Where To Find Bursaries For Your Social Work Studies


If Social Work is a career you're interested in pursuing but are in need of financial aid, there are a few bursaries you can look into. 


What is Social Work? 

Social Work is an academic discipline and practice-based profession, primarily concerned with meeting the basic needs of individuals, families, groups, communities, and society as a whole to enhance their individual and collective well-being. 

Social Workers typically have the following duties:

  • Identify people and communities in need of help
  • Assess clients' needs, situations, strengths, and support networks to determine their goals. 
  • Help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their lives, such as illness, divorce, or unemployment.

Social Workers intervene at the points where people interact with their environments. 

Where to study Social Work in South Africa 

  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Pretoria (UP)
  • Rhodes University
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
  • University of the Western Cape (UWC)
  • University of South Africa (Unisa)
  • University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  • University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

If this is a career you're interested in pursuing but are in need of financial aid, here are a few bursaries you can look into. 

Bursaries available to study Social Work in South Africa

National Department of Social Development (DSD) Bursary 

The Department of Social Development (DSD) is a government department in South Africa which is responsible for the management of social security, social assistance and social insurance. 

The DSD bursary programme is intending for those who wish to pursue a career in Social Work. Once students have completed their studies, they will be required to undertake the contractual obligation of the bursary.

Eligibility requirements include: 

  1. You must be a South African citizen. 
  2. You must meet the university minimum entry requirements of the institution you apply to.
  3. You must be studying or intend on studying within the field of social work.

Application forms can be collected from the Provincial Departments of Social Development or from the Social Work faculty of your University. Applications must be submitted to Departments of Social Development office within your province.  

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) 

The NSFAS bursary is a very popular bursary which receives hundreds of thousands of NSFAS applications every year, and provides funding to students who come from poor and working class backgrounds.

Should you want to study social work and hope for funding from NSFAS, the requirements are as follows:

  1. Must be a South African citizen
  2. Household income must come to R350 000 or less per year
  3. If you're a person living with a disability, the household income threshold is then R600 000 or less per year
  4. Must be applying to or be registered at a public higher education institution

NSFAS applications can be submitted online by submitting your NSFAS application on myNSFAS, at National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) centres and Thusong Centres.

The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship (QECS) Programme

The Association of Commonwealth Universities is inviting students to apply for Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships (QECS).  

The scholarship is aimed at students from low and middle-income Commonwealth countries (54 countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas), to pursue a 2 year Masters degree, at selected leading universities outside of their home country/ country of citizenship.

A total of three scholarships are awarded for studies in South Africa, at the following universities, for the following qualifications related to Social Work.:

  1. North-West University: Master of Social Work, Master of Social Work in Child Protection and a Master of Social Work in Forensic Practice. 
  2. University of Johannesburg (UJ): Social Sciences
  3. University of Venda: Humanities, Social Science and Education

SACAP Bursary 

SACAP (South African College of Applied Psychology) is an independent provider of accredited Applied Psychology courses, as well as Counselling, Human Resource Management, Business Management, Social Work and Community Development courses.

The Higher Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills Bursary will provide students with the opportunity to gain practical experience and theoretical knowledge, within the counselling sector.

This one-year course is a good place to start if you're not yet ready to dive into a degree. 

Eligibility requirements include: 

  1. You must have completed Matric.
  2. You must currently work in a people-orientated setting.
  3. You must be interested in communicating and working with people.
  4. You must be interested in developing basic counselling and communication skills that can be used in various personal and work-related settings.
  5. You must be interested in further developing your interpersonal skills.
  6. You must be keen to develop the required academic skills to succeed in higher education. 

Once the course is completed, you can apply your skills in the workplace and will be well-positioned to study further within the Social Sciences. You will also be eligible to apply for SACAP’s Bachelor of Applied Social Science. 

Absa Fellowship/ Scholarship Programme 

Absa Group Limited is a financial services group located in South Africa. The scholarship will provide cover for various NQF7 undergraduate degree studies within the multiple fields.

Students studying Social Science in Humanities can be funded for the field of Social Work. 

Students will be required to take part in Absa’s leadership development programme, which will include the following: online lectures and assessments, leadership programme, learner modules and guides, travel expenses (if required), emotional wellness check-ins, academic tutoring and mentoring.

Eligibility requirements include: 

  1. Must be a citizen and permanent resident in South Africa (or any of these countries: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia).
  2. Must be between 18 and 25 years old.
  3. Must be currently in matric or have completed matric.
  4. Must have received a minimum overall average of 65% in matric or an equivalent qualification from a TVET college.
  5. Must be studying or intend on studying full time, towards an undergraduate degree in one of the aforementioned fields of study.
  6. Must have receive provisional or full acceptance from one of these Universities in South Africa: University of Cape Town, University of Stellenbosch, University of Johannesburg, University of the Witswatersrand, University of Pretoria, or the University of KwaZulu-Natal (other institutes are NOT covered). 
  7. Must be entering your first year of study. 

Applications must be submitted online. Make sure that you have all the required supporting documents.


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