Australia Working Holiday Visa Program

Designed for recent MSW graduates who want to gain work experience overseas and learn about social work in an international setting, the Australia Working Holiday Visa Program offers participants a one-year immersion focused on Australia’s social welfare profession, with a focus on Child Protection, Mental Health, Disability, and Youth/Family Services and its social and cultural scene. The program complements the educational objectives of an MSW degree with an intercultural experience that provides MSW graduates opportunities to secure temporary, one-year placement opportunities in a wide and ever-changing range of casual positions which will enable them to gain the necessary professional experience for long-term employment in Australia and elsewhere. 

Successful completion of the program, which includes a comparative academic activity, will lead to a Post-MSW Certificate in Social Welfare from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.


**now taking applications through April 10, 2020, for relocation this summer/fall 2020!**

This program uses a selection process for admission. Applicants who meet all requirements listed below are invited to apply. Admission to the certificate program is contingent upon the following:

  • MSW degree (or scheduled to receive by May 2020)
  • Must be 18 to 30 years old
  • Two letters of recommendation (one professional, one academic)
  • Completed application form, resume/CV and letter of interest
  • Transcripts (official copy to be scanned and uploaded)
  • $250.00 non-refundable application fee* 
  • Balance of $2,000.00 program fee due upon acceptance (job offer and pre-relocation)

Apply Now


What participants will gain:

  • An understanding of Australia’s social welfare system, particularly its impact on individuals, families, groups and communities, and mental health.
  • Opportunities to develop valuable international professional networks with colleagues and agencies.
  • Great experience working with leaders in the Mental Health, Forensic, AOD, Youth and Crisis sectors.
  • Professional development with agencies that vastly invest in their employees, including but not limited to self-care practices, reflection theory and practice, and pathways to career growth.
  • Experience working with agencies that believe in harnessing social resources to build community capability, opportunity and inclusion.
  • Opportunities to secure long-term positions in Australia. 
  • An international post-graduate certificate from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work upon successful completion of the one-year program.**

Who can participate?

This one-year program will be of particular interest to recent MSW program graduates who want to extend their knowledge of social work and social policy in a comparative international context. We are looking for graduates who are willing to work flexible hours (25-30) per week. An individual admissions interview is required. Interested students scheduled to graduate within the academic year are also encouraged to apply, although the degree must be completed before the job placement is finalized.***

Will I be paid for my practice placement?

Yes. Once you have secured a temporary placement with a social welfare agency in Australia, you will receive a monthly living wage during your first and subsequent short-term placements. Please note that the salary range is based on the particular agencies and locations.

Is it necessary for me to be registered as a social worker in Australia?

Yes, you will need to register with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) immediately following your acceptance of a job placement. Our office and our Australian partners will facilitate this process, but the program participant will be responsible for visa fees and follow-up during the process.

*Please note that a $250.00 non-refundable application fee (check made out to “USC”) must be mailed to Cherrie Short, Susanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University Park Campus, SWC 212, Los Angeles, California 90089, in order for your application to be considered complete; the application fee will count toward the total program costs if successfully accepted. 

**Please note that this is a one-year USC post-graduate program based on gaining international social work experience and supervised research, leading to a certificate from USC; program costs are $2,000.00, with $1,750.00 only to be paid if successfully accepted (pre-relocation). 

***This program is currently only open to MSW alumni and current students scheduled to graduate by spring 2020 and no older than 30 years.