Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


1000 level

Course handbook


This course provides an overview of the human services sector and the role of the human service worker within it. It examines macro and micro level influences on the historical developments of the Australian Welfare State and service delivery models. It explores the knowledge, skills and values required of the human services worker in dealing with a range of complex social issues. It highlights the structural disadvantage of many service users and explores progressive approaches to human service practice. It covers the theories and knowledge that underpin different types of practice undertaken by human service workers and establishes the importance of ethical and professional standards in practice.



  • Semester 1 - 2022


  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify key aspects of the human services sector including: its history and social context; forms of practice; the influence of beliefs, values, attitudes, ethics and practice standards.

2. Describe the social conditions experienced by one or more groups of people in Australia and human services responses to these groups.

3. Apply, at an introductory level, distinct practice approaches that might be used in human services with individuals, groups and communities.

4. Apply introductory level reflective strategies to their experiences in order to extend learning about human services and their personal response to the content.


The course will include the following topics:

  • Historical Foundations of Australia‚Äôs Social Welfare System and Human Services Industry
  • Philosophical Perspectives
  • Ethics and Values
  • Roles and Domains of Practice
  • Practice Standards
  • Knowledge Base of Practice
  • Practice Frameworks and Approaches
  • Stages of intervention including engagement, assessment, intervention, termination and review
  • Social Control and Human Services
  • Specific Issues such as gender and racial inequality
  • Difference, Diversity and Cultural Competence
  • Tensions and Trends in the Human Services
  • Critical and Reflective practice


If you have successfully completed SPSW1001 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assessment items

Quiz: Online Multiple Choice - 30%

Journal: Research and Presentation - 30%

Written Assignment: Mock Case Plan - 40%

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.