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Social work in an international Perspective, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Socialt arbete i ett internationellt perspektiv

This syllabus is valid: 2022-05-30 and until further notice

Course code: 2SA184

Credit points: 15

Education level: First cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Social Work: First cycle, has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

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

Responsible department: Department of Social Work

Revised by: Head of Department of Social Work, 2022-01-31


The overall aim of the course is to provide an international perspective on the target groups of social work and the field of practices of social workers. Furthermore, the professional role and conditions of social workers in the public, private and non-profit sectors are addressed. In addition, the job, conditions and requirements of a social worker are dealt with, and these aspects are problematised from a professional ethics standpoint. The course emphasises the importance of a scientific basis for understanding and critically analysing the prerequisites for practical social work. The course also entails reflection on oneself and one's future profession in relation to social work and its target groups. In the course, field studies are conducted abroad, with the aim of preparing students for international social work in different cultural contexts. Under supervision, students will observe and actively participate in social work in an international context. The course provides the opportunity to study the interaction between the individual, the social situation and the living conditions in the country where the field studies are conducted.

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
Upon completing the course, the student shall have the knowledge and understanding to:

1) Demonstrate basic knowledge of the target groups of social work from an international perspective.
2) Demonstrate basic knowledge of men's violence against women and domestic violence.
3) Be able to identify and describe the fields of practices, tasks and professional role of a social worker.   
4) Demonstrate knowledge about how social work with individuals and groups is conducted in the context where the student's field studies are conducted

Upon completing the course, the student shall have the competence and skills to:
5) Demonstrate her/his basic ability to understand and analyse social problems in relation to the various target groups of social work.
6) Be able to reflect on the role of a social worker in relation to gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality, in relation to cultural differences and similarities.
7) Demonstrate basic skills and ability to apply a comparative perspective in one or more social work organisations, based on Swedish and international contexts.
8) Exemplify how the professionalisation processes of the social work profession depend on how the field of social work organisations and changes, within the context in which the field studies have been conducted.

As regards evaluation ability and approach, upon completing the course the student shall be able to:

9) Demonstrate self-awareness in relation to the target groups of social work.
10) Demonstrate the ability to reflect upon and discuss her/his professional role from a professional ethics standpoint.
11) Demonstrate the ability to apply a comparative perspective to reflection upon the differences and similarities in social work conducted in Sweden versus internationally, as well as their own professional role.

Required Knowledge

General entry requirements and Mathematics 2a or 2b or 2c, Civics 1b or 1a1+1a2

Form of instruction

For students admitted to the campus programme as well as the distance programme, the course is given with a mixture of campus-based teaching and distance learning. The course is conducted in the form of field studies conducted abroad for a period of at least 5 weeks and a maximum of 8 weeks. The field studies shall be carried out in a social work organisation. The teaching is conducted via traditional campus-based teaching, online teaching with recorded lectures, and web-based seminars and exercises. Umeå is an assembly location. This means that all examinations (unless otherwise announced by the course coordinator), certain teaching elements and the compulsory parts of the education take place at the assembly location, Umeå. Compulsory parts of the education are included in the course; these are specified in the schedule. The organisation in which the field studies are conducted must be approved by the course coordinator. It is possible to carry out the field studies under the Erasmus + programme. The course starts and ends with examination seminars at the Umeå study location, or via digital seminars.

Examination modes

The course is examined continuously via the following examinations:
  • An individual written reflection assignment linked to the student's professional and personal development PPU
  • Active participation in a seminar with an international comparative perspective
  • An individual written assignment that is also presented orally at a seminar
  • In addition to the above forms of examination, a certificate from a supervisor attesting to the student's active participation during her/his field studies, as well as the scope of the social activities in which she/he participated, must be submitted upon completion of the field studies
For written assignments, the student must manage sources in accordance with accepted academic formats and all assignments must be of a high linguistic standard.

For the individual written assignment, a grade of either VG (Pass with distinction), G (Pass), or U (Fail) is given. For other examination assignments, a grade of either G (Pass) or U (Fail) is given.
The grade is a summary assessment of the examination results and is only determined once all compulsory parts have been successfully completed. The certificate from the supervisor or equivalent person from the field study activities is not graded, but constitutes a basis for grading that must be submitted to the examiner upon completion of the field studies. To receive a grade of VG (pass with distinction) for the course, a grade of VG is required on the individual written assignment.

Students who receive a passing grade on the examination may not re-take the exam in order to achieve a higher grade.
A student who has received a failing grade on one/a few of the course's examination assignments will be offered a new opportunity for examination.

Students who have not achieved a passing grade on any of the examination assignments may, at the discretion of the examiner, be given the opportunity to supplement their work in order to achieve the examination assignment criteria for passing the examination. Supplements to the examination should be adjusted individually based on the learning objective(s) that the student has failed to achieve, and should be completed within two weeks after the students have been notified of the examination result.
When it comes to regulations relating to retake exams in a different location, the Department adheres to Umeå University's rules for grading and examination on first-cycle and second-cycle courses:

The application for examination in a different location is made using the designated form, which must be submitted to the Student Office.
A student is entitled to change of examiner after two failed examinations, unless there are special reasons to deny such a request. A written request is submitted to the Director of Studies no later than two weeks before the next possible examination.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Deviations for the course syllabus' examination may be made for a student who has been subject to a decision granting pedagogical support due to a disability. Individual adaption of the examination form shall be considered based on the student's needs. The form of examination is adapted within the framework of the expected study results of the course syllabus. At the student's request, the course coordinator shall promptly decide, in consultation with the examiner, on the appropriate form of examination. The decision shall then be communicated to the student.

Other regulations

Course credit transfers are assessed on an individual basis. Information and forms relating to credit transfers are found here: