Social Work – Field of study catalogue MU
“We learn to help people who are in a vicious circle with the society around them.”
The Bachelor's Degree in Social Work is focused on recognizing and mastering contemporary methods of helping people (individuals, families, communities), who cannot on their own solve difficulties in relationships with other people or organizations, e.g. with governmental offices or service providers, etc. The graduate will be able to use social work methods in assisting people for whom it is difficult to maintain contact with their environment (e.g. people with addiction on computers), people for who is difficult to participate fully in society (e.g. people with disabilities), people who are considered a threat by society at large (e.g. inhabitants of marginalized localities), people who are threatened by others (e.g. seniors neglected by their relatives), people who are not insufficiently supported in society (e.g. those who are unable to cope with caring for their relatives) and the like. The study program has the following aims: familiarization and mastery of the methods of assistance in of social work as well as its traditions and its philosophical backgrounds, as well as the organizational and legal framework, in which social workers perform their duties. It is important to give the students the knowledge and the skills to enable them to recognize and discuss the ethical questions related to assisting people with difficulties in relationships with other people or organizations.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- Assess the living situation of clients (individuals, groups, communities) from the perspective of their difficulties in interacting with their social environment;
- Design and implement assistance intervention tailored to their living situation based on expert assessment;
- Mediate interaction (understanding, contact, communication, negotiation) between client and providers of assistance or social services;
- Get involved in the preparation and implementation of social service programs focused on the specific difficulties of particular target groups;
- Reflect on the ethical problems and dilemmas that accompany the preparation and implementation of aid interventions;
- Conduct research autonomously and to use the basic principles of research in the assessment of the living situation of a client;
- Acquaint herself or himself with the theoretical bases of relevant methods of assistance in social work;
- Understand key social science terms needed for the performance of a social worker's duties (especially social policy, ethics, sociology, psychology, law) and to be able to apply them in an assessment of the living situation of particular client,
- Characterize identity in the field of social work and to discuss it on the basis of developed argumentation.
Graduates may apply as independent social workers in organizations providing social work assistance, social security or social services, including employment services. They might apply to be developers and practitioners for social service programs, especially on the regional or local level. Graduates may also apply for roles as social workers, creator or participant of programs of assistance or social services in the governmental or non-governmental sector, possibly even in an international context.
For full-time students, it is possible to study social work in two variants at the bachelor-degree level: in the “single-subject” track or in a “dual subject” track with another program. The criteria to take the Final State Examination (FSE) for each track differ based on the number of required credits. In both cases, this means the overall number of credits as well as the depth of knowledge and experience. Nevertheless, the distribution of the type of subjects (theory and ethics in social work; social science; internships and supervisions, etc.) does not differ. Similarly, successful completion of either track does not mean exemption from classwork; students on a dual-subject track must still have minimum abilities to carry out duties of social work; those with a single subject must have a more than minimum capability. For the single-subject track, a student must fulfill the following criteria:
1. Students must obtain the required number of 180 credits (hereinafter "ECTS"). This number includes ECTS obtained for university physical education and university prescribed minimum linguistic competence.
2. They earn 107 ECTS for required subjects. Students are also required to obtain 73 ECTS in elective courses.
3. Students are obligated to complete at least one course conducted in English. The student can attend this course at a foreign university with the consent of the head of the department.
4. Students must demonstrate the university minimum language skills for a graduate of a bachelor's degree.
5. They must earn 2 ECTS for university physical education.
Part of the Final State Examination is the defense of a bachelor thesis. Students must follow the regulations issued by the department and must submit a thesis to the Department within the applicable time.
Part of the bachelor study is the completion of a compulsory professional social work internship. The aims of the student internship include: (a) enabling students to try out the methods they became acquainted with during their theoretical studies; (b) enabling students to confront their theoretical ideas about social work with its practical manifestation in the course of their study; (c) providing students with experiences regarding the social relationships and ways of working typical of aid organizations, and encouraging students to reflect on such experiences. (d) stimulating the process of identification of students with social work as a profession. The student must complete 416 hours of the internship and 78 hours of supervisory seminars. Students may enroll for the elective “Excursions to organizations” in the second semester; they can receive 3 ETCS for this. The actual performance of the internship begins in the third semester of study and is organized into three consecutive required subjects; students earn 15 ECTS for them. The Department of Social Policy and Social Work will secure internships for students at professional workplaces, where "internship instructors" operate, via its Centre of Practical and Evaluation Studies (CEPRES, see www.cepres-muni.cz). The department will provide training for internship instructors, which focuses on defining the role of internship instructor, on theories and methods of social work, and on the supervision of social work students.
The Final State Examination of the bachelor's degree in social work study has two parts.
I. a bachelor's thesis defense;
II. a written exam known as “Project of Solving a Case in Social Work.”
The bachelor's thesis is evaluated on the basis of theoretical-methodological and formal criteria. These criteria are published for students on the websites of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work and on the internet portal of Masaryk University (http://www.is.muni.cz). Theoretical-methodological criteria of the bachelor's thesis are following:
1. a focus on research of aid interventions and their participants;
2. an orientation to an unanswered research question;
3. attention to what is not obvious at first sight;
4. rigorous fidelity to following the research question and methodological continuity of the research process;
5. a theoretical orientation;
6. conclusiveness of arguments;
7. applicability of knowledge gained to practice, or the solution to a real-world question.
Regarding part II, the content of the written part of the Final State Examination, the “Project of Solving a Case in Social Work,” requires the application of theories and methods of social work, ethics in social work, and the basics of law and social regulations to a particular case. The Commission will evaluate this written task on the basis of the following criteria:
1. independent completion of a complex assessment of the living situation of a client or a group of clients;
2. a search for obstacles to and resources for the client(s) to manage their living situation; 3/ application of theoretical and methodical knowledge of different social work models in searching for effective methods of assistance;
4. recognition and discussion of ethical dilemmas;
5. use of the student's knowledge of social-political and legal conditions and of the options available for aid procedures,
6. justification of the assistance method(s) chosen.
Graduates of the bachelor program in social work may continue in a subsequent master's study of the same discipline at FSS MU or at another university. There are some schools, especially abroad, where the disciplines of social work and social pedagogy are understood to be closely related or even identical. Graduates can continue in the study of social pedagogy in this case. Graduates may also possibly, depending on conditions of acceptance of other related disciplines, continue in follow-up master's study of such related disciplines, e.g. social policy, public policy, management of social services, and the like.