Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2011 (Day)
Caulfield First semester 2011 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Bernadette Saunders


This unit introduces students to the history and evolution of the international human rights regime, current debates about human rights locally, nationally and internationally, as well as ethical codes and decision-making processes as they apply to social work practice. The unit provides opportunities for students to explore the foundations of the Australian legal system in a human rights framework and the legal contexts within which social workers practice. The unit addresses concepts of moral philosophy underpinning the AASW Code of Ethics and explores the foundations of ethical decision-making. In line with Monash University's commitment to human rights and social justice, the unit has an overarching human rights approach, within which legal and ethical practice occurs.


At completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Utilise a human rights framework in a social work practice situation;
  2. Describe the history and current context of the international human rights regime;
  3. Demonstrate a beginning knowledge of local, national and international legal; systems and how they interface with social work practice;
  4. Read and consider the impact of legislation relevant to social work practice;
  5. Implement a process of ethical decision-making, making use of the AASW Code of Ethics and other relevant tools;
  6. Analyse ethical and legal issues relevant to social work practice;
  7. Reflect critically on their approach to human rights and ethical issues;
  8. Write required commentary on human rights, ethics and legal issues.


The assessment requirement for the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) 6 point subject Human Rights, Law and Ethics Contexts for Social Work Practice is the completion of two assessment tasks:
Major essay (2,500 words)(60%)
Written assessment (2,000 words)(40%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Bernadette Saunders

Off-campus attendance requirements

The unit runs for 12 weeks. Students are expected to undertake 156 hours per semester study. Students are expected to use their study time to attend on-campus lectures and workshops, undertake the weekly unit tasks as set out in the Unit Outline and in the off-campus Unit Guide.