Social Work Undergraduate Studies

Our Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, offers a BSW degree. The BSW degree is a four-year, full-time undergraduate programme (equivalent to an honours programme once completed). Social work students are trained in the three primary methods and the four secondary methods of social work. The three primary methods of social work are social casework, social group work, and social community work. Research methodology, administration, supervision and management, and education make up the secondary methods of social work. Go to the Module Information document for a description of the different social work modules. Registered students also enrol for elective modules (Psychology, Criminology, Sociology) and developmental modules (UFS101, Computer Literacy) where applicable.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must apply for admission to the BSW programme at the University of the Free State. Thereafter, the Department of Social Work will send the applicant a departmental application form.

The basic admission requirements are:

  • An endorsed National Senior Certificate (NSC) issued by the South African Certification Council
  • An AP score of 30+
  • A minimum of 60% (level 5) obtained in the NSC in the UFS language of tuition of their choice
  • For students from UFS extended programmes, successful completion of all developmental modules plus 64 mainstream credits in the first two years with an average of 60% or higher and specifically in modules relevant to the BSW programme
  • For students from other mainstream degrees, selection will be based on the NSC results and the current study record, specifically in modules relevant to the BSW programme

Selection Process

As the BSW program provides professional training and practice training facilities are limited, prospective students are selected.

Applicants who meet the academic requirements must take the TALL Academic Literacy Test. Applicants are also required to complete a questionnaire regarding their overall psychosocial functioning.

After the assessment, the Departmental Selection Committee will evaluate the results of the assessment products. The selection of a prospective student is based on a combination of academic achievement, level of academic literacy and the results of the psychosocial functioning questionnaire.

Successful candidates will be notified via SMS or email.

Contact Person

For more information, please contact the Programme Director
Prof Roelf Reyneke
+27 51 401 2356

Selection Enquiries: Undergraduate

Giovani Moodley
+27 51 401 2325


Dear Prospective Social Work Student,

Social work is a profession that involves, among others, assisting the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society. It is, moreover, a profession with deep roots in human rights and social justice. Consequently, the integrity and ethics of prospective social work students, social work students, and registered social workers are as important as their academic knowledge and professional skills. The proper screening of prospective social work students is thus vitally important. All Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) students, therefore, are required to provide evidence that they do not have a criminal record and that they have not committed an offence against a child.

Both a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) and a National Child Protection Register (NCPR) Part B clearance are required for social work students. Students must apply for these clearances, as outlined below.

1. The Police Clearance Certificate

According to the Social Service Practitioners Bill (2016, section 47(1)(e)), a person may be refused registration if he or she has “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”.

Social work students studying for a BSW are required to register as student social workers with the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP), at the end of the first or the onset of the second academic year. The SACSSP requires all student social workers to have a clean PCC prior to their registration as a student social worker. The SACSSP 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 probably not be permitted to register as a student social worker, which means he or she cannot complete the practical components of the BSW.

For these reasons, departments of social work at universities require students to obtain a PCC. Social work students must submit their PCC to the Department of Social Work by the end of February of their first academic year. A student who successfully completes the first academic year of the BSW, but is then found to have a criminal record, will be deregistered from the BSW programme.

Report to your local police station to apply for a PCC. Take your national identity card with you. The police will take your full set of fingerprints, and provide you with a form to complete. Inquire with the police station regarding the cost involved of applying. Use the information provided by SAPS for the details of the application procedure. Details of the procedure for application for this certificate may be found at: SAPS

2. The National Child Protection Register

Section 43 of the Children’s Act (no. 38 of 2005) declares:

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.

Part B of the NCPR is a register of persons who have been convicted of some form 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), as stated above.

All social work students must provide evidence that their names do not appear on the NCPR Part B because they will work with children. Therefore, all social work students must submit their proof of NCPR clearance to the Department of Social Work by the end of February of their first academic year.

To inquire if you name appears on the NCRP (Part B), you need to complete Form 30 (download here). Submit this form to the Department of Social Development that is required to provide you with a response within 21 working days (one calendar month). You can post the form to the address on the form or email it to There is no cost for this application.

Your continuation in the BSW programme is dependent on obtaining a clear record on both the PCC and NCPR (Part B). Hence, it is your responsibility to provide these documents to the Department of Social Work.

Head of Department
Dr Merlene Esau
+27 51 401 3120


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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