Master's degree

Master's Degree Programme in Social Services
Master of Social Services and Health Care, 90 ECTS

sosionomi (ylempi AMK), Master of Social Services, geronomi (ylempi AMK), Master of Social Services and Health Care

  • Programme
  • Curricula
  • Implementations
Course Structure Diagram

Xamk - the students' university of applied sciences

Master’s degree programmes at Xamk are provided by Master School. Master School is a multidisciplinary, international and change-oriented learning and RDI environment. You can choose from a number of different learning paths to develop your expertise and skills and promote your career.

Graduates from Master School are experts in understanding and recognising changes in work environments. At Master School, you have the opportunity to study in multidisciplinary learning and development environments that are closely linked to work-related development and innovation. You can flexibly choose courses from the selection offered by Xamk’s Master School.

Your teachers provide guidance and counselling, encouraging critical thinking, argumentation and generation and application of new knowledge.

Employment and career opportunities

These studies allow you to progress in your career towards multicultural competence. Some students work already in these kinds of positions and increase their capacity to do these tasks.

The degree programme produce experts in multicultural client work who are also prepared for R&D work and managerial duties in the field.

Those who have graduated as Masters of Social Services from the degree programme may work in municipalities, joint municipal authorities, government enterprises, non-profit organizations, private companies or state administration in positions requiring Master level education.

Multicultural social work with immigrants master's degree is equal to other Finnish Master's degrees provided by scientific universities, and give the same qualifications as them. However, only the degree of Master of Social Sciences with major subject studies in social work gives the necessary qualification for the profession of social worker (The Act on Social Welfare Professionals 817/2015, 7§).

Curriculum objectives

The general and programme-specific learning outcomes and the process of students’ professional growth and learning are specified in the curriculum of the university of applied sciences. The curriculum is based on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Level 7 corresponds to the knowledge and skills achieved by completing a Master’s degree. The curriculum is based on the needs and development of the world of work and the overall strategic choices of Xamk.

The competence-based curriculum consists of the programme’s learning outcomes, modules and courses. The objectives, contents, teachers, learning and teaching modes, arrangements, work required, timetables and evaluation methods for courses are specified in implementation plans. The implementation plans provide the foundation for students’ personal study plans (‘HOPS’ in Finnish) and individual choices. In addition, they provide the basis for fruitful co-operation between students representing different fields of study.

Degree programme learning outcomes

The Master’s degree programme ‘Multicultural social work with immigrants’ deepens your bachelor level and professional expertise and trains you for the multicultural work in social sector. In your studies, you combine theoretical knowledge with professional know-how and practical work experience.

The key objectives of the education:

* You are familiar with current multicultural issues in the field of social work and understand cultural, social, political and economic impacts of multicultural issues.

* You are able to develop and assess your methodological skills in multicultural client work.

* You deepen your counselling and societal influencing skills in multicultural work.

* You are able to define, analyse and develop cultural awareness as your work orientation.

* You have skills to multi-professionally assess, develop and co-ordinate social services in multicultural working environment.

The competence developed through the degree programme is divided into core competence and supplementary competence.

Core competence (must know) comprises the knowledge, skills and aptitude required of graduates by employers. All graduates should possess this competence. In addition to this, supplementary competence is necessary for deepening or expanding the core competence. Core competence is developed through programme-specific advanced professional studies and the Master’s thesis. In degree programmes of 90 and 60 credits, core competence accounts for 60 and 50 credits, respectively. The thesis (30 credits) is included in core competence. Core and supplementary competences are specified at the module level.

Supplementary competence (should know) deepens and/or expands core competence. Supplementary competence allows students to specialise in a certain area. Supplementary competence is acquired through advanced professional studies that are common for all degree programmes in Master School. In degree programmes of 90 and 60 credits, supplementary competence accounts for 30 and 10 credits, respectively.

The curriculum consists of programme-specific core studies (40 credits), supplementary studies common for all programmes (20 credits) and a Master’s thesis (30 credits), which is a development project.

In accordance with your personal study plan (HOPS), you may choose supplementary competence courses as follows:

1) courses common for all Master School students, including research and development studies, leadership studies, entrepreneurship studies, Russian studies, communication skills training and courses on topical themes

2) core competence courses from other Master’s degree programmes (specifically agreed)

3) courses corresponding to Level 7 provided by other higher education institutions.

Common Master School courses are provided as online courses, courses taught in English, intensive courses and on a blended learning basis. Student groups are multidisciplinary, which promotes the development of your networking skills.

The Master’s thesis (30 credits) is a research or development project. You will study topical questions associated with your field of study and produce development data through research. Thus, the Master’s thesis is always a project that aims to develop the work environment, workplace or field of industry/business.

The degree programme is built on the European (EQF) and National (NQF) Qualifications Frameworks. Master School is Xamk’s multidisciplinary, international and change-oriented learning and RDI environment.

The studies that develop core competence are specifically designed for each degree programme. This work is led by the persons in charge for the programme: Director of education Sari Laanterä and Principal lecturer Johanna Hirvonen. Also Principal lecturer Päivi Niiranen-Linkama has been involved in the curriculum work. Teachers have planned the content of the curriculum. Representatives of working life have commented on the curriculum.

The supplementary courses provided are common for all Master’s degree programmes. Xamk’s Master School team together with the persons in charge of the degree programmes are responsible for designing these studies. See the Student intranet for the composition of the team and the persons in charge.

Common competence map, Master’s degree programmes

Competence map for Master’s programmes

* Learning skills

o can systematically assess and improve their expertise in multiple ways

o can find, process, produce and evaluate information critically and from perspectives of different fields of business/industry

o can take responsibility for the promotion of goal-oriented learning within the organisation

* Ethical competence

o can take responsibility for the operations of the organisation and their consequences

o can apply the principles of professional code of conduct as an expert and developer of the workplace

o can make decisions while taking into account the perspectives of the individual and the organisation

o can promote the principles of equality in the workplace community

o can promote the principles of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility

o can lead socially influential operations adhering to ethical values

* Workplace community skills

o can improve the functioning of the workplace community and promote well-being at work

o can develop multidisciplinary communication and interaction at work

o can utilise information and communication technology at work

o can create networks and partnerships

o can work as a leader and improve operations in complex environments and unforeseen circumstances

o can manage demanding expert, leader or entrepreneur jobs

* Innovation skills

o can generate new knowledge and improve working methods by combining skills from different fields of business/industry

o can lead projects

o can lead research, development and innovation projects and knows research and development methods

o can develop customer-driven, sustainable and profitable business

* Internationalisation skills

o can manage international communication at work and when developing the operations

o can work in international environments

o can anticipate effects of internationalisation and related opportunities in his/her field of business/industry

Multicultural social work with immigrants Master’s degree programme deepens your bachelor level skills and competences. The core studies consist of three modules (40 cr) and the Master’s thesis (30 cr). When completed programme-specific core studies you possess understanding of cultural awareness in counselling work, multicultural client work methods and the development of social services in multicultural environments.

Degree studies

The degree can be completed alongside work. In the degree programme various teaching and learning methods are used: lectures, group work, seminars and independent studies. Some courses are provided in web-based learning environments. During the studies you participate in multicultural field work, field research or volunteer work (10 cr) abroad or in Finland.

The connection to the working life is strong, because all students come from working life. We co-operate with working life in different ways: curriculum work, co-operative meetings, developing teams of Master’s Thesis and different tasks.

The education and RDI activities provide a continuum for the build-up of learning. As a student you will have the opportunity to participate in RDI activities through various projects together with staff members and working-life representatives. Learning is based on actual development needs in working life, and you will be able to make use of and apply what you have learned in real problem-solving situations.

Learning is an active process and will be constructed on the earlier knowledge base and experiences. Sharing experience-based knowledge is emphasized and this allows a multi-professional approach to learning. Critical thinking, problem-solving, self-directed learning, initiative and co-operation are central concepts during your studies.

Your own work is an important learning environment. You do different tasks and your Master’s thesis for your workplace. We use Moodle learning environment and there you can join in different group work. Some alternative courses are offered totally on-line. You can use AC–video conference or Business Skype in some lessons and guidance situations.

Master’s thesis is worth 30 ECTS and it is a work-oriented development project. Usually the topic is related to the student’s own workplace and its development work. You start your master’s thesis process in the beginning of the studies. It is important that the student has a development group to support the progress of the thesis. Students demonstrate their ability to manage a project, work independently, and create new, innovative solutions for working life. Students learn also professional and scientific communication and they learn to justify their choices during the thesis process. You can write the thesis also in a multi-professional group.


Competence-based curricula require competence-based evaluation.

Your degree programme applies Xamk’s common evaluation criteria for Master’s programmes, from which course-specific evaluation criteria have been derived. Students receive grades for courses in accordance with the degree regulation. Course-specific evaluation criteria can be found in the course description.

The most important objective of evaluation is to inform students of the level of their knowledge and skills and help them to improve their skills. Various assessment methods are used for the evaluation of learning, including course- and module-specific evaluation by the teacher, peer evaluation and evaluation by the employer. In addition, students evaluate themselves. Self-evaluation is part of the process of professional growth which is promoted through guidance discussions between the group tutor and the student.

Student counseling

Student guidance and counselling will support you to achieve your own objectives. You have access to group counselling and personal guidance. In the beginning of the studies students make personal study plans (PSP). Your tutor discusses the plan with you. You will assess your learning, know-how and professional growth in some tasks through your studies.

Counselling tools include information sessions, group counselling and personal counselling. Counselling meetings can also be held online. Group counselling lessons are organized regularly and are included in your schedule. Students and group supervisor can together plan the themes of the meetings.

The services of the study secretaries, student welfare officer, student psychologist and student health care are also at your disposal on each campus.

Learning environments

Xamk offers excellent facilities to support your learning. A significant part of studies take place outside the classroom. Innovation and project environments (e.g. Xinno, Xentre, CampusIT and Logistiikkaverstas Logistics Workshop), different kinds of simulation environments and teaching restaurants, eLearning environments and working-life and RDI projects will facilitate your learning. You can also conduct your studies in two authentic local environments: in the forest and at sea.

Quality evaluation and development

Xamk values quality and the improvement of quality is integral part of the work of all staff and students. Xamk continuously improves the quality of teaching, guidance, learning environments and degree programmes.

The feedback collected on a regular basis from students, staff and stakeholders is very important for the quality improvement work. As a student, you have a central role in the continuous development of quality at Xamk. During your studies, you will be asked to answer a number of quality surveys. Course feedback, the entry and development surveys carried out during your studies and the feedback collected at the graduation stage constitute part of our quality assurance system.

Staff and students process quality feedback together on various collaboration forums, deciding on new methods and discussing the effects of previous development measures. These forums provide an efficient channel for students to express their views on performance and planned measures. The figure below illustrates the path of course feedback.

Our quality assurance system is based on the so-called circle of continuous development, or quality circle: Plan – Do – Check – Act. For more information about quality assessment and improvement, see the Student intranet.