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Welfare State and Welfare Policy

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

The module gives the students an understanding of how different welfare regimes work (established and emerging) and how they follow different institutional logics - in particular regarding the Nordic model. The module will give an understanding of the processes of democratization and the inclusion of citizens in diverse nation-states. It will enable students to understand the conditions for social and political development and to understand how welfare policies depend on the legal and political contexts. Immigration, diversity and new complexities for social workers in the face of diversity have special attention. The module will introduce justifications for comprehensive welfare programs as well as critics of the welfare state. It relates social and political challenges for welfare policies in Scandinavia and Europe, to a global context.

Learning outcome

Students who successfully complete the module will be able to
  • Demonstrate knowledge of modern social policies and social policy theory
  • Understand how democratization and integration processes work and which are the central conditions for social and political development
  • Demonstrate knowledge about dilemmas in the role of professionals concerning autonomy and paternalism.
  • Understand the specific aspects of the Scandinavian welfare state and its challenges.
  • Compare different welfare systems, both in established and emerging welfare states.

Students who successfully complete the module will be able to
  • Demonstrate a capacity for justification and criticism of welfare state regimes
  • Compare welfare state regimes on specific areas such as immigration and family policies
  • Make use of theory to analyze political and social systems
  • Analyze conditions for social and political development in specific contexts
  • Reflect on the normative basis of welfare policies and the effect of the political context on social work

General Competencies
Students who successfully complete the module will acquire the following skills:
  • Capacity to do a theoretical analysis of welfare policies
  • Design theoretical analysis of specific welfare policy areas and social and political development
  • Capacity to identify critical challenges for the emerging welfare states


The module will give students an in-depth knowledge of social welfare state care-systems, and the conditions for their development. The course will attend on new challenges the welfare state will meet in the near future due to economic downturns. How social workers handle new complexities, diversity and demographic changes due to immigration belong to the core issues. The students will be made capable of reflecting on how professionals play a role in the formulation of policy responses to social problems as well as in the implementation of welfare policies. The module will provide analytical tools so that the students can identify critical elements in political and social development.
The module will qualify students for development work, research and provide knowledge requested by many actors today within the field of social services and social policy administration.

Required prerequisite knowledge

Passed 1st semester of the study programme


School exam and essay
Weight Duration Marks Aid
School exam2/54 hoursA - FNative language-English dictionary.
Essay2/5 A - F
Oral exam1/5 A - F
Written exam: No literature is allowed during the written examination.
Essay: Word count: 2 500 words (+/- 10 %) including table of contents, notes, references and bibliography. Reference style: APA 6th.

Coursework requirements

In-class presentation
The coursework requirement needs to be passed before the school exam.
In-class presentation: Essay preparation describing home country or region on various indexes.
After the exam and field visits: mandatory group presentation after field visits.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Svein Erik Tuastad

Method of work

Seminars, workshops, group teamwork, lectures, oral presentation and tutorials

Open to

European Master in Social Work with Families and Children

Course assessment

Standard evaluation in accordance with Faculty and MFAMILY guidelines


Literatur will be published as soon as it has been prepared by the course coordinator/teacher

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

Sist oppdatert: 26.10.2020