HCS507 Social Work Theory and Practice 1 - Foundations of Practice (8)


This subject is the first of four core social work theory and practice subjects in the Masters of Social Work (Professional Qualifying).   This subject will cover the history, ethics and core values, models of helping, foundational theory and basic communication skills of contemporary social work practice (including digital and informational literacy). Emphasis is on the early stages of intervention including engagement and assessment at the individual level, family, group and community level.  This subject also introduces the concepts of positionality, social inclusion, diversity, and sustainability within a global social work framework. Students are expected to develop a critical understanding of the effects of history, values and positionality on social work theory and to appreciate the place of research in social work practice. 

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
Distance*Wagga Wagga Campus
*This subject offering contains a residential school. Please view following information for further details.
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: HCS507
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Humanities and Social Sciences

Enrolment restrictions

Incompatible subject(s)

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Demonstrate basic and advanced microskills required for early stages of intervention with clients in a counselling setting
  • Outline key aspects of the historical development of social work as a profession
  • Understand and apply social work core ethics and valuesUnderstand and apply social work core ethics and values
  • Have a general understanding of discourse and practice theory relevant to social work and be able to articulate and critically apply this knowledge.
  • Explain the relevance of social inclusion, diversity, globalisation and sustainability to social work practice.
  • Demonstrate mature development of self reflection and critical thinking skills
  • Demonstrate effective digital and informational literacies.


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • History of social work and foundations of a social work identity
  • Social Work digital and informational literacies.
  • Core values, Social Work Code of Ethics and Practice Standards
  • Broad framework of discourse and social work practice theory across the individual, family, group and community level.
  • Outline and develop basic micro skills and foundational communication skills for practice.
  • Fundamentals of globalisation and sustainability and their relevance to social work practice.
  • Foundations for critical thinking and self reflection.
  • Implementing Research to practice

Residential School

This subject contains a compulsory 5 day residential school. The residential school will involve the students in interactive experiential learning all basic skills and advanced skills in a safe environment. It will provide specific lectures and opportunities for discussion and clarification of key concepts and processes. There will be individual and group activities to ensure that students have a clear understanding of the assessment process in preparation for their first practicum. Activities will include the integration of research into practice and the development of skills and values in developing theory. 


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.