Social Work as a Social Change Profession

Social work has the mission to break down barriers, recognize diversity, and contribute to greater social justice. It doesn't just provide support to individuals when they are denied resources and/or face various barriers but actively engages in societal transformation processes to dismantle structures that perpetuate inequality. In order to fulfill its mission, social work offers its specific professional knowledge, collaborates with other professions, networks, and self-organizations, drawing on its own expertise as well as that of other disciplines and non-academic knowledge sources.

Critical Diversity Studies are interdisciplinary and centrally focus on societal power dynamics. They analyze and theorize inclusions and exclusions on structural and institutional, discursive and cultural, social and interpersonal levels, considering the many different societal power dynamics in their interplay. On the other hand, Community Studies (in the German-speaking academic discourse, concepts such as community work, social spatial orientation, and neighborhood development are more commonly used) are more action-oriented and practice-based, emphasizing cross-case methods and processes. These are relevant to Critical Diversity Studies because questioning societal categorization processes and intersectional power dynamics aims at social transformation. Therefore, the intersection and mutual permeation of the two fields of study offer fruitful potential for a social work oriented toward social change.

The contents of the study programme are reflected in the didactics, the study programme structures and the teaching-learning culture. In order to accompany the joint learning according to the subject orientation of the study programme, a diversity-oriented, intersectional didactics is combined with approaches of critical service learning and research-based learning. In doing so, students as well as teachers and practice partners work together with the subject-specific concerns oriented towards social change in the sense of a learning community. Learning is understood as a collaborative and at the same time self-organised, dynamic and open-ended process, in which the learners and their learning projects are at the centre. The aim is thus to establish spaces of experience that enable learning from and with each other and not at the expense of others.

The degree programme is modularised and consists of the following 6 compulsory modules. The simplified course of study visualises the structure of the study programme over the 3 semesters (see full-time or part-time study).

Module 1: Power and inequality. Understanding, contextualising and analysing relations of power and inequality in a critical way with regard to science and power.
Module 2: Positionalities and relationalities. Recognising, reflecting and developing positionalities and relationalities
Module 3: Changing processes. Taking up, initiating and shaping change processes in a power-conscious and community-oriented way
Module 4: Concept workshop. - developing your own change project
Module 5: Profession and future issues. Elective module - Shaping, developing and expanding the profession and future issues
Module 6: Master Thesis. Writing a Master's thesis

The module handbook compiles all important information for students, e.g. the concept of the degree programme, the detailed module descriptions and the study plans. The Study and Examination Regulations (SPO) regulate all subject-specific issues of the degree programme and, together with the RSPO (higher-level framework study and examination regulations of ASH), represent the central legal basis.
The persons responsible for the modules are listed here.

In the concept labs, the heart of the study programme, action-oriented conceptions of change processes are developed (alone or in small groups) on the basis of selected questions, taking into account the needs of social and interest-based communities and/or in participatory and collaborative processes with socio-spatial actors or social movements. The great importance of the guided, self-organised and community-oriented studies underlines the goal that the students can develop, reflect on and implement an intersectional power-critical concept of action. This qualifies them for social science-based intersectional, power-critical, community-oriented concept and practice development in fields of action in social work.

The coursework and examinations for the various modules are completed in the course of the degree programme, in written or oral form, as graded or ungraded performance, in a single examination or in partial examinations. The assignments and examination formats are thus also oriented towards the studyability and competence orientation of the degree programme. The overview in the module handbook (see chapter 7) shows the required examination performances and the examination formats.

FAQs for Studying

The course catalogue as well as the semester times and the lecture-free periods are linked here. The course catalogue should usually be activated 4 weeks before the start of the semester (see To do this, click on the semester in the upper blue bar and select the semester.

90 credits are acquired in the course of the MA programme. The MA Social Work KriDiCo is designed as a full-time degree programme, but can also be studied part-time. According to the SPO, 1 credit corresponds to 30 learning and working hours (so-called workload). 30 credits are acquired per semester in full-time study.

Overall, the degree programme is a full-time degree programme, the student workload corresponds to that of a full-time position. In addition to attending courses, the workload also includes the time spent preparing for and following up on courses, examinations and the time spent on self-study. The semester hours per week (SWS) that are completed in courses therefore only represent a part of the necessary workload, the decisive factor is the information in the module handbook on the respective course formats, see module handbook.

Please plan adequate self-study time in addition to the attendance time for the study (preparation and follow-up of seminars, reading, research, small group work, self-organised study, research-based learning, work in the concept workshop, etc.).

The study programme takes place in presence at ASH Berlin.

It is possible to study the MA KriDiCo part-time. Please submit the application to the Enrolment Administration within the re-registration period. The application is always valid for two consecutive semesters and can be extended. The form is linked here. Part-time study is possible if there is an important reason. According to § 12 of the Statutes for Study Affairs, these include:

  • Gainful employment
  • Disability or chronic illness, if this makes part-time study necessary
  • pregnancy
  • family activities related to the upbringing of children up to the age of 16 or the care and supervision of sick family members and family members in need of care within the meaning of the Nursing Time Act
  • holding a mandate in an ASH body, the student body or the Studierendenwerk Berlin

Since you are applying for a Master's degree programme whose modules have been designed as an overall concept that builds on one another, and which only starts once a year, we strongly recommend that you stick to the part-time study plan. The part-time study plan shows the course of study over 5 semesters.

The dates on which you attend courses (attendance time) at ASH Berlin are generally Mondays to Fridays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; in exceptional cases, individual appointments may also take place at the weekend. If teaching and room planning permits, we try to bundle teaching on 4 days, but cannot guarantee this. You will find the actual times online in the course catalogue approximately 4-5 weeks before the start of the semester. Please plan adequate self-study time in addition to the attendance time for your studies (preparation and follow-up of seminars, small group work, self-organised study, etc.). Further information and advice on part-time studies can be obtained from the programme coordination.

The area of International Affairs and Cooperation Abroad is still in the development phase at KriDiCo; so far there are no foreign partner universities. The Master's programme does not have an integrated practical phase or a designated time slot that is particularly suitable for a stay abroad. Therefore, the study period may be extended by a stay abroad. Nevertheless, there are a number of opportunities for students and graduates to go abroad during or even after their studies ("graduate internship"). If you are interested, please contact the International Office as soon as possible for personal advice on the possibilities of a stay abroad and the study programme coordination for questions relevant to the study programme.

We strive to make studying as barrier-free and inclusive as possible. However, we still live in a society where true accessibility is a major exception. For example, ASH Berlin can be reached via the Hellersdorf underground station, which has a very steep ramp that is difficult to manage without an e-wheelchair or an athletic constitution.

As far as text recognition programmes are concerned, not all texts used in teaching are barrier-free by a long shot. ASH is currently working on removing these hurdles. If you are interested in studying, please contact the representative for students with disabilities, chronic illnesses and mental impairments or the student advisory service to clarify the feasibility of your desired course of study.

If you have specific questions about KriDiCo and accessibility, please contact the study programme coordination (makridico@

The MA Social Work - KriDiCo was fortunately accredited without any conditions. The report of AHPGS, the accreditation agency in the field of health and social affairs, as well as the decision of the Accreditation Council can be read in the central database:​​​​​​​

Yes, the Master's programme is recognised by the Studierendenwerk as eligible for funding. The programme can therefore also be found in the Berlin directory of educational institutions.

The General Student Advisor Anna Kuhlage (sb@ will advise you on BAfög and financial support options. You can find more information on student financing here: