Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


SWTP620 Social Work Theory and Ethics , SWTP622 Social Work with Individuals and SWTP633 Social Work and Mental Health

Teaching organisation

14 hours of seminars and workshops plus 70 days (500 hours) of field practicum supervised social work practice. Seminar workshops will be held on specific dates.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is the first professional practice placement unit offered in the Master of Social Work that facilitates practice learning in the field. Field Practicum 1 comprises of a 500 hour placement and 10 hours of campus-based integrative seminars. The aim of the unit is to provide exposure to practice in context, and through experiential learning to , facilitate integration of learning of practice knowledge and skills and professional identity development. The learning gained is further consolidated in subsequent units, including Field Practicum 2 (SWTP 631). Learning in this unit is informed by the AASW Practice Standards and the AASW Code of Ethics. The learning outcomes of the unit are consistent with the Social Work curriculum that embeds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and prepares students for practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Acquire knowledge on social work practice and service delivery in an organizational setting (GA5, GA6)

LO2 - Assimilate and demonstrate professional and ethical behavior appropriate to the practice setting (GA1, GA2, GA5)

LO3 - Apply knowledge and skills developed in campus-based units and in the placement setting to demonstrate AASW practice standards at a beginning level of capability (GA1-10)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


GA1 - Identify as a professional social worker

GA2 - Sound understanding of and commitment to social work values and ethics to guide social work practice

GA3 - Ability to apply social work knowledge and interventions to respond effectively in meeting the needs of individuals, groups and communities in diverse settings, client groups and geographic locations

GA4 - Ability to apply knowledge of human behaviour and society, as well as the social, cultural, political, legal, economic and global contexts of practice to respond effectively within a human rights and social justice framework

GA5 - Ability to review, critically analyse and synthesise knowledge and values and apply reflective thinking skills to inform professional judgement and practice

GA6 - Ability to apply research knowledge and skills to understand, evaluate and use research to  inform practice and to develop, execute and disseminate research informed by practice

GA7 - Demonstration of effective communication and interpersonal skills

GA8 - Ability to work with diversity and demonstrate respect for cultural difference

GA9 - Understanding of the importance of and commitment to ongoing professional development

AASW Practice Standards

This unit has been mapped to the ACU Graduate Attributes, AASW Graduate Attributes and the AASW Practice Standards. The following table sets out the broad relationship between the Learning Outcomes, ACU Graduate Attributes, AASW Graduate Attributes and the AASW Practice Standards

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes


1.1 Practice in accordance with the AASW Code of Ethics 

1.2 Manage ethical dilemmas and issues arising in practice

2.1 Represent the social work profession with integrity and professionalism

2.2 Behave in a professional manner and be accountable for all actions and decisions


1.1       Practice in accordance with the Code of Ethics (2010)

1.2       Manage ethical dilemmas and issues arising in practice

2.1 Represent the social work profession with integrity and professionalism

2.2 Behave in a professional manner and be accountable for all actions and decisions

 3.1 work respectfully and inclusively with cultural differences and diversity

3.2 respect, strive to understand and promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures

4.1 Understand higher level systemic influences on people with respect to area of practice

4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts

4.3 Understand the role of research and evaluation in obtaining and generating new knowledge for practice

4.4 Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice.

5.1 conduct an assessment and analysis of needs to inform the services being offered

5.2 Work collaboratively with relevant people

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice

6.1 Effectively communicate with a diverse range of people

6.3 Effectively communicate with others in a team environment

6.4 Use information technology to communicate and provide services as appropriate

7.1 record and manage information appropriately

7.2 Keep and maintain information in accordance with ethical principles and relevant legislation

8.1 Actively participate in professional supervision

8.2 Engage in continuing professional development as outlined in the AASW continuing professional development requirements



Integrative seminars respond to the learning needs of students as they work toward meeting the AASW requirements for placement. Seminars are interactive and experience-based discussions and exercises that explore placement processes and experiences with a focus on

  • relating theory and knowledge to practice
  • exploring values & ethics in practice
  • critical reflection 
  • building social work identity.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

For this first professional experience unit, the main teaching and learning strategies include experiential learning, reflective learning, practice - theory integration and skills development. Details about placement learning are in the Handbook and should be read in light of the Learning Outcomes of this unit. Planned learning goals and strategies for the specific placement will be recorded in the Learning Agreement and are assessed as the placement progresses. Integrative seminars foster theory-practice integration and social work identity development through sharing and discussion of placement experience in accordance with learning outcomes.


Punctual and full attendance on the placement is an essential requirement for the unit. The attendance requirements are specified in ACU Assessment Policy and guided by requirements of of AASW accredited social work programs.. Attendance at all integrative seminars is expected and an attendance record of all seminars will be kept.  Students are required to attend at least 80% of all integrative seminars scheduled for this unit.

Reasons why attendance is required                  

In integrative seminars, students will be interacting with each other and developing skills which they will use in professional/clinical experience. Students who do not attend are at risk of not developing these essential skills. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Students are assessed on a range of activities that accumulate over the beginning, middle and end of their placement, and which reflect developmental and experiential learning principles. These strategies include presentations, a Learning Agreement, Mid Placement Report and Final Placement Report. Students are also required to submit a signed timesheet at the end of their placement. Each assessment task is informed by the identified learning outcomes for the unit. In negotiation with the ACU Liaison Visitor and Social Work Supervisor, students will be able to revise the Learning Agreement and Mid Placement Report in response to feedback on the requirements to achieve a satisfactory standard.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Learning Agreement – Detailed statement of the learning activities and strategies for the student placement.


LO1, LO2, LO3 


Mid Placement Report – Report of student progress against the goals set out in the Learning Agreement 


LO1, LO2, LO3 


Final Placement Report – Final report of student learning achieved on placement and identification of areas for future development


LO1, LO2, LO3 


Completed timesheet

Students are required to maintain and submit a record of the placement hours completed in order to meet AASW requirements for graduation as a social worker.



GA2, GA5

Representative texts and references

AASW Social Work field assessment  retrieved from 13/5/2015

Australian Association of Social Workers (2010). Code of ethics. AASW: Canberra.

Australian Association of Social Workers (2013). Practice standards. AASW: Canberra.

Cleak, H. & Wilson, J. (2019). (4th.Ed.) Making the most of field education. South Melbourne:

Cengage Learning.

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