Master of Science in Social Work and Social Welfare Studies

This Master’s programme focuses on studying and developing high-quality social work practices, i.e. practices with which we can promote social change and development, social cohesion, empowerment and emancipation of people.

Master's Programme
1 year 60 credits
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
About the programme
Programme summary
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Off to a good start
After graduation


In the development of high-quality social work practices the principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversity take centre stage. These practices take shape in a variety of organisations and contexts like general welfare work (working with homeless people, inmates, crime victims, persons in poverty ...), youth care, youth work, community work, social-artistic practices, refugee work, childcare, care for the elderly, and education.

Our programme focuses on how professional practice, policy and research are shaped, as well as on the various social issues and new challenges with which today’s society has to contend, and which have an important impact on people’s social environment. Think for instance of poverty, social inequity, migration, sustainabililty challenges, and tendencies in criminalisation and individualisation. The academic Master’s programme in Social Work and Social Welfare Studies aims at instilling in students a critical-reflective attitude and a personal viewpoint on topical social issues. Throughout the curriculum, we provide our students with the theoretical frameworks and skills they need to understand and help shape social work practice, policy and research. As it is shaped by a diversity of professional settings, a social worker’s professional profile cannot be reduced to one single dimension.

The Social Work and Social Welfare programme offers an academic training, aimed at competent pedagogical support of individuals and groups in the broad professional field of social work and social welfare. Our graduates’ pedagogical conduct in these various settings is inspired by five guidelines, which together constitute the DNA of social work: proximity, political work, process-based work, generalist work and collaborative work. The programme is about learning to support people as much as it is about learning to analyse and question social issues. The link between working on an individual as well as a structural level is an important focal point in our programme.

For whom

The admission requirements vary. Depending on your prior education, you are either able to enrol directly, or there are additional requirements.


The academic Master’s programme in Social Work and Social Welfare Studies focuses on an integration of research, practice and theory. Admission into the programme is possible based on various academic and professional Bachelor’s degrees, either after taking a preparatory programme (for students with an academic Bachelor’s degree) or an academic bridging programme (for students with a professional Bachelor’s degree).

The combination of various types of course units reveals our explicit choice for an academically oriented study programme as well as a comprehensive approach to social work. A first group of course units is methodological and research-oriented in nature, with a focus on fundamental basic training in quantitative and qualitative research methods. A second group of course units focuses on the professional component, mainly reflected in the work placement. The work placement-related intervisions focus on the close connection with the social work practice. Students can take on their work placement at home or abroad. A third group of course units focuses on the in-depth and comprehensive content-related study of theories and practices that are relevant to the social work context. Think for instance of social work theories, social agogics, health care management, community building, social law and social security, sustainability, social policy, migration, poverty reduction, children’s and human rights, and socio-spatial issues.
Your training culminates in a Master's dissertation. Under expert supervision you conduct an individual and original piece of research on a topic of your choice.

In addition to the (domain) Master’s programme described above, you can also choose a Master’s Programme in Teaching (in Dutch: Educatieve Master).
Find out more at (in Dutch).

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Labour Market

Our Social Work and Social Welfare graduates have ample career opportunities.
They are able to take up co-ordinating, executive or policy positions in the public as well as in the private sector. Our graduates end up at support centres, umbrella organisations, and other collaborative structures in youth care, welfare work, the socio-cultural sector, refugee work, disability care, childcare, community development and various other settings or facilities on the (local) social policy level. Some examples are: pedagogical co-ordinator at a youth care facility, welfare policy co-ordinator at a penitential facility, childcare co-ordinator, staff member in youth services, educational staff member for socio-artistic practice, co-ordinator at an anti-poverty organisation, labour market counsellor for disadvantaged groups, policy staff member in refugee work, pupil’s guidance counsellor or staff member at a Flemish Government Agency.
Our graduates are also well-versed for research positions, either at an academic level, or in professional practice in the context of practice development, professional assistance, policy preparation and implementation, as well as policy review. For example: researcher and a university or university college, staff member at an umbrella organisation or at the research centre of a political party.
With a Master’s degree in Social Work and Social Welfare you are equally well-equipped to set up and implement training initiatives on a wide scale of social work-related topics, and to design and implement social work practices. For example: staff member to a drug prevention campaign, refugee work, debt mediation or time-out projects, pedagogical manager in youth care, quality co-ordinator...

Take a look at our faculty website for career testimonials by our graduates (in Dutch). Other interesting testimonials can be found at (in Dutch).

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