Critical Issues in Contemporary Social Work

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Summer
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
28 February 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

DIP L50017 Social Work,
MA L50021 Social Work

Module description

The module focuses on the centrality of critical analysis that informs effective leadership within social work practice and reflects the increasing awareness of the role of professional challenge in interdisciplinary and partnership working. At the core of this module will be opportunities for the student to bring together some of their learning over the course of the degree and to think about their future development and the future of social work.

Module aims

This module is designed to enable students to extend their knowledge, critical understanding and application of social work theory and methods in complex and rapidly changing practice and policy areas.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the learner will be able to:

1. Examine and critically evaluate legislation, policy and procedures for managing the disclosure of professional concerns in the public interest (e.g. whistleblowing).
2. Analyse the social work role in terms of contradictions between acting in the best interests of service users, families and communities; professional obligations to the profession and the duties as an executive agent of the state.
3. Explore and evaluate social work theory and practice in contentious, new and/or rapidly evolving areas of social work practice

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures: As noted above it is expected that lectures will be incorporated within the scheduled days of teaching and learning activity as outlined in the attached timetable. Lectures will be delivered by module lead, Experts by Experience and colleagues. Independent: Small/ PBL group work and independent work on searching the literature and any research related activities. Practice and presentations to be discussed on sphere of practice. Online: A range of materials and resources relating to this module are available through the MA Social Work and Human Rights Moodle site. Students should upon registering for this module be able to access this Moodle course by going to https://moodle.essex.ac.uk or by accessing Moodle via the 'my study' section of the main University of Essex website. If you are experiencing any technical difficulties with Moodle then please contact; helpdesk@essex.ac.uk Tutorials: On commencing the course students will be allocated an Academic Supervisor, (usually the module leader). Academic Supervisors will support the student in the preparation of the module assessment. Students will be expected to meet with their Academic Supervisor on a regular basis throughout the course. Arrangements for supervision will be the responsibility of the student. Any student may elect to change his/her Academic Supervisor following discussion with the module or programme Leader or the Director of Education. Students are expected to maintain contact with their academic and practice Supervisors throughout the module. Tutorial sessions will be negotiated between student and supervisor. It expected that tutorial support and supervision will total no more than 2 full days over the period of the module. Skills: As part of their independent learning the student will be expected to engage in a range of research related activities: searching the literature, visiting the library, attending seminars and participating in conferences (where appropriate).


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay    100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Caroline Bald, email: caroline.bald@essex.ac.uk.
Caroline Bald
Jakub Kulesza Student Programme Administrator pgsocwork@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Mrs Karen Jane Hubbard
University of Hull
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 15 (83.3%) hours available to students:
3 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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