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Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Social Work




What will I learn?

Gain a one-year university qualification while opening up your pathway into many JCU Bachelor degrees. The Diploma of Higher Education is recognised as a stand-alone qualification designed for students who don’t meet the entry requirements of a Bachelor degree.

Study a variety of introductory and first-year degree subjects, designed to help you build on core knowledge and foster skills of academic enquiry. You will enrol in a specific study plan created to suit your chosen major. Benefit from support staff dedicated to students of this degree and the award-winning JCU Learning Centre.

Receive the foundational skills and knowledge to enter your target Bachelor degree course. Graduates who successfully complete JCU’s Diploma of Higher Education meet the entry requirements necessary to enter into many JCU Bachelor degrees.

JCU students may be eligible for advanced standing or credit for some of the subjects completed as part of the diploma.

Career Opportunities

Develop the necessary skills to become a successful university student. Begin your dream career with a recognised qualification and pathway to your preferred bachelor degree.

The JCU Diploma of Higher Education is a pathway into university if you don’t have the academic entry requirements for your preferred undergraduate course. It also provides an example of what university study will be like prior to enrolling in a full degree.

Some subjects completed as part of this diploma may be eligible for credit towards a subsequent JCU undergraduate degree.

Course learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Diploma of Higher Education, students will be able to:

  • Integrate and apply theoretical and technical knowledge and concepts, with depth in some areas, in a discipline or broad field of learning
  • Identify, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information, claims and evidence from a range of sources
  • Communicate ideas, arguments and perspectives in a clear and logical way through English language proficiency and a range of media and technologies
  • Analyse, plan, design and evaluate solutions to problems by applying creativity, initiative and judgment and, where appropriate, numeracy skills
  • Demonstrate autonomy and responsibility in learning independently and managing personal development and future pathways

Major Structure

Students will be enrolled in set study plans which will allow them to articulate into their target degree. The study plans will allow for flexible enrolment options, involving a mix of core subjects and selected major and elective subjects. Study plans can be discussed with the Pathways team.


WS1005:03 Human Rights and Social Issues

WS1006:03 Self in Professional Helping


Select 12 credit points of subjects from List 1

List 1

BA1001:03 Time, Truth, and the Human Condition

BA1002:03 Our Space: Networks, Narrative and the Making of Place

CU1010:03 Effective Writing

CU1200:03 Effective Speaking

MA1020:03 Preparatory Mathematics

MA1022:03 Essential Maths

PL1001:03 The Political World: An Introduction to Political Science

PY1101:03 Exploring Psychology: from Brain to Practice or PY1102:03 Exploring Psychology: from Perception to Reality

SC1022:03 Essential Science

SS1010:03 Australian People: Indigeneity and Multiculturalism

SY1001:03 Australian Society: An Introduction to Sociology or CY1001:03 Deviance, Crime and Society

Which department am I in?

Division of Tropical Environments and Societies



Study options

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
A$30,960.00 (US$ 20,652) per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

24 July 2023, 19 February 2024


Cairns City campus

36 Shields Street,



4870, CAIRNS, Australia

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
A$30,960.00 (US$ 20,652) per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

24 July 2023, 19 February 2024


Smithfield Campus

14-88 McGregor Road,



4878, CAIRNS, Australia

Entry requirements

For international students

Students are required to complete academic qualification of Australia grade 12 or equivalent. Entry requirements may vary from country to country.

Academic IELTS – 5.5 (no component lower than 5.0) – or equivalent TOEFL or Pearson (PTE Academic) test.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About James Cook University

James Cook University (JCU) is ranked among the top 2 per cent of universities in the world (THE World University Rankings 2023).

  • Ranked in the top 2 percent universities in the world
  • Rated world-class or better in 83 per cent of research areas
  • Number 1 in Australia for Sustainable Education
  • Rated 5 stars for employment, student support and skills

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