Develop your ability to analyze and understand human service organization, and anti-oppressive social work.


Social Work, Service Users Participation and Organization

Master’s level
15 credits (ECTS)
Study pace
Study form
Application period
Application code
Full education cost: 23 000 SEK
First payment: 23 000 SEK

No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.

More information about tuition fees

Application closed, late application opens 15 July 2024.


This course enhances your understanding of human service organizations, civil society's role, and power theories in social work. It fosters knowledge of service user involvement, social economy globally, and analytical skills to assess organizational impacts. You will develop your ability to analyze and engage in service user initiatives.

The course promotes critical reflection on values and attitudes related to civil society and power relations in social work. Overall, it cultivates a holistic approach to address societal challenges.


Do you want to get involved and make an impact? Explore this independent second cycle course about human service organisations, anti-oppressive social work and service user initiatives . Learn to navigate power imbalances in social work contexts. This coursefosters a nuanced understanding of social work methods, empowerment, and different service user initiatives.

During the course, you will learn about:

  •  how human service organizations are constructed and function (leadership, communication, work distribution and organizational culture)
  • civil society and its role as a producer of public services
  • theories of power and how power relations are embedded in different social work methods
  • various types of service users’ involvement and participation in social work
  • how social economies are structured in various countries

After finishing the course you can:

  • analyze and discuss how organizational aspects influence various types of social problems and social interventions
  • analyze how imbalances of power are embedded in different types of social work
  • analyze and take part in various types of user initiatives (such as self-help organizations, social cooperatives or "advocacy")

The course covers topics within social work on a local and a global level:

  • Theories and research on human service organizations.
  • Various methods and technologies of social work within human service organizations.
  • Contemporary challenges for human service organizations and changes in the social welfare sector, globally and locally.

The teaching

Teaching includes lectures, seminars and workshops. You may participate in study visits to organizations within civil society in Sweden. Some study visits take place digitally. You will also write a case study report. The case study report and the mandatory seminars are examinational.

Prerequisites and selection

Entry requirements

To be eligible for the course a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, or in related topics, and proficiency in English are required.


Selection is based upon the number of credits from previous university studies, maximum 165 credits.

After graduation

The course runs both within the framework of the Master's program in social work and human rights and is an independent elective course. Meet students, ideas and perspectives, from Sweden and around the world. After the course, you have a deeper knowledge of organizations in civil society and organizational theory, anti-oppressive social work and service users’ participation.


The course takes place on campus in Gothenburg. Some study visits take place both on-site at organizations in Gothenburg and digitally.