This is the study programme for 2020/2021. It is subject to change.

Ethical knowledge and ethical skills are key elements in social work. This 10 credits course seeks to advance the student's understanding of the interaction between ethical theories and contextual social work related to the student's background, history and professional practices.

Learning outcome

  • Knowledge on ethics and human justice theories
  • Knowledge on critical reasoning and ethical reflection
  • Knowledge on the interaction between ethical theories and contextual practice

  • Analytical skills in applying different theories and approaches into practice
  • The ability to critically reflect upon on the contextual construction of social work
  • Enhance the ability to reflect upon ethical dilemmas and apply knowledge to describe how to understand and manage ethical dilemmas in social work and welfare practices.
  • Develop cognitive and practical skills in intercultural communication through the international classroom (study group)

  • Advance the students' competence to understand and demonstrate how to use theories and methods when reflecting upon social work practices.
  • Advance the students' professional competence to manage, justify and control his/her own educational development.


This course will focus on the interaction between student's practices, theories and reflections. The aims are to provide knowledge about ethical theories, enhance critical reasoning and to increase the ability to reflect upon how social work develops in different contexts.
Content of the course relates to the following themes:
  • Ethical theories
  • Contextual Practices
  • Critical reasoning and Ethical reflection
  • Emotional social work
  • Social justice and injustice
  • Child participation
  • Human rights perspectives

To study contextual practices, students will critically reflect upon practice experiences and incidents raising ethical dilemmas.
This course is divided into different subjects:
  • Ethical theories in Social Work
  • Critical incident reflection
  • Field visits

Required prerequisite knowledge



Weight Duration Marks Aid
Individual written home exam1/1 A - F
Individual written work where students reflect upon a critical incident and/or a practice experience that raises ethical dilemmas and apply ethical knowledge and critical reflection to broaden their understanding of the incident/experience. Word count: 4 000 words (+/- 10 %) including table of contents, notes, references and bibliography. Reference style: APA 6th.

Coursework requirements

Mandatory registrered presence
Presence is mandatory (MP) in parts of the course programme (i.e. field visits, seminars and other marked with MP in the lecture plan). Mandatory requirements: 75% presence. If students do not fulfill the MP requirement, students will have to pass an assignment given by the course coordinators in order to take the course exam.

Course teacher(s)

Programme coordinator
Aase Bø-Rygg
Course coordinator
Ingunn Studsrød

Method of work

Lectures, seminars, group work and individual work adapted to different modes of study. All students are expected to read the syllabus and participate in student group- and classroom discussions. Comparative practices will be exercised within an international classroom when students are sharing and reflecting on different life experiences.
Throughout the course, there will be group sessions where students will complete assignments related to the final individual exam. Students will receive feedback on their work from other students and from the course leaders.
Additionally to classroom learning and group exercises, the course coordinator will facilitate a web-based learning platform (Canvas).

Open to

Nordic Master in Social Work and Welfare

Course assessment

The courses will be assessed every semester by the Consortium


Literature is published about 14 days before registration for the course opens

This is the study programme for 2020/2021. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 29.03.2020