Master in Social Work (MSW)

Throughout the world, Social Work is committed to enhancing human well-being and alleviating poverty and oppression. Within this general stores, maintains, and enhances the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, organisations, and communities.

1.1 General Information

1.1.1 The University of Botswana Master’s Degree in Social Work Programme is a direct response to the community of Botswana’s specialist needs. Unemployment, homelessness, mass poverty, domestic violence, crime, juvenile delinquency, mental health problems, substance abuse, HIV/ AIDS issues, child abuse and neglect, and high rates of suicide are some of the major societal problems that call for Social Work practitioners in the front line of national social services.

1.1.2 Traditionally Batswana relied on the extended family and their communities for support — social security, protection, and a sense of belonging. Now, however, we are observing the breakdown of these societal structures and the need for new approaches and professional competencies to deal with them. Creating a MSW Programme at the University of Botswana is a much-needed investment in meeting this challenge.

1.1.3 Apart from addressing critical problems, professional social workers with qualifications beyond the Bachelor’s Degree are required to guide and to participate in developing the profession. Currently, we have a serious shortage of social workers who can contribute to effective policy formulation, middle and higher management, supervision, and research in Social Work. This shortage is due to the fact that the BSW Degree is generic, in the sense that it trains practitioners who are expected to be able to take up positions in all the social services. The MSW Programme is designed to provide specialization in Social Work and to enrich the academic and professional interface.

1.1.4 The MSW Programme is also significant in realising Vision 2016 for Botswana. A basic goal of this Vision is to “build a just and caring society.” Through this goal, Botswana aims to offer support and opportunities to underprivileged citizens and to provide safety nets for those who are in poverty traps. The Vision also calls for establishing strategies and programmes to strengthen family structures and to enhance family functioning, developing viable programmes for youth, reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancy, and containing HIV/AIDS infection. The creation of the MSW Programme will help produce practitioners who are confident, professionally competent and who will advance the intellectual and human resource capacity of the nation in line with the University of Botswana Vision.

1.1.5 Finally, training at the Post Graduate level is becoming increasingly important for the development of the Social Work profession. Lack of progression often causes social workers to burn out and leads to poor productivi-ty. Unlike in the past, progression in the public service is no longer pegged to the length of service and experience. According to the Public Service Management Directive No. 26 of 1995, pos graduate training is now required for progression to a D4 scale. Consequently, employers are now required to ensure that officers who are eligible for training are given the opportunity to do so in an effort to prepare employees to assume more responsible positions. The creation of the MSW Programme is most timely in this regard.

1.1.6 The MSW Programme is offered on both a full-time and a part-time basis. Students will be given a choice to specialise in 3 areas: Social Policy and Administration, Clinical Social Work, and Youth and Community Practice. However, all students will be required to take 4 compulsory courses during the first semester to equip them with the basic knowledge in Social Work and research. Finally, students will be allowed to choose between a Programme founded on coursework and a Dissertation and a programme based on coursework and a Research Essay.

1.2 Areas of Specialisation

1.2.1 Social Policy and Administration

Botswana has experienced rapid growth in human services, both public and private. All these se vices currently require highly qualified professional welfare administrators to manage and develop them and to constantly review and update their policies. This stream will equip practitioners with skills to perform these functions.

1.2.2 Clinical Social Work

Programmes in human services are becoming increasingly complex due to the many social problems individuals and families in the country are experiencing. Social workers with specialised clinical expertise in physical and mental health and the social arenas are required to effectively help the affected persons.

1.2.3 Youth and Community Practice

Youth and marginalised communities are disproportionately affected by the problems that face the country and so require specifically targeted programmes. Consequently, practitioners specialising in these areas are required in growing numbers.

1.2.4 Course offerings for Areas of Specialisation

All MSW students will be required to take foundation courses during the first semester of the first year. Subsequently, students will be advised to choose their areas of specialization subject to the availability of staff and other resources.

1.3 Objectives of the Master’s Degree in Social Work Programme

The core curriculum of the MSW Programme is designed to achieve the following objectives:

a) To train broad-based, advanced practitioners who are competent in 1 of the 3 areas of specialisation (Social Policy and Administration, Clinical Social Work Practice, and Youth and Community Practice);

b) To enable students to gain a broad understanding of individual and societal functions and dysfunctions and to utilise this knowledge in designing, implementing, managing, monitoring and evaluating social services;

c) To prepare professionals with a sound empirical base in Social Work practice so that they can understand, critique, interpret, and apply theory to practice situations and conduct social work research;

d) To prepare professionals who are committed to promoting equity and social justice at the local and national level.

1.4 Programme Structure

1.4.1 Curriculum

The MSW curriculum is designed to promote interactive learning, emphasising seminars, group discussions, case studies, role-playing, and presentations that enhance the full participation of students. These methods will serve to supplement regular lectures, the library, and other resources available in the community.

1.4.2 Semesterised Courses

The MSW Programme is based on semesterised courses that are divided into foundation, core, and electives. The foundation courses are compulsory for all students taking the MSW. The core courses concern the areas of specialisation, while the elective courses enable students to choose courses of personal interest. All the courses deepen knowledge in a substantive field and develop the students’ capacity to analyse issues, policies, and programmes systematically and critically.

1.4.3 MSW by Coursework and Dissertation

Students pursuing the Coursework and Dissertation alternative shall be required to undertake comprehensive research in their areas of specialisation. The Dissertation, showing the original work of the student under supervision, shall normally be a minimum of 20,000 words and shall not exceed 40,000 words (excluding footnotes and appendices). The Dissertation shall count as 8 semester courses (24 credits). Students taking this alternative will therefore complete all their course work in the first year of the MSW Programme.

1.4.4 MSW by Coursework and Research Essay

The MSW by Coursework and Research Essay shall be given to students who want to acquire a MSW through coursework without writing a Dissertation. In its place, they shall write a Research Essay, showing the original work of the student under supervision that shall normally be a minimum of 10,000 words (excluding footnotes and appendices) but should not exceed 20,000 words (excluding footnotes and appendices). The Research Essay shall include extensive review of the literature rather than empirical research, for example: review of social policy and legislative documents; historical and theoretical analysis; analysis of data sets, etc. The Research Essay will amount to 4 semester courses (12 credits). Students taking this alternative shall normally take 12 courses: 8 in the first year and an additional 4 in the first semester of the second year.

1.5 Year 1

Semester 1

Core Courses

MSW 601 Contemporary and Ethical Issues in Social Work Practice

MSW 602 Developmental Social Work

MSW 603 Managing Human Services

DVS 607 Research and Analysis Methods I

or POP 604 Methods of Social Science Research

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Areas of Specialisation - Students shall take all courses in their Areas of Specialisatin during the second semester.

a) Social Policy and Administration:

MSW 604 Social Policy in a Changing Society

MSW 605 Social Policy Analysis and Planning

MSW 606 Poverty and Welfare

MSW 613 Research Seminar

b) Clinical Social Work:

MSW 607 Rethinking Family and Household Interventions

MSW 608 Social Work Intervention in Chronic Illness and Disability

MSW 609 African Centred Helping and Counselling Strategies

MSW 613 Research Seminar

c) Youth and Community Practice:

MSW 610 Youth and Community Practice

MSW 611 Economic Vitality

MSW612 Needs Assessment, Programme Development and Evaluation

MSW 613 Research Seminar

1.5.1 All students must take all foundation courses and core courses in their area of specialisation. Optional courses will be offered subject to demand and availability of resources.

1.5.2 Students who for good reason fail to complete the Research Essay by the last day of the formal examination will be awarded a Grade “I” (Incomplete). Exceptions for reasonable cause may be considered through an appeal to the Board of the School of Graduate Studies.

1.5.3 Students doing a Dissertation shall complete coursework in Year 1 and then proceed with their research work in Year 2.

1.6 Year 2

1.6.1 Year 2 of the MSW Programme shall be by coursework, Research Essay and Dissertation and shall consist of 8 semester courses, taken on a part-time or full-time basis. The Research Essay shall be taken in the second semester and will amount to 4 semester courses. The Dissertation shall amount to 8 semester courses.

Semester 1

Areas of Specialisation

a) Social Policy and Administration:

MSW702 Child and Family Policy

MSW703 Supervision in Human Services

Optional Courses

Students shall select 2 optional courses.

b) Clinical Social Work Practice:

MSW704 Social Work, HIV/AIDS and Caring

MSW705 Social Work in Mental Health

Optional Courses

Students shall select 2 optional courses.

c) Youth and Community Practice:

MSW 706 Youth and Society

MSW 707 Social Work in tting

Optional Courses

Students shall select 2 optional courses.

The Department will endeavour to offer as many optional courses as possible subject to availability of resources. Optional courses may be selected from Counselling and Human Services (Department of Educational Foundations), Development Studies (Department of Sociology), Department of Adult Education or Department of Political and Administrative Studies.

MSW708 History and Philosophy of Social Work in Africa

MSW709 Gender in Social Work Practice

MSW710 Religion, Spirituality, and Social Work Practice

MSW711 Dying in Africa: Perspectives on Life and Death

MSW712 Substance Abuse, Addictions and Dependency

MSW713 Social Work in the Work Place

DVS605 Globalization, Culture and Social Change

DVS610 NGO’s and Development

DVS702 Rural Livelihoods in Transition

DVS710 Families, Households and Development

Semester 2

Research Courses

MSW700 Research Essay

MSW701 Dissertation

1.7 Degree Structure

1.7.1 MSW by Coursework and Research Essay

(Full-time)

There are 12 credits per semester, which with the Research Essay (equivalent to 12 credits) equals 48 credits over a period of 2 years. This calculation applies to all areas of specialisation.

1.7.2 MSW by Coursework and Research Essay

(Part-Time)

Part-time students shall be given a choice of taking a maximum of 9 credits and a minimum of 6 credits per semester, depending on their situation, ability, and commitments. The 9 credits per semester, with the Research Essay (equivalent to 12 credits), equals 48 credits over a period of 3 years. Students wishing to finish the Degree in 4 years shall be allowed to take a maximum of 6 credits per semester. Credit distribution will be done in consultation with the Department of Social Work.

1.7.3 MSW by Coursework and Dissertation (Full-Time)

The credit distribution for students doing a Dissertation will be 12+ 12 + Dissertation 24 = 48 credits equivalent. Students shall be expected to complete this Programme within a period of years. This option applies to all areas of specialisation.

1.7.4 MSW by Coursework and Dissertation (Part-Time)

Part-time students shall be given a choice of taking a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 9 credits per semester (6+6+6+6) or Dissertation (24) = 48 credits. Students wishing to complete their Degree in 4 years will be allowed to take a minimum of 6 credits per semester. Credits distribution will be done in consultation with the Department of Social Work.

1.8 Special Regulations

Subject to the provisions of General Regulation 400, the following Special Regulations of the Faculty shall apply:

1.9 Entrance Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission to the MSW Programme shall be:

a) A Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work or equivalent from this or any recognised university and at least a 2(ii) or its equivalent. Applicants with a pass will need to have 2 years work experience in human services;

b) An undergraduate degree with a Minor in Social Work and at least a 2 (ii) or its equivalent. Applicants with a pass will need to have 2 years work experience in the human services;

c) Applicants with a postgraduate diploma in Social Work with at least a credit or its equivalent or with a pass will need to have 2 years work experience in human services;

d) Applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree in any other discipline with at least a pass will need to have worked in human service organisations for at least 2 years.

1.9.1 Upon the recommendation of the Department and with the approval of Senate, equivalent qualifications and experience may be accepted. Such candidates may be required to perform successfully on an admission examination or satisfy other requirements as deemed appropriate by the School of Graduate Studies.

1.10 Assessment and Examination

1.10.1 Assessment will be done in accordance with the provisions as stated in the course outlines in this document.

1.10.2 Courses offered by departments other than Social Work shall be examined in accordance with the relevant regulations in those departments.

1.10.3 In order to pass and proceed to the Dissertation or Research Essay, students must pass all courses including examinations.

1.11 Award of Degree

The MSW Degree shall be awarded in accordance with areas of specialisation, that is, MSW in Social Policy and Administration, MSW in Clinical Social Work Practice, and MSW in Youth and Community Practice.