In this unit, students build on knowledge of social work theories developed in ASW2202 by developing an understanding of critical social work theories and perspectives and how these might be applied to contemporary practice. First, this unit assists students to develop an historical understanding of these theories and perspectives and their philosophical underpinnings. Second, students will examine contemporary critical social work approaches such as anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices and apply these to practice scenarios. Third, throughout this unit, students will build on their capacity for reflection by engaging with critical self-reflection as a foundational component of a developing practice framework.

Unit details

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96 credit points of first year core ABSW units.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Locate critical social work theories, perspectives and approaches in an historical context;  
  2. Investigate the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of the key contemporary critical social work perspectives;  
  3. Understand key critical social work approaches and how they are applied in contemporary practice; and  
  4. Demonstrate engagement with critical self-reflection as a foundational component of contemporary practice.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Review Review of readings (1,000 words) 25%
Project 'Whiteness' Inventory and critical reflection (1,200 words) 35%
Case Study Application of Critical Social Work Perspective to practice (1200 words) 30%
Other Critically Reflective Discussion (400 words) 10%
To gain a pass in this unit students must attain a minimum overall grade of 50% and attempt and submit all assessment tasks. Each assessment task covers discrete areas of knowledge and skill required for the successful completion of the social work course.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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