Welfare State and Welfare Policy (MEM110)

The module gives the students an understanding of how different welfare regimes work (established and emerging) and how they follow different institutional logics - in particular regarding the Nordic model. The module will give an understanding of the processes of democratization and the inclusion of citizens in diverse nation-states. It will enable students to understand the conditions for social and political development and to understand how welfare policies depend on the legal and political contexts. Immigration, diversity and new complexities for social workers in the face of diversity have special attention. The module will introduce justifications for comprehensive welfare programs as well as critics of the welfare state. It relates social and political challenges for welfare policies in Scandinavia and Europe, to a global context. 

Course description for study year 2022-2023. Please note that changes may occur.


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Semester tution start


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The module will give students an in-depth knowledge of social welfare state care-systems, and the conditions for their development. The course will attend on new challenges the welfare state will meet in the near future due to economic downturns. How social workers handle new complexities, diversity  and demographic changes due to immigration belong to the core issues. The students will be made capable of reflecting on how professionals play a role in the formulation of policy responses to social problems as well as in the implementation of welfare policies. The module will provide analytical tools so that the students can identify critical elements in political and social development.

The module will qualify students for development work, research and provide knowledge requested by many actors today within the field of social services and social policy administration. 

Learning outcome


Students who successfully complete the module will be able to

  • Demonstrate knowledge of modern social policies and social policy theory
  • Understand how democratization and integration processes work and which are the central conditions for social and political development
  • Demonstrate knowledge about dilemmas in the role of professionals concerning autonomy and paternalism.
  • Understand the specific aspects of the Scandinavian welfare state and its challenges.
  • Compare different welfare systems, both in established and emerging welfare states.


Students who successfully complete the module will be able to

  • Demonstrate a capacity for justification and criticism of welfare state regimes
  • Compare welfare state regimes on specific areas such as immigration and family policies
  • Make use of theory to analyze political and social systems
  • Analyze conditions for social and political development in specific contexts
  • Reflect on the normative basis of welfare policies and the effect of the political context on social work

General Competencies

Students who successfully complete the module will acquire the following skills:

  • Capacity to do a theoretical analysis of welfare policies
  • Design theoretical analysis of specific welfare policy areas and social and political development
  • Capacity to identify critical challenges for the emerging welfare states

Required prerequisite knowledge

Passed 1st semester of the study programme


School exam and essay

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
School exam 3/5 4 Hours Letter grades
Essay 2/5 7 Days Letter grades

Written exam: No literature is allowed during the written examination.Essay: Word count: 2 500 words (+/- 10 %) including table of contents, notes, references and bibliography. Reference style: APA 6th.

Coursework requirements

Oral presentation, In-class presentation

The coursework requirement needs to be passed before the school exam.

In-class presentation: Essay preparation describing home country or region on various indexes.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Svein Erik Tuastad

Programme coordinator:

Salim ├śndes

Method of work

Seminars, workshops, group teamwork, lectures, oral presentation and tutorials

Open for

European Master in Social Work with Families and Children

Course assessment

Standard evaluation in accordance with Faculty and MFAMILY guidelines


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