module specification

SW5052 - Theoretical Perspectives in Social Work (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Theoretical Perspectives in Social Work
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
74 hours Guided independent study
40 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   A written assignment based on a practice scenario (2,500 words)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module provides opportunities for students to understand and apply theoretical perspectives that support and structure social work intervention and direct work with children and adults. By the end of this module:

  • You will be able to understand and analyse the contested nature of social work explanations of the circumstances of service users and the interventions implied by these explanations.
  • You will be able to identify and analyse theoretical perspectives relevant to social work taking into account the practical and ethical impact these perspectives have upon different individuals, groups and communities.
  • You will be able to evaluate different theoretical perspectives with regard to relations of power and anti-oppressive practice relevant to social work


Prior learning requirements



  • Social work theories, methods and applications to practice (LO 1,2,3)
  • Motivational Interviewing (LO 1,2,3,4)
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches (LO 1,2,3,4)
  • Systems theories (LO 1,2,3,4)
  • Narrative approaches (LO 1,2,3,4)
  • Task-Centred intervention (LO 1,2,3,4)
  • Crisis intervention (LO 1,2,3,4)
  • Partnership and collaborative working with other professionals including housing professional (LO 3)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The teaching and learning strategy consists of formative exercises to help students to develop their ability to understand and apply to practice a range of theoretical perspectives that can be used to inform social work interventions and direct work with service users. These activities will support students to deepen their understanding and application of theories to social work practice. Class based exercises are designed to develop critical and reflective abilities in relation to theory through formative analysis of case studies undertaken regularly in small groups. Group discussion and debates are also used to stimulate critical approaches to theories, allowing individual and general feedback to be given immediately. These, together with an individual essay plan will support development of the required skills to complete the summative assessment which is a 2,500 words essay based on a case study analysis to assess all the learning outcomes. Colleagues with lived experience of services have contributed to developing the case studies used in the teaching and assessment of this module

Students will be supported and guided to identify relevant reading to support independent study. Resources available to students on Weblearn to support their independent study will include a wide range of audio-visual as well as text-based resources to support the diversity of student learning styles.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module:

  1. You will be able to discuss relevant theoretical perspectives and how these contribute to the knowledge base of social work
  2. You will be able to analyse social work theories, demonstrating an awareness of their implications for service users, while taking into account existing power dynamics and the practical and ethical impact on individuals, groups and communities 
  3. You can apply appropriate theory to practice with diverse client groups and communities
  4. You will be able to demonstrate an understanding of social work theory, research and evidence, and evaluate how they inform interventions with service users including practice responses to the contexts of poverty and social exclusion