The University of Newcastle, Australia

Why study community services

With broad career possibilities, you'll have plenty of opportunities to create positive change and help make a difference with your degree. See yourself here in 2020.

World top 200 ? for Geography
94% Employed ? within four months of graduation
World top 150 ? for sociology

About community services

Are you curious about how different people interact, and the way society operates? A degree in community services allows you to understand, predict, explain, and nurture human behaviour. You will use your skills to improve all aspects of society. This includes citizenship, infrastructure, the environment, economy, social justice, and mental health. You’ll have the chance to address social challenges in local and global communities, creating positive change at a ground level, to help make the world a better place.

Our degrees offer exciting career prospects in positions such as social workers, child protection officers, community development workers, social researchers, foreign affairs officers, urban planners, multicultural community liaisons, and more. When you study community services at the University of Newcastle, you’ll be equipped with the skills and opportunities you need to build a meaningful career and make a real difference to your community.

  • One-of-a-kind programs will provide you with unique skills like Development Studies which is the only degree in Australia to include Economics and Aboriginal Studies as core courses.
  • Be work ready with 1,000+ hours of work experience across a range of industries. Our graduates from this area enjoy a 90%+ employment rate (Overall employment rate - 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey).
  • Get hands on industry experience through our Law on the Beach program for Social Work students. You'll also learn from industry professionals through shadowing and guest lectures.
  • Volunteer and build international experience with a range of global volunteering opportunities and international placements.
  • Strong job growth in Australia with continued above average employment forecasted for social workers.

Undergraduate community services degrees

We understand that sometimes you don't know exactly which degree you'd like to pursue, particularly in a diverse area like community and human services. You might, however, know which field excites you. Use these areas of interest to narrow down your study options based on your interests and career goals.

All degrees

Degree name Selection rank
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Bachelor of Development Studies
Bachelor of Development Studies (Honours)
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies
Bachelor of Psychological Science
Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Social Science
Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

Aged care

Aged care involves learning how to work with, and advocate for, older people and assisting them to navigate the evolving health services environment. As Australia’s population ages, the demand for aged care workers is expected to increase. A career in this industry can be enriching and extremely rewarding.

Career examples

  • Community Worker
  • Care Manager
  • Home Care Worker
  • Residential Team Leader


  1. Bachelor of Nursing
  2. Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)
  3. Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

Community welfare

Community welfare is about the study and creation of programs and initiatives that provide income, service or other support for disadvantaged people such as the poor, elderly, disabled, students, refugees and other underprivileged groups. You learn how to act as a key advocate for their rights and help lobby for change. This area may be challenging but the difference community welfare experts make is enormous.

Career examples

  • Policy Analyst
  • Community Development Officer
  • Migrant Support Officer
  • Youth Worker


  1. Bachelor of Global Indigenous Studies (major in Human Services)
  2. Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) (major in Community Welfare and Human Resources or Criminology)


Globalisation is a process of interaction between people, companies and governments of different nations. This process is commonly driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. Professionals in this area have a global outlook and a strong understanding of economics, social justice and politics.

Career examples

  • Aid Worker
  • Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer
  • Development Worker
  • Policy Analyst


  1. Bachelor of Business (major in International Business or Governance, Policy and Political Economy)
  2. Bachelor of Commerce (major in Economics)
  3. Bachelor of Development Studies (major in Globalisation and Economic Development)
  4. Bachelor of Arts (major in Politics and International Relations)
  5. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Politics and International Relations)

Social science

Social Science is the study of social relationships, structures and issues. Learn how to craft strategies and solutions to various social challenges, understand different cultures and areas of sensitivity, and develop ethical awareness while learning about the constructs that make the world go round. With 11 diverse areas of study, you are able to pursue what interests you by specialising in your chosen field.

Career examples

  • Social Researcher
  • Case Manager/Worker
  • Health Promotion Officer
  • Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer


  1. Bachelor of Social Science

Social work

In a Social work degree, you will learn about supporting and resolving personal and social relationship issues between individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities. Social workers maintain a dual focus on both assisting with wellbeing as well as identifying external issues that may impact this wellbeing. There is a strong demand for qualified social workers and job opportunities are broad and incredibly rewarding.

Career examples

  • Case Manager
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Community Development Worker
  • Social Worker


  1. Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)


Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour, the human brain and its effect on the way we act and why. In this field you’ll learn about human behaviour, and the skills and strategies to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Career opportunities are broad and varied and understanding human behaviour is a definite advantage in any industry.

Career examples

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Counsellor
  • Mental Health Clinician
  • Welfare Officer


  1. Bachelor of Psychological Science
  2. Bachelor of Arts (major in Psychology Studies)
  3. Bachelor of Science (major in Psychology Studies)
  4. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Psychology)

Urban and regional development

This area is about studying development at a local, national and international level. Your learning focuses on making economic and social transformations in our communities. You could focus on infrastructure, services and planning or social issues like gentrification and urban sprawl.

Career examples

  • Cultural Development Officer
  • Town Planner/Urban Designer
  • Transport Geographer
  • Demographer


  1. Bachelor of Development Studies (major in Urban and Regional Development)
  2. Bachelor of Arts (major in Human Geography and the Environment)
  3. Bachelor of Science (major in Human Geography and the Environment)
  4. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Geography)


Watch Rachael's story

Close video

Read More

Are you interested in a career helping people pursue new possibilities? At its best, social work means understanding without judging, and helping others gain the agency to live their fullest lives. That’s what Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) alumnus Rachael Howard loves most about her work.

“I chose social work because I spent a lot of time working in a children’s hospital,” says Rachael.

“I was able to see how social workers help their patients or clients by helping them help themselves, putting the scaffolding up around them so they’re able to achieve their goals that they pick out for themselves.”

“Social work does that really well by letting the client be the expert in their own lives.”

A proud Indigenous woman, Rachael’s path to the University of Newcastle began with the Wollotuka Institute, where the staff helped support her throughout the application process.

“It was important to me to have Wollotuka. They were really supportive with my application, and gave me a safe place to study, and support systems around that,” says Rachael.

Almost right away, Rachael was excited to experience the University’s strong focus on practical internships and work placements, at every step of the way.

“I was a part of the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship program which allowed me to do two summer internships. One at the Aboriginal Housing Office in Parramatta and one at Life Without Barriers in Newcastle.”

“I also completed two placements as a part of my degree, one at Family and Community Services and one with the counselling team in Catholic Schools.”

Rachael believes that focus is part of what sets the University’s Social Work program apart.

“People in the field hold it in high regard, they have two placements and everyone speaks about how when you finish Social Work from the University of Newcastle you’re much more job-ready, through the subject choices and the placement program.”

Through her placement and internship experiences, Rachael came to discover a passion for helping youth in need of mental health services. Today, she’s proud to work at headspace Maitland, a youth mental health and counselling centre. There, she is a critical member of the intake team.

“I love that I am a part of changing the stigma around mental health. I think it is really important that society’s view of mental health changes to make it easier for people to ask for help when they need it.”

In the future, she’d like to integrate her current professional path with her other passions.

“I would love to tie in my love for fitness with my social work degree and promote healthy living as a more holistic target.”

“As an Aboriginal woman I would love to work in Indigenous communities and help my people achieve better health and educational outcomes, and I would also like to work with youth mental health, possibly tying all three goals together one day!”

And if anyone can create a new holistic way of serving communities, Rachael can.

Why study at Newcastle?

Unite for global progress

Irini is enabling positive social change through community services.

Rounded and fulfilling degrees

Thinking about studying a Bachelor of Development Studies at the University of Newcastle? Here's one reason why Kirra recommends it.

Shape the Bachelor of Social Science your own way

Meet current Bachelor of Social Science students Jade and Jesse  and hear first-hand why they chose to study social science at the University of Newcastle.


With more than 100 scholarships to choose from, get access to the financial support you need to succeed at uni.

Learn more

Sign up. Stay connected

What excites and motivates you? Let us know what you’re interested in and we’ll keep you updated on all the latest info and events relevant to you.

I am a prospective:
Please make sure you have completed all fields above.

We advise that the information you provide is collected by the University of Newcastle and its contracted service providers and may be used to make you aware of future University events and opportunities. The University and its contracted service providers may use your personal information to invite you to participate in surveys or market research activities. The University abides by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW), under which you have the right to access your personal information held by the University. The University’s Web Privacy Statement and Privacy and Information Access Policy provide further detail.

To find out more about studying at a university ranked top 200 in the world, sign up and stay connected with us.

Sign up

Browse degrees by study area