Theories and Perspectives for Social Work Practice

Applied Community Studies
Social Work
Course Code
SOWK 3100
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
The course provides the student with an overview of essential traditional, contemporary and emergent theories, models and perspectives relevant to generalist social work practice. Students will examine those important to social work practice such as developmental, biopsychosocial, psychodynamic, relational, systems, anti-oppressive, feminist, social justice, social constructivism, and structural. Students will explore the application of theories, models and perspectives to practice and develop a guiding framework for their own practice
Course Content

The following values and principles, consistent with professional standards, inform course content.

  • Human behaviour is highly complex and the social work profession is involved in a wide range of activities. Generalist social workers must have knowledge of a range of theories and perspectives and be able to apply them to guide and evaluate their actions in different situations.
  • Social workers critically evaluate the application of theory to practice and understand how theories, models and perspectives reflect and shape one’s ideas, attitudes and behaviour.

Course content will be informed by current social work research, practice, and scholarship.

Methods Of Instruction

Group Exercises
Student Presentations
Use of multimedia resources.


Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of any of the following:

  • Examinations
  • Research papers
  • Participation
  • Attendance.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe key attributes of a broad range of social work theories;
  2. Critically evaluate a range of social work theories (traditional, contemporary and emergent);
  3. Articulate the relationship between social work theories, practice, and research;
  4. Identify aspects of a theory that are consistent or inconsistent with one’s own values and professional ethics;
  5. Apply a selection of theories to a situation and describe how each theory guides practice in that situation.
Textbook Materials

Text(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:

Healy, K. (2005). Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Jennissen, T., & Lundy, C. (2011). One hundred years of social work: A history of the profession in English Canada, 1900–2000. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.









Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for SOWK 3100
Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit

Course Offerings

Summer 2022

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.