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Undergraduate Programmes


Postgraduate Programmes



Research Degree

Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.)

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Collaborative Programmes

M.S.S.M Programme

Postgraduate Programmes


Master of Social Sciences



Core Courses

SOWK6006. Social policy and planning

This course covers two semesters and introduces a variety of conceptual frameworks for the analysis and formulation of social policies. Students will also become familiar with the roles of government and non-government organizations in the formulation and implementation of public policy and legislation.

SOWK6137. Management and supervision in human service organizations

This course introduces a broad framework for staff development: an assessment of an organization’s internal and external environment as it relates to staff development; and the relationship between organizational structure and staff development. Five critical areas will also be considered: personnel administration; conflict resolution; team building; workforce diversity; and supervision. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding and acquisition of skills in conducting clinical supervision, and on the importance of in-service training in human service agencies.


SOWK6139. Theoretical foundation of human service practices

The knowledge base of human service practices comes from a wide spectrum of social science disciplines including psychology, sociology and political science. This course will provide the philosophical and conceptual basis for analyzing social problems and issues and translating these theoretical constructs into human service practices.

SOWK6141. Human service/practice research and evaluation I & II

This will be a year course on human service research and evaluation. The objective is to enable students to apply research methodologies and various methods of data analysis for studies contributing to the development, implementation, and evaluation of human services. Emphasis will be given to such evaluation techniques as: assessing a programme’s evaluability, designing meaningful goals and objectives, choosing an evaluation approach and developing process and outcome measures. Through the course materials, students come to understand the methodological and practical issues that arise while implementing a research and using research results.

SOWK????. Physiology and psychology of ageing

This course provides the student with an overview of changes that occur in the human body as a function of age. Focus will be on normal, age-related physiological changes; however, age-related dysfunctional changes are also discussed. The course also provides the student with an introduction and analysis of current knowledge and concerns related to psychological aging. The course is taught from an interdisciplinary perspective and focuses on topics related to perceptual, cognitive, personality, and interpersonal social development. Issues related to psychological adjustment and the topic of death and dying are examined.

SOWK6146. Care management in long term care

Gerontological assessment is the foundation in elder care, whereas care management is one of the major practice strategies to promote effective service delivery to diverse target populations in long term care. Students will be taught to manage and to carry out needs assessment in long term care cases, with reference to the comprehensive assessments developed by international recognized bodies. On top of micro-level direct practice, the course also deals with the establishment of care management programs in a macro-level, including program design, development and evaluation.

SOWK????. Field attachment

Students will be assigned to observe innovative elderly services and programmers for six half-day sessions. This will be organized at a time convenient to the students in the period between the first and second year of study. Overseas field attachment may be arranged.

Elective Courses (Select Two Only)*

SOWK????. Social Gerontology

This course provides with student with an overview of the major demographic changes, and their implications for the development of the field of social gerontology. Prominent theories on aging such as the role and activity theories, disengagement theory and modernization theory would be introduced.

SOWK???? Mental health and ageing

Identifies major mental healthcare issues in old age, the course will enable students to understand the appropriate attitude in handling mental problems in later life, its prevention and interventions. Special focus will be put on common aged-related mental illnesses including dementia and depression as well as the provision of psychosocial intervention to these clients.

SOWK????. Therapeutic art intervention for older adult

The use of artistic intervention to improve the quality of life of the elderly persons has gained attention from health care professionals quite recently. The course will introduce the theoretical perspectives and applications of art orientations in service delivery. Advanced skills of using different artistic and non-verbal communication means to enhance expression of those with dementia and neurological impairment will be taught by progressive and experiential methods.

SOWK????. Individual and group intervention for older adult

Developing knowledge of and skills in working with elders individually and in groups are essential practice approaches needed by health care professionals. The decision to use group or individual intervention is a function of the problem. Research evidence indicates that elderly persons can benefit from individual counseling as well as group therapy. Skills in rendering assessment, specialized counseling techniques, knowledge in staring and maintaining various therapeutic group, ethical issues in working with older adult in individual and group settings will be included in this course.

SOWK????. Selected topic 1 in gerontology

Any specific topics in gerontology that reflect current topical and changing needs in the community.

SOWK????. Selected topic 2 in gerontology

Any specific topics in gerontology that reflect current topical and changing needs in the community.

SOWK????. Qualitative research methods

This course is designed for students with an interest in understanding all aspects of social life and social relations especially those who will undertake a dissertation study. Starting with the question what is reality, the course begins with an introduction to different perspectives on approaching reality, followed by an assessment of the general strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research in comparison with other conventions such as quantitative surveys. The lectures will focus on introducing the general process of ethnographic research and the variety of methods for data collection and analysis including ethnography, grounded theory, observation, interviewing, focus groups and narrative analysis, etc. Various cases will be used to demonstrate how qualitative research helps make meaningful policy and social work practice. Seminars will be organized around practical methodological issues, with the objective of helping students proceed with their own research projects. Hands-on experience of a range of research techniques will also be provided.

Dissertation OR Clinical Practice Seminars and a Clinical Practice Thesis

SOWK9002. Dissertation

The dissertation shall be a critical study that demonstrates the application of research methodology to the investigation of problems relevant to the field of study, and shall not exceed 20,000 words in length. The title of the dissertation shall be submitted for approval by not later than March 31 of the final academic year of study, and the dissertation shall be presented by not later than June 30 of the same year.

S0WK9006. Clinical practice seminars and a clinical practice thesis

This course aims to help students polish their clinical counselling skills. While some classes will be devoted to discussions of clinical issues that are of interests to the students, other classes will focus on clinical supervisions of cases and/or groups that students are working on in their agencies. Alternatively, they may take cases or run groups at our Practice Centre. However, students are fully responsible for finding cases and groups for themselves. Students are also required to conduct an evaluation of their clinical works and produce a clinical practice thesis of no more than 10,000 words by not later than June 30 of the same year. This course extends over two semesters.

* Not all elective courses will necessarily be offered in a given year.

Prequisites & Requirements
Structure & Examinations
Course Description
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Department of Social Work and Social Administration
Rm. 1304, K.K. Leung Building, The University of Hong Kong,
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.
Tel: 2859 2288 Fax: 2858 7604