Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Social workers face critical questions in their practice. What are my personal principles, feelings, values, culture, beliefs, traditions, and customs? How do they affect how l make decisions as a social worker? Does my character, upbringing and personality have an influence on how l provide social work services? What happens if there is a clash between my values and those of social work? Answers to these questions provide a wide range of responses depending on the person's background and personal circumstances. Likely the responses to these questions vary from person to person, raising further questions of who is wrong and who is right. Answering all these questions requires the ability to be self-reflective, self-introspective and to engage in a critical dialogue with oneself and with different contexts.

In this unit, students engage in critical dialogues, and acquire the concepts and develop the skills involved in analysing, creating, and evaluating arguments for and against principles, values, beliefs, and actions. They learn to apply these skills to real cases from the different fields of social work. Because the ability to think and argue clearly and convincingly is central not just to social work but to university studies in general, a wide variety of material is studied, and students might find the unit's content of immense value in developing both personal and professional identity by reflecting on their life stories and building on their strengths. Students need to first understand who they are before they understand what it means to be a social worker.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1OnlineOnline flexible
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Social Work major sequence
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) show self-reflection and self-introspection skills.; (2) evaluate arguments in personal and professional contexts through engagement in critical dialogues.; (3) apply critical social work and decoloniality theory in contemporary social contexts.; (4) evaluate assumptions underpinning their viewpoints on social work values, principles, and ethics.; (5) describe the similarities and differences between individuals and identify how these influence their identity as a social worker.; (6) identify important historical and philosophical social work ideas in areas such as principles, values, beliefs and ethics.; (7) critically analyse the structural causes of and possible solutions to contemporary social conditions.; and (8) show critical consciousness on personal and professional identity..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) group project; (2) case study; and (3) reflective assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Sipho Sibanda
Contact hours
Lectures and workshops: 3 hrs per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.