SOWK203-24S2 (D) Semester Two 2024 (Distance)

Social Policy, Social Justice and Activism

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


This course examines key principles guiding policy on the provision of social services. Trends and debates around the shifting relationship between welfare systems and the state are explored along with factors influencing the delivery of human services in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Students will learn to critically assess the implications of social service delivery for providers and consumers of welfare services, and issues around the impact of inequalities in society.

This course examines the relationships between social policy, social justice and activism. Trends and debates around the shifting relationship between social service systems and the state are explored along with factors influencing the delivery of social services in Aotearoa/New Zealand.  Students will learn to critically assess the implications of welfare delivery for providers and consumers of social services, and the impact of inequalities and injustices in societies, especially in our Aotearoa society. This will include looking at social justice issues historically to contemporary realities and the current use of activism to shift policy. The purpose of the course is that students develop a refined ability to analyse contemporary social issues in a systematic way, helping equip them as future social work or social service practitioners to apply their understanding.   A history of social policy and activism in Aotearoa is included in the course with emphasis on the effects of colonisation and iwi resurgence in sustaining well-being.

Learning Outcomes

  • Sound grasp of social policy theories and how they inform current debates.
  • Refined capacity to analyse and explain the complex interplay of factors that influence policy development including social justice and activist movements.
  • Advanced understanding of policy process and implementation in Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • Facility to critically assess the impact of social policy on service provision.
  • Developing the skills to participate in policy development.

    Learning Goals:
    1. To introduce social policy as it has developed in Aotearoa/New Zealand (pre-colonial and in the settler colonial state).
    2. To explore ideologies, values and beliefs that underpin current social policy debates.
    3. To explore the place of social justice movements and activism in policy development
    4. To introduce policy formulation and policy process and key opportunities of participation
    5. To analyse contemporary social issues and their social policy implications
    6. To consider the influence of social policy on both social service organization’s and their clients
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 15 points at 100 level from HSRV or SOWK, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA, or
from the Schedule C to the BSW(Hons).


Equivalent Courses

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 13:00 - 15:00 Online Delivery
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Online A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 Online Delivery
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct

Course Coordinator

Kerri Cleaver


Kerri Cleaver


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Blog 23 Aug 2024 35% (800 words)
Social Justice Activation map 20 Sep 2024 35%
Vlog submission 25 Oct 2024 30% (5 minute submission video)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $844.00

International fee $3,950.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Health Sciences .

All SOWK203 Occurrences

  • SOWK203-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024
  • SOWK203-24S2 (D) Semester Two 2024 (Distance)