Zum Hauptbereich springen Zum Fußbereich springen

Social Work and Exclusion

An international study programme in English - March to July 2024

How do you work in different fields of social work and special education? International fields of social work such as migration, political crisis and processes of globalization play a mayor role in learning social work today. With the nowadays challenges for social work, it is safe to say that international qualification in social work becomes more essential than ever. And that is why you will be profiting from our curriculum of “Social Work and Exclusion”, which we offer each summer semester at our campuses in Muenster and Cologne. It will help gain knowledge, skills and experiences in social work practice and theory.

As an international student, you will form one group during the whole semester. You will study side by side with our local students and be a part of our small family campus. Also, you will be provided special support by student buddies and faculty members. Starting with a welcome week and taking part in a one-week excursion to Berlin will highlight your studying with us, as well as a cultural programme which allows you to get to know the vibrant city of Cologne.

Within the programme, you can obtain 30 ECTS. Your learning outcomes will be documented in a transcript of records.

Course catalogue 2023

In this course we are going to address the topic of poverty in Germany. We will study theories on poverty and discuss how to apply them to social work. Furthermore, the students will do mini research projects, which look into specific aspects of poverty by analysing available survey data of the German population. In order to conduct the research projects, we will use the statistic program SPSS. In the end of the seminar the mini-projects will be presented and discussed.

Focusing on the past of his own family, in his study ‚Not in My Family. German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust‘ Canadian psychologist and philosopher Roger Frie elaborates on the long-term consequences of National Socialism in regard to individual psyche, intrafamily relations and politics and society more in general. In doing so he is getting rather personal which makes his study a not only interesting but also intense and lively reading.

Central to his exploration is an understanding of two different ways of knowing about the past: learned and lived history.

See the following quote: „I suggest that in contrast to learned history, lived history tends to be ‚felt‘ rather than ‚known‘. Lived history refers to the direct experience of an event through the emotions and the body or the indirect experience of that event through inherited memories and the experience of one’s elders. Long after the Second World War, descendants of Holocaust survivors are affected by traumas they did not experience themselves, in a process referred to as the ‚transgenerational transmission of trauma‘. Descendants of German perpetrators and
bystanders often grow up with family histories that evade the Nazi past. In each case, family narratives provide an emotional link to a lived history that is mediated and encoded. Any suggestion that the past might be concluded neglects the nature of inherited memory and the lived history of trauma.” (Frie 2017, 12)

As one of the conclusions he is drawing from his study, Frie states a gap between the two ways of knowing about the past: While Germans nowadays know a lot about National Socialism in terms of learned history, we do not now much in terms of lived history. As a consequence, he himself experiences German Erinnerungskultur as somehow empty - lacking lived history.

In this class we are going to read his study and make up our minds about Frie’s findings.

Language of communication: We try to express ourselves in English (but can also use German if necessary and helpful).


  • Frie, Roger (2017): Not in My Family. German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust. New York: Oxford University Press.
    (In German language the study was published in 2021 as ‚Nicht in meiner Familie. Deutsches Erinnern und die Verantwortung nach dem Holocaust‘ (Frankfurt a.M.: Brandes & Apsel).

Human dignity and human rights as their "conditions of experience" (Maaser) provide an important frame work for professional practice in social work and inclusive education. To ensure that they are effectively implemented, the relevant conventions provide monitoring procedures, action plans and human rights education measures. In this seminar we will explore how professional practice can contribute to realizing human rights, using the example of various UN conventions and referring to different countries. Incoming students and students preparing for their practical training period (maybe abroad) are invited to reflect on one's own possibilities in concrete projects or individual support for addressees. 

The seminar will be held largely in English, but we are keen to ensure broad participation both of incoming and German students and will endeavour to cope with any language barriers.

The issue of domestic violence - in our context defined as violence in hetero- or homosexual partnerships – is significant with regard to the health and safety of women, children and men as well. In this course we will discuss sociological approaches to explain domestic violence and its dynamics. The basis of this course are findings from anglo-american research, data about the extent of domestic violence in Germany as well as consequences of legal regulations in Germany, such as the so called “Gewaltschutzgesetz”. The participation in this course requires the
willingness to read, prepare and present English texts. But: you don’t have to be a perfect English speaker, because in this course we all will be learners, me as well as you.

In this course, your preparation for the module exam/ the transcript of records takes place by preparing one session. For german students basic knowledge of all topics covered is also part of the module exam.

Democratic societies thrive on an exchange of arguments. In the ideal, free and equal Citizens meet to discuss and shape their community. In reality, however, democracy is increasingly under pressure: distorted truths, fake news or outright lies erode the democratic quality of discourse. The seminar examines the challenges of contemporary democracy from the perspectives of Political Theory and Social Work and asks for concrete consequences for the practice of social workers and Citizenship educators. What challenges do arise from fake news and populism, particularly in the field of Social Work? How can fake news and serious press articles be distinguished in the digital world? What paths can social work take to enable its clients to have a voice in society and politics? The seminar uses a variety of didactic methods to discuss the questions above. Working language is English.

In this seminar, after a detailed introduction to the subject of sexuality and its social discourse (WiSe 20/21), conclusions will be drawn for a meaningful, individual and target group-related sexual education in the field of social work and various practical concepts will be (critically) discussed (SoSe 21).

To understand sexuality in all its complexity requires an intensive examination of normative, traditional ideas of sexuality, but also in the light of medical, psychological, and social aspects of sexuality. Due to the omnipresence of sexuality in public discourse (e.g. in the context of the sexual abuse debate or in connection with different views of adolescent sexuality) it is essential for social workers to include this topic in their repertoire of knowledge, attitudes and actions and to deconstruct various lines of discourse.

In the second part of the seminar, the scientific findings elaborated in the first part will be used in the discussion and reflection of sex education concepts and methods.

Prejudices are omnipresent. On the one hand, their function is to simplify a complex environment; on the other hand, they are the basis of some of the worst human behaviors humans show. Thus, racism, sexism, nationalism, and other isms are based on the attribution of negative stereotypes to people who are perceived to belong to a certain social group. We will take a deeper look into theoretical and empirical findings of social psychology. This aims to help us to understand the research paradigms and therefore critically reflect the possibilities and limitations of social psychological findings on prejudice. Furthermore, mechanisms for reducing prejudice derived from social psychology will be discussed. In the manner of a creative workshop, we will develop and discuss hypothetical anti-prejudice concepts for social work related settings.

Working language is English.

Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders – these are just a few examples of the complex, life-changing conditions that this seminar will address. We will understand, why and how these disorders develop, with which typical symptoms they present, why their severity differs between individuals and what can be done to support people suffering from these disorders. We will also discuss some of the social and ethical implications. 

The lecture provides an introduction to social policy in Germany. In addition to the basic social security system, individual policy areas (e.g. youth welfare policy and school policy) are presented and the connections between social policy and economics are discussed. The lecture will be held in English.

The lecture can be used together with an exercise in social policy (in German, English texts are available) to prepare for the examination in Module 14. However, participation is possible independently of module 14.

Eramus students can obtain ECTS with an examination in the form of an essay.

Social segregation is a general phenomenon that also affects the social space. According to this, residents are distributed in the space according to various characteristics, whereby processes of assimilation and displacement play a special role. 

The seminar outlines and reflects on these processes with a view to intervention opportunities of social work. Aspects of public health play a special role and will therefore be dealt with in detail.

Social work in Germany has professionalized both theoretically and practically. Postmodern times have developed a large number of differentiating fields of work in order to be able to meet complex and diverse needs and challenges. In this seminar we will focus on offers of the child and youth care (SGB VIII), get to know different forms of help and visit social facilities on site. Part of this seminar will be a graded performance of the (Erasmus) students.

Language Requirements

The language of conduction of the “Social Work and Exclusion” programme in Muenster is English. A good knowledge of English is therefore essential. Each international student applicant must master the English language sufficiently well to be able to understand lectures and to be able to work with English academic texts. The applicants must proof English language skills with an English language certificate of B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 


The nomination deadline is each year on October the 31st., via email to: incoming(at)katho-nrw.de 

Please contact our team for more detailed information on the application process. 


Prof. Dr. Jochen Bonz

Scientific coordinator

Prof. Dr. Jochen Bonz


Münster, Sozialwesen



Katrin Verhorst

Counselling/student service

Katrin Verhorst

Mitarbeiterin International Office, Abteilungen Münster und Paderborn

Paderborn, Sozialwesen, Dezernat VI - Akademische Angelegenheiten

Zum Kopfbereich springen