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EMMA Erasmus Mundus Master Advanced Development in Social Work

EMMA 22 months School of Health and Social Care Lincoln Campus [L] Validated

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Erasmus Mundus


This Social Work programme has been designed for social sector professionals who wish to gain advanced skills and expertise, especially in international and cross-cultural settings.

The course aims to enable graduates to work in senior roles in social work, international development and nongovernmental organisations, for example advanced case work, policy and strategy, project development, applied research or stakeholder partnership. Human rights, empowerment, participation and critical analysis lie at the heart of the curriculum.

The course structure currently includes a full term of study in
Lincoln, Aalborg and Lisbon as well as intensive study schools
in Paris and Warsaw. Students have the opportunity to exchange and analyse previous professional experience as well as learn new skills and competencies. Students can complete a research project on a chosen topic in international social work that can form the basis for publication, practice-based resources or PhD study.

Full details of the course, including information about scholarships available for EU and non-EU students, are available at:

How You Study

The ADVANCES curriculum emphasises intercultural understanding where students can learn from each other through mutual exchange and cooperation. The programme is delivered by experienced academics and practitioners and underpinned by a problem-based teaching model. Students are encouraged to become engaged and independent learners who can critically analyse, synthesise and apply knowledge.

A diverse range of teaching methods are designed to support the development of advanced knowledge and practice skills. These will include workshops, reading groups, presentations, small group work, discussion-based seminars and core lectures. Field trips, guest speakers and three practice placements are integrated into the course to expose students to social services in a range of countries and support them in becoming reflective practitioners.

Electronic resources in the form of a virtual learning environment (VLE), e-books, e-journals and multimedia-based teaching are available to support students on the ADVANCES course.

Modules have been organised around competences rather than individual topics or service user groups. This is to encourage the development of skills that are relevant and transferable to a wide range of professional spheres. Knowledge of particular social issues and service user groups will be ‘wrapped’ within modules concentrating on key professional tasks, for example communication, inter-professional learning, social research, problem solving and ethics.

Course Structure:

1. Development of core academic skills:

Semester 1 (University of Lincoln, UK):

1. Critical Knowledge and Perspectives on Society
2. Advanced Theories, Methods and Interventions
3. Communication and Creativity in Social Work
4. Working within Social and Public Spaces.

Semester 2 (Aalborg University, Denmark):

1. Power relations and actor perspectives.
2. Problem-based approaches in Social Work
3. Field study – power relations and actor perspectives in everyday social work.

Summer School (Paris West University, France):

1. Practice-oriented research in social work.

Semester 3 (Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal):

1. Globalisation, Migrations and Cultural Diversity
2. Globalised Social Work and Sustainable Development
3. Professional Ethics and Human Rights
4. Social Administration and Social Entrepreneurship
5. Social Work Research Methods.

Semester 4 (all countries):

1. Research Project.

Final conference: Warsaw University, Poland.

Contact Hours and Independent Study

Due to the nature of this programme weekly contact hours may vary. Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to spend at least two - three hours in independent study. For more detailed information specific to this course please contact the programme leader.

How You Are Assessed

The assessments in the ADVANCES programme are designed to be relevant to social work practice and future careers. In place of traditional academic assignments, tasks like social intervention proposals, case studies, reflective commentaries and team projects aim to ensure a professional orientation. Drawing on the philosophy of continuous assessment, most modules will be assessed by two assignments, generally one written and one presentation or project-based, in order to encourage a wide range of academic and professional competences.

Students are expected to undertake an action-oriented research project in Semester 4 that evaluates a particular social work issue or aspect of social service performance. Students are encouraged to generate their own research topics to ensure maximum fit with their career goals and professional interests.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Interviews & Applicant Days

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by telephone or Skype to explore their critical thinking, self-reflection, academic ability and understanding of social work.

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours degree, a minimum of one year of full-time professional experience in the social sector and a professional social work licence (if required by law in your country).

English competence equivalent to 6.5 Academic IELTS (including 6.5 in speaking and writing).

Applicants do not need to prove English language competence if they are a citizen of one of the following countries, or hold an academic qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor degree taught in one of these countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America.

Application forms for the ADVANCES programme will be made available on in mid-November.

Applications will need to include details of education and professional experience, a 350-word motivation statement, a 350-word reflection on professional experience and two references.

Key Contacts

Dr Michael Rasell
+44 (0)1522 886852

+44 (0)1522 886286

Master's Level

Advanced Methods and Interventions (University of Lincoln) (Core)

This module provides a critical examination of assessment and intervention models and incorporates practitioner reflection on social work practice as essential for knowledge building and action.

Assessing needs and selecting appropriate interventions is a complex process requiring professional judgement, sensitivity to service user priorities and awareness of available resources. It is important to think about the origins and relevance of models and systems that guide assessments and decision-making in social work practice, especially in an era where populations and needs are becoming increasingly diverse and global.

Communication and Creativity in Social Work (University of Lincoln) (Core)

Working with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Communicating effectively and responsively requires a high level of professional social work knowledge, skills and creativity, especially with vulnerable people, communities, society and others.

This module aims to provide students with an interdisciplinary range of theoretical and applied perspectives to support communication and creativity in practice. It will examine theoretical and applied aspects of sensitively interacting with individuals, groups and communities to define and meet needs, including through community based methods, approaches and initiatives.

The module seeks to recognise and apply theoretical linkages to real life challenges of effective communication and creative practice for social work. Students will have the opportunity to examine the various skills and approaches that may be needed with different people and groups.

Core Academic Skills (University of Lincoln) (Core)

Skills for independent and reflective learning are a crucial foundation of postgraduate study and professional development. Generic ‘soft skills’ and more technical competences are required to make learning effective. Equally, employer emphasis on lifelong learning and professional development make it important to have techniques that ensure up-to-date knowledge and skills.

Students will have the opportunity to work with their academic tutors and other staff members to devise an individualised programme of skills-based training attuned to their academic and professional experience and needs. Sessions will be offered in a range of relevant academic and academic-related related competences, for example academic English, reflective learning, learning styles, essay writing, reading skills, academic writing for social work, team work, group learning, presentation skills, reflective writing, evidence-based practice, using electronic resources, software and web design skills and personal development planning.

Critical Knowledge and Perspectives on Society (University of Lincoln) (Core)

This module aims to develops a comparative and critical knowledge base on social issues relevant to contemporary social work practice, especially in international and culturally diverse contexts.

Given the varied educational and practice backgrounds of ADVANCES students, the module is designed to act as a mutual platform for analysing the aims, ethics, values and practices of social work. The module is rooted in critical perspectives about the socially constructed nature of knowledge and the power dynamics involved in defining the legitimacy and hierarchy of knowledge about key social issues.

Students are expected to share their practice and academic knowledge and learn to interrogate the meaning of well-being, risk, care and rights. A focus on the lived experiences of social issues and professional responses aims to help students to appreciate how their learning is relevant to the sphere of social work practice, ranging from individual service users to groups and communities.

Field Study: Power Relations and Actor Perspectives in Social Work (Aalborg University) (Core)

The aim of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills and competences to conduct field work with a focus on power relations and actor perspectives.

Students will be placed in a Danish institutional setting for fourteen days. During the placement, students are expected to conduct a piece of field work defining the specific institutional dynamics within the organisation related to actor perspectives and power relations. This module represents the practical application of themes and approaches covered in other modules on problem-based approaches and power and actors within welfare systems.

Globalised Social Work and Sustainable Development (University of Lisbon) (Core)

Understanding local needs and community actions is a crucial foundation of sustainable development. Social workers are permanently at the cornerstone of change, and this module aims to provide the theoretical and methodological tools for critically understanding social and political realities and the planning and development of sustainable development projects following a community perspective.

In this module, students will have the opportunity to share their practical experiences and learn to identify and transfer core skills, methods and concepts between communities and cultures.

Globalization, Migrations and Cultural Diversity (Technical University of Lisbon) (Core)

This module focuses on the social work implications of cultural diversity in a globalised world today, especially in a European context. It aims to support students in developing culturally competent professional practice that prioritises ethics, problem solving, and the ability to construct and have a place among the complexities of migration and cultural change.

Power Relations and Actor Perspectives (Aalborg University) (Core)

This module provides the opportunity to develop knowledge, competences and skills to study, analyse, conceptualise and critically reflect upon how welfare is produced within the welfare state, specific areas of social policy, administration and in social work practice with service users. There will be a particular focus on how multiple actor perspectives and power relations at various levels and within different fields of society influence the production of wellbeing. This also involves an understanding of how this production is related to a wider international context of welfare, social policy and social work practice including the shaping and transformations of different welfare regimes.

Practice-oriented Research in Social Work (University of Warsaw and University Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense) (Core)

This module is dedicated to practice-oriented research in social work. This is a Summer School event which provides a forum where students, researchers and practitioners can share their knowledge and discuss the mutual impact and interrelationship between research and action in social work.

Different kinds of practice-oriented research will be presented, including a focus on research methodology and service evaluation. Students can learn to relate the methods and results of research to their political, financial, organisational, and methodological contexts. Students are also expected to reflect on the importance of the researcher’s position within the research field.

The Summer School is also an opportunity for students to summarise and openly discuss their experience gained within the first year of the ADVANCES programme as well as meet their counterparts who are finishing their second year.

Problem Based Learning: Power Relations and Actor Perspectives in Social Work (Aalborg University) (Core)

Problem and Project Based Learning (PBL) is an approach to teaching, learning and research practice based on the idea that the students’ wondering and reflections should guide the learning process and the definition of the problem to be studied.

During this module, students can develop an understanding of the theories, methods and practices of Problem and Project Based Learning, as well as the skills to define, study, analyse and critically reflect on problems related to power relations and actor perspectives in a problem based way.

Professional Ethics and Human Rights (University of Lisbon) (Core)

Promoting human dignity and fighting all forms of exclusion, oppression and discrimination are at the heart of the social work profession. As such, social work policy and practice cannot be conceived without a clear commitment to human rights.

This module is designed to explore ethical guidelines and provide the opportunity to develop a solid foundation to apply rights-based principles in social work policy, research and practice. It will examine the role of social work in protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, emphasising the linkages between social work, ethics and human rights.

Professional ethical dilemmas will be analysed and case studies and policy examples will be discussed to illustrate the application of human rights principles in real-life settings. These case studies aims to demonstrate how to identify relevant human rights issues and then connect these issues to key ethical responsibilities, including through the use of critical self-reflection. Through discussions with other students and invited speakers, students will be encouraged to think critically about current and complex social problems and what they can do to create positive change.

Research Project (All ADVANCES Partner Universities) (Core)

Extending the knowledge base of social work and studying emerging issues in practice are important aspects of advanced social work. The final stage of the ADVANCES master programme therefore includes a fieldwork period of 2-3 months as well as a Master’s dissertation which is closely connected to it. In their research projects, students will be asked to investigate and evaluate the effectiveness of social services in meeting user needs.

Both the field work and research project represent a central part of the ADVANCES programme where students are expected to put into practice the theoretical and practical knowledge they have acquired.

The research project represents the culmination and demonstration of students’ learning with strong links to earlier modules around field work, practice-oriented research and research methods. The project must be based on primary research and contain evidence of conceptual engagement, practice reflection and the ability to transfer knowledge and skills between settings.

Social Administration and Social Entrepreneurship (Technical University of Lisbon) (Core)

This module aims to explore the full cycle of social administration and project development. Three broad dimensions are considered: planning, organising and coordinating. Students can learn to identify new opportunities and propose useful initiatives to meet people's needs. Creativity and opportunity recognition strategies are essential in this phase along with techniques for anticipating and responding to change and risk. After this, teaching will focus on “opportunity selling” within the stakeholders’ network and the management of resources and talents needed to implement new projects. Students can explore the various components that shape the delivery of social services: human resources, support for staff, working environment, knowledge of customers and their needs, and collaboration on strategic goals. Finally, attention will be paid to the evaluation of services and projects according to service user orientation, efficiency and impact.

Social Work Research Methods (Technical University of Lisbon) (Core)

Having had the opportunity to develop a grounding in research mindfulness, evidence-based practice and practice-oriented research during the first year of ADVANCES, this module is designed to equip students with the concrete methods to independently undertake their own research projects.

This module aims to prepare students for a critical overview of qualitative research methods, to apply their knowledge by carrying out a high quality research project in social work, and to understand the relevance of research to the development of the social work profession.

The overall framework for the module is Participatory Action Research (PAR), where research is seen as a collaboration between service users and practitioners designed to instantiate and evaluate specific change and innovation. The module aims to provide students with a solid background to develop, organise and produce their ADVANCES research project as well as research reports, grant proposals and papers.

Working within Social and Public Spaces (University of Lincoln) (Core)

In this module, students will have the chance to examine the situated nature of practice within ‘social’ and ‘public’ spaces. Beginning with an examination of the historical roots of social work practice, learning will focus on different theories in relation to the concept of ‘space’ and their relevance for contemporary social work practice.

Students will be supported in applying these theories and concepts through examples and their own project activities. There will be a critical examination of the implications for promoting resilience, empowerment and rights in social work. Students can then consider the role of social workers in public and multi-disciplinary settings through an examination of the knowledge and theories that support collaboration with professionals from different fields. This will include issues associated with complex situations, especially disaster management and reconstruction.


Dedicated placements have been built into three semesters so that learning can be applied and developed in practice settings and students can benefit from exposure to different welfare models around Europe. The placements are not designed to introduce students to practice, but rather as focused events that can support learning around particular topics.

The first placement in Lincoln (two weeks) is linked to inter-professional working, while in Aalborg, students can focus on how power inequalities affect interactions with service users as well as within welfare structures (two weeks).

All consortium partners will offer a fieldwork placement of 2-3 months for the research project in Semester 4, which will involve either a placement in one setting or data collection across sites depending on the project developed by the student.

Career and Personal Development

This programme aims to equip graduates to work in social work roles around the world in settings including social services, social policy, international development and private sector care industries. The advanced skills you can develop may be applied to roles in research and policy development.

Other Costs

The following expenses are not included in the fee: travel to/from ADVANCES institutions, visa-related costs, residence permits, accommodation, personal living expenses, textbooks students may wish to purchase, personal computers, optional field trips and classes.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

Programme Specific Funding & Bursaries


4,500 Euros per year for EU candidates and 9,000 Euros per year for non-EU students

Erasmus Mundus Scholarships

The European Commission will provide a limited number of full scholarships for non-EU students and partial scholarships for EU students. These will be awarded based on academic merit and geographical background. Full details are available on the course website at:

Non-EU students are defined as those who come from outside the 27 members of the European Union plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein. They cannot be residents of these countries nor have carried out their main activity (studies, training or work) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in any European country.

Discount for Employer Funding

The ADVANCES course offers a 25% discount on tuition fees to students who obtain funding from their employer, a government body or international organisation to take part in the course. This will be applied as a waiver of the fourth instalment of fees and is conditional on a signed agreement between the student, organisation and ADVANCES consortium. Please email the ADVANCES Coordinator for more details.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.