Nordic Master Programme in Social Work and Welfare - NOSWEL

NB: No longer admission to this study programme.

Published Updated on
Consortium coordinator

University of Stavanger (Norway)

Partner institution

Aalborg University (Denmark)

Language of instruction


ECTS credits



2 years / 4 semesters

The university board approved the closing down of this programme in October 2021. There is no admission to this study programme any longer.

The NOSWEL students, class of 2019, share their experiences


The University of Stavanger in Norway and Aalborg University in Denmark combine their academic strengths to provide a state-of-the-art education, taught in English, within a Nordic equality and diversity context.

In a globalized world, with growing social diversity and increasing international migration, social workers face new challenges and demands. This unique, joint degree programme explores new approaches and methods that generate innovation, new knowledge and improved skills for the practice fields. You learn about Nordic Welfare Models, welfare transition, innovation and user participation in an international classroom and develop new perspectives and understandings of the field of social work in a global perspective.
Throughout the master programme, you engage in the following:

  • Monitoring innovation processes and comparing innovation in welfare services
  • Identifying new ways to develop policies that promote equality and diversity
  • Exploring power issues from both theoretical and experiences based perspectives
  • Identifying empowerment strategies for increased user participation in welfare services
  • Comparing social work in different contexts and countries and adapting best practices
  • Developing new research approaches that focus on close collaboration between research, social work practice and service users – the practice research approach

Academic information

Learning Outcomes

All study programmes at the UiS have a set of defined learning outcomes. Read more about the learning outcomes for this study programme.

A candidate who has completed his or her qualification should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

After graduation, the student will have:

• Thorough knowledge of Social Work and Welfare within a Nordic Perspective, and the student will have developed a reflective attitude towards this knowledge

• Comprehensive knowledge about research and knowledge production within social work

• Complex knowledge about welfare services and the impact services have on service users and their participation

After graduation, the student will have the ability to:

• Demonstrate, both in written text and orally, critical and systematic integration of knowledge

• Display capability to analyze complex phenomenon, questions and situations within social work and it’s organizational, political and professional context

• Bring forth and discuss ethical issues in social research and in society at large. Identify research and professional practice issues within a critical, independent and creative approach and apply this on her or his own academic work and in his or her own professional development

After graduation, the student will have the ability to:

• To identify, discuss and analyse Nordic Social Work and Welfare within a broader professional and social science context

• Develop, plan and carry out research in accordance with the academic requirements for scientific methods and content, leading to new social relevant knowledge and understanding

• Communicate, argue and present his or her knowledge and skills

Academic requirements

A Bachelor's degree with a specialization of at least 80 ECTS credits in one or more of the following subject areas or equivalent is required:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Social anthropology
  • Political Science
  • Nursing
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Development studies

Professional bachelor's degrees in the following areas also qualify for admission:

  • Social work
  • Social pedagogy       
  • Social education
  • Child welfare
  • Social care

Admission to this master's programme requires a minimum grade average comparable to a Norwegian C (according to ECTS Standards) in your bachelor's degree.

Academic information

Study plan and courses

This programme provides state-of-the-art education within a Nordic equality and diversity context. While moving between campuses in Norway and Denmark, students learn about Nordic Welfare Models, welfare transition, innovation and user participation.

Academic profile

University of Stavanger

In constant collaboration and dialogue with the surroundings, regionally, nationally and internationally, the University of Stavanger enjoys an open and creative climate for education, research, innovation, dissemination and museum activities.

Social workers have been educated in Stavanger for 50 years, since 2005 as a part of the University of Stavanger. Today, international students form an integral part of the community on campus, and currently just over 10% of students have international background.

Two master programmes are international – besides the master in ‘Social Work and Welfare’ the department has run the Erasmus Mundus ‘Social Work with Families and Children (MFamily) for five years. The university is hosting the online journal: Journal of Comparative Social Work.

The social work teaching staff include sociologists, psychologists, social pedagogues, social workers and, lawyers. They are involved in national and international research projects on welfare services, immigration, family complexities in different welfare regimes and user involvement research.

The Faculty of Social Sciences hosts a PhD program where Social Work is one of the specialties with 23 PhD students in Social Work.

Academic profile

Aalborg University

In constant collaboration and dialogue with the surroundings, regionally, nationally and internationally, Aalborg university currently consolidates and further develops its profile as a dynamic and innovative research and educational institution oriented towards the surrounding world.

Aalborg University

Aalborg University has been providing students with academic excellence, cultural engagement and personal development since its inception in 1974. It is characterised by combining a keen engagement in local, regional, and national issues with an active commitment to international collaboration.

The Department of Sociology and Social Work conducts research and teaching within the following main areas: Sociology, Social work, Working Life and Organisation. The department teaching staff includes sociologists, psychologists and social workers. The research conducted in the department is often interdisciplinary and directed towards problems and issues of contemporary society as well as topics related to more traditional basic research themes.

Practical support at the University of Stavanger and Aalborg University

The University of Stavanger and Aalborg University both have an International Office that offers practical support from your initial inquiry to your arrival.

Hand globe education

You are advised to make yourself familiar with the practical information at each university.

Visa to Norway and Denmark

Students who need a visa/residence permit to enter Norway or Denmark must start the application process as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary delays.

Visa to Norway

Please read about the visa application procedure and further details concerning necessary documentation at:

Norwegian embassies and consulates

Visa to Denmark

Citizens from non EU/EEA countries

Citizens from non EU/EEA countries need a study permit in order to enter Denmark.

How to apply for a residence permit
Danish embassier and consulates

Citizens from EU/EEA countries

EU/EEA citizens will need a residence permit, if staying in Denmark for more than three months.
Nordic citizens do not need a residence permit.

Cost of living

Norway and Denmark are among the most expensive countries in the world. However, your cost of living in the Nordic countries also depends on your lifestyle. As a student you can reduce your expenses by managing your budget well.

Information about cost of living for students in Norway

Information about cost of living for students in Denmark.

Scholarships, tuition and fees at the University of Stavanger and Aalborg University.

The top 15 applicants are awarded the Noswel sholarship and all students are eligible to apply for an Erasmus scholarship.


Noswel Scholarship
The top 15 applicants are awarded a Noswel scholarship of 2600 EURO. The scholarship is distributed in Semester 1 (1300 EURO) and in Semester 4 (1300 EURO).

Erasmus Scholarship
All students are eligible to apply for an Erasmus scholarship during Semester 3. The Erasmus Scholarship is currently 460 EURO per month and may be awarded for a maximum period of 12 months.

This program is free of tuition fee as a part of the Consortium Agreement, also for students coming from non-EU/EEA countries. Neither Aalborg University or University of Stavanger charges a tuition fee. 

Semester Fees
You pay a fee of NOK 740,- every semester to the University of Stavanger.
Aalborg University does not require you to pay a semester fee.

NOSWEL student testimonials

Hear what our students have to say about their experience.

- Being part of the NOSWEL master program gives me the opportunity to meet and work with people from all over the world with questions regarding our Norwegian welfare state. With this program I have the opportunity to reflect on my own practice as a social worker and my experiences, which leads me to become a better social worker in the future.
Magnus from Norway, class of 2018 -2020.

- If your goal is to get the best education by the best professors, as well as to have a vision of this profession not just as a citizen of your own country but also as a citizen of the world, then you are standing at a very good point by being a part of NOSWEL.
Aida from Iran, class of 2018 - 2020.

- I have the privilege of being taught by great scholars and authors of internationally used literature. The multi-cultural nature of my class helps me have a better view of the way social work is being practiced globally. The theoretical and practical techniques used in the classroom create a critical awareness of my role as a social worker. The field trips are educational and fun.
Rosemary from Nigeria, class of 2018 - 2020.

Contact information

Nordic Master Programme in Social Work and Welfare

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