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 Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

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

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • demonstrate core communication skills
  • outline and critically analyse key aspects of the development of social work as a profession
  • demonstrate an advanced understanding of social work core values and ethics in practice situations
  • have an understanding of discourse and practice theory relevant to social work and be able to research, articulate and critically apply this knowledge.
  • to independently research, critically analyse and explain the concepts of diversity, global citizenship, positionality, privilege and sustainability in relation to social work practice
  • demonstrate critical thinking, research and reflective practice skills
  • participate in face-to-face learning activities as per accreditation requirements


This 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 5 day Compulsory 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. 


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or ask@csu.edu.au or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.