Values, Ethics and Theories: preparing for complexity in Social Work Practice (L5091)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring and summer teaching

In this module you will build on the work you did earlier in the year but with a particular focus on professional formation through considerations of values, ethics and theories in social work.

The module brings social work theory to the fore and emphasises its importance for practice. A range of different social work theories are presented and analysed.

The module examines the historical development and contemporary expression of social work values and ethics. It also considers the use of codes of ethics and codes of practice as well as the ethical and value basis to theories.

The module will use case studies to tie the theoretical and ethical discussions to the reality of practice situations in order to better preapre students for future placements.

Module content will include: anti oppressive/anti discrimatory values in social work; ethics based on principles; ethics based on character; radical theories of social work; liberal/conservative theories of social work; psychodynamic theories and social work; attachment theory and social work; systems theories/ecological approaches; social work and postmodernism.


100%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Report)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 66 hours of contact time and about 84 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: