Division of Social Sciences
Department of Social Work
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Work
Minor in Human Services (with effect from AY2007-08)
Graduate Diploma in Social Work
Master of Social Sciences (Social Work) by coursework
Master of Social Sciences by research
Ph.D. by research
What is it about
The main objective of the undergraduate General and Honours degree programme offered by the Department of Social Work is to equip its graduates for entry into the social work profession at the direct-service level. The Department's emphasis is on the development of generic clinical expertise.
However, many new graduates are also employed to pioneer professional social work in new settings where employers look to them to plan and implement innovative programmes. This requires knowledge and skills such as social policy analysis and organizational planning, non-profit agency management, social entrepreneurship, inter-organizational relationship building, resource mobilization and community networking. Module contents reflecting such knowledge and skills are incorporated into the curriculum.
Students are exposed to social service visits, skills laboratory training, fieldwork placements and module projects, among other applied learning methods. Field practice is a compulsory component in Social Work education and skills training. As preparation for entry into field practice, students are encouraged to undertake voluntary work in a social service agency.
Besides the undergraduate degree, Social Work graduate education at NUS is also available, both by coursework and by research.
The Masters and PhD degrees offer graduate students, depending on the course they are enrolled in, a range of modules for advanced direct and indirect social work practice that includes clinical social work intervention with specific client groups, policy analysis and social planning, agency management and programme development, social work research and prgramme evaluation. In addition, the Graduate Diploma in Social Work, also enables non-social work degree graduates to pursue professional social work education.
The course provides understanding of the use of theoretical frameworks as the basis for social intervention, through exposing students to a wide range of social science theory; a structure for students to learn through classroom work, interpersonal skills training and 48 supervised field practice; opportunities for students to be analytical in dealing with social issues; an environment suitable for the development of beginning expertise in working with people, in organizational planning, in human resource management and in research. The practice skills component means that social work makes rather special demands on students. However the student who is sensitive to society's problems, and is committed enough to want to do something about them will find the programme very rewarding. Those who graduate with an Honours in Social Work would have been trained in advanced social work practice and management skills to equip them for supervisory and administrative positions in human service and other organizations.
In recent years, a wide range of challenging professional job opportunities has opened up for social work graduates. Organizations that employ social workers include the following:
- Government Ministries -- Community Development, Youth and Sports; Defence; Education; Health and Home Affairs;
- National Council of Social Service (which includes the Community Chest and the Social Service Training Institute);
- People's Association, Community Development Councils and Constituency Secretariats; the National Youth Council;
- National Trades Union Congress;
- family service centres;
- child care and development centres;
- hospitals and health care centres;
- prisons, drug rehabilitation centres and halfway houses; and
- other people-helping agencies serving families, children, youth, people with disabilities and older persons. In addition, there are openings for social work graduates in areas such as social enterprises, industrial labour relations, human resource management, staff training, organizational development and consultancy, mass communication and human relations.