Master of Social Work and Social Welfare Studies
  Master of Social Work and Social Welfare Studies

The course Master of social work and social welfare studies, is organized by the AUGent (Ghent University Association, consisting of Ghent University, Arteveldehogeschool, Hogeschool Gent en Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen), considers academic research in social work as its foundation. This research is aimed at constructing knowledge on how social work intervenes in the socialization of individuals and groups. This is linked to the knowledge of the development of social and cultural processes, structures and institutions, and finally knowledge of the societal, historical and cultural context.

This course wants students to develop a personal vision and accountability for social-work practices, based on a concrete analysis and interpretation of the practice of social work, and of the social policy expressed by these practices. This analysis and interpretation should always be linked to the broader societal, philosophical, ethical and social-political context in which this social work and social policy are developed. .

The program of the course Master of social work and social welfare studies seeks association with two central traditions within research on social work. On one hand, there is the Anglo-Saxon tradition of 'social policy and social work', on the other hand association is made with the 'Sozialpädagogik'- tradition as another distinct perspective within educational sciences. .

This course is linked up to the Bachelor of Educational Sciences, main subject social work and social welfare studies. At the same time, the course offers a superstructure for Professional Bachelors of Social Work. The course is also accessible for other students, for whom the conditions of entry are adapted to their previous education. .

Master of social work and social welfare studies, following a Bachelor’s Degree of Educational Sciences, main subject social work and social welfare studies .

The differentiation between a master course in educational sciences (main subject foundations and practice of education and main subject: special education, disability studies and behavioral disorders) and a master course of social work and social welfare studies allows a more explicit social welfare perspective within educational sciences. This differentiation creates clearer possibilities of entry to the labour market: since specific themes are accentuated, such as 'Child Care', 'Social Work and Social Welfare', 'Social-cultural work with young people and with adults', and 'community work and local social policy'.
This course links up with the Bachelor’s course of Educational Sciences, main subject social welfare studies. The intake of these bachelors is possible after they’ve followed a preparatory course, with subjects on social work practice, and knowledge of the field of social work. .

Academic Superstructure for professional bachelors in social work.
The Master of Social Work addresses also to the strongly marked aspiration for a superstructure for the Professional Bachelor course of social work. Professional bachelors of social work can enter the master course after they've followed a linking - programme of course units, explicitly referring to the academic character of the Master course.
Both the objectives of an academic bachelor course and of a professional bachelor course are recognized. Professional bachelors and academic bachelors follow a differentiated programme before they enter the master course. .


The normal study trajectory offers different types of courses, explicitly opting for an integration of practice, research and theory - building. .

1. Methodology and research
The first type of courses is methodological and research-oriented. Along with a fundamental training in research methods and statistical techniques and in different research orientations, there are 4 courses 'research in social work practices’. These course units are clustered vertically (Module I = historical-theoretical perspectives; II = perspectives on practice; III = research perspectives and IV = Theory-building).
Each cluster of 4 course units is offered in different themes, closely connected to and well-founded by recent research carried out in educational sciences and social work. Each thematic cluster of 4 courses constitutes a 'major'.

  • Social work and human rights.
  • Social work and general prevention
  • Management for the social-profit sector.
  • The worlds of children and youth cultures.
  • Social work and interculturalisation.
  • Social work and sustainable development
The final thesis is a research-oriented course unit as well. By choosing a major - possibly closely connected to the thesis - students will be able to elaborate a specific profile during the course, e.g. a management profile or a profile oriented towards human rights, or prevention. .

2. Professional component
The professional component of the study programme is stressed in a second type of course units. The course unit 'social work practice: theory and internship' is offered in the preparatory programme, as a combination of theory, practice-seminars and practical training. The practice-seminars ensure a close link with the field of practice, and institutionally integrate the reciprocity of theory and practice in the programme . .

3. Social-pedagogical component
The third type of course units refers to the social-pedagogical tradition (Sozialpädgagogik) in social work. Course units are 'theories of social welfare and social work', 'social pedagogy', 'family pedagogy' and 'community work and local social policy'. .

4. Cultural studies
The fourth type of course units is more oriented towards the Anglo-Saxon social work - tradition and to cultural studies. Course units referring to this tradition are 'social politics and social policy', 'culture studies’, 'social work and welfare rights' and 'concepts of planning and integration in social policy'. .

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