Social Education Studies, bachelor


As a licensed health care professional with special expertise in interacting with people with complex disabilities and different cognitive skills, social educators are important with regard to today’s challenges concerning cooperation, coordination and the development of welfare services. Social educators will focus on the resources, wishes and choices, of people with disabilities, and they will help ensure that their rights are upheld and that opportunities for social inclusion are taken care of.

The curriculum for the Bachelor’s degree in Social Education Studies at Telemark University College has been formulated on the basis of the following documents:

  • The General Curriculum for Social Education Studies, issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, 1 December, 2005.
  • Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges no. 15, 1 April 2005.
  • White Paper No. 27 (2000-2001) on reform of the quality of higher education: “Do your Duty – Demand your Rights”.
  • Regulations Regarding Suitability Assessment in Higher Education issued by the Ministry of Education and Research 30 June 2006 pursuant to the provisions of the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges.
  • 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.
  • Quality Handbook for Educational Activities at Telemark University College set by the board on 25 November 2010.
  • Telemark University College’s Strategic Plan (2010-2014) set by the board 25 November 2010.
  • The Curriculum of the Bachelor’s Degree in Social Education Studies at Telemark University College, 1 March 2011.
  • White Paper nr.47 (2008-2009) Coordination Reform.

The curriculum is to be understood as the student’s contract with the teaching facility, 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 dignity, needs, resources and opportunities. Applicants are required to satisfy general admission requirements. Applicants who do not meet the criteria for 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 Social Education Studies graduate should have the knowledge, skills and general competence to interact with people with complex disabilities and different cognitive skills. Professional practice should be based on equality, respect for individual integrity and self-determination and put the user in focus. The social educator should have competence based on the correlation between theoretical and practical studies, and have developed the ability to apply 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 of the professional field of social education and the welfare state in national and international perspectives, and has knowledge of the framework within which his/her profession operates
  • Has knowledge of the distribution of tasks and cooperation between professional health and social care groups, and a special knowledge of social education work aimed at developing services for people with disabilities. Emphasis is given to meeting users with empathy and respect from the perspective of equality regardless of age, gender, class, ethnicity, culture, beliefs and understanding of reality; and people with disabilities are given a special focus in the study programme.
  • Has acquired an understanding of the importance of personal competence in professional work, and how perceptions of himself/herself as a professional is developed in a cultural context
  • Is able to discuss and justify professional decisions based on relevant theory.

Learning outcomes for the second year students; the student:

  • Under supervision should be able to perform social educational work, habilitation and rehabilitation, and nursing and care that ensures good quality of life and the highest level of coping for people with disabilities
  • Has knowledge of the most common somatic diseases and mental disorders, understands the consequences of various disabilities and is able to carry out appropriate medication management
  • Is able to justify professional decisions based on relevant theory and document his/her own work. Respect for people’s integrity and rights is essential.

Learning outcomes for the third year students; the student:

  • Will have developed an understanding of the profession from a critical perspective and a reflective attitude towards positions and the exercise of his/her profession
  • Will independently be able to carry out professional social educational work and to document, explain and critically evaluate the work
  • Will have a critical perspective of social educators opportunities to influence the living conditions of people with disabilities, and have insight into how living conditions are affected by national and international conditions
  • Will be able to initiate and participate in interdisciplinary collaboration from the individual to the system level; provide the conditions for making decisions in support services and in relation to the political authorities; 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

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 in Social Education Studies is based on the national curriculum and regulations for the 3-year Social Education Studies issued by the Ministry of Education and Research 1 December 2005. It is based on a nominal length of study of three years full-time / four years part-time, and comprises 180 ECTS. On application, the Norwegian Board of Health provides authorisation as a social educator on the basis of documentation which shows that the person in question “has passed examinations in the relevant subjects at a Norwegian university, university college or institution of further educational studies” c.f. Health Personnel Act § 48, second subsection. The study programme must have been completed and approved with the set number of ECTS credits for each course as required by the curriculum, including the obligatory practical training. As an authorised health worker the title of Social Educator is protected.

The Bachelor’s degree in Social Education Studies combines various science-based fields of knowledge, and students will acquire through the study programme overall skills based on a combination of theoretical and practical studies. 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. The study programme 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. At the Department of Social Studies, the international approach is built upon professional ethical guidelines. The social educator has a special responsibility for people with complex disabilities, 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 requirements are met 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 content of the study programme requires an integration of theory and practical training. This is reflected in the choice of teaching and 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 60 ECTS credits of which 48 ECTS credits must involve direct contact with users (cf. the national curriculum and regulations for Bachelor’s degree programmes in social education studies). 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, and one of the periods of practical training is organized so that students acquire the necessary professional expertise and skills in medication management.

Practical training studies: Social Education Work: 3rd semester / 16 ECTS credits.

Practical training studies: Health-Oriented Social Education Work and Rehabilitation: 4th semester / 16 ECTS credits.

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

The terms of 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 for the practical training. Progress throughout the three periods of practical training should be specified in the learning contract, and it should include time for supervision and evaluation. The student’s tasks should be diverse and lie within the area of social education 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 have 30 hours a week of practical training. 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 university 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 university college should arrange this. The university 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 university 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 university 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 for various reasons 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 university 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 university 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 university 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 university 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 university 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 Social Education Studies: Overview of assessment assignments:


Assessment assignments

Form of assessment

ECTS credits


1st year of study.

Course 1

Social Education 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

Social Educational Work and Disability

Up to three coursework requirements

Graded mark



2nd year of study


Course 5

Social Educational Work in the Community

Up to four coursework requirements




Course 6

Foundation Knowledge for Health Professionals

Up to three coursework requirements

Graded mark



Course 7

Social Education Work, Nursing and Care, and Medication Management

Up to three coursework requirements




Course 8

Health-oriented Social Education Work

Up to four coursework requirements




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 Frode Evenstad <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 25/06/2012