Child Welfare in a Multicultural Society, bachelor


The reorganization of public services available for vulnerable children and young people and their families, and the general deinstitutionalisation in the delivery of public services, has affected the professional role of child welfare officers. These changes have placed greater demands on child welfare officers with regard to their social awareness, cultural understanding, interdisciplinarity and flexibility. The Bachelor’s degree in Child Welfare in a Multicultural Society is designed to train user-oriented and reflective professionals who are qualified to carry out preventive, social educational and practical child welfare work in partnership with the recipients of these services.

The curriculum for Telemark University College’s Bachelor’s degree in Child Welfare in a Multicultural Society was developed on the basis of the following documents:

  • The national curriculum and regulations for the 3-year programme, Child Welfare Officer, approved by the Ministry of Education and Research, 1st December 2005.
  • The Norwegian Universities Act no. 15, 1st April 2005.
  • White Paper No. 27 (2000-2001) on reforming the quality of higher education: Do your Duty – Demand your Rights.
  • Regulations for Suitability Assessment in higher education set by the Ministry of Education and Research 30th June 2006, pursuant to the Norwegian Universities Act.
  • The national qualifications framework for higher education 20 March 2009.
  • Telemark University College’s Examination Regulations set by the board on 15 December 2005 and amended 16 June 2009.
  • Telemark University College’s Quality Assurance Handbook approved by the board 28th August 2006.
  • Telemark University College’s Strategic Plan (2010-2014) set by the board 25 November 2010.
  • The curriculum for the Bachelor’s degree in Child Welfare, Telemark University College, 1st March 2011.
  • White Paper no.47 (2008-2009): Coordination Reform.

The study programme curriculum is to be understood as the student’s contract with the teaching faculty, and includes a basic description of how this contract should be executed. Students approve their education plan – understood as the current curriculum, which is subject to change. In addition, the curriculum will serve as an informative working and guidance tool concerning the department’s professional pedagogical activities and distribution of curriculum credits.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

The study programme is aimed at people with the will and the ability to take care of other people’s, needs, resources, dignity and opportunities. Applicants are required to satisfy general admission requirements. Applicants who do not fulfill general admission requirements, and who are at least 25 years of age during the year of enrolment, may apply for enrolment under separate rules regarding prior experiential learning. Telemark University College’s action plan makes provision for students with disabilities.

Aim of the Programme

The child welfare officer should have knowledge, skills and general competence that provide a good basis for extending services to vulnerable children and youth, their families and local communities. The professional’s work should be based on equality and respect for individual integrity, and it should focus on the user’s participation and perspective. The child welfare officer should have competence based on the relationship between theoretical and practical studies, and he/she should have developed the ability to apply the knowledge in practical work.

The Bachelor’s degree provides a foundation for Master’s degree studies.

Learning outcome

Learning outcomes for first year students; the student:

  • Has acquired basic knowledge about childhood, growing-up environments and child welfare in a multicultural society
  • Has gained an understanding of the relationship between social conditions and social problems affecting children, adolescents and their families
  • Has developed basic skills in social work and the educational use of activities in communication and collaboration with children, young people, their families and networks
  • Has knowledge of the laws relating to children and young people in general and the Child Welfare Act specifically
  • Can discuss and justify professional decisions based on relevant theory, and meet users of services with empathy and respect from the perspective of equality regardless of age, gender, class, ethnicity, culture, beliefs and perception of reality.

Learning outcomes for the second year; the student:

  • Is able under guidance to plan and implement practical methodological work with vulnerable children and young people
  • Has basic knowledge of initiatives that may be taken in child welfare work; has developed the ability to evaluate care skills and is able to work together with people who have different perceptions of reality in various cultural contexts
  • Is able to justify his/her professional decisions on the basis of relevant theory and is able to document his/her own work.

Learning outcomes for the third year of study; the student:

  • Has developed a critical perspective and a reflective attitude with regard towards positions and the exercise of his/her profession
  • Is able to independently carry out professional child welfare work, and to document, explain and critically evaluate the work
  • Has a critical perspective of the child welfare worker’s ability to influence the living conditions of vulnerable children and young people, and has insight into how living conditions are affected by local, national and international conditions
  • Is able to initiate and participate in interdisciplinary collaboration from the individual to the system level; and provide the conditions for making decisions in support services and in relation to the governmental authorities
  • Is able to understand the importance of a scientific approach in his/her own professional work.

Specific learning outcomes for each course are given in the individual course descriptions.

Curriculum and structure

Overview of the courses
Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V) S3(A) S4(V) S5(A) S6(V)
Total: 30 30 30 30 30 30
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

The Bachelor’s degree study programme, Child Welfare in a Multicultural Society, is based on the national curriculum and regulations for the 3-year Child Welfare Officer study programme approved by the Ministry of Education and Research 1 December 2005. It is based on a nominal length of three years full-time study and comprises 180 ECTS.

The Bachelor’s study programme, Child Welfare in a Multicultural Society, is based on various research-based fields of knowledge, and is designed to provide students with overall skills related to both theoretical and practical approaches. The study programme is research-based through scientific theory and research-based literature, the presentation of national and international research projects and through association with the faculty’s ongoing research and development projects. It comprises 10 courses spread over 3 years, and each course has its own requirements and assessment arrangements. The courses are thematically related to each other and ensure academic progress and distribution of credits as stipulated by the national curriculum. Please refer to the detailed course descriptions.

In principle, no part of the study programme allows for the individual assessment of external candidates.


Telemark University College aims for a distinct international profile in the areas of research and education. This is reflected in the Department of Social Studies through the development of international, global and multicultural perspectives in courses and curricula, and through participation in educational and research programs. The international approach at the Department is built upon professional ethical guidelines. The child welfare officer has a special responsibility for vulnerable children and young people, and for safeguarding human dignity, showing solidarity and influencing the development of a just and inclusive society, both nationally and internationally.

Students may apply to take a 12-week period of practical training abroad. In principle, all students can apply provided that study programme requirements have been fulfilled and they have achieved grade C or better.

Further information is available on the college website.

Teaching and Learning Methods

The study programme comprises theoretical and process-oriented knowledge, as well as experience-based knowledge and the development of relational skills. The quality objective of the study programme is to develop students’ ethical awareness and their capacity for independent, critical and systematic thinking, understanding and action. Theoretical and practical training is integrated and reflected in the choice of teaching and learning methods. The study programme is organised with a variety of educational methods; it focuses especially on the students’ own activities and interaction in the assimilation of theoretical knowledge and professional skills, and in the development of the role of reflective practitioner as a target of the competence that students should acquire through the course of the study programme. All the educational methods employed are rooted in the didactic target areas: cognitive goals, attainment of attitudes and skills. This is manifested in the use of teaching and learning methods such as lectures, group work, skills training, fieldwork, practical training, ‘project teaching’ and the extensive use of supervision.

The role of practical training in the study programme can be justified from a pedagogical standpoint as a study method, and from the subject standpoint as part of a practice-oriented programme. Practical training studies must be completed and approved in order to receive a passing mark for the study programme.

Theory and Practical Training

The study programme integrates theory and practical training, which is reflected in the choice of teaching methods. It is organized with a variety of educational tools that stimulate students’ own activities and interaction, and their ability to acquire theoretical knowledge, professional skills and good personal skills.

Practical training and skills training is mandatory and must constitute at least 42 ECTS credits of which 30 ECTS credits must involve direct contact with users (cf. the national curriculum and regulations for the Bachelor’s degree programme in Child Welfare). The study programme is organized so that professional progression is stimulated and learning methods help students increase their understanding of the relationship between research, theory and practical work. The practical training studies is related to all subject areas.

Practical training studies: Child Welfare Work, 3rd semester / 16 ECTS

Practical training studies: Specialisation and Bachelor’s Thesis, 6th semester / 16 ECTS

The practical training studies

The practical training must be completed and approved in accordance with the prevailing regulations, and a passing mark is a prerequisite for receiving a final grade. Regarding practical training studies in the final year of study, the same conditions apply in principle with regard to expectations, guidelines and requirements as specified in this part of the curriculum, with the exception of special considerations concerning the period of study abroad which is specified in separate guidelines.

The student’s learning goals should be formulated in a “contract of learning” between the student, the supervisor and the placement institution. Progress throughout the three periods of practical training should be specified in the learning contract, and it should include the times for supervision and evaluation. The student’s tasks should be diverse and lie within the area of child welfare work. The allocation of specific tasks for the student should be planned by the supervisor and the student, which should be in accordance with the student’s learning goals and the aims and tasks of the placement institution.

Working hours: Students will normally complete 30 hours of practical training per week. At institutions that use round-the-clock shifts, there should be a reasonable division between day and evening work. The norm is two evening shifts per week and no more than every third weekend. Night shifts should not be a part of the student’s working hours.

When a student’s schedule departs from these regulations, an agreement should be reached with the student in advance. The student should not be forced to work overtime or extra shifts without their explicit consent. In such a case, the student should receive payment (night shifts are considered to be ‘extra’ shifts in this context).

Supervision: Each student will be allocated a placement supervisor. The supervisor should possess at least a college degree, and if possible documented supervisor competence. The student should receive one hour of supervision per week. An agreement regarding supervision should be included in the learning contract. For practical training studies abroad please refer to separate guidelines.

Supervision should be planned so the student can actively reflect on professional and ethical issues, and on what constitutes personal skills in the context of the practical training. The student is responsible for preparing questions, which he/she may present to his/her supervisor. This should be done in written form well ahead of the period set aside for supervision. Both the student and the supervisor should prepare for the supervision period.

The college is responsible for following-up students during their period of practical training. If the student or the supervisor requires visits beyond what has been agreed upon, the college should arrange this. The college will organise reflection groups for students during their practical training period.

The student should receive ongoing feedback on how he/she is performing during the period of practical training. The student will receive a more comprehensive mid-placement and final evaluation from the supervisor. Other employees should also participate in this process where this seems appropriate. The supervisor should, in consultation with the student, write a final evaluation report, which will be sent to the college at the conclusion of the practical training period.

Attendance: The period of practical training is mandatory. A minimum of 80 per cent attendance is required, regardless of the cause for absence; total absenteeism must not exceed 20 per cent. Participation in the college’s official bodies and committees, as well as student organisations locally and nationally, national executive committees / congresses, is not counted as absenteeism as long as documentation is submitted. When the practical training has been discontinued due to illness or other legitimate reasons, at least half of the period of practical training must have been completed and assessed before the student may be allowed to continue on the study programme. The remainder of the practical training must be completed as soon as possible, and preferably at the same institution. For practical training studies abroad, other possible solutions apply if the student has not fulfilled attendance requirements; please refer to separate guidelines.

Guidelines for the assessment of the period of practical training: Approval or invalidation of the period of practical training is a decision taken in accordance with the Public Administration Act. At the end of the assessable part of the period of practical training, an assessment report must be submitted by the supervisor. The supervisor must write the report in consultation with the student. This rule also applies if the period of practical training is interrupted. The circular about suitability assessment in higher education should form the basis for assessment.

On the basis of the assessment report, or other kinds of documentation, the college, represented by the instructor responsible, will decide whether or not the student will receive a passing grade for his/her period of practical training. The practical training report should be submitted to the college, signed by both the supervisor and the student. If there is any doubt whether the student will receive a passing grade for the period of practical training, then a meeting will be arranged between the parties in question (student, supervisor and college), and/or any other involved parties. Such a meeting must be held no less than three weeks before the completion of the practical training. If it is revealed that the student’s performance was deemed to be very unsatisfactory after this deadline, then notice should be given without undue delay, and the student will have this period of practical training invalidated (c.f. Examination Regulations § 11. no. 10).

When there are grounds for doubt concerning the approval of the student’s period of practical training, a written plan should be submitted for the correction of the circumstances giving rise to the doubt. The plan should contain specific details regarding the necessary measures and the delegation of responsibility for applying these. The plan also constitutes a formal letter of warning to the student that he/she is in danger of failing his/her practical training. The parties should agree on a date for a meeting to assess the effect of the corrective measures. The minutes of this meeting should be recorded. It is the college that concludes whether or not the practical training should be given a passing grade or not.

If the student fails his/her period of practical training, he/she will be given the opportunity to repeat it. Normal procedures apply when repeating the period of practical training. Generally, this means following the college’s schedule for practical training placements, unless other arrangements are agreed upon.

The decision to fail a student’s period of practical training cannot be challenged, unless a procedural error has occurred. This means that it is not possible to submit a complaint regarding the assessment that serves as the basis for the decision to fail a student.

Other special criteria apply when practical training is completed abroad.

Assessment Methods

Each of three years of study includes courses that emphasise the special focus of the academic year in question. This is related to the coursework requirements and the assessment assignments for each course; the course grades will be recorded on the diploma.

The examination regulations provide the following definitions:

Assessment refers to the allocation of grades, such as pass/fail for a course, or for a specific examination or assignment.

“Final examination” (Norwegian: “eksamen”) refers to the overall assessment which forms the basis for the grade.

“Partial grade” refers to grades given that form the basis a course grade, and are given after the assessment of examinations or assignments which are given midway through a course, or at the end of a course. Partial grades are not entered on the diploma.

The “course grade” is the grade given for a major course unit, which is recorded on the diploma / transcript. The grade for the major course unit is a weighted average of the marks given for the various courses (where such marks are used), c.f. Telemark University College Examination Regulations §2.7.

The results from the assessment assignments and the coursework requirements in each course form the basis for the grade for the course. As a general guideline, there will be an opportunity to submit assessment assignments twice, if required, during the course of the academic year. If a second attempt is arranged, access is also given to students who wish to improve their grade (cf. the examination regulations, § 6.6). Students are required to obtain a passing grade for each course in order to continue on the study programme. Generally, this means that students who do not receive a passing mark for the assessment assignments of the course after a second attempt must leave the programme and, if desirable, continue with the programme the following year.

Pursuant to the Act relating to Universities and Colleges a student may re-take up to 3 times each assessment assignment during the course of the study programme. In certain cases the dean may, if a good reason is provided, grant the student in question a 4th attempt. (cf. the Examination Regulations § 3.4).

BA Child Welfare in a Multicultural Society: Overview of assessment assignments:


Assessment assignments

Form of assessment

ECTS credits

1st year of study


Course 1

The Field of Child Welfare Work

Up to three coursework requirements

Graded mark


Course 2

Development and Identity

Up to two coursework requirements

Graded mark


Course 3

Basic Knowledge of Public Administration

Graded mark


Course 4

Use of Activities in Social Work

Up to two coursework requirements

Graded mark


Course 5

Practical Child Care Work

Up to three coursework requirements

Graded mark



2nd year of study


Course 6

Practical Training Studies: Child Welfare Work

Up to three coursework requirements

Graded mark


Course 7

Assessment of Care Skills

Up to three coursework requirements

Graded mark


Course 8

Implementing measures in Child Welfare

Up to three coursework requirements

Graded mark


3rd year of study


Course 9

Critical Reflection

Up to six coursework requirements

Graded mark


Course 10

Professional Specialization

Dissertation and Oral Examination

Graded mark


Each course includes coursework requirements and assessment assignments that make up the basis for the grade.

Coursework requirements are described in the course description, and all requirements must be approved before the course can be approved. If the coursework requirements are not completed and approved, the assessment assignment will not be assessed, and no grade will be given for the course. Students need to receive passing grades on the individual courses before progression in the study programme is possible.

Assessment assignments include the assignments that form the basis for course grades. Several kinds of assessment may be used - cf. § 7 of the HIT Examination Regulations. The assessment assignments requirements are specified in the individual course descriptions. The length of written work is specified in the number of words required, +/- 10%. In general, the assignments are to be submitted at the end of each course.

Below is a description of the grading system:



General, qualitative description of assessment criteria



An excellent performance, clearly outstanding. The candidate demonstrates excellent judgement and a high degree of independent thinking.


Very good

A very good performance, which is above average. Shows independent thinking.



An average performance, which is satisfactory in the most important areas.



Below-average performance, with significant shortcomings.



A performance that meets the minimum criteria, but no more.



A performance that does not meet the minimum academic criteria.

The distinction between pass and fail may be described in relation to absolute requirements. The criteria for a passing grade must reflect the competence level which corresponds to the academic level of the study programme. The requirements for attaining a passing grade should not depend on the student’s ability to complete the programme. In order to achieve a passing grade the student must show sufficient knowledge and to some extent, understand and be able to apply that knowledge in a professional manner. The candidate must be able to explain the main professional ethical challenges and show relevant understanding of the profession and its responsibilities.


The student’s suitability for practising in the profession will be continually assessed during the course of the study programme, c.f. Regulations for Suitability Assessment in Higher Education (FOR 2006-06-30 no. 859). Suitability assessment is part of the overall assessment of the student’s professional and personal qualifications to work as a health and social care worker.

If there is any reasonable doubt as to whether a student is suitable, a special suitability assessment will be required, where the regulations and provisions of the Public Administration Act and the Act’s requirements regarding administrative procedures will apply.

The student should be familiar with his/her duty of professional confidentiality and must sign a declaration to this effect.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Elin Nordbø Gilberg <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 02/07/2012