Ngā kaiako

All social work programmes must meet the current SWRB Programme Recognition Standards in order to continue to be recognised. Institutions also have their own mechanisms, including external monitoring, for ensuring quality and national benchmarking.

What’s on this page

Introduction to the Programme Recognition Standards (PRS)

All social work programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand must meet the SWRB Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) to continue to be recognised. 

The Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) enable us to prescribe qualifications for social work in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

The Board uses PRS to ensure education providers deliver a social work degree that: 

  • meets the principles under the Social Workers Registration Act and the scope of practice  
  • enables graduates to meet professional standards for entry into the social work profession such as the Code of Conduct and the Ten Core Competencies.  

Only students who follow courses leading to a SWRB–recognised qualification will be eligible to become a registered social worker (unless applying through the experience pathway or through an overseas qualification that is assessed as equivalent).  

What’s included in the PRS

There are six themes for the standards: 

  • Governance 
  • Curriculum  
  • Field education  
  • Admission criteria 
  • Professional and stakeholder collaboration 
  • Staffing resources. 

You can view our Programme Recognition Standards policy in the document below:

SWRB Programme Recognition Standards June 2021

In 2021, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic there have been some adjustments made to the processes around managing field education placements and timing of programme re-recognition and mid-cycle reviews.

The adjustments in place currently for COVID-19 Levels three and four are as follows:

PRS flexibilities

Timetable for reviewing social work programmes

The SWRB reviews all social work programmes at all institutions on a five-yearly cycle, with a mid-cycle review, as below:

Tertiary Education Institute
Re-recog Re-recog
Mid-cycle Re-recog
Mid-cycle Re-recog
Mid-cycle Re-recog
Toi Ohomai
Re-recog Re-recog
Re-recog Re-recog
Auckland Uni
Canterbury Uni
Mid-cycle Re-recog
Massey Uni
Mid-cycle Re-recog
Otago Uni
Mid-cycle Re-recog
Waikato Uni Mid-cycle Re-recog

Review of Programme Recognition Standards

The SWRB first developed programme recognition standards for social work qualifying programmes in Aotearoa in 2005, following the introduction of the Social Workers Registration Act (SWRA) 2003. PRS reviews should occur every four years. 

You can read more about the Programme Recognition Standards Review 2022.

The 2022 review was delayed from 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.

Annual education reports

The SWRB compiles a report at the end of each academic year that provides information on student numbers and demographics, as well as field education activities. You can find copies of recent reports below.

2020 Annual Education Providers Report

You can find previous Annual education reports on our publications page.