SWK501 Advanced Social Work Practice Theory (8)


This subject provides an opportunity for students to critically review a number of theories which currently influence social work practice, policy and research and reflect on the theories and values which influence their own practice and the settings within which they work. The subject aims to enhance understandings of practice knowledge, values and skill issues that arise in the tension between managerial and professional approaches, and other issues facing contemporary social work so that a more thoughtful and reflective practice base is attained.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
OnlineWagga Wagga Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: SWK501
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

Enrolment in Master of Social Work

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
Be able to apply principles of adult experiential learning and critical thinking to their own professional experience;
Appreciate different approaches to the construction of social work knowledge including positivism, interpretivism, critical/emancipatory and ecological perspectives, post-structuralist approaches; and the relationship between theory, values, practice and research in contemporary social work;
Be able to assess the influence of the different theories in specific areas of policy and practice and examine tensions within current practice and policy in the light of these theories including implications for ethical practice;
Be able to reflect on their own practice and theory and that of the organisational/political environment in which they work.


The subject will cover the following topics:
UNIT 1 Principles of adult learning and development of critical thinking. UNITS 2 - 6 Paradigms in social work knowledge: positivism, interpretivism, critical, ecological, post-structuralism. The relationship between policy, practice and research within these different constructions of knowledge. UNITS 7 - 9 Relationship of these theories to managerialism, professionalism, economic rationalism and other organisational issues affecting contemporary social work practice. UNIT 10 Implications for ethical practice: Relating different theories and the Code of Ethics. UNITS 11 - 12 Applications of different paradigms to current practice situations; articulating social works changing knowledge and practice base. UNITS 13 - 14 Clarifying students own professional practice bases, and preferred paradigms and their relationships to the organisations within which they work.


The information contained in the 2017 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 25 August 2017. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.