Social Work Theory and Practice

Subject SCWK50006 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours (8 x 1.5 hour lecture, 8 x 1.5 tutorials)
Total Time Commitment:

96 hours

Prerequisites: None
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
Alan Gilbert Building

Level 7, 161 Barry St

Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 4171
F: +61 3 8344 4188

Subject Overview:

The aim of this subject will be to enhance the theoretical and skill base of direct practice in social work. Emphasis will be given to innovative and advanced approaches in line with recent developments in professional practice with individuals. The subject will be taught using interactive groups as well as formal lectures. This will enable students to participate in an opportunity to integrate and advance theoretical and practice knowledge in relation to an evidence base for psychosocial practices in the field. Lecture topics will include an appraisal of professional expertise in social work, psychosocial assessment and the therapeutic alliance. New developments in key direct practice approaches such as psychodynamic, behavioural, group work and postmodernist paradigms will be explored both from a critical theoretical and skills based perspective.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this subject, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of social work's interpretative lenses and the ways in which they inform purposeful work with clients and the application of theory
  • demonstrate an understanding of a range of practice theories
  • draw on relevant theoretical frameworks to inform practice with individuals
  • demonstrate a beginning understanding of service organizations as practice settings for social work
  1. Written essay 2,500 words (50%) - due mid semester
  2. Written essay 2,500 words (50%) - due end of semester
Prescribed Texts:

Connolly, M. & Harms, L. (2012). Social Work: From Theory to Practice. South Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

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
Master of Social Work (250)

Download PDF version.