Professional licenciate studies

The network arranges studies leading to the professional licentiate degree in either social or political sciences, with the programmes building on the master’s degree which students have complemented to become qualified social workers. The licentiate degree comprises professional, scientifically oriented postgraduate education in a special field of social work. The aim of the degree is to strengthen the scientific foundation of professional practice and to promote professional skills that draw on a research-oriented approach to social work.

The Ministry of Education has approved the following specialized areas for the professional licentiate degree in social work:

1) Social Work with Children and Young People
2) Empowering Social Work
3) Social Work in the Field or Marginalisation
4) Specialisation in Welfare Services
5) Community Social Work

The need for professional licentiate degree in social work is based on the following facts:

  • increasing need for specialized knowledge
  • demand for high-level expertise due to renewal of task-structures
  • increasing need for knowledge gained from research
  • resposibility of social work to develop social field
  • expansion of professionalism in research and analysis
  • development of the theory and methodology of social work
  • securing the preresquities for consultation and supervision and improving the quality of social work

The point of departure for professional licentiate degree in social work is to strengthen the scientific foundation of profession practice and to promote objective oriented research. The basic objective is to advance higher professional skills.

The degree programme can be completed in four years and it can be carried out while working. It is intended for practioners who have completed their Master’s degree in social work and who have at least two years of work experiense in social work. Active supervision at work is part of the programme. The degree consists of studies in research methodology, studies in the special field of social work, optional courses, and licentiate thesis.

A pilot project in the specialized field of Social Work with Children and Youth began in 2000. Programmes in Social Work in the Area of Marginalisation and Empowering Social Work began in 2001. A programme in Community Social Work and the second programme in Social Work with Children and Youth has begun in early 2004. Twenty-five students were selected for each area of specialization.