Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Social Work
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2013 (Day)
Caulfield First semester 2013 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Assoc. Prof. Philip Mendes


Honours students will be introduced to the specific role of social work in social policy analysis, practice and advocacy. Areas covered will include key theories in social policy, understanding the link between social policy and the goals and values of social work, ideological critiques of the welfare state and their implications for particular policy areas, the role of lobby groups in social policy debates, and the link between local and global welfare trends.


  1. To describe the meaning and nature of social policy, from different theoretical and practical points of view;

  1. To describe the key trends and philosophies underlying the positions of major political parties;

  1. To apply key theories and ideological perspectives in social policy to selected fields; and to learn how understanding different philosophical perspectives helps both to explain the nature of current policies influenced by particular philosophies, and to increase the options for policy development and change;

  1. To describe the impact of social structure and social policy on welfare service users;

  1. To discuss the role of social policy implementations upon their everyday social work practice as required by the Australian Association of Social Workers Practice Standards for Social Workers which require social workers to "promote and implement policies and practices which would achieve a fair, equitable and effective allocation of social resources; and identify inappropriate or equitable policy goals and outcomes".

  1. To debate marxist, feminist, neoliberal and other ideological critiques of the welfare state, and their implications for particular policy areas;

  1. To critique the roles, strategies, and effectiveness of a range of NGO and consumer advocacy/lobby groups in social policy debates;

  1. To articulate the link between local and global welfare trends.


One oral presentation (70%):
Students will individually present an analysis of their proposed Honours study focusing on the following key areas:
1. The theoretical, philosophical and political context of the problem they are examining (Meets Learning Objectives 2, 3 and 7)
2. The intersection of their chosen study topic with current social policy: how their topic is both informed by and can inform policy (Meets Learning Objectives 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 )
One written paper (30%): outlining the oral presentation.
This can either be a formal written essay (Word limit 1000 words) or a PowerPoint presentation (Limit 10 slides).

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

12 hours per week

Off-campus attendance requirements

Two hour weekly lecture