Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Social Work
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2013 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Marija Dragic


The Australian Association of Social Workers states that "The social work profession is committed to the pursuit of social justice, the enhancement of the quality of life and the development of the full potential of each individual, group and community in society. Social workers work at the interface between people and their environments, utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems."

In recent decades, significant changes have impacted on individuals and communities as a consequence of globalization, post-colonial policies, conflict, terrorism and natural disasters. Millions of people around the world continue to be displaced. Some are driven to leave their homelands by poverty or forced migration while others are drawn to perceived opportunities for a better life elsewhere.
This unit asks students to consider how global challenges frame social work practice both internationally and locally. Social work theory, knowledge and skills will be assessed to gauge their relevance to emerging practice issues in this area. The unit encourages students to examine their own cultural and professional identity in the light of contemporary debates and tensions about society and culture, both in Australia and internationally.
The unit will explore the local and international effects of, for example, colonisation, globalisation, forced migration, pandemics, child exploitation and human trafficking. It will ask students to critically evaluate current international and local policy and service responses and develop strategies to advocate for social change. The unit will enhance students' capacity for global and local social work leadership.


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

  1. Assess contemporary debates about globalization, post-colonialism, and internationalisation and their impact on communities around the world, including Indigenous peoples
  2. Critically evaluate how cultural identities and beliefs are constructed both locally and internationally
  3. Analyse principles and ideas informing International Development programs and their implications for social work practice
  4. Identify the links between global and local issues and how social workers can practice effectively at both levels
  5. Assess policy and service frameworks for responding to social need in a global context and at local community level
  6. Develop relevant social work policy, service and practice responses to selected issues in global and local social work practice


Major essay (4000 words) 40%,
major essay including development of online materials (5000 words) 60%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

The unit runs for 12 weeks. For a 12 point unit, off-campus students are expected to spend 4 hours per week completing set tasks outlined in the Unit Guide, undertaking set readings and private research. Online contact such as discussion groups will be initiated by staff.


Students enrolled in the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) - course code 3969 have the following pre-requisites:
SWM5100 Social Work: Leading sustainable change
SWM5101 Human Rights, Ethics and Law Contexts for Social Work Practice
SWM5102 Critical Social Work 1: Individuals and Families - context and practice
SWM5103 Supervised professional practice 1
SWM5104 Critical Social Work 2: Frameworks for Practice in Health and Mental Health

For students enrolled in the Master of Social Work (Coursework) - course code 0019 there are no pre-requisites.