Human Services (HSRV) 311

Practice and Policy in the Human Services (Revision 3)

HSRV 311

Under Revision

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Human Services Studies home page

HSRV 311 has a Challenge for Credit option

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This course takes a critical learning approach to the study of social policy as it affects the human services and considers the role of human services education in this emerging profession.

Values inform policy making at the same time that various models and structures can be used in analyzing, evaluating, and implementing social policies. Attention to anti-oppressive and inclusive approaches to practice brings ethical considerations to bear on the policy process, on interactions with service users, and on inter-professional and intra-professional relations among providers of the human services.


HSRV 311 is divided into three parts as outlined below.

Part 1: Goals in Human Service Education

Part 1 adopts a critical thinking approach toward the study of social policy. It also considers the role of education in providing opportunities for lifelong learning and professional development that contributes to the professionalization of the occupations involved in the human services sector. This approach is then applied to the most directly relevant subset of public policy, that of social policy.

Part 2: Social Policy Frameworks

In Part 2, attention is given to the several phases of the policy cycle from policy formulation through policy implementation, evaluation, and reformulation. Our study of the frameworks of social policy incorporates the place of values in policy making, competing models of policy making, structures involved in policy-making, the analysis and evaluation of social policies, and policy implementation.

Part 3: Inclusiveness and Anti-Oppressive Practice

Part 3 considers the need for social inclusion and anti-oppressive practice across the human services sector in order to treat all users well. It also discusses further recourse that remains after all the usual options have been exhausted. The course concludes by integrating and synthesizing learning from the previous units to a consideration of ways of incorporating policy analysis into practice and thereby contributing to personal and professional development.


To receive credit for HSRV 311, you must complete four graded assignments and achieve an overall course composite grade of D (50 percent) or higher. The weightings for each assignment are as follows.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 25%
Assignment 3 30%
Assignment 4 30%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Baines, D. (Ed.). 2007. Doing anti-oppressive practice: Building transformative politicized social work. Halifax, NS: Fernwood.

McKenzie, B., & Wharf, B., (2010). Connecting policy with practice in the human services, 3rd ed.. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

Other Materials

All other course materials will be accessed online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HSRV 311 challenge registration, you must complete all required components, and achieve an overall grade of at least D (50 percent).

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, March 12, 2010.

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