Social Work Selection Information and Requirements for 2022


I want to congratulate you on choosing social work as your choice of study. I hope that, if you do get selected for the programme, that you will be happy and fulfilled in this field of service delivery. Social work is not just a job; it is a calling. I can promise you that you will have to work extremely hard during your studies, but if you are one of the few lucky ones who get selected, you should succeed in your studies.

Covid-19 has changed the world and highlighted the need for social workers. Unfortunately, it also made higher education much more difficult with social distancing and only limited numbers of students allowed on campus. However, since social work training is specialised and we have a great deal of interaction with our students, you will be expected to come to campus.

Social work is one of the few programmes on campus that is a selection course. This means that not every person who applies for admission will be accepted. We have to do this since social work students do lots of practical work during their training and we only have limited placements at organisations availible. In this document, the selection process and a few requirements are explained. Please read it carefully and provide us with the necessary information as soon as possible. Remember that the final date for applications is 31 July 2021.

Prof RP Reyneke
Program director


Please note that the minimum selection requirement for school-leavers is an AP score of 30 points. Use the table below to determine your score. In 2021, this will be used as the main criterion got selecting students. Applicants with high AP scores will have a higher probability of being selected for the programme.

An achievement level of 5 (60%) or higher in the subject Life Orientation is required to score a maximum of 1 point.

Your matric certificate should indicate that you qualify for admission to a Bachelor's degree.

You also need a minimum of 60% (level 5) or higher in English.

The formula for calculating the AP score:

NSC Level of Achievement UFS Admission Point (AP)
7 (90%-100%) 8
7 (80%-89%) 7
6 (70%-79%) 6
5 (60%-69%) 5
4 (50%-59%) 4
3 (40%-49%) 3
2 (30%-39%) 2

How do I obtain an AP score of 30?
Example: An achievement level of at least 5 (60%) in five academic subjects is required and English at a minimum level 5 is compulsory. An achievement level of at least 4 (50%) in one further academic subject is required.


The UFS application process is done online. If you have received this document, it means that you have completed the first part of your application. Since social work is a selection programme, the Department will then continue to select approximately 70 students for admission into the programme.

Applications for selection close on 31 July, after which the selection panel will start to evaluate the applications received. For 2022, we will look at your academic results, your motivation to study social work and whether you have completed and submitted the rest of the information needed (see point 10). If your application is incomplete, your application will automatically be rejected.

The only objective criteria that we have available about your academic potential is your matric results. That will then be used as one of the main criteria for selection. We are also obliged to admit at least 60% matriculants. The rest may be used for students who want to change to social work or students who have completed the extended programme in the social sciences. For these students, we will also look at their academic achievements as the main element for selection.

As soon as the selection process has been completed, you will receive an email from the Department informing you about your application. If you have not heard anything from the Department by 30 September, you are welcome to contact us at the provided email address. Use your name and student number as a reference.

Selection for the Social Work Programme at the UFS is highly competitive. Due to the high standards required for academic and professional development, we can only accommodate a limited number of students (± 80). Each year we receive many more applicants than we can accommodate. (We received approximately 4194 applications during 2020. We selected the top academic candidates. The top performer has an AP score of 48, and the top applicants from other programmes averaged 80%–90% in subjects relevant to social work.)

The Selection Committee use the following criteria to make the selection:

  1. High AP score.
  2. Excellent academic performance in other undergraduate programmes relevant to social work.
  3. Available space.
  4. First-time entries take precedence.
  5. Aspects such as age, additional qualifications, work experience or personal circumstances are not considered for selection.


Social work is a profession that involves working among the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society. It is, moreover, a profession with deep roots in human rights and social justice. Consequently, social workers' integrity and ethics can be argued to be as important as their knowledge and skills. The 'fit and proper' screening is thus vital.

Students studying towards a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) are required to register as a student social worker with the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP), at the end of first or beginning of the second year. The SACSSP requires you to have a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) as a condition of registration. If the SACSSP does not register you as a student, you cannot do the social work internship (field practice), which means you cannot study social work.


According to the Social Service Practitioners Bill (2016) a certain type of offender are barred from practising social work. Specifically section 47(1)(c) says – “A person who has been convicted of an offence in the Republic, and sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine or, in the case of fraud, any other offence involving dishonesty or any sexual offence, to a fine or imprisonment or both. Section 47(1)(d) – “is a person whose name appears on the register contemplated in: (i) section 23 of the Older Persons Act,2006 (Act no. 13 of 2006); or (ii) Part B of the National Child Protection Register contemplated in section 111 of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act no. 38 of 2005); or (iii) chapter 6 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007), which refers to the national register for sex offenders; or section 47(1)(e), a person may be refused registration if they have "been convicted of an offence in a foreign country and sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine or, in the case of fraud, any other offence involving dishonesty or any sexual offence, to a fine or imprisonment or both”. The SACSSP uses the Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) as a key way to determine 'fit and properness'.

In practice, this means that, even if a person has a BSW, but they have a criminal record, they will be judged to be not a ‘fit and proper’ person and thus will be denied registration as a social worker. There are some criminal matters that would probably be excluded, such as involvement in political action or a traffic fine.

The South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) requires all student social workers to have a clean PCC prior to their registration as student social workers and will not register a graduate as a social worker without a clean PCC. Thus, a person with a criminal record who enrols for the BSW will probably never be permitted to register as a student social worker, which means they cannot complete the practical components of the BSW.

For these reasons, universities require students to obtain a PCC early in their studies, certainly, before they start field practice in their second year. Moreover, a student who completes the first year of the BSW but is then found to have a criminal record will be required to deregister from the BSW and to transfer into another academic programme. Every student in social work will have to re-submit for a new PCC at the beginning of each subsequent year of study. You only need to provide us with this document when you are selected for the programme; see point 8.


Part B of the NCPR is a register of persons who have been convicted of child abuse. Clearance of all employees of any service concerning the care, protection, and development of children is required by the Children's Act (2005), including such services as early childhood development centres (essentially playschools and preschools for smaller children).

According to the Children's Act (Section 43):
“Further to the provisions of Section 123(1) of the Act relating to types of prohibited employment or activity of a person whose name appears in Part B of the National Child Protection Register, no such person may- a) be employed or involved in any position, where he or she will be placed in a position of authority, supervision or care of a child; b) be employed or involved in any position, where he or she will be able to gain access to a child or to a place or places where children are present or congregate; c) own or have any economic or business interest in any entity, business concern or trade relating to the supervision or care of a child if such interest would cause that person to have direct access to or would place him or her in a position of authority, supervision or care of a child."

Given that all student social workers will work with children at some point in their training, this means that all students must provide evidence that their names do not appear on the NCPR Part B.


For you to register as a first-year student in the undergraduate social work programme in 2022, you need to do the following:

The National Child Protection Register (NCPR)
Complete the attached Form 30 and submit the completed form with an additional certified copy of your ID as part of your application. The Department of Social work will submit this on your behalf to DSD. There is no cost for this application.

Motivation why you want to study social work
You will have to write a short two-page motivation why you want to study social work. Ensure that this motivation is neat, grammatically correct and shows your knowledge of social work and why you are applying to study social work.

Both these documents should be sent to the Department.


The Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)
Provide evidence that you do not have a criminal record and that you have not committed an offence against children. Both the PCC and the NCPR Part B clearance are required, but since you have to pay a fee for the PCC you only need to provide us with this information after admittance to the programme. You will have to apply for this document yourself.

You need to submit your PCC to the Department of Social Work when you register for your modules in 2022. If you have not received the PCC by then, submit a copy of the receipt from SAPS that you applied for a PCC to the secretary. When you do receive the certificate, please hand it in at reception. It has to be emphasised that, if your PPC shows that you are not a fit and proper candidate for social work, your selection will be withdrawn, no matter how good your academic achievements might be.

To apply for a PCC, report to your local police station where you will provide your full set of fingerprints. You must have your ID book with you. The cost is currently R114 per applicant. Details of the procedure for applying for this certificate is also set out on Please rely on the information provided by the SAPS for the details of the application procedure.


By receiving this document, it does not mean that you have been selected for the Social Work Programme. Suppose you have previously been provided with guidance on what to do to improve your chances of being selected, for example, doing the extended programme in Social Sciences, or doing a course in social auxiliary work. It does not mean that you will receive any special considerations. Every candidate is on equal footing during the selection process.

All candidates will be notified by letter/email about the outcome of their application when the process that only starts in August has been completed.


Department of Social Work
University of the Free State
PO Box 339 (34)
Tel: +27 51 401 2325
Fax: +27 51 401 3581
Email: Enquiries: Giovani Moodley


  • Completed form 30
  • Study record if you are/were a student
  • A two-page motivation why you want to study social work
  • The signed personal statement


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

Humanities photo next to contact block

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