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Social Work in Sweden, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Social Work in Sweden

This syllabus is valid: 2013-08-19 valid to 2018-08-12 (newer version of the syllabus exists)

Course code: 2SA002

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: First cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Social Work: First cycle, has only upper-secondary level entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Social Work


In the course perspectives, concepts ant theoretical foundations of social work are described and discussed. Further on the institutional structures of social work in the Swedish welfare state is described and problematized. The course also introduces the students to the “Swedish way” of understanding the context of social and personal problems, and the interventions social workers use in working with people to bring about change.

Expected learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to demonstrate:
• Identify perspectives, concept and theoretical foundations of social work;
• describe the institutional structures of social work in the Swedish welfare state;
• identify and describe various fields of practice within Swedish social work;
• describe the role social workers play in the process of social and personal change;
• describe who are the main consumers of social work services;
• describe strengths and weaknesses in social work and social welfare service-delivery systems in Sweden.

Required Knowledge

General entry requirements

Form of instruction

The course it taught through lectures, workshops, seminars and study visits. Students are expected to prepare lectures and seminars and group discussions and specific group and individual assignments. 

Examination modes

The examination will be conducted through:
• Active Participation in Seminars
Students are expected to present and discuss short written individual papers.
• Paper
In depth study of social work in Sweden with vulnerable or marginalized groups. A description of the requirements of the paper will also be provided early in the course.
• Seminar Presentation
The presentation of the paper mentioned above. A description of the requirements of the seminar will also be provided during the course.

The grades for the Active Participation in Seminar will be either Fail or Pass. The grades for the Paper will be either Fail, Pass or Pass with Distinction.
The grades for the Seminar Presentation of the Paper will be either Fail or Pass.

Rules regarding Examination
A student who fails to obtain a pass result at the regular test is entitled to the opportunity of a re-take. A re-take must be offered not more than three months after the regular test. A re-take must be offered not more than three months after the regular test, but it must not be offered earlier than ten working days after the result of the regular test has been announced and a copy of the student’s examination script is available. Re-take time(s) should be announced not later than the day of the regular test. In addition, at least one further re-take opportunity (known as a ”catching-up test”) must be offered within one year of the regular test.
A student who has passed an examination may not be re-examined.
If a college or university limits the number of occasions on which a student may enrol for a test in order to obtain a pass grade for a course or sub-course, the number of attempts must be at least five. In order for an opportunity of examination to be regarded as forfeited, the student must have failed formally on the test. Absence from an examination may not be counted as a forfeit examination. Participation in an examination without submitting a result, handing in a blank paper, counts as an opportunity.
Anyone who has not passed and examination has the right to take a re-take on a course where she/he has once been registered, provided that any limitations on the number of times of examination have not been exceeded.
In cases where examinations or compulsory course elements cannot be repeated according to the rules of re-takes and work practice that has to be done again, these can be replaced with a different task. The extent and content of such a task should be in a reasonable proportion to the missed compulsory course element.
A student has the right to be tested in accordance with the same syllabus as during the original examination twice, for up to two years after the first registration.
A student who has taken two tests for a course or segment of a course, without passing, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless there exist special reasons (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6, section 11b). A request of another examiner should be sent in to the Director of studies at the Department of Social Work, Umeå University.
Examinations are normally held in the place where the course was conducted. In special circumstances a student may be examined at some other location. Special consideration shall be given to candidates wishing to be examined at Campus Skellefteå, Campus Örnsköldsvik and in Lycksele. A student wishing to be examined at another location must make an application to the department in question not less than one month prior to the day of the examination. Prerequisites of examination at another location are that recognised invigilation, premises and all other conditions required for the examination in question can be arranged at reasonable cost to the department. Students who play elite-level sport and who have an agreement with Umeå Sport Sciences Centre are seen as having special reasons to be examined in a different location (Decistion by the Vice-Chancellor, reg. no. 102-329-07; in Swedish)

Other regulations

Level and Prerequisites
This is an introductory course. The admission prerequisite is a general qualification for university studies. Students taking this course will be exempt from the requirement of proficiency in the Swedish language. All lectures and seminars will be in English. Therefore, students must be proficient in spoken and written English.

Transfer of Credits
For information of regulation regarding transfer of credits:


Valid from: 2013 week 34

The Quest for a Universal Social Work: Some issues and Implications. Social Work Education, 23 (5), 625-644
Gray M, Fook J


Hessle, Sven, & Vinnerljung, Bo. (2003). Child Welfare in Sweden - An Overview: EU Canada Project. Child Welfare Across Borders. Available at:


Isaksson, Joakim, Lindquist, Rafael & Bergström, Erik (2007): School problems or individual shortcomings? A study of individual educational plans in Sweden. European Journal of Special Needs Education. Vol. 22, No1, 2007, pp. 75-91.


Khoo, Evelyn G., Hyvönen, Ulf, & Nygren, Lennart. (2003). Gatekeeping in Child Welfare. A comparative study of intake decision making by social workers in Canada and Sweden. Child Welfare, 82(3), 507-525.


Morén, Stefan & Blom, Björn (2003) Explaining human change. On generative mechanisms in social work practice. Journal for Critical Realism 2:1, 37-61.


Pardeck, John. T., & Yves, Francis. K. O. (2006) Social work for the twenty-first century: challenges and opportunities. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.


Trydegård Gun-Britt
Tradition, change and variation : past and present trends in public old-age care
Stockholm : Univ. : 2000 : 89, [3] s. :
ISBN: 91-7265-182-2
Search the University Library catalogue

Williams, C., & Soydan, Haluk. (2005). When and How Does Ethnicity Matter? A Cross-national Study of Social Work Responses to Ethnicity in Child Protection Cases. British Journal of Social Work, 35(6), 901-920.


Solvang Per
The emergence of an us and them discourse in disability theory.
. : 2000 :
.. :
. :

Social report 2010
. :

Abortion and home abortion implies radical changes for women:
. :

Legal abortion: a painful necessity.
Kero A, Högberg U, Jacobsson L, Lalos A
. :

Soc Sci Med. 2001 Dec;53(11):1481-90
. :

How Sweden is governed: and
. :

Why are English youths more violent Than Swedish youths? ..... 2008:5:309
. :

Morén, Stefan (1994) Social work is Beautiful. On the Characteristics of social work. Scandinavian Journal of Social Welfare, 3(3), 158-166.

Introduction to social work
Farley O. William, Smith Larry Lorenzo, Boyle Scott W.
10. ed. : Boston, MA : Pearson/Allyn and Bacon : 2006 [dvs 2005] : xiv, 433 s. :
ISBN: 0-205-44215-3
Search the University Library catalogue

Johnson Louise C.
Social work practice : a generalist approach
4. ed. : Boston : Allyn and Bacon : cop. 1992 : xvii, 377 p. :
ISBN: 0-205-13140-9
Search the University Library catalogue