Social Work as a Human Rights Profession (MA-SWHR) (Master of Arts)

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The postgraduate program Master of Arts in Social Work as a Human Rights Profession (MA-SWHR) at the Alice Salomon Hochschule - University of Applied Sciences - in Berlin, Germany. The program is realized in cooperation with:

The cooperation consists of lecturers from the above mentioned universities. Additionally, lecturers based in Norway, Finland, Greece, Brazil, UK and various German universities teach in the program.

We are pleased to announce that the M.A. SWHR has been successfully re-accredited by the agency AQAS until 30 September 2029.


In the course of the transnationalization of social problems in the globalized world, the importance of human rights as a strong instrument in the field of social work becomes more significant. Through the Master's program "Social Work as a Human Rights Profession" you will gain, develop and improve a general professional self-conception and receive a science-based theory of action, intervention as well as a solid inside of principle of profession’s code of ethic: all in relation to social work as a discipline and profession.

The course of study will be of most interest to individuals who are professionally active or have an academic interest in social work or in an area related to human rights. Social work and human rights are frequently encountered when working with vulnerable groups such as children or migrants respectively when working on issues related to the right to health or to social problems like poverty, social exclusion or discrimination with regard to a person's identity, gender or race.

The program shall give you feasible tools through a hybrid learning experience. The program combines classroom teaching blended with modules on internet-based learning for a profound focus on research. The MA program requires a full-time commitment and personal perseverance from students. Click here to learn more about our curriculum. Almost all other professors are permanent staff members at our partner universities in Sweden, Scotland and Slovenia.

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The need for an international Master program on Social Work as a Human Rights Profession has often been articulated in meetings of the International Association of School of Social Workers (IASSW) and the conference of the European Network on Social Action (ENSACT). This idea became more concrete during a pre-conference to the ENSACT conference in Brussels in April 2011 organized by Prof. Dr. Staub-Bernasconi and others on the issue of human rights and social work.

The participants were very much interested in developing an international program on the issue of social work and human rights. During a meeting held at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences and four more meetings in Berlin between 2011 and 2012, the final group of cooperating universities was created.

International Orientation

Thanks to the cooperation with other universities, the lecturers of the MA-SWHR hail from a great range of nationalities and cultural backgrounds bringing a variety of professional fields and traditions of expertise. Together with an average of 25 international students, the MA-SWHR creates a multicultural setting of learning, where students are directly confronted with the experience of diversity. This creates a space to discuss social- and human rights issues in an international setting.

Fields of Study

The MA-SWHR is a research-oriented, partially internet-based program, combining the field of social work with human rights issues

Social work and human rights are frequently encountered when working with vulnerable groups such as children or migrants respectively when working on issues related to the right to health, to the social challenge of poverty, to social exclusion, to discrimination with regard to a person’s gender or to the complexity of racism.

The main aim of the MA-SWHR is the translation of the often very abstract and appellative human rights discourse into the theory and practice of social work.

This objective is strongly linked to the development of a general professional self-conception based on the “triple mandate of social work”, meaning that the universally known “double mandate of social work” on behalf of the addressees and the society/providers is complemented by a third mandate on behalf of the profession.

This consists of science-based theories of action, intervention as well as the principles of the profession’s code of ethics.


1st and 2nd Semester

A Modules: Basic knowledge about the discipline and profession of social work and human right

3rd Semester

B Modules: Social Problems/ Vulnerable Groups

C Modules:  Social Action Fields/Social Movements

4th Semester

D Module: Human Rights Praxis Project

E Module: Master Thesis

Overview of the modules

Employment Prospects

The orientation of the MA-SWHR is suited to the requirements of the job market. Graduates work in social services, free-lance, in international governmental, non-governmental and private sector organizations, particularly in key roles to achieve social change.

For applicants attempting to work as a social worker in Germany, one must consider the requirements for the State Recognition by the Senate of Berlin (Berliner Senat).

Additionally, you shall take into consideration informing yourself about the  state regulation of a licensed social worker of your home country, respectively, in order to practice as a social worker.

Fees and Financing

As a  non-consecutive, professional Master's program students are currently required to pay tuition and registration fees. These non-profit fees are charged to cover both classroom teaching as well as online studies and self-paced learning at facilities at ASH. 

After admission, a fee of 300 EUR is due. The tuition fee for the first to third semester is 2,640 EUR each. Costs for the fourth semester (Human Rights Praxis Project and Master’s Thesis) amount to 1,250 EUR. Should, however, the Master’s thesis be postponed to the fifth semester an extra 300 EUR will be charged for this final semester.

Please note that additional options like purchasing a public transport tickets for students may lead to extra costs of currently around 176.40 EUR per semester.

How are the costs composed?


Our university of applied sciences is, unfortunately, not able to grant scholarships. However, we have compiled an extensive list of institutions where you can apply for a scholarship: List of Scholarships 

Please note that the information on the different scholarship options was taken from the respective institutional websites. Since the latter are subject to constant changes, we are unable to guarantee that all information is still up to date. In order to verify, it is recommended to visit the organizations’ websites directly.

Furthermore, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that some scholarships request that you hold a specific nationality. Should you have questions about the exact requirements please get in contact with the respective organization.

Finally, we ask you to take into consideration that in some cases the application process may take a very long time, in fact up to one year. Thus we encourage you to inform yourself about suitable scholarships and apply to the institution(s) in question as early as possible.

Students' Diversity

Until today we have had all together around 192 students in the first nine student groups (62 nationalities) from

Africa: Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe,

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

Asia: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan,  Philippines, Singapore, South Korea

Australia & Oceania: Australia

Europe: Austria, Czechia, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey

Middle East: Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria


Please note: This website provides information on the MA-SWHR in English language. There is a program with the same name offered in German language. The two programs do have some overlapping content. However, the structure is quite different. Please find further information on the program in GERMAN

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