Master of Social Work (MSW)
(1-year Full-time mode / 2-year Part-time mode)
  • Aims of the Programme

    The Master of Social Work is delivered in one year full-time mode or two years part-time mode in a post-qualifying social work programme*. It is designed for those who have received undergraduate training in social work and wish to advance their knowledge and skills in general, particularly with respect to youth work or mental health practice. The programme, with its structure kept intact, has been continuously strengthened with new academic input and ongoing introduction of new courses addressing rising challenges confronted by social work practitioners and users in the field, such as substance abuse, abusive intimate relations among young people, and domestic violence and tragedies involving people with mental illness. The programme places emphasis on small-class teaching which can facilitate learning in a more comfortable interaction both among students and between students and staff.

    The MSW programme aims at developing students in one of two concentrations: youth work and mental health practice. Both concentrations are unique in nature and especially designed for those who are involved in children and youth work, family services, health and mental health social work.

    Two-year part-time master programme with Two concentrations:
    Youth Work Mental Health Practice
    Strong input in critical youth work, and empowerment and cultural practice taught by a team of experts Meeting the most up-to-date challenges of family and mental health; emphasizing theoretical understanding and critical view of mental health issues
    Intensive reflection and re-organisation of practice paradigm based on most updated theories and research Emphasizing holistic mental health social work practice in the Chinese context with emphasis on psychosocial, clinical and risks assessment in various situations and settings
    Development of specialism through reflective pedagogy Developing practice competence in Mental Health and local expertise with global perspective in Mental Health
    1. Active and reflective learning mode
    2. Emphasizing both integration and specialization
    3. Lectures and seminars given by overseas visiting scholars
    4. Professional training workshops offered
    5. Student-centred learning
    6. Small-class teaching
    7. Exposures to advanced yet critical theories and practice
    8. Critical reflection on professional conception and practice
  • Programme Structure

    In order to graduate, students must successfully complete a programme of study of 30 units. This should comprise four integrative courses, three concentration courses, plus two to three elective courses. The distribution of units over the integrative and specialisation curricula and elective courses are as follow:

      1. Integrative courses 12 units
      2. Concentration courses 9 units
      3. Elective courses 9 units
      1. TOTAL 30 units

    Programme Contents

    Integrative Courses (4 courses, 12 units)
    Integrative courses offer students a critical re-examination of the philosophy and theories of social work and social welfare in global as well as local contexts. These courses aim at broadening students' view of welfare and consolidating their theoretical and philosophical foundation, upon which current practices in a complex and rapidly changing social and political reality are reconsidered, and more advanced theories and practices are developed. Four integrative courses are offered and are required of all students.

      1. SOWK 7010 Social Work in a Changing Social Context 3 units
      2. SOWK 7010 Social Work in a Changing Social Context (3,3,0)
        This course explores the changing social, political and economic context of Hong Kong society and examines their relationship with social welfare and social work. It aims at developing students' ability to reflect on the current philosophical as well as value base for social work practice in Hong Kong with particular insights into the constraints they create for policy and practice.
      3. SOWK 7030 Critical Management Practice 3 units
      4. SOWK 7030 Critical Management Practice (3,3,0)
        This course is designed to appraise the policy and organizational context of human service organizations and management and to explore major theories and perspectives on organizational analysis and management practice. Students will be able to develop creative and appropriate responses to organizational and management situations in relation to different social work settings.
      5. SOWK 7040 Research & Programme Evaluation 3 units
      6. 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.
      7. SOWK 7410 Human Diversity and Cultural Differences 3 units
      8. SOWK 7410 Human Diversity and Cultural Differences (3,3,0)
        This course helps students to understand and appreciate similarities and diversities of human behaviour from a diversity and anti-oppression perspective, particularly with respect to social and cultural differences, and the challenges and strengths of young people in the local context.
      1. TOTAL 12 units
    Concentration Courses (3 courses, 9 units)

    These courses are intended to deepen and strengthen students' knowledge and skills and to enhance students' professional competence.

    They are also the cornerstones where students are guided to develop their own concentration. Since 2003, two areas of concentration are offered: Youth Work and Mental Health Practice. These two specialized areas are developed in response to the needs of the professional community and in line with the expertise of the Department. All students are required to choose one of these specialized areas and develop their own concentration according to the concentration preference they opt.
    • Youth Work Concentration:
      1. SOWK 7170 Youth at the Margins: Theory & Practice 3 units
      2. SOWK 7170 Youth at the Margins: Theory and Practice (3,3,0)
        This course introduces students to various theoretical and practice approaches in understanding and working with young people who are regarded as "marginal" in legal, social and cultural senses. The social construction and social disadvantages of marginality are examined, and students are encouraged to examine practice models for meeting the needs of young people at the margins.
      3. SOWK 7220 Youth & Cultural Practice 3 units
      4. SOWK 7220 Youth and Cultural Practice (3,3,0)
        The cultural dimension of young people's lives is fast changing, and there is a pressing need for social workers to better acknowledge the richness and diversity of youth cultures, and take culture as an arena and as a means for promoting youth's competency, participation and connectedness and for developing alternative intervention modalities.
      5. SOWK 7240 Critical Youth Work 3 units
      6. SOWK 7240 Critical Youth Work (3,3,0)
        By drawing insights from the radical and critical traditions of social work, this course specifically focuses on studying the structural and poststructural perspectives on informing the theorizing and practice of critical youth work with particular reference to oppression and dominations in the social context of Hong Kong.
      1. TOTAL 9 units
    • Mental Health Practice Concentration:
      1. SOWK 7110 Mental Health, Mental Disorder & Social Work 3 units
      2. SOWK 7110 Mental Health, Mental Disorder and Social Work (3,3,0)
        This course critically examines current theories in working with people and their families facing psychiatric disabilities and provides opportunities to build on existing social work experiences in order to develop a more integrated model for practice. Students will be enabled to understand the current development and research in mental health and to examine their implications for social work practice in Hong Kong.
      3. SOWK 7210 Working with Families with Mental Health Issues 3 units
      4. SOWK 7210 Working with Families with Mental Health Issues (3,3,0)
        Mental illnesses, irrespective of their severity, rarely leave family intact but the needs of family members are often overlooked. At times social workers in different service settings do come into contact with these family members. It is therefore necessary to improve both knowledge and skills of helping them. This course covers different perspectives of family coping and dimensions of helping like family therapy, psycho-education for family, empowerment practice and advocacy for families.
      5. SOWK 7230 Crisis Management and
        Integrated Mental Health Practice
        3 units
      6. SOWK 7230 Crisis Management and Integrated Mental Health Practice (3,3,0)
        Crisis management is one of many important tasks of human service professionals, and it often helps to prevent mental health problems from taking place. This course is designed to enable graduate social work students to (1) deal with crises of their clients and (2) develop integrated mental health interventions with wide range of targets with mental health problems in the Chinese context. Students will examine the major theoretical perspectives and skills in crisis assessment and management and learn to apply an integrative approach to the prevention and treatment of mental health problems.
      1. TOTAL 9 units
    • Electives courses (9 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 and yet inter-related narrative approaches to working with young people and their families at different settings, as well as the basic philosophy, concepts, and therapeutic conversations.
      5. SOWK 7500 Family Therapy 3 units
      6. SOWK 7500 Family Therapy (3,3,0)
        This course approaches to enhancing collaborative work with young people will be covered. In particular, the students will be introduced to strategies and interventions from the approaches of structural family therapy and solution-focused brief therapy as well as their application to specific youth groups with a diversity of developmental issues and needs.
      7. SOWK 7151-2 Dissertation 6 units
      8. SOWK 7151-2 Dissertation (3,0,1)
        To be updated

    Staff with Expertise in the 2 concentrations

    Mental Health Youth Work
    Prof Petrus Y N Ng 吳日嵐教授 Prof Sammy W S Chiu 趙維生教授
    Dr. Simon T M Chan 陳德茂博士 Mr. Shiu Ka-chun 邵家臻先生
    Dr. Angela O K Tsun 秦安琪博士 Dr. Mark K Y Li 李建賢博士
    Dr. Daniel K W Young 楊劍雲博士 Prof Victor C W Wong 黃昌榮教授
  • Entrance Requirements

    Applicants should possess:
    - A Bachelor's degree in Social Work* from a recognized university or equivalent; and
    - Preferably with 2 years of work experience in the field of social work or equivalent.
    *Usually a good second class degree is required, but applicants with outstanding work experience may be considered. This programme is not designed to support its graduates to apply for registration as registered social worker (RSW) in Hong Kong.

    This programme is not designed to support its graduates to apply for registration as registered social worker (RSW) in Hong Kong.

    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.

    Application form can be obtained from the Office of Graduate School, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong; or directly application at the university website:

    For enquiry, please contact Department of Social Work at 3411 7151.
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