Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work



  • These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the General Academic Regulations and Faculty Regulations for Postgraduate Diplomas and taught Masters Degrees.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma is meant for holders of a relevant Social Science degree who wish to acquire a professional Social Work qualification.
  • This programme provides an opportunity for holders of relevant social science degrees to acquire a professional social work qualification.


  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work is intended to provide generic social work education to holders of a relevant social science degree with a view to preparing them to practice as qualified social workers in a variety of social work settings.
  • The programme seeks to produce social workers who have the knowledge and skills to practice social work competently, not only in Zimbabwe but regionally and internationally as well.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work helps students to understand the genesis of socio-economic problems and their impact on human well-being. Students are expected to use this understanding as the basis for designing appropriate interventions to restore or enhance human well-being.


  • Within the civil society development arena, social workers can assume roles such as, project manager, programme director, monitoring and evaluation coordinator, manager of welfare organisations, training and development facilitators, community development workers/officers, advocacy officers and disaster management officers.
  • In the public sector, social workers are employed in a range of roles which include among others, social welfare officers, school social workers, probation officers, counsellors, therapists, and social policy development roles.
  • In the private sector social work graduates assume roles in occupational social work, human resources, training and development, change management consultancy, customer service consultancy and managing corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Entry Requirents


  • Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work should meet the entry requirements stipulated in the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Diplomas and taught Masters Degrees.
  • Applicants should have a good first degree in appropriate fields such as Sociology and Psychology.


The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work is offered over four semesters.


  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work shall be offered on a block release basis.
  • Each module shall have a weighting of 4 credits with the exception of Field Placement and Research Project which shall have a weighting of 6 credits each.
  • The Department shall use its discretion in determining whether a student needs to take additional core modules in Sociology or Psychology.



Assessment for taught modules shall be through continuous assessment and examinations.

  • Continuous assessment shall constitute 40% of the final mark.
  • Examinations shall constitute 60% of the final mark.
  • Examinations shall normally be written at the end of the semester.
  • Refer to General academic Regulations
  • A student must pass all modules in order to graduate.

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


Programme Structure


Level 1 Semester 1

Code Module Description Credits
DSWK501 Introduction to Social Work and Social Development 4
DSWK502 Ethics and Values in Social Work 4
DSWK503 Theoretical Perspectives in Social Work 4
DSWK504 Introduction to Social Development 4
DSWK505 Introduction to Micro Practice 4
DSWK506 Introduction to Meso Practice 4
DSWK507 Introduction to Macro Practice 4


Level 1 Semester 2

Code Module Description Credits
DSWK508 Social Policy 4
DSWK509 Advanced Micro Practice 4
DSWK510 Advanced Meso Practice 4
DSWK511 Advanced Macro Practice 4
DSWK512 Criminal Justice System in Zimbabwe 4
DSWK513 Human Rights and the Law in Social Work 4
DSWK514 Occupational Social Work 4
DSWK515 Research Methods in Social Work 4


Level 2 Semester 1

Code Module Description Credits
DSWK601 Social Policy Analysis 4
DSWK602 Child Protection 4
DSWK603 Social Planning and Social Development 4
DSWK604 Fields of Social Work Practice 4
DSWK605 Humanitarian Practice in Emergencies 4
DSWK606 Management and Administration 4


Level 2 Semester 2

Code Module Description Credits
DSWK607 Field Placement 6
DSWK608 Research Project 6




This module introduces students to the social work profession and the social development approach to social welfare and social work. It examines the historical development of the profession of social work and the functions and mission of the profession. The module explores the International, African and Zimbabwean historical narratives on the history and growth of social work as a profession. Students shall also be introduced to the major intervention methods of social work practice as well as the social service delivery structures as mirrored in the social welfare system. The historical commitment of the social work profession to social justice and to the elimination of poverty shall be a major theme of this module. As such, the module provides a comprehensive grounding for social work students and gives them a fuller appreciation of what the profession entails.


The social work profession is governed by a code of ethics that is designed to protect against violations of clients’ rights. To this end, this module, introduces students to the ethics, values and principles that govern the practice of social work. This module helps students acquire the knowledge base required to identify ethical issues, equipping them with the necessary skills needed to resolve ethical dilemmas and the capacity to make ethical decisions when confronted with conflicting duties and choices that arise within practice settings. At the end of the module students shall be fully conversant with ethical principles and standards related to clients, colleagues, employers, the profession of social work and society.


The module on theoretical perspectives in social work introduces students to major theories in contemporary social work. The module is designed to engender critical thinking in students as well as fostering the ability to examine and understand phenomena and issues using different theoretical lenses. Among other emerging issues and paradigms, students shall be introduced to critical and radical social work perspectives, feminist perspectives, anti-oppressive practice, conflict theory, structuralism and postmodernism. The works of theorists such as Michel Foucault, Saul Alinsky, Paulo Freire and Frantz Fanon shall be interrogated. Students shall also be introduced to the decolonization praxis within social work as well as examining debates about indigenous social work practice


This module introduces students to the social development approach to social welfare and social work. The focus of this module shall be on: the conceptualisation of social development, historical development of social development, the rationale of adopting social development, characteristics of social development, social development in Zimbabwe and a critique of social development.


This module introduces students to micro practice as a major method of social work that is used when working with individual and families. The module equips students with the skills and competences that are necessary for them to intervene and help clients using the case work method and prepares them for generalist social work practice with individuals and families. The modules emphasises on the values, knowledge, processes and skills necessary for effective assessment and intervention on the micro level. In particular, the module aids the preparation of students for professional practice by introducing them to common presenting problems of clients, such as abuse, chemical dependency, and domestic violence among others. Students learn about the several service settings which they are likely to encounter upon entering professional practice. Themes such as, assessment, contracting, worker/client communication, social worker’s use of self, the problem-solving model; the helping process and evaluation are examined.


Meso practice is one of the major methods used in social work intervention. Meso practice primarily involves working with small groups and organisations. Some common examples include self-help groups, clubs, associations, prisons, schools and hospitals. The purpose of the meso practice module is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to utilise the group work method as a modality in enhancing the well-being of individuals within the group work context. Students learn about the group work process, the role of the worker and the various techniques that are necessary for effective facilitation of group work.


The module introduces students to community work as one of the major methods in social work practice. In many communities there are power dynamics and social relations that govern the relationships between various structures. This affects how resources and opportunities are distributed. Thus in many instances problems affecting people at the individual and family level may have their source in unequal and oppressive community structures. Social workers who practice community work endeavour to address systemic and structural issues that create social problems. As such, they work to achieve social justice through structural change. This module enables students to define community work, explore the historical roots of community work, examine the various components of community work, learn about the community work process and learn about one model of community development as a building block to the module on advanced macro practice.


Social policy is increasingly being considered as a method of social work practice. This module introduces students to the study of social policy and social services. Specifically, the module enables students to understand how social policies are used as instruments for promoting and safeguarding human well-being. To this end, the module covers the following: conceptualisation of social policy, objectives of social policy, determinants of social policy, social policy process, including the main actors in the policy process, models of social policy, and social services in Zimbabwe. The module also enables students to undertake social policy analysis.


Building on the knowledge and generic skills acquired in the introductory module on micro practice, this module is designed to deepen students’ competencies to work with individuals and families. Students are exposed to various theoretical approaches that can be used to work with clients. There are many different practice models that influence the way social workers choose to help people meet their goals. Building on the problem solving approach taught in the introduction to micro practice, students examine the following major models: Task-centred practice, Narrative therapy, Cognitive behavioural therapy, Crisis intervention and Transactional analysis.


This module builds on the group work knowledge and skills that are taught in the introduction to meso practice. The aim of the module is to deepen students’ understanding of group dynamics and applicable theories when using this method of intervention. The module familiarises students to the principles of selected group work theories and techniques for effective advanced practice. As such, students shall evaluate and apply theories of group dynamics and group structural variables used in social group work practice. The approaches covered include: Cognitive behaviourism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Humanism and Empowerment/self-directed approaches.


The module on advanced macro practice builds on the knowledge that students would have acquired in the introduction to macro practice module. It develops students’ knowledge of the theories and skills they need to effectively engage in community work practice. Using case studies from a range of fields of practice, students shall gain a fuller appreciation of the politics and complexity of community work. Vital and innovative skills in the practice of community work shall be developed. These include skills in community engagement, consultation and needs assessment, working with at risk and marginalised populations. Fundamental to community work is the pursuit of the democratic redistribution of power and resources. To this end, students shall be equipped to practice from an anti-oppressive approach with an appreciation of how constructs such as race, tribe, class and gender can impact on community processes.


The module is designed to give social work students a foundational understanding of the criminal justice system and their role in it. This module examines the contribution of social work in the criminal justice system within the Zimbabwean context. Global best practices are also explored. The module equips students with a detailed understanding of the roles and skills that social workers should have and apply when implementing micro, meso and/or macro interventions in this specialised field of service. Students shall be exposed to the different perspectives and approaches in dealing with those involved and affected by crime and to develop competence in applying different models of service delivery to different client systems in an integrated and multidisciplinary team approach. Diversion programmes and restorative justice processes are explored as alternative forms of sentencing, rehabilitation and delivery of justice.


This module introduces social work students to the subject of human rights and the law. Students shall have a fuller appreciation of the various legislations that govern social work practice. In addition, students also gain knowledge and understanding of the various psycho-social perspectives on human rights and develop an understanding of challenges anti-discriminatory practice with a clear understanding of the role that social workers play in the realisation of the human rights of people and communities with whom they work.


Occupational social work is an area of specialisation in social work which focuses on interventions at the workplace. It seeks to meet the welfare needs of employees whilst also contributing to the realisation of organisational goals. The module covers the following: definition of occupational social work, history of occupational social work, theories underpinning occupational social work, social problems and social issues undermining the social functioning of workers and their families (conflict, HIV and AIDS, substance abuse, sexual orientation etc.), employee assistance programmes. The module also covers corporate social responsibility initiatives. Emphasis shall be on how social workers intervene to address the myriad of problems or issues at the workplace and shall encompass interventions at micro, meso and macro levels.


It is expected that students who enrol for the post-graduate diploma in social work would have done research in their undergraduate studies. However, it is important that they be oriented to social research within the social work field. To this end, the module on research methods in social work shall orient students to both, the basic and advanced concepts, principles and practices in social work research. The module shall cover both qualitative and quantitative research methods. It is expected that at the end of the module, students shall be able to appreciate the different characteristics and qualities of qualitative and quantitative research methods, formulate a research problem; develop research questions, aims and objectives of a study. The module also covers the following topics: research designs, data collection in qualitative and quantitative research, data analysis in qualitative and quantitative research, theoretical frameworks in research and research ethics.


Social policy analysis refers to a systematic and scientific evaluation of the extent to which a social policy is able to achieve its intended goals or objectives. Social policy analysis is carried out either before the policy is implemented or after the policy has been implemented. This module equips students with the knowledge and skills needed in undertaking meaningful social policy analysis. Students are exposed to the different approaches to social policy analysis. Students shall also be given an opportunity to undertake a policy analysis of a policy of their choice.


This module focuses on laws, policies, services and regulations that protect children from abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation. A holistic approach to the needs of children shall be adopted. Special attention is given to risk factors that children and their families are exposed to. Relevant topics to be covered include: child labour, harmful cultural practices, children in need of alternative care, birth registration, child abuse (sexual, physical, psychological and neglect), child justice, child trafficking and child protection in emergencies and case management. Relevant human rights instruments shall be looked at with a view to understanding how these can be harnessed for effective child protection.


This module focuses on how social planning can be used to achieve the goals of social development. The strategies for achieving social development are examined. These strategies include investments in human and social capital, employment creation and decent work, asset building, promoting microenterprises and social protection. Focus shall also be on the nature of social planning and the theories underpinning social planning. The module also covers social planning techniques. The African Union Social Policy Framework shall be used to contextualize the drive towards social development.


This module exposes students to the scope of practice in social work. Students therefore need to understand the roles of social workers in the different settings or areas of social work practice. The module covers the following: social work with persons with disabilities, social work with refugees, social work with older persons (gerontological social work), medical social work, psychiatric social work, eco-social work, social work in correctional services and occupational social work.


Humanitarian practice in emergencies is an important area of practice in social work. Humanitarian practice seeks to mitigate the impacts of emergencies (such as natural disasters ad armed conflicts) on human well-being. The module covers the following topics: rationale for humanitarian practice, emergency assistance, disaster preparedness and recovery strategies, prevention, early warning systems, vulnerability assessments and resource mobilisation.


Through career progression in various fields of practice, most social work graduates become administrators within welfare organizations and other related settings. In some cases entry level social workers are required to provide direct supervision and leadership to junior staff especially paraprofessionals. It is therefore essential that social work graduates should be fully capacitated to handle management, administration and supervision functions as they enter the world of practice. To this end, this module is designed to equip students with skills in management, administration and supervision. Students shall be introduced to various theories and models that are used in management and administration. Components such as leadership finance and budgeting and human capital management shall also be covered in the module.


Students enrolled for the post graduate diploma in social work are expected to go on a field work placement. The duration of the field work placement shall be three months. Students are expected to be under the direct supervision of a qualified and experienced social worker. It is expected that students should be in a setting that allows them to practice all the three primary methods of social work, namely; micro, meso and macro practice. At least one visit and two telephonic supervision sessions shall be done by the academic supervisor from the University to ensure that students are monitored and supported in their learning. At the end of the field work practicum, students should have acquired field experience, knowledge and skills to effectively practice in a variety of settings and fields.


Students shall carry out research on a relevant topic of their choice under the guidance of a supervisor appointed by the Department. The length of the Research Project shall be 15000 words.