Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Social Work in Sweden, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Social Work in Sweden

This syllabus is valid: 2007-12-10 valid to 2013-08-18 (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


The course 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

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to: Identify perspectives, concepts 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; Articulate their reasons for their interest in the social work profession.

Required Knowledge

General entry requirements

Form of instruction

Course structure This course will be taught through classes that last for two teaching hours as well as individual and group work. Depending on the class size, classes will take the form of either lectures or seminars or both. Seminars will be developed around topics arising from readings.

Examination modes

Course Requirements and Examination Students are expected to attend classes and complete the readings on a weekly basis. There will be marks for in class participation, a seminar presentation, and written work. In Class Participation 10% Participation is essential to this course and students are expected to attend all classes. Consequently, a grade is given. The participation grade is based in part on your attendance. You will also be expected to be a constructive participant in small group meetings. This participation involves questioning, sharing, listening and communicating in a respectful way with other members of the group. First Paper 10% Individual Reflections - This paper will give you the opportunity to identify your own thinking about the role of social work in the welfare state. A full description of the requirements of the paper will be provided early in the term. Library/Literature Search 10 % Students are required to conduct a library search of databases (Social Work Abstracts, PsychInfo, Medline etc.) that searches for a specific topic related to a problem addressed by the social work profession. Each student must find 6 to 8 relevant ‘hits’. Your library search output will be handed in together with a 1 page description of your reactions to the searches carried out. Second Paper 50% Social Problems and Social Work - This paper will involve the description of how a social problem is handled from a social work perspective. A description of the requirements of the paper will also be provided early in the term. Seminar Presentation 20 % This will be a presentation of the second paper you have written. A description of the requirements of the seminar will also be provided by the middle of the term.

Other regulations

Level and Prerequisites - This is an introductory course. The admission prerequisite is a general qualification for university studies. - Students taking these courses 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.


Valid from: 2009 week 9

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:

Ineland, Jens & Sauer, Lennart (2007): Institutional environments and sub-cultural belonging: about theatre and intellectual disabilities. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research. Vol. 9, No. 1, 46-57, 2007. 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.

Jacobsson, Maritha (2006) (English Summary) The Therapist's Rights. Judicial and therapeutic logic in court hearings in relation to coercive intervention. Institutionen för socialt arbete, Umeå Universitet. Available at: http://www.diva-p

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.

Sandström Gunbritt
Higher Education for Social Work in Sweden
2007 :

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.

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

How Sweden is governed: and

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

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