An autonomous Committee on Social Training had set up a Board of Studies in 1933, but was replaced by the Board of Social Studies, formally created in 1940. It comprised the Dean of Arts, the Director of Social Studies, and nominees from the University and the Victorian Council for Social Training.
The war-time need for industrial welfare and personnel officers promoted the development of this department. A diploma in Social Studies was available from 1942 and could also be taken as part of a four year course in combination with Arts or Commerce.
From 1971 it could only be taken in conjunction with a degree course. The increasing demand for social workers in the 1970s brought new funding and the appointment of the foundation professor V. S. Lewis in 1974. The first Bachelor of Social Work was conferred in 1977. In 1988 the Arts Faculty took over the administration of the School of Social Work.