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Bachelor of Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work at BTI is the only faith-based social work programme in Aotearoa and students are challenged to develop a holistic approach to practice that incorporates their own sense of faith and spirituality. 

Our social work programme also emphasises partnership with Māori and seeks to draw on the richness of indigenous knowledge about working with people. Students will be empowered to learn about their own history and social customs to support their learning, and supported to grow their empathy and understanding of diverse cultures and practices.


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“BTI helped create an open space to question, uncover and strengthen my motivations and vision around becoming a social worker… those foundational elements of knowing who i am, as a wahine Māori Christian, and who I am becoming as a person and as a practitioner.” 

Cara-Lee Kerewaro (Ngāti Kahu) – BTI Social Work graduate 

Social work is a practice-based profession that requires practitioners to be able to draw on a wide range of diverse knowledge but also be able to integrate the heart and values of passionate practice with a complex set of skills that enable positive outcomes. We believe that Jesus provides a model for social work because he lived a life of love and compassion for all people combined with a commitment to transformation, advocacy for the marginalised and justice for all. 

Why study Social Work at BTI?

  • Flexible study – distance, full-time or part-time options
  • Small teaching groups and relational learning
  • Study onsite in Tauranga or from where you live 
  • Commitment to bicultural practice and Te Tiriti o Waitangi relationships
  • Great learning support to help you succeed 
  • A Christ-centred biblically-based curriculum 
  • Very experienced staff who have worked in their field and share their passion and enthusiasm with students
  • Graduates get jobs – about 80% of students were already employed at the time that they graduated.   

The Bachelor of Social Work leads to professional registration with the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) and equips students for a wide range of social work roles both in Aotearoa New Zealand and in international aid and development. 

Please note: The mid-year intake for the Bachelor of Social Work is offered as one course from the programme to complete in Semester 2, and the remaining courses to be completed either full-time or part-time over the following years of study.

Our graduates are in demand

BTI aims to graduate beginning social and community work practitioners who are well prepared to participate in faith-inspired and evidence-informed practice.

Students are encouraged to learn to serve others through both heart and mind, and make a difference in the lives of those in your community. 

Students also complete a strong work-integrated learning component to the degree, with practical experience built into the programme each year. 

“My journey from student to graduate BTI Social Worker was a transformational process which forged personal and professional into one.”

Ally – BTI Social Work graduate 

Meet key staff

Phillip Larking  is an Educator/Kaiako in the Social Work programme and is Professional Lead: Social Work (Students)

Tauha Te Kani is an Educator/Kaiako in the Social Work programme and Head of School of Social Practice (Kaitiaki)