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European Master in Social Work With Families and Children (in English only)

ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon
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Program description

European Master in Social Work With Families and Children (in English only)

This Erasmus Mundus MFAMILY is a two year master programme of 120 ECTS. Students will spend a semester each in Lisbon, Stavanger and Gothenburg before moving to one of the partner institutions to work on their master’s thesis. The language of instruction for the programme is English. Upon completion of the programme, students will be awarded a joint degree by the consortium.

The programme is jointly developed by ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), University of Gothenburg (UGOT), University of Stavanger (UiS) and Makerere University (MU). MFAMILY is also proud of the active participation of 26 associate partners, 8 of which are higher education institutions from several continents. This gives the programme a truly global character, and a great potential to respond to needs in skills development, teaching, research and employability in the area of social work with children and families.

This master addresses the improvement of knowledge and skills for people working with interventions for vulnerable children and marginalized families. MFAMILY will develop an education that will provide unique knowledge and innovative competences for international comparative child and family social work. Students will be updated on the latest research and practices on social work interventions for vulnerable children and families. This master programme aims to enhancepostgraduate students’ employability through the improvement of skills and knowledge in order to match the needs of EU actions to protect children from violence and other vulnerabilities as well as to work with the pressure on modern families. The students will hold unique competences that are demanded from local and national governmental institutions as well as from NGOs and private actors in the field of social work and social welfare. The qualified students from MFAMILY will represent a group with expert knowledge in a field with great demand for new solutions, especially in times of economic downturn.

All the universities involved in this consortium will contribute with excellent standards of teaching and research expertise on themes focused on family issues and the rights of the children, on migration and globalization processes dealing with children and families, as well as on social work and social research methods, to get a comprehensive and comparative view. The programme also covers cross-country/continental comparisons in relation to welfare models and situations for marginalized families and children at risk. Underlying this programme is an understanding that social work with families and children gains from an integrative, critical approach where multidisciplinary perspectives and cross country/continental traditions are taken into account. The learning experience is based on interplay between theory and practice, which will be reflected in the final master dissertation and in the future professional capabilities acquired by the students.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements

The Master programme builds upon a first degree such as a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent qualification in a related field (e.g. Social Work, Sociology).

The final grade must be a minimum of C+ or equivalent and proven by certificates. Preliminary transcripts are acceptable when applying, but the final degree certificate is required before the start of the programme.

Preference will be given to applicants who can document knowledge of Family Social Work and empirical methods. Modules completed at the undergraduate level, papers, essays and examination results are considered valid documentation. Preference will also be given to qualified applicants who, in addition, have relevant professional experience.

Language requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must demonstrate proficiency in English by the application deadline. Candidates from the MFamily partnership European countries must demonstrate a Level 4 out of a possible Level 6 in English on their senior high school transcript.

For more information visit University Website

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Program content


The European Master in Social Work with Families and Children clearly states its objectives as follows:

  1. Develop the students' analytic expertise in relation to vulnerable children and the situation of marginalized families.
  2. Improve the students' knowledge and skills in order to develop interventions that will protect, promote and fulfill children’s rights.
  3. Enable students to work effectively with vulnerable children and families in a changing global context, promoting the participation of children.
  4. Prepare students for a career in children and family social work in order to meet the demand of the labor market (governmental and nongovernmental organizations, international organizations and private practice) for expert knowledge in the best interest of children and families in need.
  5. Explore international perspectives on vulnerable children and marginalized families, including the different cultural contexts, beliefs and practices, legal and policy contexts and social problems.
  6. Introduce students to comparative research to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses in European and other international welfare models, recognizing that interpretations and social work practices, and social policy vary in different parts of the world.
  7. Enable students to conduct independent research in intercultural contexts.

For more information visit University Website

Tuition fees

Fees and funding

Participation costs to the MFAMILY master are as follows:

  • Programme Country students (a) – 2 250,00 € / semester
  • Partner Country students (b) – 4 500,00 € / semester

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About this institute

ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon

Founded in 1972, the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) is one of the most prestigious public universities in Portugal, particularly focused on postgraduate studies and scientific research. It is organized in four schools: ISCTE Business School, School of Sociology and...

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Contact info

ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon

Avenida das Forças Armadas
1649-026 Lisboa

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