Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Social Work


Associate Professor Philip Mendes



  • First semester 2016 (Day)
  • First semester 2016 (Off-campus)


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.


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

  1. Describe the meaning and nature of social policy, from different theoretical and practical points of view;
  2. Describe the key trends and philosophies underlying the positions of major political parties;
  3. 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;
  4. Describe the impact of social structure and social policy on welfare service users;
  5. 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";
  6. Debate marxist, feminist, neoliberal and other ideological critiques of the welfare state, and their implications for particular policy areas;
  7. Critique the roles, strategies, and effectiveness of a range of NGO and consumer advocacy/lobby groups in social policy debates;
  8. Articulate the link between local and global welfare trends.


Essay (1,250 words) (25%)
Essay (3,250 words) (75%)

Workload requirements

2 hours per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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

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