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The Department of Social Work offers three undergraduate degrees:

Admission Requirements:
Unless Senate decides otherwise, a student shall be required to meet the following criteria to be enrolled for the Bachelor of Social Work degree – B(Social Work):
  • J.92.1 Minimum admission requirements for applicants who matriculated from 2008:
    • (a) The National Senior Certificate for Bachelor’s Degree study with a score of no fewer than 30 points calculated according to the University’s approved points system, as well as the following specific subject requirements:
      • level 4 (50-59%) in English (home language),or
      • level 5 (60-69%) in English (first additional language)
      • level 4 (40-49%) in Another Language (home or first additional language), and
      • level 3 (40-49%) in Mathematics or
      • level 4 (50-59%) in Mathematical Literacy
    • OR
    • (b) A qualification or level of competence which the Senate of the University has deemed to be equivalent to the requirements stipulated in (a) above.
  • J.92.2 Minimum Admission requirements for applicants who matriculated before 2008:
    • (a) The National Senior Certificate for Diploma study with a score of no fewer than 23 points calculated according to the university’s approved points system.
    • (b) A qualification or level of competence which the Senate of the University has deemed to be equivalent to the requirements stipulated in (a) above.
  • J.92.3 Alternative admission requirements for applicants in terms of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    • An applicant who completed the NSC in 2008 or thereafter, but has not obtained an endorsement, shall be considered for alternative admission after the age of 23. Such an applicant shall be required to complete an RPL portfolio development course and submit to a process where relevant learning and/or experience shall be assessed.
    • An applicant who is 23 years or older and does not have a matriculation certificate or NSC, but who may have obtained other qualifications or experience that may be deemed to be equivalent to admission criteria particular study programmes shall also be required to complete an RPL portfolio development course or an RPL portfolio process as agreed upon, and to submit to a process where such learning, qualification, and/or experience shall be assessed

Admission Requirements:
  • National Senior Certificate as certified by Umalusi with entry into a Bachelor's degree.
  • No less than 30 points. During the final selection process preference will be given to top achievers.
  • English at Level 4 (home)
  • English first additional at Level 5
  • Another Language at Level 4 (home or first additional)
  • Maths at Level 3 or Maths Literacy at Level 4
  • How long will I need to study?
    • Four years
  • What are the career opportunities?
    • Social Workers find themselves in a variety of employment settings including: day care centres for children, schools, universities, hospitals, child and welfare, children’s homes, shelters for women and children, marital and counselling agencies, research programmes, correctional services and government agencies.

The Importance of this BCD 4-year Professional Degree to Society

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) will always be known “…as the ‘home of the democratic left, the epicentre of political struggle and contestation. It is also the institution where the interim 1993 South African Constitution was crafted against a commitment of enshrining the rights of all across its history of transformation, is the reality that this Institution remains nimble, resilient and open to change…” (DVC: Prof Lawack). This university has a rich history of engagement with the community, the environment and more broadly the world of knowledge. UWC is firmly committed to, and accountable for, its role in society as a knowledge production centre towards the advancement of mankind and her surroundings. It was therefore only fitting for UWC to launch its Bachelor of Community Development (BCD) in 2021; the first professional qualification of this kind to be delivered in the Western Cape and it was made possible through stakeholder partnerships and networks. The BCD will provide the next generation of Change Agents to ensure for improved well-being of communities and society at large. Please click here to watch a short video clip of our BCD programme. Contact us: Email: Mobile: +27(72) 405 3952 Follow us on Facebook:

Community Development is an independent occupational profession and as such the BCD programme is Not a specialization field or programme for the Social Work occupation.

Community Development processes are intended to empower local communities and strengthen the capacity of people as active citizens through their communities, organizations and networks. They also seek to capacitate institutions and agencies to work in dialogue with citizens to shape and determine change in their communities. The community development processes involve members of a community in their own development and aim to enhance the capacity of the community to respond to its collective needs and resources.

The BCD emphasizes an integrated and holistic approach to community development. It is assumed that BCD graduates can work independently and that they operate at a high cognitive level and can solve complex, real-world problems and issues using evidence-based solutions and theory driven arguments.

This qualification requires the integration of theory and practice that will equip Student Community Development Practitioners (SCDPs) with the knowledge, skills and values needed to enhance the integration of all community development stakeholders for effective community development across all sectors involved in community development. It should ensure that Community Development Practitioners (CDPs) have a level of authority, responsibility and status within a regulated framework to facilitate processes that enable stakeholders and communities to participate in integrated planning processes and collective actions. The BCD is also registered as a professional degree and practitioners will be required to register via the Community Development Professional Board under the South African Council for Social Services Practitioners (SACSSP). (The rationale of this programme is as per the registered SAQA qualification ID 79706 – Bachelor of Community Development (2010).

Why should you study this BCD 4-year Professional Degree

The Bachelor of Community Development will meet the requirements for employment as a CDP in the Public Service, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Faith-Based Organisations (FBO), International Development Entities, Corporate and Civic Entities. It will produce CDP’s who are able to facilitate the collective action needed to build and empower communities including, but not limited to, the poor.
Graduates will be able to:

  • Facilitate community initiatives.
  • Integrate theory and practice to analyse needs and to plan and facilitate interventions in communities where they work in order to collectively build community capital to bring about social change and justice.
  • Promote change and community ownership that is self-sustaining.
  • Coordinate interactions with communities.
  • Conduct research in communities to facilitate and inform a participatory approach to development.
  • Promote the integrated well-being of a community according to the fundamental principles and ethics of community development.
    (The purpose this programme is as per the registered SAQA qualification ID 79706 – Bachelor of Community Development (2010).

What you need to study this BCD 4-year Degree

Applications opens each year around April.  Please make sure to apply as soon as possible. The demand and competition for enrolment to this programme are Very High.  We receive more than 800 qualifying applications each year and we can only select 80 candidates.
Selection of students for the programme is done via a BCD Selections Committee that follows specific selection criteria as stipulated in the BCD selections policy document.  Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee entry into this programme. A holistic approach is followed during the selection process, applying a Selection Criteria Score System (SCSS) Matrix consisting of various criteria clustered under the following three categories: i) socio-demographics; ii) academic performance, and iii) non-academic achievements (e.g. cultural activities and sports).

BCD Programme Selection Process:

  • Applying before the closing date (30 September each year).  No late applications will be considered.
  • Applicants must meet the Minimum Admission Requirements (MAR) for this program. See admission requirements further below.
  • Determining the Overall Selection Point (OSP) to rate applicants on a merit list for final selection.
    • Scoring qualifying applicants – using the Selection Criteria Score System (SCSS)
    • The OSP is the sum of the SCSS and MAR scores.
  • Applicants that meet the final selection threshold for the program and are short-listed for final selection consideration are informed that they have been selected (or conditionally, if based on Grade 11 results).
The follow admission requirements must be met in order to qualify for the selection of 80 candidates:
  • The National Senior Certificate for Bachelor’s Degree study with a score of no fewer than 30 points calculated according to the University’s approved points system, as well as the following specific subject requirements:
  • Level 4 (50-59%) in English (Home Language) or Level 5 (60-69%) in English (First Additional Language),
  • Level 4 (50-59%) in another Language (Home or First Additional Language), and
  • Level 3 (40-49%) in Mathematics or Level 4 (50-59%) in Mathematical Literacy
  • Occupational Certificate: Community Development Practitioner (NQF L5 – SAQA ID 97691)
  • A qualification or level of competence which the Senate of the University has deemed to be equivalent to the requirements stipulated in (a) and (b) above.

BCD 4-year Professional Programme Content

Please click here to download the programme brochure for ease of reference.
This program must ensure for eight (8) Exit Level Outcome (ELOs).  Students will register for several modules in other faculties (EMS, Arts & Humanities and CHS).  This is so that students are equipped during the studies with the skills and knowledge to not only work in multi-disciplinary teams but also intergrade and embrace the multi-disciplinary nature of Community Development.
The eight ELOs are presented below and all the module names are indicated in brackets at the end of each respective ELO.  Additionally, students select between one of the following two specialization fields: 1) Community Sport and Recreation or 2) Community Health (Nutrition).

Community Sport and Recreation: 2nd to 4th Year (80 credits)

Please click here to download the flyer for this elective.
Community development is a way of bringing people together, identify problems and needs, discover resources, promote knowledge and skills, and strengthen leadership and contacts between communities. Sport and recreation are useful tools to foster community development, social inclusion and building positive social capital in communities. It allows for people from different backgrounds to interact with one another either as participants, volunteers or spectators. It is often regarded as community welfare rather than the responsibility of sport organisations. However, from a recreational perspective, can be seen as an ideal opportunity for recreation practitioners to ensure implementation of well-developed programs that are outcomes based to guarantee sustainability. This includes a thorough needs assessment, planning and implementation of programs, and application of management and evaluation practices bringing about social change in diverse communities. Additionally, sport and recreation programs benefit the community by enhancing personal choice and freedom, promote community life, provide access to social and physical spaces, it is multidimensional based on the needs and cultural relevance of the community, it is integral to social, cultural and economic development and most importantly promotes health through enjoyable and intrinsically rewarding activities.

Modules from 2nd to 4th year:
Principles of Sport Management (SRE211); Sport in Society (SRE221); Theory: Recreation (SRE237); Contemporary Sport & Recreation Management (SRE315); Sport & Community Development (SRE317); Management Major (SRE322); Recreation & Leisure Studies (SRE415); Recreation & Leisure Studies (SRE425).

Community Health (Nutrition): 2nd to 4th year (80 Credits)

Please click here to download the flyer for this elective.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as a state of “complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Nutritional well-being is pivotal in the achievement of complete physical, mental and social well-being for individuals and therefor for communities and populations. Investing in the nutritional status and the food security of a community , from infancy through to adulthood, including during pregnancy, will improve quality of life, increase productivity and this will have a positive impact on health status and the economic returns that comes with it. Global issues of development are becoming increasingly complex. Sustainable and holistic development, which includes nutrition, offers a framework to balance the required development dimensions of economic, ecological and sociocultural at global and local levels.  Community development practitioners, with a specialisation in nutrition, will be able to address malnutrition through involvement and contribution to nutrition intervention programmes in communities and also to nutrition policies. In this way, they will use their specialized knowledge to the advantage of the nutrition well-being of all age groups in a community. This will contribute to achieve the overall aim of a better life for all.

Modules from 2nd to 4th Year
Introduction to Health and Nutrition within a Community Development Context (NUT214); Community nutrition programming in a community development context(NUT322); Macro- and Micronutrients and Nutrition through the Life Cycle Stages (NUT224); Applied Community Nutrition (NUT402).