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Social Work


Aim of the programme

The programme aims at providing high quality postgraduate social work education and training to equip students with comprehensive skills to work in any agency employing Social Workers and in any Human Service Organisation.


Objectives of the programme

The objectives of the programme are for students to:

  1. develop the necessary intellectual skills of critical thinking, inquiry and problem solving as applied to academic learning,
  2. be skilled in working with individuals, families, groups, communities, fellow Social Workers and other Human Service Professionals,
  3. develop a Social Work Practice committed to poverty reduction and social justice in a diverse society, which recognises structural inequality and which seeks remedial solutions.



                                                                              COURSES DESCRIPTION

                                                                               YEAR ONE:SEMESTER ONE

SOWK 551: Advanced Social Work Theory

Content: This course considers the construction of social work theories and their application in social work practice.  The content of the course focuses on the construction of social work theories; issues of social work practice theories framework of analysing theories with individual, family and the community; the politics of knowledge in practice theory; general critique of social work theories; and application of social work theories. Through carefully designed seminars which will be held monthly, students will be expected to conceptualize how these relate to contemporary social issues in the World and especially sub-Saharan Africa through critical thinking and analysis.

Objective: The main objective of the course is for students to comprehend the construction of social work theories and its application in practice.


SOWK 553: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods in Social Work

Content: This course provides students with a detailed understanding of the issues underlying the conduct of rigorous, theoretically correct and practically relevant qualitative research. Topics to be studied include how to design research proposals; interpretative theories; interpretative research designs, design interview guides for conducting qualitative research; collecting qualitative data using a variety of research techniques; and analysing qualitative data.

Course objective(s): The objectives of the course are to help students to design research proposal for Social Work research work; develop appropriate qualitative tools for the collection of data and analyse and discuss qualitative data.


SOWK 555: Advanced Social Work Practice

Content: The course exposes students to some broad-based techniques for preliminary assessment, as well as techniques of goal setting and treatment planning used with individuals, groups and families. Focus will be on psycho-social interventions with individuals, groups and families within the context of their environment, utilizing selected problems of social functioning with Ghanaian societies. Students will have the opportunity to examine issues of empowerment in working with disadvantaged and dispossessed client populations. At the end of the course students will present an Advanced Clinical Seminar on Innovations in Social Work Practice that they may have developed for working with specific client populations. This seminar will form part of the assessment process for this course.

Course objective(s): The objectives of the course are to increase understanding of methods, practice skills and techniques for clinical intervention within a generalist framework; enhance understanding on issues of empowerment in working the disadvantaged and help students demonstrate the ability to articulate application of theory and in practice.


                                                  ELECTIVE COURSES [1]

Students will be required to choose two electives based on their specialisation interest.


SOWK 557: Advanced Theory in Counselling

Content: The course introduces students to theory and practice in counselling. The content of the course includes; basic issues in advanced counselling practice; advanced counselling theories; experiential and relationship-oriented counselling; counselling based on systems theory; post modernistic counselling approaches; and integrative and eclectic approaches. Students are expected to participate in self-exploration, group as well leadership activities as part of their own development as group counsellors. In addition, the course provides “hands on” exposure of organizing and implementing a group counselling project which requires students to participate in at least one, and possibly two week-ends, of practical counselling activities.

Course objective(s): The objective of the course is to enable students to have an understanding of the different key concepts underlying postmodern and traditional counselling theories, their therapeutic process, their application and evaluations.


SOWK 559: Community Development

Content: This course introduces students to Macro Social Work with particular emphasis on the community as the client. It examines the concept of development with particular reference to Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa. Theories of development will be discussed and priority given to the context of Ghana’s developmental agenda, Vision and Plans. The course also discusses the role of the community worker, methods of community development, community operational constraints on Government agencies and NGOs in their development work, together with strategies to address these difficulties.

Course objective(s): By the end of this course students should be able to identify the capabilities within communities for their own development and formulate strategies for grassroots capacity building.


SOWK 561: Industrial Social Work

Content: The course examines concepts underlying Industrial Social Work including its management principles, historical development and the dynamics of human behaviour within the social work context. The course content is based on these major themes; industrial social work in perspective; the functional characteristics of industrial social work; industrial social work and the dynamics of the organizational environment; industrial social work and institutional management; industrial social work systemic management.

Course objective(s): The objective is to enable students explain the functional features of organizational social work and demonstrate understanding in organizational planning, employment issues and leadership management. 


SOWK 563: Mental Health

Content: This course discusses the socio-economic and psychological factors contributing to community and family stress. Topics to be examined include concepts of mental health, mental health promotion, community approaches, models and interventions. A range of coping strategies for the management of psychosocial crisis and the role of Social Workers in some of these interventions will be explored.

Course objective(s): The objective of the course is to equip students with intervention skills in providing psychosocial support for mental health patients.


SOWK 565: Migration and International Social Work

Content: Migration is one of the critical issues in the 21st century with many people having to move to other geographical locations, within and outside their countries of birth.  This course examines the nature of both internal and international migration and how it affects the individual, family and the community as a whole; the impacts of human mobility on the processes of development, social transformation and globalisation; migration issues in the contemporary world, with special focus on social work practice.

Course objective(s): The objectives of the course are to equip students to understand migration dynamics, be able to analyse how human mobility has changed in the 21st century and acquire the tools to develop and analyse migration policies to improve the wellbeing of migrants.


SOWK 567: School Social Work

Content: The course introduces students to Social Work Practice within educational settings: Mentoring; student-teacher relation; teacher-parent and peer relations; strategies of addressing truancy, school dropout, violence in schools, discipline and punishment; and issues of abuse in schools.

Course objective(s): The objectives of this course are to help equip students to identify basic skills needed for working with children with problems relating to school attendance and educational achievement; examine the various ways of building collaborations and rapport with the home, community and the school; gain knowledge in identifying and working with students with learning difficulties due to various forms of disabilities and analyse and develop strategies of addressing truancy, school dropout, violence in schools and punishment.


SOWK 569: Social Gerontology

Content: Students are introduced to theories of aging and the myths and stereotypes associated with ageing in cross-cultural settings but with a particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. It examines the demography of aging, gender and aging, psychological and physical aspects of aging and economic determinants of aging. Issues relating to work and retirement and policy response to aging in Africa and Ghana will be discussed.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip students with skills in identifying elder abuse, planning and delivery of services and resources to older persons and their families.


SOWK 571: Gender and Welfare

Content: The course examines the social inequalities between the genders. Students will examine feminist theories and how feminism is transforming social thought and action, masculinity in the 21st century, gender analysis frameworks, approaches adopted to improve the welfare of women and men, and interrogate international and national policies on women.

Course objective(s): The objective of the course is to expose students to gender and welfare issues especially in the context of social and political change, in both conceptual and empirical dimensions. 


SOWK 573: Social Work Administration

Content: This course is designed to develop the cognition, skills and competencies essential for social work managers and administrators. It covers advocacy; communication and interpersonal relationships; ethics; evaluation; financial development; financial management; governance; human resource management and development; information technology; leadership; planning; program development and organizational management; public/community relations and marketing; and public policy. Organization, behaviour and human resource types, structures and styles are considered. Managing human, financial and material resources are analysed. Attention will be given to civic engagement, core management functions and processes, evaluation/action research, social policy, and a field practicum and electives in areas including leadership, organizational change, and community development.  Negotiation and problem-solving skills and strategies are discussed. Highlight emerging issues in Social Work Administration.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip students with the basic principle of administration in Social Work settings.


SOWK 575: Social Work Education

Content: This course discusses the essentials of profession and career development for the social work practitioner. It provides descriptive definition of Social Work Education, and its dynamics in enhancing the professional quality in the profession. Topics includes: educational psychology and pedagogy for social work educators, principles and practice of education for professionals, curriculum design and coursework development, social work certification facts and social work licensing exams, in service training models and professional development, educational organization and management for social work academia.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip students with the basic principles of teaching in social work settings.


SOWK 577: Social Work with Children and Youth

Content: This course is intended for students with an interest in social work practice with children and youth in varied contexts and systems. It introduces students to assessment, intervention, prevention, program design, evaluation, administration, community organization and policy analysis. Students will be introduced to assessment techniques and procedures that will assist in formulating differential programmes for vulnerable children and youth.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip students with the practice skills to address the problems and needs of vulnerable children and youth in a variety of contexts.


SOWK 579: Working with Minority Groups

Content: Minority groups cover many of the specific populations that social works are likely to encounter in their professional practice. This course examines practical and contemporary problems facing a wide range of populations, including substance abusers, abused women, children of divorce, mentally and physical ill people, persons being treated for cancer, and person living with HIV among others.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip social work students with practice-oriented strategies and specific ways of working with a variety of minority populations who have experienced life-changing events, or at crossroads where prevention would help in staving off undesirable consequences.


                                                                YEAR ONE: SEMESTER TWO


SOWK 552: Professional Development and Ethical Issues in Social Work Practice

Content: Topics to be examined include Ethics; Ethical Decision Making in Social Work; Standards for Practice; Professional Networking, Advocacy and Campaign; Communication and Relationship Skills; and Leadership.

Course objective(s): The objectives of the course are to build the capacity of students for professional practice and leadership; and equip students with the skills for making ethical decisions that improves the well-being of clients and promote the professional image of social work.


SOWK 554: Advanced Quantitative Research Methods in Social Work

Content: The course introduces the scientific approach in social work research and examines the underlying philosophies and perspectives.  The content of the course includes social work research philosophies and perspectives; defining and measuring concepts; identifying the study sample, the population and sample techniques; constructing social survey; explaining causal relationships; validity and group design; quantitative data analysis; exploring relations among variables; and statistical techniques for comparing groups.

Course objective(s): The objective is to enable students conduct independent quantitative research with a focus on social work-related issues. 


SOWK 556: Applied Social Work (Practicum: MA/MPhil)

Content: The focus is to provide students with first-hand information and equip them with practical skills in order for them to be able to apply classroom theoretical knowledge to practice. This is because; working alongside experienced professionals is a critical part of the Social Work education. The course is practice focused, specifically field practice placement, writing of field placement reports and participation in reflective seminars. The Practicum takes place in the second semester of the first academic year.  Students are required to be in the field placement sites (different from their place of work if employed) for two full days per week. During this period, students will be supervised by a qualified and experienced social worker and will work towards developing the skills required for professional practice. The students will have the opportunity to work in diverse and challenging fields of practice including government social work institutions, community-based agencies, research, mental health, education, child and family, disability, health and/or a Non-Governmental Organisations.

Course objective(s): The objectives are to equip students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills to practice and address challenges social challenges.


SOWK 558: Social Development and Wellbeing

Content: Social development approach to social work emphasises on how development can best be utilised to improve wellbeing.  This course examines the social dimension of development by discussing the social development approach, including its history and key features, and the theoretical underpinnings of its principles. 

Course objective(s): The objective of this course is to equip students with the knowledge of using professional intervention with the intent of improving socio-economic conditions of people.


                                                                         ELECTIVE COURSES [1]

SOWK 562: Medical Social Work

Content: This course gives an overview of the evolution of medical social work or social work in health settings. The course is designed to provide students with the requisite knowledge and skills for practice across the healthcare continuum. It will examine underlying theories and concepts in medical social work, the psychosocial implication of illness, social determinants of illness and other factors that make social work practice in health settings relevant. Other content of the course will include service delivery modules, standards for practice, legislations, collaborative work, discharge planning and special roles in practice settings. Seminars would be held where experienced field practitioners will be invited to share their practice experience in the field and the way forward for quality service delivery by social workers.



  1. Student will be able to demonstrate their understanding of social work practice in heath settings.
  2. Students will to be able to play their expected roles in a multi-disciplinary team.
  3. Students will able to apply social work research results concerning the psychosocial dimension of illness, service delivery and health care policy.


SOWK 562: Family Therapy in the Local Content

Content: The course examines the foundations and evolution of family therapy and appraises counselling challenges along the developmental life span.  It content includes appraising the scope of counselling needs from ecological perspectives in Ghana; a critical assessment of counselling forms and methodologies; preparation and beginning of family therapy; exploring the initial phase of the counselling process; exploring family dynamics issues; working with families and children; and evaluation and termination of therapy.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip the students with skills for family therapy counselling.


SOWK 564: Social Policy

Content: Social policy affects practice and practice affects social policy, it is therefore imperative that students have the knowledge of its development and application. The course examines social policy development and analysis; the historical development of social policies in Ghana; the rapidly changing global social policy context and the skills needed for 21st century policy practice.

Course objective(s): The objective is to help students develop their understanding of the policy environment in Sub Saharan Africa and strengthen their skills in issue of identification of criteria for a good policy, proposal development and work with stakeholder groups.


SOWK 566: Risk and Disaster Management

ContentThis course provides students with a thorough understanding of risk and disaster management theory and its application to real world problems. Students will have the opportunity to engage in a wide-ranging interdisciplinary analysis of the extent, effects and impacts of crisis and disaster, and the use of risk theory. The core curriculum combines the development of practical skills and the analysis of disaster management policies with an understanding of ethical issues in humanitarian actions both locally and globally.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip students with strategies to minimize the impact of human and ecological catastrophe.


SOWK 568: Social Care Management

Content: This course introduces students to care management in social work, exploring care in institutions and homes. Key topics including multidisciplinary practice in managing care, developing individualised care plans, coordination of resources, risk management, long-term care financing resources, regulations and empowerment among others, would also be explored. Attention will be given to theories and practices models would be examined within the Ghanaian context.

Course objective(s): The objective of the course is to equip students with the knowledge and skills for managing care in various settings and to hold leadership positions in social care settings.


SOWK 570: Social Work and NGO Development

Content: This course enables students to critically appraise the values and role of Social Work in the 21st Century. It traces the origins of the Social Work profession in 19th Century Britain and America; and its development in Africa from the colonial period to the present day, with particular focus on Ghana. The structure and role of the Government Departments like the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development will be critically examined. The growth and organization of the NGO sector will be considered together with its contribution to social welfare provision and social development in Ghana. The relationships between Government Agencies, NGOs and other Development Partners will also be studied. Attention will be given to challenge of traditional values and those of the social work professional values and how that impacts on African Social Work Practice.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip students with the knowledge of the different roles of Social Workers within NGOs


SOWK 572: Social Work and the Law

Content: This course introduces students to the relationship between Social Work Practice and the Law.  Some of the topics to be examined include: the justice system in Ghana, rights and duties, powers of the State and of the citizenry, and relevant Ghanaian legislations. The course will also examine both International Human Rights instruments such as the UNCRC, ICESCR, ACHP and CEDAW; and local instruments for instance, the 1992 Constitution, Human Trafficking Act, Domestic Violence Act, Persons with Disabilities Act and Juvenile Justice Act.

Course objective(s): The objectives of the course are to help students identify the various local and international legislations underpinning the duties and powers to social worker practice; explain the relationship between the Law and Social Work Practice.


SOWK 574: Social Work Practice for People with Special Needs

Content: This course examines social work practice with populations with special needs. Topics to be treated include the types of population with special needs, assessment, planning and intervention for special needs, and challenges in providing psycho-social support for the people with special needs; theories; policies; and intervention strategies aimed at addressing the needs of this special population will be explored.  Students will have the experience of interacting with practitioners in special institutions for additional knowledge. Attention will be given to the challenges faced by the Ghanaian social worker in meeting the needs of this section of the population.

Course objective(s): The objective of the course is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to improve service delivery and supporting people with special needs.


SOWK 576: Substance Abuse Management

Content: The course defines and identifies different types of substances used and abused in the West African sub region and with a particular reference to its management in Ghana. The course content highlights the scope of the problem, the historical perspective and the extent of cost of substance abuse in Ghana. The course reviews addiction across the developmental life span and critically examines selected substances used and abused in Ghana. Finally, it examines family risks and resiliencies, substance policy in Ghana and evaluates modes of substance interventions and management in Ghana.

Course objective(s): The objectives are to enable the student explain the key concepts of substance abuse, its theoretical and ideological bases, prevalent risk factors and how it can be managed in Ghana to ensure better outcomes for those who have substance use challenges.


SOWK 578: Working with Offenders

Content: Social work with offender populations is a challenge to beginning social worker. One of the first hurdles that the worker must face is the “lock them up and throw away the key” attitude of some members of the public. This hostile attitude is sometime present in the institution among staff and administration. The challenge of the social worker is to demonstrate clearly to, all segments of the institution, both staff and inmates, that he or she has a valuable service to provide that do not minimize the inmates’ responsibility for their behaviour.

Course objective(s): The objective is to equip students with the principles of working with offenders.


SOWK 582: Sexual Behaviour and Reproductive Health 

Content: This course examines perinatal, family planning and reproductive health issues, programs, services, and policies in Ghana and elsewhere. The course will look at reproductive health indices and reproductive health issues that affect both males and females beginning from the period of adolescence. The course content will emphasize socio-cultural, economic, environmental, behavioural, and political factors that affect reproductive health, fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and family planning and interventions and programmes to improve reproductive health

Course Objective

The objective is to equip students with the knowledge needed for practice at both the micro and macro level with regards to reproductive health issues.



Content: In this course, students will be introduced to communication in social work. Areas to be covered include observation, listening techniques, and barriers to communication, among others.

Course Objective: The course would equip students with communication skills that are central to assessment, interviewing and counselling in social work practice. 


SOWK 590/690: THESIS

Content: Each student will be required to write a thesis based on his or her area of specialisation. 

Course objective(s): The research is to enable each student conduct an independent study supervised by a member of faculty.