SOWK614-20W (D) Whole Year 2020 (Distance)

Social Work Theory, Research and Practice

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 13 March 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 21 August 2020


This course provides the theoretical and methodological foundation to the programme. A major component is a review and analysis of major theories and models that influence social work practice. Social work process is explored in relation to these theoretical underpinnings. Finally, practice modalities relevant to family, group and community work are considered. These studies will be integrated with methods and analysis from policy, cross-cultural and contextual perspectives.

This course provides an introduction to social work principles, alongside the critical analysis of theories, methods, and processes. It is designed to help prepare for the fieldwork practicum courses. The course includes cross-cultural learning and analysis, as well as a broad range of approaches that inform social work practice in inter-professional environments.  Other issues of relevance to social work, such as social policy considerations, will be incorporated in order to maintain awareness of their integration into practice. The course will partner the Social Work Principles and Skills course (SOWK 615), which addresses the practical application of this conceptual material.

Course Goals:
Critically examine the purpose of social work
•  Identify and analyze principles, perspectives, and models of appropriateness to social work practice in New Zealand.
•  Critically consider the impact of context on social work policy and practice.
•  Identify and explore skill sets for social work practice
•  Investigate social work processes
•  Compare and contrast key knowledge bases for social work
•  Explore the integration of purposes, values, skills and knowledge in social work
•  Examine domains of difference and diversity and explore how these factors impact5 on social work practice.

Learning Outcomes

1.  Understanding of how social work contributes to a range of welfare, health, justice and educational services.
2.  Understanding of the contributions that social work can make to welfare, wellbeing and social change.
3.  Understanding of a range of perspectives that inform social work practice.
4.  Understanding of the integrative nature of purpose, values, skills and knowledge in informing social work practice.
5.  Appreciation of how professional values interact with social systems to result in ethical outcomes.
6.  Appreciation of the role of culture in social work provision.
7.  Appreciation of the influence of the Treaty of Waitangi in social work provision
8.  Critically-based understanding of a range of theories and models that inform practice.
9.  Awareness of dynamics and transformation in families, groups and communities.
10. Knowledge and skills that enable students:
     -  To establish effective relationships with help-seekers and those who are referred for assistance
     -  To assess factors contributing to presenting problems
     -  To plan appropriate ways both to work with persons and to address identified issues
     -  To implement an intervention plan in conjunction with clients and other significant persons and services
     -  To bring professional involvement to an appropriate and effective end

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Biculturally competent and confident

Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

Engaged with the community

Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.




SOWK615. For students undertaking part-time study, SOWK614, together with SOWK615, must be completed in the last two years of study.

Course Coordinator

Yvonne Crichton-Hill


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Participation and Task Completion 30% Ongoing
Online Test 30%
Theory and social work essay 15%
Application of theory to a contemporary issue 25% 3,000 Words (excluding references)

Textbooks / Resources

Throughout the course readings and resources will be uploaded to the University of Canterbury SOWK 614 LEARN site.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,884.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Limited Entry Course

Maximum enrolment is 40

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All SOWK614 Occurrences

  • SOWK614-20W (D) Whole Year 2020 (Distance)