Working with Groups

Subject SCWK50013 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours (Part 1: 4 x 2 seminar hours weekly, Part 2: 8 hour intensive of two 4-hour sessions, Part 3: 8 hour intensive of two 4-hour sessions)
Total Time Commitment:

24 contact hours

16 hours of class preparation and reading

24 hours of assessment related tasks

= 64 hours total time commitment

= 8 hours total time per week


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s courses. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Social Work
Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9400
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

This subject is designed to both introduce students to social work practice with groups and to enable students to advance their knowledge and skill development during the course of the subject. To this end, the subject is designed to enable students to learn through a mix of didactic, experiential and supervised skill development mini-lectures and seminars, two thirds of which will be taught intensively. The subject begins with an overview of generic group leadership skills and then requires students to choose areas of specialism, for example: group work in the mental health/psychiatric disability field; group work in the health field; group work in the child and family field, for the remainder of the subject.


On conclusion of this subject, students will have achieved the following basic group work knowledge and skills:

  • An understanding of theoretical and practical issues relating to the process of social work practice with groups
  • Enhanced knowledge about group work from experiences as group member
  • Establishment of beginning group facilitation skills, e.g. defining a relevant purpose, planning a session
  • Capacity to work as group leaders in a small group setting
  • In addition, students will have opportunities to acquire more advanced group work knowledge and skills as detailed below:
  • Familiarity with theoretical base of different approaches to group work
  • Familiarity with different practice approaches in different settings, based on different theories
  • Developing a research and evaluation strategy for group work
  • Increased knowledge and skills in aspects of practice with groups, e.g. working with marginalized populations
  • Working with challenges in a group, eg establishing and maintaining a group, managing conflict
  • Familiarity with the research literature on work with groups in relation to the evidence base for group work intervention in selected areas
  • Understanding of the challenges and issues involved in evaluating and/or researching one’s own group work practice

Written essays totalling 5000 words comprising:

  1. Brief theoretical paper 2000 words - due mid-semester
  2. Reflective journal 1500 words;
  3. Session plan 1500 words - due at end of semester.
Prescribed Texts: McDermott, F. (2002). Inside group work: A guide to reflective practice. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice;
  • competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • undertake independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Social Work

Download PDF version.