These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Diplomas and taught Masters Degrees.


The objectives of the programme are as follows;

  • To produce graduates who can provide leadership in the social sector.
  • To equip students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to engage in social planning.
  • To produce graduates with the capacity to advise governments and Non-governmental organisations on the design and implementation of social policies and programmes meant to enhance human well-being.
  • To equip students with higher level skills needed for effective social work interventions.

Entry Requirements


To qualify for entry in to the programme, an applicant should have a good Bachelor of Social Work Honours degree or a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, or an equivalent social work degree approved by the University. Registration with the Council for Social Workers is mandatory for all students enrolling into the programme.


The duration for the programme shall be three semesters and the programme shall be offered on a block-release basis.

  • Each module shall have 4 credits with the exception of Field Placement and Dissertation which shall have a weighting of 8 credits each.
  • The programme shall provide for specialisation. Students can choose either the development track or the clinical track.
  • A student must pass all modules in order to graduate.
  • Students are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and seminars.
  • A student must obtain at least 52 credits in order to graduate with a Master of Science in Social Work degree


  • Assessment of taught modules shall consist of continuous assessment and examination.
  • Continuous assessment shall account for 40% of the final mark.
  • An examination shall account for 60% of the final mark.
  • Examinations shall normally take place at the end the semester.

Refer to section 11 of the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Diplomas and taught Masters Degrees.

  • To proceed from one level to another, a student must pass at least 75% of the modules in that level.
  • A student in Level 1:2 who obtains a mark of less than 50% but not less than 40% may, at the approval of the University Senate take a supplementary examination in the failed module.

Refer to section 12 of the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Diplomas and Taught Masters Degrees.


Programme Structure


Level 1 Semester 1

Core Modules for the Development Track

CodeModule DescriptionCredits
MSW 701Comparative Social Policy4
MSW 702Social Planning4
MSW 703Management of Human Service Organisations4
MSW 704Social Protection4
MSW 714Advanced Social Research Methods4
Core Modules for the Clinical Track
MSW 703Management of Human Service Organisations4
MSW 705Advanced Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families4
MSW 714Advanced Social Research Methods4
MSW 706Family systems and relationships therapy4
MSW 707Introduction to drugs and substance addiction treatment4
Level 1 Semester 2

 Core Modules for the Development Track

MSW 708Advanced Community Development Theory and Practice4
MSW 709Critical Social Work4
Core Modules for the Clinical Track
MSW 710Advanced Clinical Practice with Groups4
MSW 711Forensic Social Work4
Elective Modules for both tracks (choose any two)
MSW 712Monitoring and Evaluation Practice in Human Service Organisations4
MSW 713Advanced Project Management for Development Interventions4
MSW 715Scenario Planning4
MSW 716Change Management Theory and Practice4
Level 2 Semester 1
MSW 801Field Placement8
MSW 802Dissertation8



MSW 701 Comparative Social Policy

This module examines social policy-making in different countries and focuses on specific areas such as health, education and personal social services. The main focus of the module is on unravelling the drivers in social policy making in different countries, particularly within the context of the North-South divide. The module thus provides students with an opportunity to interrogate some of these drivers in policy-making. Students shall draw from the African Union Social Policy Framework in order to understand the focus of social policy in Africa. The module also enables students to reflect on what would constitute an appropriate social policy regime for Zimbabwe.


MSW 702 Social Planning

This module explores global trends in social planning with particular reference to the different approaches to social planning, including the theoretical and philosophical perspectives in social planning. The module also examines the impact of globalisation on social planning. Issues and challenges in social planning shall be examined. Focus shall also be put on case studies that show different approaches to planning. At the end, students should be able to suggest an appropriate approach to social planning that can be adopted in Zimbabwe and other African countries.

MSW 703 Management of Human Service Organisations

This module is premised on the understanding that the ability of any human service organisation to discharge its mandates effectively is largely dependent on the kind of leadership an organisation has. The module therefore, explores how managers of human service organisations can ensure that service delivery in their organisations is efficient, transparent and effective. To this end, the module helps students to understand how different management styles/traits and skills have differential impact on service delivery within an organisation. The module examines different theoretical perspectives on organisational management with particular emphasis on Integral Theory given its relevance to social work. The module enables students to appreciate how both internal and external environments affect the management of human service organisations. Issues of fund raising inter agency collaboration and networking shall also be explored.

MSW 704 Social Protection

This module explores the different approaches to social protection and how these speak to international and regional human rights instruments. In particular, approaches to social protection adopted by the Asian Development Bank, International Labour Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank shall be examined. The module enables students to understand what constitutes a social protection package and what determines the choice of a particular social policy package. Students shall have an opportunity to make a critical analysis of Zimbabwe’s National Social Protection Policy with a view to identifying its strengths and weaknesses and possible pathways for extending social protection to everyone in society.

MSW 705 Advanced Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families

The module is designed to equip students with the ability to use appropriate clinical knowledge and skills in assessment and intervention processes when helping people suffering from a diverse range of ills. Building from knowledge gained at the undergraduate level, students deepen their understanding and practical application of various therapeutic models. Students shall learn the various counselling models used in advanced clinical practice. These include but shall not be limited to; Psychodynamic approaches, Experiential and relation-oriented therapies, and Cognitive behavioural approaches. Several theoretical models to crisis intervention and trauma counselling shall also be covered. Students shall also learn how to competently integrate various models and theories in the helping process. Among other core areas, the themes that will be covered in this module are; assessment, intervention, evaluation and discharge planning in psychotherapy, psychiatric assessment, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders; Loss, grief and mourning, case management within the child welfare system, child and adolescent psychiatry, palliative care, clinical intervention in school social work, supervision in clinical social work, ethics and research in clinical social work.

MSW 706 Family systems and relationships therapy

This module exposes clinical social work students to advanced therapeutic skills, techniques and theoretical models of family systems and relationships therapy. The module adopts an integrative approach that is designed to hone students’ ability to offer therapeutic intervention to families, couples and individuals. The module shall cover various topics which include but are not limited to; the family and family systems, premarital counselling, structural family therapy, strategic family therapy, solution-focused family therapy and narrative therapy. The module is designed to help clinical social work students to develop their own approach to family and relationships therapy while at the same time being able to use an integrative approach to family and relationships therapy that borrows from multiple theoretical perspectives. Self-knowledge is critical in family and relationships therapy, as such students are expected to reflect deeply on their own families, relationship experiences and cultural beliefs and explore how these factors may shape their own identity and practice as therapists.

MSW 707 Introduction to drugs and substance addiction treatment

Drugs and substance addiction is a complex phenomenon that is caused by multiple factors which include among others, social, cultural, biological and economic factors. The module on introduction to substance and addiction rehabilitation is designed to equip clinical social work students with knowledge on how to work with recovering addicts in individual practice or as part of multi-disciplinary teams. The module shall cover various topics which include but are not limited to, types of addictions, theories of addiction, assessment and diagnostic formulation, treatment planning and facilitation of individual and group therapeutic sessions. Effective drug and substance addiction treatment involves a comprehensive approach that involves legal services, family services, educational services, medical and mental health services. To this end, the module buttresses the need for an ecosystem approach to drugs and substance addiction treatment that requires the services of multi-disciplinary teams.

MSW 708 Advanced Community Development Theory and Practice

The module is designed to equip students with high level analytical skills for macro practice. Using advanced critical analysis methods, students learn about the history and rationale for community work, community development theories and models. The nexus between community development and social policy shall also be interrogated. On the other hand, students also learn about indigenous knowledge systems for community development and how such a knowledge base should be valued and taken into account when crafting community development interventions. Students shall be required to do case studies of community development interventions and provide a critical appraisal using the knowledge base acquired in class.

MSW 709 Critical Social Work

Critical social work seeks to locate and challenge the root causes of inequality and poverty amongst the marginalised and disenfranchised peoples. It is a type of social work that strives to attain structural rather than cosmetic changes in the economic, social and political arena. This module introduces students to critical /radical social work, its history and its tenets. Apart from using social work writers on critical or radical social work, the works of critical writers such Dambudzo Marechera, Saul Alinky, Paulo Freire, Steve Biko and Frantz Fanon among others shall be interrogated as they provide a frame of reference for, critical, reflective and radical social work practice

MSW 710 Advanced Clinical Practice with Groups

The purpose of this module is to equip students with advanced knowledge and skills utilised when using group work as a modality in the treatment or helping of individuals within the group work context. In this module students shall be introduced to several group work theories and practice techniques for advanced practice. Students shall also learn about theories of group leadership, data gathering and assessment techniques. Topical issues in group work such as group stages, group dynamics, member roles, group processes, and individual and group goal setting shall be covered. Students shall also learn about the various types of groups and the facilitation skills required for the competent handling of group work processes.

MSW 711 Forensic Social Work

This module introduces students to the practice forensic social work and the various fields and roles in which forensic social work is applied within the criminal justice system. Forensic social work is a critical practice in prisons, courts and juvenile centres. As such students shall be equipped with knowledge and skills on forensic social work with adult and juvenile offenders, appearing in court as expert witness, writing forensic background reports for courts and working on rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addiction in the criminal and juvenile justice system. Students shall also learn about forensic interviewing and evaluation techniques, forensic science techniques in social work and dealing with aggressive prosecutors when providing expert testimony on behalf of accused persons.

MSW 712 Monitoring and Evaluation Practice in Humans Service Organisations

This module introduces students to theoretical and practical aspects of program evaluation. Students shall learn about the fundamentals of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and the various theoretical frameworks and models used in M&E. It is expected that by the end of this module students should have acquired competence in both theoretical and practical aspects of the conceptualisation, design and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation plan. Students shall be introduced to the various data collection methods and techniques used in gathering data for program evaluation in all the critical stages of program design, implementation and close-out. Students shall be expected to competently develop the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the evaluation a development project or programme of their choice and do an actual evaluation as part of the practical learning process in this module.

MSW 713 Advanced Project Management for Development Interventions

This module is designed to equip students with high level competence in the design and implementation of development interventions in communities. The introductory part of the module covers, tools, techniques and methods that are commonly utilised in designing development interventions. The most critical aspects of the module focus on examining why development interventions often fail. Using case based learning, students shall learn about the common pitfalls in project planning and implementation. Students shall learn about the efficacy of indigenous knowledge systems and approaches in programme planning and implementation. Development interventions shall be looked at as a science that needs to be grounded in local context and implemented in a manner that leads to both material and mind liberation of beneficiary populations.

MSW 714 Advanced Social Research Methods

The module on advanced research methods builds on the research knowledge and skills acquired at the undergraduate level of study. It is intended to equip students with higher level research skills that enable them to carry out independent research at both the masters and PhD levels of study. Students will deepen their understanding of the research process within the social sciences. The module covers the logic, assumptions and philosophy underlying social research. Students shall explore the two major research approaches namely, qualitative and quantitative research. The use of mixed methods approaches shall also be explored. By the end of the module it is expected that students shall be able to competently conceptualize a research project and choose the appropriate research approach based on the nature of the research problem.

MSW 715 Scenario Planning

The science of scenario planning is one of the ways by which we can manipulatively adjust to and prepare for a future that we deem most desirable. This module introduces students to the science and practice of scenario planning. The module on scenario planning equips students with the ability to map future scenarios and how best organisations and countries not only shape but also prepare for any future eventualities. Students shall learn about the history, models and approaches to the practice of scenario planning. Using a hands on methodology, students shall be taught to practical identify a key issue, analyse driving forces, map out scenario frameworks, communicate scenario stories and to pursue strategies that lead to particular scenario outcomes.

MSW 716 Change Management Theory and Practice

This module introduces students to the science and practice of change management in organisations. Adaptation is critical if organisations are to remain relevant. Innovation, thoughtfulness and flexibility are critical elements to any change process. This module introduces students to change management, its history, its tenets, the various theories and models of change management and the psychology of change management. Within the organisational context, change management shall be approached as a multi-level practice requiring change and alignment at the individual, team and organisational level for change interventions to succeed.

MSW 801 Field Placement

As part of the requirements for obtaining a Master of Social Work Degree for both the clinical and development track, students are expected to embark on a field work placement. The duration of the placement shall be 12 weeks. Depending on preferences and circumstances, students in the development track may do a continuous 12 week block placement or do weekly block placements at times convenient to them until they fulfil the required duration for field work. The field work component shall take place during the third and final semester. All placements for students in the clinical track should be done under the direct supervision of a qualified social worker or clinical psychologist. Students are expected to undertake advanced tasks that are reflective of a senior social work role. Students in the clinical track would be expected to handle complex individual, family and group therapeutic work tasks in areas such as crisis intervention, trauma, mental health and grief counselling. Participation in management meetings and other fora is also critical.  Students shall also be expected to demonstrate the ability to integrate various theoretical models of intervention when working with clients. On the other hand, students in the development track are expected to participate in policy formulation, policy analysis, shadow organisational managers and to be part of the leadership teams on community development projects and initiatives.

MSW 802 Dissertation

Students shall be required to undertake research on a topic of their choice subject to approval by the Department. The selected topic shall be relevant to the student’s chosen study track. The study should be undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor appointed by the Department. The length of the dissertation shall be 20000 words.