This site is no longer active.


Up-to-date information on MFamily can be found at the University of Stavanger site. 




Academic structure and content

This two year master programme of 120 ECTS is divided into four semesters of 30 ECTS each.

Each cohort will spend the first three semesters in Lisbon, Stavanger and Gothenburg respectively before moving to the desired partner to work on their master’s thesis.

The language of instruction for the programme is English.The programme modules have been specifically designed for this consortium and a number of the modules have already been successfully tested with four cohorts of international students. Many of the modules are taught jointly by partners and associates with the result that students are given a unique European and global perspective on children and family social work. The different modules are relevant in relation to the course objectives.


First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Fourth Semester


ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute

University of Stavanger

University of Gothenburg

At one of the partner universities


Sociology of the Family

Families and Migration

Family Law, Social Policy

Family Social Work Placement

Social Research Methodology

Social Work Methodology

Children, Youth and Participation (including field placement)

Welfare State and Welfare Policy (including field visits)

Children and Families in Adverse Life Situations,

Research Theories and Methods/ Dissertation Project



First Semester

The first semester commences at ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute in late August/early September. Students will arrive for the orientation programme and will also be given the opportunity to attend courses in Portuguese Language and Culture.

The first semester is characterized by a strong focus on core theories on families, children, social work and social policy in order to encourage the students' critical thinking and to develop the students' analytic expertise.

The modules are taught by several partners and associated partners. Co-teaching of modules by partners and associated partners serves to enhance the international perspectives of family social work at theoretical and cultural levels. A placement module will encourage identification and selection of different social work skills and challenges in a socio-cultural context.

In the first semester students will examine Sociology of the Family, Families and Migration, Family Law, Social Policy, Family Social Work Placement, Social Research Methodology and Social Work Methodology. This will give students the necessary overview and fundamental theory and practice in a complex field.

Second Semester

The second semester at UiS will contribute to strengthening the students’ knowledge base with two modules - Children, Youth and Participation (including field placement) and Welfare State and Welfare Policy (including field visits). These two modules clearly highlight Stavanger’s areas of expertise. The first module will address strengths perspectives, mastering- and solution-oriented perspectives and skills, encouraging students to work effectively with vulnerable children and families in a changing global context promoting the participation of children.

Placements will promote integration of theory, research based knowledge and practical social work problem-solving strategies and skills, as well as students’ cultural and emotional sensitivity to vulnerable children and family issues. Seminars will attend to reflections on proper, professional judgments about ethical issues. The second module will 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. The role and challenges of a social work profession will be critically examined and related to transnational trends and innovative practices.

Third Semester

This thread will be followed by UGOT in the third semester where two new modules in Children and Families in Adverse Life Situations, and Research Theories and Methods are compulsory curricula. The first module addresses critical reflection on research, theories and practice with relation to children and families in adverse life situations. It deals with theories and methods in social work in relation to this group. The course focuses on the life situations of children and families in relation to issues like power, socio-economic conditions, physical and mental health, gender and ethnicity, children’s position in the society and in the family and the role of the social worker in child protection matters. Beside lectures and seminars, there will also be field placements. The module is taught by University of Gothenburg in collaboration with Makerere University and an associate partner, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India. Makerere University will contribute lectures on families and family interventions from the African perspective. Lectures will focus on Vulnerabilities in an African context, Child Poverty, Street Children, HIV/Aids among young people, and Welfare Provisions for Young People in Developing Countries and how to develop social welfare provisions with limited resources.

Tata Institute of Social Science, India, a bilateral partner of both UGOT and UIS, will have two lecturers at the University of Gothenburg in the 3rd semester (financed by Olof Palme bilateral scholar scholarships).

They will contribute lectures in Indian Perspectives of Family Social Work and Social Policy to Children and Families in Adverse Life Situations, as well guest lectures in Research Theories and Methods.

By the third semester students are also expected to have decided the focus of their dissertation and which of the partners they plan to be with for the final semester. By this time, students will also have a comprehensive overview of the main challenges faced within children and family social work and social policy.

Fourth Semester

The overall purpose of this course is to, in a transnational context, independently and critically plan, carry out and defend an advanced research work within the area of social work with families and children. In this course the students will choose, discuss and analyse relevant methods and theories related to a research subject as well as formulate research questions. Students will also document and discuss the research process, analyse empirical data and present the results in a written report. Students will defend their own research report and also oppose on another research report in a final seminar. In this semester students will be supervised at any of the locations (Lisbon, Stavanger, Gothenburg, Kampala/Makerere) and conduct independent research in intercultural contexts. The research should address topics with relevance for the program, and prepare students for a career in children and family social work in order to meet the need of the labour market (governmental and nongovernmental organizations, international organizations and private practice) for expert knowledge in the best interest of children and families in need.

Additional information