on a final thesis or project based on your specialized interests. Upon graduation, you will be able to fulfill social work jobs that require a great deal of practical knowledge, like positions as a clinical social worker.

Finally, there are two types of doctoral degrees in social work, a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) and a PhD. Traditionally, the DSW is a more practice focused doctorate program, while the PhD is often research-heavy. It’s important to research the focuses of each type of doctoral social work degree program, as some will focus on administrative work while others may focus on clinical work. Through specialized educational techniques, like face-to-face learning experiences, dissertation writing, and research, you’ll be well prepared to apply theory, knowledge, and research in order to improve any society’s social issues.


  • Social Work is Found in Every Facet of the Community. Social work jobs are found in places ranging from schools to hospitals to corporations; clearly, social workers are needed in numerous private and public entities throughout the world. 
  • Be a Part of a Vital Profession. With diverse issues, ranging from disability, poverty, mental illness, and aging, your hard work as a social worker can lead to social change that will lead to the betterment of society. 
  • Emotional Fulfillment. Engaging with clients and helping address social problems provides social workers with a sense of purpose. Giving importance to human relationships and the service of others, social work is anything but conventional.
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A Guide To
Social Work Degrees Abroad


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