Concept and Rationale

Professional social work practice in Malaysia is becoming much more relevant in the last few decades because of rapid urbanization, changes in family structures, diminishing traditional support network and the increasing number of social problems. The main purpose of social work is about the enhancement of human well being and the promotion of social justice and social development. The courses offered by this programme are intended to prepare and equip the students with knowledge on the interaction between human and society, Students learn theories and skills in social work to enable them to play their roles effectively in helping or working with individuals, groups and communities as well as formulating social policies. This programme is broad-based, drawing on knowledge from other social science disciplines and behavioural sciences, such as planning, management, and both communication and interpersonal skills.

At the end of the study, social work graduates are expected to:

  • Have acquired knowledge and skills that enable them to engage appropriately in any social, economic and cultural context they may be.
  • Integrate knowledge, values and skills in social work practice.
  • Critically analyze the social issues and problems resulting from social dynamics particularly in the context of developing countries.
  • Exhibit good communication skills needed at different levels of intervention in social work including multi-disciplinary practices.
  • Demonstrate empathy and awareness on cultural and personal levels.
  • Instill the core values of social work by emphasizing on the practices of anti-discrimination, social justice, diversity, equality and human rights.
  • Participate critically in issues relating to the development of professional competency in social work.
  • Develop competency and skills in evaluation and problem solving at both micro and macro levels.
  • Plan and coordinate services, programmes and policies related to the needs and care of families, community and society.


Course Offered

Courses offered during the three years program are as below:


Year 1

SSF 1013 Introduction to Social Science

This course contextualises the historical development of the social sciences within world civilization. It introduces students to important social science terminology in preparation for the understanding of other courses in the faculty. It also gives students an opportunity to conceptualise and explain social reality through social science perspectives.

SSF 1023 Contemporary Psychology

The course introduces students to the application of psychological concepts in contemporary society. Main areas of psychology taught in this course are general psychology, developmental, social and abnormal psychology. This also includes key topics such as learning, memory, social communication and motivation which will also be discussed in-depth in order to bring about understanding their relevancy to everyday life and work. Different core psychological domains such as cognition, social, perception and emotion that are fundamental to understanding of human behaviour will be examined.

SSF 1033 Introduction to Malaysian Social History

This is not a conventional history course which deals with events in a chronological order.  Instead, it discusses history thematically and exposes the student to the processes of social and historical transformation.

SSF 1053 Introduction to Politicial Science

This course highlights in detail the range of academic topics in political science to include theoretical approaches, basic concepts and definition of politics in the context of formal government institutions, power relations, value distribution systems and public policies. In addition, concepts about power, states, sovereignty and political culture will be covered. This course also discusses basic political concepts which later pave the way for constructing debates and discussions of current political affairs. There are four components in this introductory course namely; the field of political science, political institutions, political processes and politics and society. With emphasis on these four areas, it is hoped that students will be able to critically analyse and understand the subject of political science.

SSF 1074 Modern Economics

This course is divided into three major sections, namely, Section I: Understanding basic economic concepts, principles and theories; Section II: Understanding national and global Economy, and Section III: Analysing social issues from the economic perspective. Section I exposes students to topics related to the definition of economics, some basic economic concepts, principles and theories and their relationship to us.  Theories of demand and supply, the application of elasticity concept, as well as different market structures will be discussed in Section I. Section II helps students to relate national economy to their daily lives. Topics covered in this section include measuring a nation?s income, measuring the cost of living, money and banking system, unemployment, foreign exchange, international trade and its importance among nations. Some basic concepts of open-economy macroeconomics as well as economic growth and public policy will also be discussed in Section II. The final section provides students with the opportunity to apply their understanding and knowledge concerning basic economic principles on contemporary social issues that are related to their respective field of study.

SSF 1044 Introduction to Anthropology and Sociology

Anthropology and sociology are two distinctive disciplines BUT at the same time fundamentally share one common characteristic, that is, the study of human phenomena. More often than not sociology is perceived as the study of human social life in urban societies whereas anthropology is the study of human cultures and rural communities. While sociology is usually perceived to study social behaviors such as juvenile delinquency, family structure and criminal behaviors, anthropology tends to study cultural functions such as the rites of passage, kinship and ritual chastisement.

In this course, the student is expected to understand that anthropology and sociology do not merely give them the academic insight to society but also plays a fundamental role in their lives as they attempt to understand the wider facets of social relationships and experiences. More importantly, introducing anthropology and sociology will hopefully enable the student to critically question what they already know and claim to understand as being part of their society.

SSF 1063 Communication  and Society

This course will discuss the changes in patterns of communication within a society by focusing on the historical transition from traditional communication system, its transformation processes, to its contemporary modern forms. The characteristics of communication that will be focused in this course are human and mass communication. Among the topics that will be discussed will be culture and society, media literacy, general opinion, persuasion, new communication technology and its effects on society, and towards information society.

SSF 1083 Gender, Ethnicity and Class

Societies are not just simply an amorphous mass of people. A society is characterised by differentiation of people into various categories according to social divisions such as gender, ethnicity and class. These divisions form the basis for the distribution of power, status and opportunities. Who we are depends on how and where we fit into society. An understanding of how the intersection of these forces work in the life of an individual is imperative for all students of social sciences.


Year 2

SSF 2034 Social Theory

SSS 2013 Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work

This course examines the emergence of social welfare systems and social work as a profession. Students will examine various forms of welfare services, utilising concepts such as social problem definition, universality and cultural diversity, charity and citizenship. The course explores the role of social workers within the broad area of social welfare and social services.  Historical responses to social problems particularly poverty will be examined using examples from Asia and the West, and social work's commitment  to social and economic justice will be emphasised.

SSS 2024 Human Development and Social Environment

Human development is a portrayal of life in the process of becoming. Social environment plays a crucial role in the cognitive, moral and personality development of an individual. This course emphasizes the study of human development over the life span in relation to social milieu. The development of individual and intimate groups will be studied in relation to the development life cycle, its stages and passages, problems and tasks.  The impact of stress and crisis, loss and disability on individual and families will be examined.

SSS 2034 Social Work Theory and Method

This course introduces students to the theories and methods in social work. It prepares students to understand the historical and cultural development of theoretical approaches is emphasised to give students an understanding of how theories evolve and the processes/factors involved. It includes explaining the multiple components of practice, their inter-relationship and the importance of theory in practice. Specific attention will be given to the problem solving approach and crisis theory plus the accompanying skills and intervention strategies required.

SSF 2014 Research Methods in Social Sciences

SSF 2063 Approaches to Social Inquiry

This course examines the philosophical foundation for the creation of knowledge in the social sciences. Students will be exposed to the major school of thoughts concerning social sciences as a science. The course explores the intersection between knowledge, society and culture, and interrogates knowledge production from a social science perspective. Topics that will be included in this course are the theoretical debates in sociology of knowledge, the relationship between empirical knowledge and cultural values or ideologies.

SSS 2044 Family and Child Welfare

This course is designed to familiarise students with knowledge and skills required in the field of family and child welfare - a core social work practice area. It will include a close examination of the ideologies and theories underlying family and child welfare policies, programmes and practice. Knowledge and skills needed for intervention and management of children in need of care and protection will be introduced. Special attention will be given to issues of domestic violence, including child abuse. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own assumptions and value base and how this compares to applying social work values.

SSS 2054 Intervention Approach 1: Counselling Skills

Social workers use counseling as an intervention approach to help people to resolve problems. This course provides students with foundational knowledge of the process of counseling and the underpinning theoretical perspectives. The emphasis is to equip students with core counseling skills, which may be applied in the professional therapeutic and management settings.  The course provides students with the opportunity to develop and refine skills in a variety of situations incorporating professional values and ethics.


Year 3

SSF 3036 Final Year Project

Kursus Disertasi merupakan sebahagian daripada syarat untuk penganugerahan Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sains Sosial.

SSS 3014 Intervention Approach 2: Community Work

Community work is one of the major social work approaches that involves mobilizing groups of people to address problems that are of common concern. Students  will be introduced to key aspects of planned interventions including profiling/assessing communities; identifying population concerns; analzying community and related organisations? problems; mobilising community assets; facilitating the development emerging organisations; utilizing different strategies and tactics to generate social capital; implementing and evaluating.  The main focus will be on working with marginalised communities in order to empower them.

SSS 3024 Social Work and the Law

This course aims to assist students to develop a critical awareness of  the interaction between social work practice and the law. This is achieved by providing students with an understanding of the legal system, legal principles and proceses as well as the existence of legal plurality in Malaysia. The course will examine the evolution of law, its role and function, as well as its limitations in meeting the current welfare and social goals in our society. Areas of law pertaining to social work will be explored in particularly child protection, domestic violence, juvenile justice, mental health, marriage and divorce.  Advocacy as a core method of social work practice is explored in relation to practice with populations-at- risk.

SSS 3034 Intervention Approach 3: Social Policy Analysis and Planning

This course looks at the underlying issues and processes involved in social policy formation and enactment at society, community and agency level. The roles played by principles, values, political philosophy, history, assumptions, empirical data - including social indicators - in developing policies will be examined.  Different models of the planning process, the context in which planning occurs, and how policy and resulting programmes are monitored and evaluated will also be studied. The debate surrounding the role of the State versus the market in providing services will be explored. Central to the discussions will be the issue of how to address inequalities and provide just systems- two key tenets of social work.

SSS 3043 Social Work Practice 1: Women and Minorities (Option 1)

This course is concerned with the disadvantaged position faced by certain groups including women, ethnic minorities, disabled people, and those who are lesbians or gays.  It examines issues confronting social workers when operationalizing the professional responsibilities of removing barriers to development for all groups.  Emphasis will be on the students' sensitivity to variables such as ethnicity, gender and class-key attributes for effective social work practice.

SSF 3014 Sociology of Development

It is imperative for social science students living in the developing world to have an understanding of the theories which govern development practices. Development is a controversial term and far from that which has a taken for granted meaning.  This course takes students not only through the various theories on development but also introduces feminist critiques to these development theories.  An understanding of these critiques is imperative as development is a gendered process.

SSF 3036 Final Year Project

Kursus Disertasi merupakan sebahagian daripada syarat untuk penganugerahan Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sains Sosial.

SSS 3053 Social Work Practice 2: Deviance and Reformatory Services (Option 2)

This course introduces students to the concept of deviance and provides a systematic analysis of the nature, causes, and prevention of crime, and the treatment of the criminal.  It specifically focuses on various types of deviancy including their social causes and consequences. An overview of the criminal and juvenile court system as it relates to individual rights will also be discussed.  Students will also be exposed to how crime is defined, various categories of crime and delinquency, and how crime and delinquency is measured. In this course students are taught with the major sociological theories of criminal and delinquent behavior.  The roles of reformatory services, social workers, government and non-government agencies and the whole society in responding to these issues will also be discussed, as well as alternative techniques and methods towards rehabilitation.  Social work values, ethics and interventions in dealing with crime will also be addressed.

SSS 3063 Social Work Practice 3: Health and Medical Social Work (Option 3)

This course introduces students to a holistic view of health and the contribution social workers can play as part of a multi-disciplinary team in both the hospital and community settings. It will highlight common psychological processes associated with illness, the objectives of social work intervention and how it is influenced by health care systems, and the link between poverty and health.  Common referrals to social workers working in health care settings will be examined using a bio-psychosocial model. The course will give a basic understanding of the field of mental health - including how definitions of mental illness can be influenced by society/state. It also introduces guidelines on how social workers can intervene.

SSS 3074 Fieldwork Practice

This course requires students to be attached each week to a specific agency and to attend weekly tutorial discussion groups on campus. The placement allows students the opportunity for direct client contact at a level commensurate with their abilities and one that is suitable given the time-frame of their placement. The discussion groups back on campus, and the assignment work, are all designed to maximize the learning opportunities presented in their fieldwork including integrating the different intervention approaches.  Particular attention will be given to developing assessment and interviewing skills; linking theory and practice; applying values especially empathy, self-determination, confidentiality and non-judgmental attitude and being able to discuss the macro/social policy issues that arise from practice at the micro level.

SSS 3084 Professional Development: Integration of Theory and Practice

This course aims to enhance students' understanding of the integration of theory and practice in social work. It is designed to develop students' ability to engage in critical reflection of various issues considered important for their ongoing development as professional social workers, including issues related to professional and cultural competencies. It is also designed to assist students to be able to understand, analyse and work in a range of human service organizations. Through active participation in class discussion and seminar presentations, students identify their own learning needs and develop a personal practice framework.

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