This unit of study teaches what theory is and why theory is essential in social work. Through reading and discussion you will develop an understanding of social work theories and their historical origins. Key social work theories, including different theoretical perspectives, explanations and approaches are examined, along with the links between these theories and the broader social work knowledge base. You are introduced to tools for applying theory to contemporary practice scenarios using case studies.

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. Investigate social work theories within the historical context of social work practice;  
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of different theoretical approaches, including key features and implications for practice.;  
  3. Differentially apply selected theories for contemporary social work practice.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Review Reading Review (1000 words) 30%
Report Theory analysis (1300 words) 45%
Presentation Part A: Group presentation applying theory to practice (10 minutes, 10%) Part B: Individual student statement of learning (500 words, 15%) 25%
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.

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