Study plan - Master of Applied Social Science
The master's program offers the following three different specializations; child welfare, milieu therapeutic work therapy work, and community work. Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded the title Master of Applied Social Science with a specialization in child welfare, milieu therapeutic work, or community work.
The child welfare specialization fulfills the requirements set for the content of a master's in child welfare work, as stated in the Regulation on the National Guidelines for Master's Education in Child Welfare Work.
Social science entails knowledge about social conditions at the individual, group, and societal levels, as well as how processes can contribute to inclusion and participation or marginalization and social inequality. The purpose of the master's program in applied social science is to educate professionals who possess analytical, critical, and practical competence to work with complex issues when engaging with users. This includes the development of services within various parts of the health and welfare services, as well as civil society, including user and volunteer organizations. Furthermore, the program emphasizes work with networks, social communities, local communities, and organizations. During the master's program, students will acquire advanced knowledge about various conditions for social inequality, marginalization, participation, and citizenship, as well as knowledge of methods and scientific theory. The program emphasizes perspectives that are applicable in both local, national, and global contexts.
After completing the program, students will be qualified for work in various welfare services such as child welfare, health and care services, NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration), and the voluntary sector. The specializations in the programs help provide candidates with expertise that is clearly directed towards specific fields, such as child welfare work, which particularly qualifies individuals for work in the field of child welfare.
A master's in applied social science qualifies individuals for work in various competence environments, research and educational institutions. Furthermore, the program qualifies students for admission to PhD programs like Health Function and Participation and Responsible Innovation and Regional Development (RESINNREG) at HVL.
The Child Welfare study specialization
The Child Welfare study specialization aims to educate candidates who possess in-depth expertise regarding children, youth, and families in vulnerable life situations, as well as an understanding of societal factors that particularly impact the well-being and everyday lives of children, youth, and families. The specialization emphasizes how social inequality can contribute to marginalization and exclusion, and the significance of these factors in everyday life. Additionally, the education places special focus on creating opportunities for participation and the exercise of citizenship for children, youth, and their families. The candidates should be able to use their avquired knowledge anain vulnerable life situations.
Candidates will acquire knowledge and skills relevant to child welfare work. Upon completing the program, candidates should be able to apply their knowledge in ways that can enhance the life circumstances with children, youth, and their families. The candidates should be able to use their acquired knowledge analytically, critically, and practically when addressing complex issues in their interactions with the involved parties.with children, youth, and their families, in ways that can enhance their life circumstances. Furthermore, candidates should be capable of critically reflecting on their own practice, assessing connections between societal mandates, political discourses, research, and relevant legal precedents. Candidates will also be equipped to initiate and lead professional development projects, formulate relevant problem issues, and as well as design and carry out research.
The specialization is oriented towards, and applicable to work within various aspects of the child welfare field. The child welfare practice specialization qualifies graduates for positions in municipal and state child welfare services, where as of 2031, a master's degree is required for specific functions/tasks. The competencies of the candidates are relevant for work in other contexts as well, where they engage with children, youth, and families in vulnerable life situations.
The milieu therapeutic work specializarion
The purpose of the milieu therapeutic work specialization is to educate professionals who possess extensive expertise in milieu therapeutic work practice. Milieu therapeutic work practice is understood as planned and systematically tailored work through the use and arrangement of the environment, in a way that contributes to habilitation, rehabilitation, and care.
Upon completing the program, candidates should be able to apply this knowledge to plan, implement, lead, and guide others in the practice of milieu therapeutic work practices in various contexts, such as other people's homes, schools, recreational areas, supporting housing, institutions, and more. The program equips candidates with analytical, critical, and practical competence to address complex issues and dilemmas in therapeutic environment situations where autonomy and participation are challenged. Individuals with various support needs resulting from neglect, cognitive, psychological, or physical disabilities, substance abuse, or challenging behavior, may be vulnerable to marginalization and experience social inequality in different settings. The topics covered in the core courses are related to milieu therapeutic work practices and focus on service and professional development within therapeutic environment work.
The specialization is oriented towards, and relevant for work in various forms of milieu therapeutic work practice, within health and care services, as well as child welfare.
Community work study specialization
The primary objective of the community work study specialization is to qualify professionals to design and initiate processes and initiatives for social change in collaboration and interaction with whom it concerns, authorities, business, and the civilsociety.
Community work practice is understood as the examination and influence of conditions for social participation, the formation of communities, and collective actions. The recognition that individuals collectively can create and change social structures and contribute to good living conditions through social participation and collective action is an important value foundation. Community practice is linked to academic traditions within social work, social sciences, and health promotion.
The candidates are expected to acquire profound knowledge of community-related processes and conditions for collective change efforts aimed at social justice. Theoretical perspectives on power and powerlessness, participation, empowerment, and social mobilization will be addressed and discussed in the context of community work.
The specialization aims to provide candidates with analytical, critical, and practical competence to address complex issues and dilemmas related to participation and social mobilization. Furthermore, the specialization is designed to equip practitioners with the competence to initiate and lead change processes and projects in community practice. The specialization is oriented towards and relevant for work within health and welfare services, non-profit organizations, local communities, and business sectors.
Students apply for admission to one of the specializations: Child Welfare specialization, Milieu therapeutic work or Community work specialization. Applicants with completed relevant further education at the master's level, consisting of a minimum of 30 credits, apply for admission to the Flexible Model Master's in Applied Social Science.
For admission to the Master's program in Applied Social Science, you can apply to one of three study tracks. Applicants with a completed relevant further education at the master's level, comprising a minimum of 30 credit points, apply for admission to the Flexible Model Master's in Applied Social Science.
General admission requirements for the Master's in Social Science:
Completion of a relevant bachelor's degree program with a minimum average grade of C. The relevance of the bachelor's degree depends on the study track you are applying for.
For the study track in child welfare work:
Completion of a 3-year bachelor's degree program that grants the title of Social Worker, Sosial Educators or Child Care Workers, in accordance with the regulations for national guidelines for master's education in child welfare work. Furthermore, applicants with other health-related, educational, psychological, or social science backgrounds, and a minimum of one year of relevant professional experience working with children, youth, and families in vulnerable situations, may be qualified for admission.
The admission requirement aligns with the regulations for national guidelines for master's education in child welfare work. https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2021-04-09-1148?q=barnevernsarbeid
For the study track in milieu therapeutic work:
Completion of a 3-year bachelor's degree program that grants the title of Social Worker, Sosial Educators, Child Care Workers or occupational therapist. Additionally, applicants with other health-related, educational, psychological, or social science backgrounds, and a minimum of one year of relevant professional experience in therapeutic environmental work, may be qualified for admission.
For the study track in community work:
A bachelor's degree or equivalent in social sciences, health, social or police work, pedagogical disciplines, or equivalent professional education. Applicants without professional education must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent and a minimum of 80 credit points in social science subjects.
Upon completion of the Master's program in applies social sciences, a candidate should have the following overall learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills, and general competence:
- possesses advanced knowledge in social sciences, with particular insight into social marginalization, inequality, participation, and citizenship
- holds advanced knowledge in child welfare work, milieu therapeutic work, community work, or another specialization within social sciences
- possesses advanced knowledge about theoretical and methodological approaches in social sciences
- has in-depth knowledge of social science methods, theory of science, and research ethics relevant to social sciences
- can analyze and critically engage with various perspectives on social marginalization, inequality, participation, and citizenship, and apply them to structure and formulate professional arguments in service provision, professional practice, development, and research
- can analyze and critically engage with debates within the field, research, and other sources of information, and apply them in professional practice, development, and research
- can analyze and critically engage with existing theories, methods, and interpretations within social sciences, and work independently on practical and theoretical problem-solving within child welfare work, milieu therapeutic work, community work, or other service areas within social sciences
- can identify and analyze various dilemmas encountered in situations involving social marginalization, inequality, participation, and citizenship, and independently assess alternative courses of action in professional practice
- can utilize relevant research methods and methods for professional development in an independent manner
- can conduct an independent, limited research or development project under supervision and in accordance with prevailing research ethical norms
- can identify and analyze relevant ethical issues within research, professional practice, and the field
- can apply their knowledge and skills in new areas to undertake advanced tasks and projects that contribute to innovation and professional development within child welfare work, milieau therapeutic work, community work, or other areas within social sciences
- can communicate extensive independent work and master various forms of expression within different fields related to social sciences
- can communicate professional issues, analyses, and conclusions with other professionals both within and outside the field, with users, organizations, and the general public
The program will be organized as a full-time study over 2 years. Additionally, there will be an option to apply for individual courses. The program consists of 15 credit point courses that extend over one semester. The normal study progression is 30 credit points per semester. The Master's in applied social sciences program is designed as an on-campus study with physical gatherings in Bergen. Furthermore, there will be digital sessions during some of the gatherings. This setup will make the program well-suited for the entire region.
The program includes three core courses:
MASO500 Social Inequality and Marginalization
MASO510 Participation and Citizenship*
MAMET1SO Theory of Science, Ethics, and Method
MASO500 Social Inequality and Marginalization is a common course for all Master's in applied social sciences students.
MASO510 Participation and Citizenship is a common course for all except students in the child welfare specialization who take the 10-credit course MASAB511 Participation and Citizenship. These courses collectively provide an introduction to social sciences and are scheduled for the first semester of the first year.
MAMET1SO Theory of Science, Ethics, and Method is a core course for all master's programs at FHS. In the Master's in Social Sciences program, this course is offered in the first year of spring.
The Master's program in Applied social science offers three study specializations, and the courses within these specializations are mainly scheduled for the spring semester in the first year and the fall semester in the second year.
In the Child Welfare Work specialization, there are five mandatory courses:
MASB511 Participation and Citizenship (10 credits)
MASB512 Application of Law in Child Welfare Work (5 credits)
ASB520 Different Perspectives on Child Welfare Practice and Profession (15 credits)
MASB530 Child Welfare Assessments, Decision-Making, and Intervention Work (15 credits)
MASB540 Innovation and Professional Development in Child Welfare Work (15 credits)
Students write a master's thesis worth 30 credits.
All courses are mandatory to ensure that the education aligns with the regulations for the national guidelines for master's education in child welfare work: https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2021-04-09-1148?q=barnevernsarbeid.
In the Milieau therapeutic work specialization, two mandatory courses are included:
MASM520 Milieau therapeutic Work - in Various Contexts (15 credits)
MASM530 Milieu therapeutic Work - Methodological Approaches (15 credits)
The course MASM540, Innovation and Professional Development (15 credits), is an elective, and students who choose this course write a master's thesis worth 30 credits. Other students write a master's thesis worth 45 credits.
In the community work specialization, two mandatory courses are included:
MASO500 Community Work: History, Theory, and Practice (15 credits)
MASO510 Social Change Processes and Project Management in Community Work (15 credits)
Students write a master's thesis worth 45 credits.
In the child welfare work specialization, the course MASB540 Innovation and Professional Development in Child Welfare Work includes a four-week practice within the field of child welfare. The practice will be organized as a project-based practice. The practice should be related to one or more learning outcomes and contribute to developing the candidate's practical, analytical, and critical competencies. (https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2021-04-09-1148/KAPITTEL_5#KAPITTEL_5)
The practice is also included as a part of the study for students who choose the elective course MASM540 Innovation and Professional Development. Similar to the MASAB540 course, this practice period will also be organized as a project-based practice but will be directed towards a broader range of health and care services.
The program will be organized as a blended study with physical campus gatherings, offering lectures based on the key learning objectives of different courses.
Through student-active learning methods, students are expected to take responsibility for their own and their fellow students' academic development and learning. The program emphasizes student-active teaching and learning methods, with individual and group tasks aimed at enhancing the candidates' analytical and critical skills. Throughout the program, students will engage in various forms of group work, where they will tackle different reflection tasks to foster critical thinking. To enhance analytical skills, students will work on various written assignments. Furthermore, students will receive training in practical skills in different ways within the three specializations.
For some of the gatherings, arrangements will be made for students to attend digitally and participate in online meetings with group work and discussions. One of the courses will also be entirely web-based. The online components of the program will require a reliable internet connection and the ability to communicate via online meetings.
Throughout the course of the program, students will participate in various seminars where they will engage in their own individual work or group projects to receive feedback from other students. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to take part in various article seminars, during which they will review and discuss current research articles together. Collaboration with the practice field is emphasized in several modules, both to ensure that the program remains updated on the issues relevant to the practical field and to enhance the candidates' analytical and practical skills. In several of the modules, dialog seminars will be organized with different stakeholders such as researchers, practitioners, and user representatives.
Self-study is pivotal for students to acquire theoretical knowledge and to further develop their analytical and critical competence.
To ensure that students achieve the intended learning outcomes related to knowledge, skills, and general competence, there will be requirements for mandatory learning activities, both individually and in groups.
Students will have access to guidance for both individual assignments and group projects. Guidance is also integrated as a mandatory learning activity when working on the master's thesis.
Central to a master's program is the work on the master's thesis. Successfully completion of the master's thesis requires students to work independently on a task over an extended period of time. Prior to starting the master's thesis, the student and the supervisor will develop and sign a supervision agreement, in accordance with the current regulations of the university. This agreement remains applicable throughout the student's journey.
Throughout the program, students will encounter various assessment methods. Assessment encompasses all formal evaluation within the program and is outlined in the course syllabi. All mandatory learning activities must be approved before a student can take the exam for the respective course. The assessment methods used in the program include written school exams, assignments, project assignments, oral exams, and the master's thesis in the form of a monograph or an article with a cover.
The assessment expressions employed are pass/fail and a graded letter scale from A to F.
There are shared progression requirements in the Master's in applied social science program:
All courses in the first and second years, totaling 75 ECTS, must be passed before a student can submit the master's thesis for assessment.
Opportunities for exchange to educational institusions abroad will be facilitated during the second semester.
Furthermore, provisions will be made for exchange programs in connection with the master's thesis for full-time students during the fourth semester. Students opting for an exchange program in relation to their master's thesis can choose either part of the semester or the entire semester. For those selecting a partial semester exchange, both HVL and the institution of exchange will provide guidance. The program will also facilitate student entry in the second and fourth semesters.