Social work is a dynamic profession that promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Social workers intervene at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work practice.
Social work is practised worldwide in a variety of settings across all sectors of society and in close collaboration with other sectors such as education, development, health, law and business. Social workers also engage in private practice.
In 1968 the School of Social Work became a department in its own right and in 2000 became known as the Department of Social Development, to better reflect the diversity of its educational and training programmes for social service professionals. The department offers social work education and training at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and a wide range of social service professions, education and training at postgraduate level.
Graduates from the department have been widely employed in South Africa and abroad. Registration with the SACSSP as one of the recognised social service professions enables graduates to find employment in the public sector, the corporate sector and the private, non-profit sector, locally and in other countries. Some of our graduates go into private practice after obtaining a master's degree and gaining work experience. Others pursue careers in social policy formulation or management in a variety of public or private sector settings. Others become social development practitioners, become employed in the fields of juvenile justice and correctional practice whilst others opt for a career in social research.
The department is fortunate to offer most of its postgraduate students a scholarship based either on need or merit. The department secured substantial funding to further the development of probation and correctional practice in South Africa through curriculum design, community-based education and training and research.