Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Social Work
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2015 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Professor Margaret Alston


In recent decades significant global changes have impacted on the way people and communities live their lives. This unit provides an international and national focus on emerging threats such as climate change, water and food security and on factors such as globalisation and social movements, and their gendered impacts on people and communities. Research from across the world reveals that impacts vary significantly between women and men and that these impacts will affect the abilities of families and communities to sustain themselves into the future. Our ability to live sustainably will be one of the challenges of the twenty-first century. Because of the significant social impacts of these changes, this unit provides a social work perspective to this new field of practice. Social workers will be critical workers providing the link between people, communities and the policy environment.

This unit examines these major factors and the potential social work response. It draws on frameworks for practice including a human rights and anti-oppressive perspective and examines policy responses and how these are potentially shaped by key stakeholders and leaders to the exclusion of others. Critical concepts are gender, social inclusion, resilience and sustainability. The unit draws out ways for social workers to become critical change agents.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Articulate a critical understanding of the gendered impacts of climate change across the globe.
  2. Identify relevant social work responses to current and emerging social impacts of climate change, in local, national and international contexts.
  3. Critically analyse the nature of social sustainability in the context of food and water security.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of social work's role in policies and practices relating to climate change and social sustainability.


Annotated bibliography of an aspect of climate change and social sustainability (3,000 words) (40%)
Essay on social work policy and practice responses to a selected aspect of gender, climate change and social sustainability (6,000 words) (60%)

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

The unit runs for 13 weeks. For a 12 point unit, off-campus students are expected to spend 24 hours per week completing set tasks outlined in the Unit Guide, undertaking set readings and private research. Online contact such as discussion groups will be initiated by staff.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: