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Bachelor of Social Science

This course has been discontinued - this course is closed for new enrolments, the information on this page is provided for continuing students.

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  • This information is for local students.
  • View course information for international students.
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This course introduces students to the study of individuals, groups and human societies and explores how social relationships and institutions shape individuals, and how they, in turn, have the capacity to shape these social institutions. Students will develop a theoretical insight into their chosen discipline, enabling them to understand current developments in society and the workplace, and to adapt and respond appropriately to future developments as they occur, both nationally and internationally.
Students will undertake a professional major in an area of specialisation, and combine it with either a co-major or two minors. There is a range of co-majors and minors available, which add depth or breadth to one's degree.
Duration3 years full-time or equivalent part-time. An optional and additional year of Industry Based Learning (IBL) may also be available.
Campus and intakes  Calendar
Hawthorn - Semester 1, Semester 2
Study modeFull-time
Part-time (day)
Swinburne course codeBA-SSC1 (formerly N0516)

On this page: course description, course structure and major specialisations.

Course description

This course structure is for students commencing from 2010.
Students who commenced prior to 2010, please refer to the previous Bachelor of Social Science course structure.
The Bachelor of Social Science program is focused on the scientific study of individuals, groups, and human societies. You will learn how social relationships and institutions shape individuals, and in turn, how they have the capacity to shape these social institutions. The program develops skills of investigation and analysis, critical thinking and effective communication and students undertake a major study in Community Health, Politics and Public Policy, Psychology, Psychology and Forensic Science, Psychology and Sport Science or Sociology.
The course is oriented towards the practical application of knowledge of society, such as counselling and policy evaluation. It nurtures the capacity for lifelong independent learning by developing skills of research, analysis, project management and effective communication that prepare students for a wide range of professional employment or for further study. Graduates are equipped for careers in areas such as policy analysis and development, research, community development, administration and human services management. With further studies, students with appropriate majors can obtain qualifications to become psychologists, librarians, teachers, personnel officers, social workers or sociologists.
As part of the Swinburne Professional Learning Model the program provides a supportive real-world learning environment. Learning opportunities are included through industry, community and research-based projects, practical case studies and scenarios, and problem-based learning. Each program emphasises problem-solving skills, to ensure that graduates have the ability to analyse problems, identify possible solutions and make well-informed decisions. The importance of on-going professional development is instilled in graduates.
Complementing a cross-discipline combination of unit offerings, students can structure their course to graduate with a tagged or untagged degree. By selecting specific combinations of Professional Majors and Co-Majors, students can graduate with one of the following:
Please note that many course codes have changed from 2014.

Course structure

For the Bachelor of Social Science suite of programs students must complete:
  • 300 credit points, normally 24 units of 12.5 credit points each;
  • 300 credit points is normally comprised of one Professional Major selected from the Social Science majors, normally sixteen units (200 credit points), and one co-major, normally eight units (100 credit points) OR two Minors, normally four units (50 credit points) each.
Additionally the following rules apply.
  • At enrolment students will be provided with recommended combinations of faculty majors, co-majors or minors. Any other combinations a student proposes will be subject to approval by the Faculty.
  • The non-credit unit, HAC0001 Careers in the Curriculum, is compulsory.
  • Two (2) Major Project units must be completed as part of the major studies sequence.
  • The same unit cannot be counted more than once. Where there are overlaps, the 300 credit points of study must be made up in the first instance by a minor where 50 credit points is required, otherwise by free electives or Options Plus units.
  • Students will normally not be permitted to successfully complete more than 26 units (325cps).
  • Students may only enroll in two Majors where both majors have sufficient unit overlap to enable both to be completed within a total 300 credit-points of study.
  • Professional Major Coordinators have the authority to approve alternative units if required for students to complete in a timely fashion.
Careers in the Curriculum (CIC)
In addition to the above, students must complete a compulsory unit of study HAC0001 Careers in the Curriculum to be awarded the degree. Careers in the Curriculum (CIC) is an innovative unit designed to assist Swinburne students to enhance their employability and career prospects. It is usually undertaken in the second year of their course and is compulsory for all undergraduate students. Students studying CIC will not incur a HECS or fee debt as the cost will be met by the university as part of an initiative to enhance students' career skills.
Final Year Experience - Major Projects
As part of the Swinburne Model for Professional Learning, all incoming undergraduates will undertake 25 credit points of professionally focused final year major projects within their programs of study. Entry with advanced standing may require alternate study sequences to be undertaken.
Winter and Summer Term
This program also provides opportunities to undertake study in an optional six-week Winter and Summer term allowing you to complete extra study between the standard semesters. These terms are not mandatory. However, if you wish to vary your study load you may want to consider this option.

Electives Plus Minors
Electives Plus combinations provide Swinburne degree students with options to broaden their career skills and strengthen their employability by undertaking specially selected groups of units from outside their degree discipline.
For further information visit the Elective Plus website. Electives Plus Minors are available in all Swinburne degree programs subject to timetabling constraints, with the exception of double degree programs, specialist double major degrees, and where entry has been approved with advanced standing.
Options Plus
Students will have access to a small set of approved individual Options Plus units of study which provide either a distinctive learning experience or targeted study support. This could include optional study tours, an Intercultural Communications unit, and an ‘introduction to undergraduate research’ unit. In some cases, students may be advised or directed to take specially targeted Options Plus units, for example the Analysing and Writing English unit to be offered for credit in Winter Term for NESB students.
Students undertaking a full 300 cp program are allowed to substitute at least one Options Plus unit for one existing unit within their co-major– but not in their Professional Major. They will be advised by their faculty on which unit(s) of the co-major.
In the case of students who enter with significant levels of advanced standing and whose program is therefore composed only of a Professional Major, the faculty may approve a substitution, or else require the students to undertake the Options Plus unit in addition to their major studies.

Major specialisations

Professional Majors
Where a student has completed the requirements of a Professional Major they are eligible to apply to graduate with the appropriate tagged degree outcome.
A Professional Major comprises 200 credit points of studies (16 units of study) relevant to the particular discipline or field of study. A major will normally include the requisite foundation units, have a clearly identifiable professional outcome and satisfy any relevant external professional-body accreditation requirements.
A co-major (100 credit points or 8 units of study) is a sequence of study focused on a specific discipline and is normally self-contained, in that it includes any requisite foundation studies. Where a student has studied a co-major they are not normally eligible to apply to graduate with the associated tagged degree outcome.
Minors A minor (50 credit points or 4 units of study) is a prescribed set of units that may broaden a student’s learning.  A minor is typically derived as a subset of a major or co-major, and it may be based on a single, recognised discipline, or it may be inter-disciplinary in character. Minors usually contain no elective choice.
Minors can be taken from any discipline across the University, including Electives Plus minors, timetabling permitting. Credit cannot be given for any minor which contains more than two units of study in common with any other minor, co-major or major that student is undertaking. Minors offered in the Bachelor of Social Science and Bachelor of Arts programs in the Faculty of Health, Arts and Design include:
Arts Minor - 2010
Communications Minor - 2010
Community Health Minor - 2010
Students also have the option to select their co-major or minors from another faculty, timetable permitting.

On this page: aims and objectives, career opportunities, professional recognition and graduate attributes.

Aims and objectives

The Bachelor of Social Science degree is designed to produce graduates who are able to contribute effectively and professionally to a dynamic global economy because they possess:
  • knowledge, conceptual understanding and expertise in specific areas of study in the social sciences;
  • an understanding of the relationship between theory, research and practice;
  • a capacity for critical analysis, creativity and problem solving;
  • professional skills, including the ability to use modern technology;
  • independent and lifelong learning skills;
  • comprehensive written and oral communication skills;
  • a strong sense of personal integrity and an appreciation of the role of ethics in private and public life;
  • excellent problem-solving, teamwork and decision-making skills.
The combined focus on generic skills and sound academic and professional knowledge within the Bachelor of Social Science degree equips students well for a lifelong process of personal development. Students with these attributes are highly sought after by employers who increasingly seek people with well-developed generic skills, in addition to professional competencies.

Career opportunities

Depending on your major, employment may be found in areas such as social research, administration, planning, welfare, community development, human resources, policy development, public relations, communications research, marketing or psychology. With further studies, students with appropriate majors can obtain qualifications to become librarians, teachers, personnel officers, social workers or sociologists. Further studies in areas of professional psychology such as clinical, counselling, organisational, forensic, developmental, health, human factors and sports psychology can lead to a wide range of career opportunities.

Professional recognition

Graduates who complete the Psychology Professional Major or the Psychology and Forensic Psychology Professional major are eligible for Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) recognition.

Graduates who complete the Community Health Professional Major may receive substantial credit towards the Bachelor of Health Science (Public and Environmental Health) program offered by Swinburne. On completion of the Bachelor of Health Science (Public and Environmental Health) graduates will be eligible for professional recognition by the Australian Institute of Environmental Health (AIEH).

Graduate attributes

Swinburne intends that its teaching programs assist all its graduates to be:
  • capable in their chosen professional, vocational or study areas;
  • entrepreneurial in contributing to innovation and development within their business, workplace or community;
  • effective and ethical in work and community situations;
  • adaptable and manage change;
  • aware of local and international environments in which they will be contributing (such as sociocultural, economic, natural).

On this page: IBL (industry based learning), honours and Swinburne Abroad.

Industry learning

Industry-Based Learning (IBL) is an optional program in which students are placed in paid, supervised employment relevant to their studies as part of their degree. IBL gives you practical experience to add to your academic studies and is aimed at increasing a your employability upon graduation. All IBL placements are subject to availability of places. It is not available to international students holding a student visa. For further information visit:


Outstanding Bachelor of Social Science students have the option of undertaking a specialised additional year of study, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree. Honours provides students with an opportunity to enhance their research ability and permits further studies and specialisation in their major discipline. It also leads to a wide range of job opportunities and gives students a market edge. The honours year is offered in the areas of Industry and Community Studies, Psychology, Social Science, Culture, Nature and Civilisation, Languages, Media and Multimedia. Please see the entry for the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) for details

Swinburne Abroad

Swinburne offers International Exchange Programs as well as other Education Abroad Programs to help internationalise your degree. International Exchange is an academic program allowing you to study at a Swinburne Partner Institution for one or two semesters during your degree. Swinburne's Partner Institutions offer many relevant subjects as well as a secure base to explore a different culture. Your studies whilst on exchange can be credited towards your Swinburne degree, provided they are relevant and approved by Swinburne. For further information visit the Swinburne Abroad website.

On this page: entry requirements, credit transfer and recognition of prior learning

Entry requirements

Successful completion of an appropriate Victorian Year 12 or its equivalent, such as an interstate or international Year 12 qualification.

2012 VCE Prerequisites: Units 3 and 4 – a study score of at least 20 in English (any).

Extra requirements: Test (some applicants only): Applicants must sit the STAT Multiple Choice if they are one of the applicants outlined under STAT at or on the Swinburne information pages in the VTAC guide.

All Non-Year 12 students (NONY12) should refer to the VTAC website for further infomation.

Credit transfer

Applicants with prior tertiary studies that satisfy part of the academic requirements of this course may be granted ‘credit’ and/or entry into the course with ‘advanced standing’. University policies apply and applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis. For further information refer to ‘Swinburne Pathways: Credit Transfer Guide’ at:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process where a student may be granted credit or partial credit towards a qualification in recognition of skills and knowledge gained through work experience, life experience and/or formal training. Further details for students considering Higher Education courses:

On this page: how to apply, course fees, scholarships and find out more.

How to apply

Please note that this course is closed for new enrolments.

Course fees

For information about Swinburne's fees, visit the Fees website.


For information about scholarships, visit the Scholarships website.