Master of Social Sciences in Social Work (MSocSc in Social Work)
(2-year Full-time* / Part-time mode)
  • Aims of the Programme

    The programme title is Master of Social Sciences in Social Work (MSocSc in Social Work). The programme is designed for Bachelor's degree graduates who would like to pursue a recognized social work qualification (RSW) at a Master's degree level. The programme aims at preparing students for reflective professional practice in social work.

    To develop competent professionals who are critical, reflective and capable of generic social work practice and competent to face the challenges confronting social work in the changing society.

    To educate graduate students to achieve the academic and professional qualification that is considered eligible for registration as Registered Social Workers in Hong Kong on the basis of a recognized social work degree;

    Outcome goals:

    Upon graduation, the graduates can:
    1. Assess changing social needs and societal context and practice in line with the values and the ethical principles of social work;
    2. Demonstrate the ability to integrate theory and practice, acquire new theories and innovative practice, and show a commitment to life-long learning and professional development;
    3. Critically evaluate professional activities and service programmes and advocate for appropriate welfare and service reforms;
    4. Be sensitive to and reflective of the power, diversity and social justice in social issues, social work practice and social policy; and
    5. Transfer social work knowledge and skills in one's own profession other than social work.

    * 2-year Full-time mode is subject to Social Workers Registration Board approval.

  • Programme Structure

    Normally students will complete the programme in two calendar years, each with three semesters including the summer. Only under exceptional circumstances may students seek extension of the period of study.

    The Master of Social Sciences in Social Work is a two-year programme. The curriculum is outlined as follows:

      1. Social Work courses 21 units
      2. Social Work electives 3 units
      3. Integrative tutorials 3 units
      4. Fieldwork Practice 10 units
      1. TOTAL 37 units

    Programme Contents

    Social Work courses (7 courses, 21 units)
    Social work courses introduce students to contemporary social science theories relevant to social work theorization and practice on different levels and along different dimensions.

      1. SOWK 7610 Society and Social Policy 3 units
      2. SOWK 7610 Society and Social Policy (3,3,0)
        This course discusses various sociological perspectives to the understanding of the society and social policy. It examines selective models of social policy analysis and administrative and organizational theories and evaluates how these models and theories enable social workers to effect policy and organizational changes. It also critically examines the roles played by social workers in the field of social policy and administration with references to both local and international academic literature and research studies.
      3. SOWK 7620 Human Development and Cultural Differences 3 units
      4. SOWK 7620 Human Development and Cultural Differences (3,3,0)
        This course helps students to understand and appreciate human development and behavior across the life span particularly with respect to socio-cultural differences and the social environment at large, and to the challenges and strengths of service users and targets in the local context.
      5. SOWK 7630 Social Work Theory & Practice I 3 units
      6. SOWK 7630 Social Work Theory & Practice I (3,3,0)
        This course is designed to examine the generic knowledge and practice of social work as well as to develop students’ ability to apply critical thinking and professional judgment in the learning and application of individual and family practice models in local context. It emphasizes the transferability of the repertoire of skills and theoretical knowledge across disciplines and contexts.
      7. SOWK 7641-2 Social Work Theory & Practice II 4 units
      8. SOWK 7641-2 Social Work Theory & Practice II (4,1,0)
        This course is a continuation of Social Work Theory and Practice I. It is designed to equip students with the ability to appreciate theories and practice approaches of social group work and community work and to apply them in the local context. Changes in the social environment would be discussed to set forth the need to develop integrated practices. It also critically examines problems and issues in the application of the group and community approaches. Students will participate in a variety of role-plays, case studies and exercises so as to develop their consciousness and skills.
      9. SOWK 7650 Management in Human Service Organizations 3 units
      10. SOWK 7650 Management in Human Service Organizations (3,3,0)
        This course is focused on studying selective organizational theories and perspectives relevant to critically understanding and appreciating the management of human service organizations. With the use of case studies and discussion, students will be equipped to comprehend the processes, functions and skills of agency and programme management with reference to the local context.
      11. SOWK 7040 Research and Programme Evaluation 3 units
      12. SOWK 7040 Research and Programme Evaluation (3,3,0)
        This course covers the basic concepts, approaches and methods, ethical concerns in qualitative and quantitative research in the field of human services, and evaluates the importance of values and knowledge in suffusing the practice of social research. It stresses the importance of addressing programme and practice evaluation to the rising needs for accountability and outcome demonstration. This course also forms the knowledge base for students to carry out practice-related research project.
      13. SOWK 7770 Social Work, Law and Social Justice 2 units
      14. SOWK 7770 Social Work, Law and Social Justice (2,2,0)
        This course aims to study the values and ethical issues of social work practice and its related legal context; introduce general principles of law in Hong Kong and in the areas of protection of children and women, juvenile justice, family, mental health, human rights and discrimination; and examine the relevance of existing legal provisions to upkeep social justice and the role played by social workers.
      1. TOTAL 21 units
    • Social Work electives (1 course, 3 units)
      1. SOWK 7120 Child & Adolescent Mental Health 3 units
      2. SOWK 7120 Child and Adolescent Mental Health (3,3,0)
        This course is designed to deepen knowledge and skills required to work with children and adolescents with mental health problems in a variety of settings in Hong Kong, particularly with respect to the areas of behavioural and emotional problems and substance abuse.
      3. SOWK 7430 Narrative Approach to Counselling 3 units
      4. SOWK 7430 Narrative Approach to Youth Counselling (3,3,0)
        Prerequisite: SOWK 7420 Theories in Counselling and Therapy or consent of the Department. This course focuses on introducing to the students the diverse, yet inter-related narrative approaches to working with young people and their families at different settings, as well as the basic philosophy and concepts of therapeutic conversations.
      5. SOWK 7670 Social Work Project 3 units
      6. SOWK 7670 Social Work Project (3,0,1)
        In this course, students are required to conduct and write up a small social work practice related research project that may be based on their actual fieldwork or professional practice experience. Students may choose to do any other projects approved by the Department.
      7. SOWK 7720 Social Work with the Elderly 3 units
      8. SOWK 7720 Social Work with the Elderly (3,3,0)
        Prerequisite: Year III Social Work students or consent of the Department
        This course provides students with an understanding of the ageing process and its implications for social work practice. Social deprivation and difficulties faced by the elderly will be explored especially in the local context. The existing social welfare, medical, housing and employment policy and services for the elderly in Hong Kong will be critically examined, together with consideration of alternatives in social service delivery.
      9. SOWK 7730 Social Work with Youth 3 units
      10. SOWK 7730 Social Work with Youth (3,3,0)
        Prerequisite: Year III Social Work students or consent of the Department
        The basic objectives of this course are to review contemporary theories and perspectives for understanding youth with particular reference to the socio-economic and political context of Hong Kong, critically examine the discourses on specific dimensions of youth in Hong Kong, and examine and evaluate selected youth services and approaches to youth work with a review to promoting positive changes.
      11. SOWK 7740 Social Work with the Mentally Disordered 3 units
      12. SOWK 7740 Social Work with the Mentally Disordered (3,3,0)
        Prerequisite: Year III Social Work students or consent of the Department
        This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of a range of theories on the scope and causes of mental illness. Different approaches of working with the mentally disordered and their families will be discussed. Existing local policies and legislation pertaining to mental illness will be critically examined. Methods of assessment, intervention and prevention, especially from a social work perspective, will also be explored.
      13. SOWK 7750 Social Work with Disadvantaged Groups 3 units
      14. SOWK 7750 Social Work with Disadvantaged Groups (3,3,0)
        Prerequisite: Year III Social Work students or consent of the Department
        This course aims to enable students to examine the social structure and social processes which contribute to the construction of disadvantages and oppression in the society, critically appreciate different theoretical explanation of social disadvantages, develop understanding of the experiences of selected legislation, and develop sensitivity to and understanding of anti-oppressive practice with the socially disadvantaged groups.
      15. SOWK 7760 Special Topics in Social Work 3 units
      16. SOWK 7760 Special Topics in Social Work (3,3,0)
        Prerequisite: Year III Social Work students or consent of the Department
        This subject aims to provide students with a gender perspective in practicing social work. Basic concepts of gender, gender inequality and theories of feminism will be introduced. Gender issues in social work and social welfare development will be critically examined. Emphasis will also be placed on understanding principles and strategies of feminist social work and their application in the local context. Students will be equipped with knowledge and skills in dealing with gender issues and working with women and men.

    Integrative tutorials (3 courses, 3 units)
    These courses are intended to strengthen students' ability to integrate theories and practice and to apply what they learn from the class to real-life scenarios. They are required to take social work integrative tutorials both in year one and year two. All these can provide the students with solid social science and social work ground upon which to practice their fieldwork placement. Throughout the learning process, students are encouraged to adopt an integrative and reflective spirit in their daily social work practice.

      1. SOWK 7680 Social Work Integrative Tutorial I 1 units
      2. SOWK 7680 Social Work Integrative Tutorial I (1,0,1.5)
        Integrative tutorials aim to provide students with an environment to discuss and integrate what they have learned from the classes and from their real life scenarios in a small group setting. For each semester in Year I study, there will be seven 3-hour sessions with prescribed themes. Integrative Tutorial I focuses on skill competency and integration of knowledge and practice in working with individuals and families.
      3. SOWK 7690 Social Work Integrative Tutorial II 1 units
      4. SOWK 7690 Social Work Integrative Tutorial II (1,0,1.5)
        Integrative tutorials aim to provide students with an environment to discuss and integrate what they have learned from the classes and from their real life scenarios in a small group setting. For each semester in Year I study, there will be seven 3-hour sessions with prescribed themes. Integrative Tutorial II focuses on skill competency and integration of knowledge and practice in working with groups and communities.
      5. SOWK 7780 Social Work Integrative Tutorial III 1 units
      6. SOWK 7780 Social Work Integrative Tutorial III (1,0,1.5)
        Integrative Tutorial III targets at providing students with further opportunities to integrate what they have learnt from classes and the Fieldwork I while preparing them for Fieldwork II. Prominent issues in social work practice with relevancy to multi-levels intervention, sensitivity to diversity, social work values, and skills application are explored. Self-reflection on becoming social workers is emphasized.
      1. TOTAL 3 units

    Fieldwork Practice (2 fieldwork practice, 10 units)
    These courses aim at developing students, knowledge and skills with emphasis on the synergy and integration of theory and practice relevant to practice in a board range of social work settings; and enhancing professional development and self-growth. There will be a total of 800 hours of fieldwork, and each student is expected to take at least one concurrent placement, while the other one can be a concurrent or block placement.

    Additionally, students are required to attend a total of 100 hours of pre-placement preparation or related activities such as workshops, orientation programme, agency visits, and skill laboratories.

      1. SOWK 7700 Fieldwork Practice I 5 units
      2. SOWK 7700 Fieldwork Practice I (5,0,16)
        Prerequisite: GPA of 2.5 or above by the end of the 1st Semester of Year I or consent of Department
        Through fieldwork placement, students are facilitated to develop their knowledge and skills emphasizing on the synergy and integration of theory and relevancy to practice in a board range of social work settings in working with individuals, families, groups and communities. Emphasis is also focused on developing students’ professional competence in social work practice.
      3. SOWK 7710 Fieldwork Practice II 5 units
      4. SOWK 7710 Fieldwork Practice II (5,0,16)
        Prerequisite: (1) SOWK7700 Fieldwork Practice I and (2) cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above by the end of the 1st Semester of Year II or consent of the Department
        Through fieldwork placement, students are facilitated to develop their knowledge and skills emphasizing on the synergy and integration of theory and relevancy to practice in a board range of social work settings in working with individuals, families, groups and communities. Emphasis is also focused on developing students’ professional competence in social work practice.
      1. TOTAL 10 units

    Students who have satisfactorily completed all the above requirements and achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or above will be awarded a Master of Social Sciences in Social Work Degree. To be awarded Distinction for the programmes, students should attain a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or above, with no course grade below B- and no repeated courses. Students attaining a cumulative GPA between 3.40 and 3.69 will be awarded Merit.

    * With prior approval of the Department, a student may undertake one of the placements in his/her employing social services agency.
  • Entrance Requirements

    Applicants seeking admission to the MSocSc in Social Work degree programme should possess:

    1. a bachelor's degree from a recognized university, or a qualification that is deemed to be equivalent;

    Priority will be given to applicants with RSW qualification (registered on the basis of a recognized social work diploma) or with social sciences background at undergraduate level.

    Appropriately qualified applicants will be interviewed to establish proper motivation and suitability for pursuing a qualifying social work course in a reflective and learner-centered environment.

    Proof of English proficiency is required for all applicants whose Bachelor’s/Master’s degrees are obtained from non-English medium institutions. These applicants must meet the following minimum requirements for English proficiency:
    1. an overall band score of 6.0 in International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or
    2. a score of 537 (paper-based test) or 203 (computer-based test) or 74 (internet-based test) in TOEFL; or
    3. an equivalent score on a comparable test.

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