Social Work: specialisation Social Work in the Context of Global Crises

Master‘s studies @ Vytautas Magnus University
1 Jun Application deadline
26 Aug Start date
2 years Study duration full-time
4384€ Tuition fee for Eu citizens

Programme overview

The Master in Social Work aims to train highly qualified social workers with the knowledge, skills, and methods needed to effectively apply social work interventions that are based on social justice and human rights for peoples‘ empowerment, structural changes, social inclusion, and social cohesion. The specialization “Social Work in the Context of Global Crises” provides an opportunity to deepen the knowledge of social work interventions by combining the immediate and long-term emotional, relational, social, and practical needs of individuals, families, communities, and society, the provision of social services, the trauma’s overcoming, community (re)building and advocacy in the context of intercultural conflicts and global crises. The specialization is delivered in English. The degree is a Master of Social Sciences. 

Social Work: specialisation Social Work in the Context of Global Crises program is the one for you if you want to learn how to:  

  • Promote the liberation of people from oppressive conditions and their empowerment. 
  • Solve social problems arising from social inequality and discrimination against people. 
  • Understand and put into practice the principles of human rights and social justice. 
  • Acquire skills in analyzing and critically evaluating social service ideas and practices. 
  • Acquire skills in analyzing and critically evaluating social policies and decision-making processes in relation to social welfare. 
  • Engage people and structures to address life’s challenges.  
  • Support families and children in conflict and crises. 
  • Acquire knowledge and skills in family counseling and group work. 
  • Promote social inclusion and human well-being, especially in situations of marginalization and oppression. 
  • Make innovative – human rights-based – decisions in the provision of social services. 
  • Have a wider range of career choices, whether to continue in social service provision, social policy-making, or civil society movements and advocacy. 
  • Apply social work interventions. 
  • Articulate between micro (interpersonal), mezzo (organizational), and macro (policy) levels in addressing social inequality and marginalization of people. 
  • Create and manage social services and psychosocial support for people, including in humanitarian crises. 

Competencies acquired 

Theoretical knowledge and research-based skills  

  • To systemize conceptual approaches about the changes and perspectives of social work theories by paying specific attention to the critical and social constructionism paradigms that substantiate the application of innovative social work practice, methods, and interventions in professional contexts. 
  • To design and perform the human rights-based research of social work practice and its contexts by applying quantitative and qualitative research methodologies with the aim to bring up to date the social work practice in micro, mezzo, and macro levels for the promotion of human rights and social justice in line with the human rights standards. 

Professional competencies and skills 

  • To justify the purposefulness and effectiveness of social work intervention by developing ethically-based and enabling empowering social worker’s and user’s interactions by use of specialized methods of work with individuals, families, and/or groups in unpredictable complex situations. 
  • To initiate the creation and development of projects for social services, programs, and/or organizations by integrating the enabling innovative principles and methods of the management of organizations and interdisciplinary collaboration, by engaging local, national, and international financial, human and structural resources as well. 
  • To substantiate the application of the human rights standards in social work and the importance of social work values for the development of innovations of empowering social service. 
  • To comprehend the results of the analysis of the links between policies, resources, and social structures, and to develop the recommendations for the improvement of social policy, the development of the social service system, and sustainable social development to achieve sustainable and positive change. 

Social and personal skills 

  • To reasonably communicate professional information through cooperating with social work professionals, service users, and representatives of other professions and fields, and ethical and responsible ways to present relevant social and professional issues. 
  • To critically assess one’s and others’ continuing professional learning and the use of innovative social work professional knowledge along with the application of practical and research methods, the reflection on professional and learning experience and its effects on social wellbeing. 

Feedback of lecturers and students 

“In the world were global issues, including, but not limited to social exclusion, poverty, abuse, armed conflicts and migration, are at the forefront of social discussion, the qualified professionals in the matter are in growing demand. Our programme focuses on ability and skills of social workers to help people to overcome difficult challenges in their life by taking the roles of counselor and facilitator, also of advocacy actors pushing governments to change harmful laws, supporting assistance programs, and starting new initiatives aimed at helping people through difficult times.” 

Director of the program, prof. Jonas Ruškus, former (2015-2022) expert of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations. 

“I would say it is like my destiny—being in Lithuania and studying in VDU is an experience which has had great influences on my way of thinking, and my view toward the world. Two months after I returned to China, there was an earthquake happened in the south-west part of China, Yunnan. I was assigned to the post-earthquake area, as a program coordinator, trying to build some safe places in the villages or schools for the children, where they could study, play and learn some skills. Right now I am working as a manager in the children’s home. It is very a challenging job and I am still learning how to work for the children. I feel I am doing something I have been wanting to do. I always miss my life and my study in VDU—it was sweet and bitter. Somehow it gives me courage to move forward—life is a journey and I have tried my best. “

Huang Fengyi, China, graduate 

“Studying social work has not only enriched me as a social worker, it has also allowed me to grow as a person. During my studies, everything seemed to make sense because all the subjects and practice were complementary. The knowledge I received was educational in a comprehensive way. As a student, I saw how the lecturers were involved in various activities, interested in the realities of social work and the changes that were taking place, and treated you as an equal colleague. When you see this kind of enthusiasm from the lecturers, it touches you. You cannot remain indifferent.”  

Gerda Laurinavičienė, Lithuania, Graduate. 

“My studies have had a huge impact on my career. While I was still a student, a lecturer inspired me to run a support group for parents of children and young people with intellectual disabilities at my then workplace. Later I was asked to run similar groups in other institutions, for example for teenagers with intellectual disabilities. Slowly the topics of the groups changed, but the inspiration to run the groups remained. This led me to groups for adolescents on stress management, communication, and cooperation training, and other topics. My studies led me to facilitate groups, and the groups led me step by step to my current area of work – helping young people and their families”

Rasa Vėjalytė, Lithuania, Graduate. 

“Studying social work gives you advanced knowledge and practical skills to work with different client groups, and even if you don’t work in social work, the skills you learn will be useful in everyday life and in a variety of situations. It’s a study about real life!” 

Kęstutis Vaišnora, Lithuania, Graduate

Admission Requirements

  • Minimum 60 % CGPA 
  • Bachelor or equivalent degree in social sciences or humanities. Bachelor’s degree diploma in other sciences – additional courses will be required (please contact the university). 
  • Proof of English Language: applicant has to present document proving B2 level (TOEFL 87-109 iBT/534-633 PBT, IELTS 5,5-6,5, Cambridge English First (FCE) 161-180, BEC Vantage 161-180, Michigan ECCE (min. 650), PTE General Level 3, TOEIC Listening & Reading 785, TOEIC Speaking & Writing 310, Duolingo 100-125, EnglishScore 400-499 (CoreSkills)) if the applicant is not native speaker and/or had not received education in English. 

Admission score is counted based on: (A) Arithmetic average of bachelor’s degree diploma supplement all subjects* 0,4 +  grade of the Bachelor thesis or final examination* 0,3 + Motivation Letter and Interview* 0,3. 

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