To become a social worker in South Africa, there are no specific high school subjects required. However, certain subjects are highly recommended and beneficial for students aiming to pursue a career in social work.

  1. English: Proficiency in English, whether as a Home Language, First Additional Language, or Second Additional Language, is essential. English is a critical subject as social work involves effective communication, understanding, and empathy. A strong command of English enables future social workers to interact effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and to understand and articulate complex social issues​​​​.
  2. Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy: While Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy might not directly relate to social work, these subjects develop analytical and problem-solving skills. These skills are beneficial in various aspects of social work, such as managing case files, understanding research and statistics, and dealing with administrative tasks​​​​.
  3. Additional Recommended Subjects: Besides the core subjects, it is advised to include subjects that build empathy, understanding of human behavior, and societal issues. These can include subjects like Life Sciences, History, or even subjects that encourage critical thinking and a broader understanding of societal dynamics​​.

It’s important to note that while these subjects are recommended for a better foundation in social work, each university may have its own specific admission requirements. Prospective students should always check with the individual institutions for their specific requirements.

In summary, while there are no mandatory subjects for pursuing social work in Grade 12, focusing on English, Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy, and other subjects that enhance understanding of society and human behavior can provide a strong foundation for a future career in social work.

Where to Study Social Work in South Africa?

For students in South Africa interested in pursuing a career in social work after matric, there are several universities where they can study. Here are ten notable institutions offering programs in social work:

  1. University of Pretoria: Offers a Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) program and various postgraduate programs in Social Work and Criminology​​.
  2. Wits University: Provides a four-year BA Social Work degree, focusing on professional ethics, intervention models, legislative frameworks, research methodologies, and relevant theories.
  3. Stellenbosch University: Offers a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, accredited by the South African Council for Higher Education, along with Master’s and PhD programs​​.
  4. University of Johannesburg (UJ): Offers a four-year qualification in Social Work, with courses in the Faculty of Humanities including majors in Social Work, Psychology, and Sociology​​.
  5. University of South Africa (UNISA): The BSW program at UNISA includes work-integrated learning in a practical setting under the supervision of a registered social worker​​.
  6. University of Zululand: Provides various social work courses, including Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work, and Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work​​.
  7. University of the Western Cape: Requires students to complete modules in Social Work, with options to also study Psychology and Social Sciences​​.
  8. Nelson Mandela University: The program includes compulsory fundamental and core modules, elective modules, and practical work integral from the second year level​​.
  9. University of the Free State: Offers a BSW degree and a Masters in Social Work (MSW)​​.
  10. North-West University: Provides a four-year Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program​​.

Each of these institutions has its own unique approach and specialization areas in social work, providing a range of options for students to choose from based on their interests and career aspirations.

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