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International Courses in Social Work

Two 10-week courses on the development of general social work and sustainable urban social work

Institute of Social Work

We offer you the opportunity to study innovation, entrepreneurship, and development in social work and sustainable urban social work.

You will study with fellow students from Denmark and all over Europe who have a shared interest in the development of general social work and sustainable urban social work in particular—an area where social work faces challenges in countries throughout Europe.

You will live in Copenhagen, a beautiful and safe capital that has attracted international attention for offering excellent quality of life. You will meet teachers with various professional backgrounds, including social work, psychology, social science, and law.

In addition to general information about University College Copenhagen, this brochure includes specific information about the course, how to apply, and other useful information about being a student in Copenhagen.

Structure of the studies

The semester includes two modules, which, together, last 20 weeks and are worth 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.


Vulnerable youth in urban areas — exploring challenges and opportunities through a sustainability perspective

(10 weeks from primo September until mid-November or primo February until mid-April)


How do social workers act to promote a more sustainable future in cities? How do we as urban citizens want our future cities to be? What are the social dimensions of sustainability, and how are these linked to economic and environmental sustainability? And what are the values the social work profession wants to promote when producing socially just and sustainable cities?

This module focuses on social work with urban youth, and through a continuous focus on sustainability, ethics, and values in social work, 3 study loops will guide us towards the best answers to the questions. The 3 loops are:

  • Loop 1: Sustainable transitions to adult life in an accelerated era (3 weeks)
  • Loop 2: Politics and planning in an urban era: homelessness and precarious living conditions in welfare and wealth cities (3 weeks)
  • Loop 3: Gender, sexuality, and diversity: challenges and opportunities in an individualized and competitive era (3 weeks + 1 exam week)

Pedagogically, the loops are connected through a consistent philosophical and communicative method called protreptic; a method that is well suited to promote social sustainability.

Protreptic, which was first developed by the Greeks around 400 BC, means ‘to turn’ towards the essential values of life: ‘the good,’ ‘the just,’ ‘the true,’ ‘the beautiful.’ A protreptic dialogue has no right or wrong answers.

Thus, it can be a space where people in different power positions can meet and participate on equal ground. As such, protreptic dialogue give voice to those who are usually not heard.

In social work, a similar focus on liberation, the contradiction of power relations, and dialogue versus anti-dialogue can be found in the work of Paulo Freire.

In the module, we use his directions for action in dialogue to facilitate value-based dialogues about vulnerable youth and urban development.

The dialogues take place between social work students, teachers, and social workers who are working with vulnerable youth in the city (e.g., they are vulnerable due to long-term unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, sex work/prostitution, loneliness, crime, lack of rights, etc.)

The module, which includes a range of field visits in Copenhagen and practice related exercises, utilizes research based teaching materials from the Erasmus+ project Urban SOS.

Throughout the module, we explore the organization of social work with vulnerable youth in all sectors (civil, private, and public) through the lens of critical social work theory.

During the loops, we will work with concepts such as identity, individualization, social capital, social acceleration, urbanization, place, gender, diversity, stigma, agency, sustainability, etc.

We will also discuss which social work tools, approaches, and methods are best suited to act on challenges and opportunities for vulnerable youth in an urban era in the most sustainable manner.

Learning objectives

The student possesses knowledge about:
  • Welfare systems and urban policies in a comparative perspective
  • Social mobility, family patterns, gender, and sexuality
  • Social problems and living conditions related to different groups of youth in urban areas
  • Social work, approaches, and methods in a comparative and sustainable perspective
The student possesses the skills to:
  • Identify, describe, and analyze social problems in relation to the module themes
  • Communicate about the module themes in a value-based, transparent, and ethical manner
  • Consider the best employment of relevant methods aimed at problem solution in relation to the module themes
The student possesses the competencies to:
  • Identify and reflect on ethical dilemmas in relation to the themes of the course
  • Apply critical thinking and reflection in relation to the students’ values


Individual oral examination with internal grading.

This course begins in September and February every year.

Award: 15 ECTS credit points.

Social Work Quality Assurance, Evaluation, and Practice Development

(10 weeks from mid-November until the end of January or from mid-April until the end of June)


This module focuses on development of social work through documentation, quality assurance, and evaluation. Great emphasize is placed on different methods of project work, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Relevant perspectives, theories, and methods for documentation, evaluation, and quality assurance are included.

Learning objectives

The student possesses knowledge about:
  • Central paradigms and theories of social work
  • Concepts and standards for documentation and evaluation of quality
  • Methods for development and evaluation
The student possesses the skills to:
  • Identify, describe, and delimit needs for further development in practice
  • Search for and apply relevant empirical and research-based knowledge
  • Analyse social performances with involvement of the expected effect, quality, and price
The student possesses the competencies to:
  • Apply methods to develop, document, and evaluate social performances in a concrete context
  • Involve relevant user groups and user perspectives


Students submit a project report. Individual grading is based on this and an oral presentation in the form of a group opponent seminar.

Award: 15 ECTS credit points.

General information

University College Copenhagen (KP) is the largest university college in Denmark. KP offers bachelor’s degree programs, academy profession degree programs, postgraduate studies and conducts applied research and development activities in welfare-sector subjects such as pedagogy, health, rehabilitation, welfare technology, management, teaching and social work. We also educate nurses, physiotherapists, psychomotor therapists, sign language interpreters and textile and handicraft designers.

Incoming Erasmus students are studying under the international/intercultural social work programme.

The 3 ½-year bachelor programme with a specialisation in International/Intercultural Social Work has existed in Copenhagen since 1999. For many years, we have offered a 30 ECTS
semester in English. Here, students from around Europe study together with our Danish students. We have an intake of around 15-25 Erasmus students each semester. Students are
educated to work internationally and nationally in both the public, private, and civil society sector. Throughout the education, we understand, analyse and address social problems and inequalities at a local and national level as results of global processes.

How we study

The course offers a range of lectures, study groups, field visits, tutorials, project groups, written assignments, and oral presentations.

During your stay, you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with people from various backgrounds who have many different experiences and views regarding social work. We consider this an important component of this educational programme, because we believe that students broaden their horizons and develop a strong professional identity through dialogue, debate, and interaction.

Studying in Copenhagen

Admission criteria

For admission to the course, you must have completed at least one year of a social work programme at your home university/college. Spoken and written English at B2 level is a prerequisite for all applicants. For more information about Erasmus Grants and conditions for studies abroad, please contact the Erasmus coordinator at your home institution.


The price range for a rented furnished room in Copenhagen is usually between 270 and 600 Euros per month. University College Copenhagen can provide accommodation.


Copenhagen has a fast and efficient public transport system including buses, metro and trains. A monthly saver card can be used on all public transport systems. However, most students save money by riding their bikes. A used bicycle costs about 100 Euros.

Further information

You will find much more information about our admission application and what University College Copenhagen can offer you as an exchange student online at Study at KP. Visit studyindenmark.dk for more general information.

The Institute of Social Work sits amid a lively area in the heart of Copenhagen. You will find it easy to get around by public transport or bicycle. Copenhagen is a dynamic and vibrant capital that is very attractive to students.

Copenhagen will offer you a wide range of social and cultural activities within easy reach. These include many different music venues, cafés and restaurants, parks, museums, international bookstores, cinemas, sports events, and many colleges and universities.

The courses takes place at

University College Copenhagen
Institute of Social Work
Kronprinsesse Sofies Vej 35
2000 Frederiksberg


Dorthe Juliane Høvids

Senior Lecturer, International Coordinator

+45 51 63 27 46