The Department is the first social work training institute in Hong Kong's history of professional social work education. The following chronology shows the evolution of the Department from 1950 onwards up to the recent years.

Chronology of evolution of the SWSA Department
  • Training of social workers in HKU began in 1950 at the postgraduate Diploma and post-secondary Certificate level
  • Establishment of the Department of Social Work in 1967
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Social Work) programme launched to replace the certificate programme in 1967 to meet urgent community need for qualified professionals
  • Diploma program was converted to Master of Social Work in 1972
  • Graduation of the first PhD student
  • Continuous consolidation of social work curriculum and fieldwork training
  • Expansion of various programmes to meet the increasing demand for social workers and to provide advanced training for social work practitioners
  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) full-time programme launched in 1986
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) programme extended to part-time mode
  • Commencement of China placement projects in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou
  • Master of Social Sciences (MSS) part-time programme launched in 1981
  • Continuous curriculum improvement and innovation
  • Provision of top quality social work training in HK and Shanghai
  • Active involvement in social work and welfare development in China
  • MSW programme launched in Shanghai Fudan University in 2001
  • Part-time BSW programme launched in 2004
  • BSW 4-year curriculum implemented in 2012
  • Relocation of Department office to the Centennial Campus in 2012