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International Social Work and Community Development (MA)

Course Description

This unique programme is aimed particularly at international or UK students, with an interest in international social work, community development and comparative social policy. The programme will give students advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and community development in an international context. It will encourage students to develop a critical understanding of global social issues (such as social exclusion, poverty and environmental degradation) and relate this knowledge to developments in their own country. It will also equip students to engage in research and to apply research findings effectively in practice. The programme includes a two-week placement in a social work agency and the opportunity to carry out research on an aspect of social or community work in the UK.

Durham University is a world leader in International Social Work and Community Development. Our social work team edit the prestigious International Social Work journal and work closely with the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social Work.

Course structure

You will study in a small group of international students and alongside UK students on postgraduate social work and research degree programmes. This will give you plenty of opportunities to share knowledge and experience in addition to your learning through lectures, presentations and seminars.

The MA consists of five core modules, designed to give you an understanding of social work as it is practiced in the UK, and a thorough grounding in research methods and their application. You will also choose two specialist modules according to your particular professional interests. Finally, you will undertake a research project and write a dissertation. To achieve the Master's degree, you must accumulate a total of 180 credits, as listed below.

Core Modules

-International Social Work (30 credits)
-Social Work: Context and Practice (30 credits)
-Field Based Learning (15 credits)
-Community Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Practitioner Research and Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules

Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students studying this programme in previous years.
-Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
-Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
-Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice (30 credits)
-Crime, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)

Learning and Teaching

The MA International Social Work and Community Development provides students with advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and community development in an international context. The programme is offered full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms, or part-time over 24 months.

Core teaching on the programme falls primarily within the two 10 week terms. The programme is taught according to a variety of approaches, including lectures, seminars, Field-Based Learning, independent learning and empirical research/ dissertation.

Lectures enable staff to present scholarly material, both generic and subject-specific, to introduce the main debates within each topic and to situate arguments within broader debates. They introduce the subject at both a conceptual and a practical level. Seminars furnish opportunities for both staff and students to explore issues arising from lectures and from independent learning and to pursue them in more depth and in greater detail. Independent learning allows students to acquire subject-specific and generic knowledge by reading contemporary and historical debates in the topic; and by developing a critical awareness appropriate to advanced study. The Dissertation provides students with the opportunity to plan, design, carry out and present a piece of research. Dissertation work is supported by a dedicated module and by the student’s supervisor who will advise students at each stage of the project. Students have a ten-day field-based learning (FBL) opportunity in a local social welfare agency. FBL normally takes place in the north east region and students are required to travel independently to these.

Modules are assessed through essays, observation studies, project reports, case studies, group and individual presentations. Practitioner Research is assessed through a 12,500 word dissertation.

Further academic support is available as both the University and the School organize seminars by external speakers that are open to all students. Students will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.

Visit the International Social Work and Community Development (MA) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally an upper second class (2:1) honours degree or equivalent.

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