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 Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying). The subject covers the origins and development of the profession, its 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, especially in relation to engagement and assessment at  individual, family, group and community levels. This subject also introduces a range of foundational concepts and explores how these relate to developing a distinct social work identity within the context of national and international professional bodies. 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.


* 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

Enrolment Restrictions

This subject is not available to students who have completed subject HCS200 as it is a paired subject. 

Subject Relationships

HCS200 Paired Subject

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate and analyse core communication skills within a social work context;
  • be able to outline and critically analyse key aspects of the origins and development of social work as a profession;
  • be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of social work core values and ethics as defined by professional social work bodies;
  • be able to discuss Indigenous social work, discourse and practice theory relevant to social work and be able to research, articulate and critically apply this knowledge;
  • be able to independently research, critically analyse and explain foundational concepts and how these relate to social work practice and professional identity;
  • be able to demonstrate critical thinking, research and reflective practice skills; and
  • be able to demonstrate the application of theory to practice through participation in face-to-face learning activities as per accreditation requirements.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Origins and development 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 as defined by professional social work bodies
  • Broad framework of discourse and social work practice theory across the individual, family, group and community levels
  • Basic micro skills and foundational communication skills for practice; influence of digital technology
  • Fundamentals of global social work, global citizenship and sustainability and their relevance to social work practice
  • Foundations for critical thinking and self-reflection
  • Implementing Research to practice
  • Fundamentals of cultural sensitivity, social inclusion, responding to difference and diversity

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of HCS507 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Online multiple choice quiz
Communication skills workbook
Home examination
Attendance record

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. 

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.