DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WORK AT UNIVERSITY OF GHANA

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DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WORK AT UNIVERSITY OF GHANA

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
SOWK 111 Development and Social Issues
This course explores various theoretical perspectives on development. It also provides a general
understanding of the basic concepts of development (underdeveloped, developing, and developed).
It examines major social issues, emphasizes the social consequences of globalization, North/South
power relations and structural adjustment programmes. It analyses the dynamic relationship
between social issues and development.
SOWK 112: Strategies for Social Development
The course explores differences between effective and ineffective strategies for development. It
examines the context of development in Ghana, the role of NGOs and government agencies and
relationships between the two sectors. Additionally, it focuses on a cross-section of strategies
employed by government agencies and the NGO sector in areas, such as reproductive health, food
security and poverty alleviation.
SOWK 211: History of Social Work
This course aims to help students to understand the historical development of social work. It traces
the various philosophies and institutions that have shaped the development of Social Work. It also
explores how social welfare was undertaken in pre-colonial era, colonial era, the origin of social
work in Ghana and current social welfare programmes in Ghana.
SOWK 212: Philosophy of Social Work
The course is designed to examine philosophical perspectives and reflective considerations of
moral issues in social work practice. The course also discusses relevant ethical theories and their
relevance to social work practice. It examines controversial issues and the position of the Social
Work profession. Practical examples will be used to discuss how to resolve ethical dilemmas in
social work practice.
SOWK 213: Nature of Social Work
This course is designed to introduce students to social work. The course examines several
definitions, fundamental principles, and the core values of social work. The roles and functions
performed by social workers, the professional code of ethics and ethical dilemmas in social work
are thoroughly discussed. This course provides students with basic interviewing skills that will
enable them work effectively with clients. The course will also identify the types of clientele that
are served by the social work profession.
SOWK 214: Social Work and Social Problems
This course is designed to give students a broad overview of contemporary social problems both in
Ghana and globally. It examines different levels of social problems using various sociological
perspectives and the influence of Ghanaian cultural elements on social problems. The various
policies and programmes put in place to help combat these problems will also be explored.
SOWK 214: Social Work and Social Problems
The general objective of this course is to give students a broad overview of contemporary social
problems both in Ghana, and globally. The course examines levels of social problems using
various sociological perspectives and the influence of Ghanaian cultural elements on social
problems. The various policies and programmes put in place to help combat these problems will
also be explored.
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SOWK 331: Working with Individuals
This course examines psychosocial theories and models underlying social work practice with a
focus on the principles and dynamics of casework. It focuses on problem identification through to
assessment to intervention planning, intervention, termination and follow-up.
SOWK 332: Working with Communities
The course is designed to equip students with the requisite skills for working with communities.
The course focuses on concepts such as the meaning of community development, approaches to
community development and trends in community development. The course will also examine
community entry techniques, principles of community project planning and working with various
community groups.
SOWK 333: Social Theories for Social Policy
This course aims at helping students appreciate the various theoretical models and perspectives
that influence social policy. It examines the relationship between social theory and social policy.
Major social policy models to be examined include sympathetic, equity, equality, structural and
laissez-faire, Paulo Faire developmental orientation, Richard Titmus’ models of social policy,
functionalist and conflict perspectives on social stratification.
SOWK 334: Social Welfare and Social Policy
This course focuses on social policy analysis, the nature and boundaries of social policy, concepts
of welfare state, context of society and social policy. It examines the relationship between social
policy and basic human needs and gives an overview of societal and individual responsibility. The
course will help students to appreciate social needs, social problems and social work perspectives
for reviewing social issues of poverty, development, health, education, housing and social welfare.
SOWK 335: Human Growth and Development
This course explores the various developmental tracks from birth to death. It examines the
development of motor, language, cognitive and psychological capacities and skills across the
lifespan. Additionally, it examines the different cross-sectional stages of life, for example,
childhood, adolescence, adulthood or late adulthood. Implications and usefulness of theories on
human growth and development for helping professionals, particularly social workers are
discussed.
SOWK 336: Personality Development and Behaviour Disorders
This course explores the development of personality, human reactions and emotions. It discusses
normal and abnormal behaviour, labelling, disorders related to growth and mental disorders. It
emphasises the basic understanding of psychopathology and how it affects individuals, families,
groups and communities.
SOWK 337: Working with Older People
The course focuses on the human life cycle in relation to ageing and the ageing process. It helps
students develop relevant social work skills in handling and dealing with older people. The course
analyses the challenges facing older people in Ghana and Africa and focuses on the need to
prepare for old age. It examines the needs of elderly persons, available resources and opportunities
for assisting the elderly obtain services.
SOWK 338: Working with Persons with HIV and AIDS
This course aims at introducing the subject of people living with HIV and AIDS, care and support.
It creates awareness of the needs of persons living with HIV and AIDS, the consequences of HIV
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infection and helps students develop sensitivity to their situation. Additionally, it enables students
become aware of discrimination and stigmatisation faced by people living with HIV and AIDS.
The course explores different ways of helping PLWHAs.
SOWK 339: Introduction to Social Work Research
The course introduces students to methods of social science research. It examines basic research
knowledge and skills required for social work practice. The course focuses on theories of the
scientific method, including principles and ethics of qualitative and quantitative research
methodologies.
SOWK 341: Victimology
This course examines issues of violence and abuse, and focuses on both victims and perpetrators.
Topics treated under this course include theories of violence; childhood experiences, and how
these impact on behaviour later in life. It focuses on violent crimes, spousal abuse, child abuse and
neglect, incest, stalking and other types of violence prevalent in our society. Importance is also
accorded to treatment of victims as well as perpetrators of violence, and issues relating to
prevention. Case studies will be used extensively in this course.
SOWK 342: Quantitative Methods in Social Research
The course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and application of statistical methods
to social work research. It also aims to assist students to analyse field data and interpret the results.
It focuses on the nature of quantitative and statistical methods, organisation and management of
statistical data, measures of central tendency and skewed distributions; measures of dispersion, zscore
and correlation; chi-square analyses and T- test distribution.
SOWK 344: Long Vacation Fieldwork (8 Weeks)
The long vacation fieldwork provides an important opportunity for practical learning for students.
It provides students with a chance to understand how social service and social development
agencies work, and to apply the theory they have learnt in class to practice in the field. This
experience helps students to find their identity as social workers and to choose the aspect of the
profession they would like to pursue. The field work placement is for a period of 8 weeks from
June to July. Students are required to be in the field for five full working days per week and 40
hours per week. Students are placed with governmental and non-governmental agencies across the
country and they are supervised by professionals in the field. A fieldwork manual is given to
students to guide them in the field.
SOWK 345: Community Organisation
The course is designed to help students have a clear understanding of community organisation as a
field, process and method of social work and how the social worker uses it to help communities. It
examines the principles and techniques of community organization. The generalist intervention
model in community organization (micro, mezzo, macro approaches) is emphasized. Additionally,
the role of the social worker as a community change agent is explored.
SOWK 346: Women and Children’s Rights and Protection
This course critically examines human rights issues specifically related to women and children in
Ghana. It focuses on harmful cultural practices against women and the girl child. It examines
existing policies, programmes, Acts, Conventions and services at both local and international
levels that seek to enhance the protection of women and girls. It aims at promoting and protecting
the welfare of women and children in Ghana, and around the world. Particular attention is paid to
violence against women and children and how Ghana as a country is fighting all forms of
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discrimination against women and children, and the role of social work in helping to address
harmful cultural practices meted to women and children in Ghana.
SOWK 348: Medical Social Work
This course reviews the history of medical social work with particular reference to Ghana. It
examines the role and responsibilities of medical social workers, networking and future trends of
medical social work. The course focuses, among other things, on human society and health
concerns, social work practice in health care settings, maternal health, the dynamics of HIV and
AIDS as well as other emerging social and health problems.
SOWK 430: Long Essay
This is a supervised optional student research project which begins in the first semester. Students
in Level 400 who opt for long essay are required to submit their topics before proceeding for long
vacation fieldwork placement.
SOWK 431: Human Rights in Social Work Practice
This course focuses on concepts and contents of human rights. It examines international, regional
and national conventions and legislations on human rights with specific reference to the rights of
vulnerable populations. Additionally, the course reviews Ghana’s compliance with human rights
laws.
SOWK 432: Working with Children
This course highlights the basic knowledge and skills required to work with children, and targets
people whose aim is to build a profession around children. The course addresses issues of human
rights relating to children. It discusses the developmental milestones of children, focusing on a
number of theoretical perspectives on child development. It also looks at disorders associated with
the developmental stages and how these affect the child’s functioning. Also to be examined are
familial determinants of children’s behaviours and extra-familial stressors, parenting styles and
how to promote positive behaviours in children.
SOWK 433: Approaches to Counselling
This course focuses on theoretical approaches to counselling. Counselling skills that will be
emphasised include: recognition and interpretation of non-verbal communication, active listening,
use of open questions, empathic responding, focusing, summarizing and goal-setting.
Additionally, themes and challenges encountered during counselling sessions will be examined.
SOWK 434: Working with Groups
The course focuses on working with therapeutic groups. It examines concepts of group formation,
group dynamics, members’ roles, termination and follow-up. It also introduces students to the
importance of influential theories on group work and the skills social workers need to enable them
work effectively with groups.
SOWK 435: Social Work and the Law Courts
The course is designed to reflect the role of social work in the operations of the criminal justice
system. It examines concepts and terminologies such as criminal justice, criminal delinquency
probation, parole, aftercare and recidivism. Also examined in this course, are perspectives on
services, skills and techniques required to practice within the criminal justice system.
Additionally, the course discusses laws and legislations authorising and promoting social work
practice in the law courts and in related institutions.
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SOWK 436: Administration, Management and Evaluation
This course introduces students to the concepts, principles and practices of administration,
management and evaluation in organizations. It explores issues that are related to planning,
organizing, human resource management and leadership. This course aims at equipping aspiring
social work professionals with skills needed for efficient and effective management of
organizations. This is vital because responsible management is indispensable to sound social work
practice. Specifically, the course examines effective administrative and managerial practices and
how they vary across the many contexts in which social work is practiced. Additionally, the course
explores the essential characteristics of high-performing organizations.
SOWK 437: Organisational Planning in Social Work Practice
This course examines the definition and nature of community organisation. It focuses on theories
of organisational development, programme planning and resource development. It also examines
the theoretical base as well as factors that influence organisational growth and change. The role of
social workers (including advocacy roles) in organizational and community change will be
discussed. Students will learn to appreciate types of organisations and the importance of an
organisation’s vision, mission and objectives.
SOWK 438: Family Welfare
The course introduces students to the concept of marriage, the family and authority, and decisionmaking
processes within the family. It examines the changes occurring in the structure and
functions of the Ghanaian-family and the goals and agents of socialisation. The course emphasises
the relevance of the maintenance of the Children Act of 1965, Child Maintenance Decree of 1977,
the Children’s Act of 1998, Intestate succession Law, Head of Family Accountability Law, the
Domestic Violence Law and pension schemes, to social work practice with families.
SOWK 439: School Social Work
This course focuses on the practice of social work within educational settings. It is aimed at
teaching the basic skills and knowledge needed for the identification of students with problems
that affect their school attendance and educational achievement and for investigating the source of
the problems. It examines various ways of building collaborations and rapport between the home,
community and the school. It also helps students develop skills in identifying and working with
students with learning and other disabilities. Other areas of focus include mentoring, studentteacher,
teacher-parent and peer relations, strategies of addressing truancy, school dropout,
violence in schools, discipline and punishment, and issues of abuse in schools.
SOWK 441: Gender Issues
This course explores the development and theoretical basis for the study of gender. It provides an
understanding of the basic definitions, concepts, and symbolic representations of gender. It
examines gender inequalities in the global and African social contexts with specific examples
from both developed and developing countries. The course explores the impact of multiple
identities and discriminations on women’s and men’s experiences. It emphasizes arguments for
fundamental changes in gender relations with regard to social, educational, political, and economic
institutions. Additionally, the course equips students with gender sensitivity knowledge and skills,
which would enable them to be better positioned to serve as agents of social change and
development.
SOWK 442: Social Gerontology
This course introduces students to theories of aging and the myths and stereotypes associated with
ageing in cross-cultural settings. It examines the demography of aging, gender and aging,
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psychological and physical aspects of aging and economic determinants of aging. The course
equips students with skills in identifying elder abuse, planning and delivery of services and
resources to older persons and their families. Issues relating to work and retirement and policy
response to aging in Africa will be discussed.
SOWK 443: Industrial and Labour Relations
This course introduces students to theory and practice of industrial relations. It examines the
concept and principles of industrial and labour relations and discusses the role of participants in
industrial relations. The course emphasises the work of labour unions, the nature and management
of industrial conflicts. Students will be introduced to the relevance of the Labour Act, 2003 (ACT
651) and its implications for industrial and labour relations.
SOWK 444: Problems of Rehabilitation
The course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the rehabilitation
process. It equips students with knowledge and skills necessary for professional practice with
individuals, groups and community, and service delivery for persons in need of rehabilitation. It
focuses on prejudice, discrimination and stigmatization of persons with disabilities, convicts, exconvicts,
addicts among others in accessing rehabilitation services. It examines the influence of
cultural beliefs and practices on rehabilitation and discusses the challenges encountered by
institutions of rehabilitation and social work roles within these institutions.
SOWK 445: Theories of Rehabilitation
The course exposes students to the various theories of rehabilitation to enable them have a
comprehensive knowledge of the concept of rehabilitation. The course outlines the history and
cross-cultural status of people in need of rehabilitation. It examines the concept of disability,
processes of rehabilitation, equalisation of opportunities, conventional and community-based
rehabilitation.
SOWK 446: Working with People in Need of Protection
The course is designed for students to gain insight into circumstances that lead people to situations
where they need protection. It examines basic human needs, societal responses and arrangements
for meeting those needs. It also emphasises the impact and implications of deprivations on the
individual, family, community and society. Laws such as Human Trafficking Act, Juvenile Justice
Act, Children’s Act, Persons with Disability Act, among others are discussed in this course.
Attention is also paid to policies and programmes for the

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