Program content and structure

Focal topics and specializations

The Bachelor's degree program has a modular structure featuring various focal topics and specializations.

Core issues of social work

  • Methodological practice in social work
  • Process of providing support and case management
  • Concrete forms of help and intervention
  • Legal social work
  • Case management
  • Methods of conducting discussions
  • Techniques for use with large groups and moderation of discussions
  • Theories of poverty and welfare
  • Community practice
  • Urban sociology / community-based economics

Core issues of social pedagogy

  • Methodological practice in social pedagogy
  • Age and development
  • Participation and cooperation
  • Assistance process and case management
  • Media pedagogy
  • Social policy within the welfare state
  • Legal and economic framing and positioning of the socio-pedagogical fields of action
  • Education and upbringing within the traditions of social pedagogy
  • Concrete forms of help and intervention


  • Professional challenges facing individuals whose physical and/or mental integrity is under threat/has been violated
  • Professional challenges in the context of global and local social transformation

At OST, Social Work is offered as a subject of study at the Bachelor and Master levels. The Bachelor's degree program has a generalist, interdisciplinary focus and equips students with scientifically sound, practical knowledge and sense of professionalism. As an alternative to full-time study, part-time study and hybrid part-time study with a practical element offer you the opportunity to remain in employment, to attend to your family obligations, or to continue training as an elite athlete.

The Master's degree program

The advanced Master's degree program allows students to specialize and expand their theoretical and methodological knowledge. You can complete the Master's program as a full-time or part-time student.

Student portfolio work

Student portfolio work acts as an overarching structure for the content taught within the Bachelor's degree program by encouraging students to reflect on what they have learned from all parts of their study and integrate these various aspects into their work. This provides students with the opportunity to actively engage with the course content and their practical experience right from the start of their studies and to manage their own professional development beyond graduation.

Interdisciplinary context studies

Alongside the core courses Ethics and Politics, students have the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary learning opportunities through elective courses. These enable you to look at topics and skills from interdisciplinary perspectives and to hone them against the background of various related scientific disciplines.

There are several options for completing the Bachelor's degree program. The program will last between three and a maximum of six years depending on the chosen model of study.

Full-time study

The full-time Bachelor's degree program in Social Work takes six semesters to complete. As a rule, students must be present at the university four days a week (either Monday to Thursday or Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). An additional week day is required for self-study. As this is a full-time program, students are not expected to work during their studies.

Part-time study

Part-time study generally requires eight to ten semesters and enables you to work and/or attend to family obligations. If you are studying part time, you will attend university two to three days a week (study days: Monday and Tuesday, or Thursday and Friday, third day of the student's choice). An additional half-day is required for self-study. In addition to the courses on your study days, plan to attend one or two intensive weeks per semester. During the practical semesters, you will spend at least 70% of your time working in an organization that provides practical experience and on-the-job training. 

Hybrid part-time study with a practical element

If you work at least 50% of full-time hours as a social worker or social pedagogue in training while studying, you can complete your studies alongside your practical training. The prerequisite is that your employer is recognized by the university as an organization that provides practical experience and on-the-job training, and that you are supervised by a recognized professional trainer. The duration of study under this model is usually eight semesters. As a hybrid part-time student, as a rule, you will be required to attend university two days a week (study days: Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday). An additional half-day is required for self-study.

In addition to the courses on your study days, plan to attend one or two intensive weeks per semester.

Start of studies

  • Fall Semester start: week 38
  • Spring Semester start: week 8

For new students, studies begin with an induction week. This takes place in the Fall Semester in week 37 and in the Spring Semester in week 7.

Study days

  • Full-time study: four days a week (either Monday to Thursday or Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday)
  • Part-time or hybrid study two to three (either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday)

Students are expected to be present at the university on their chosen study days.

Reading period

This lecture-free period is used for self-study, for completing seminar work and the Bachelor's thesis, for working on real-life student consulting projects, for practical modules, and for exam preparation.

Practical courses

The practical courses (internships) begin in week 33 and 5 and last 18 to 20 weeks for full-time students (this time is proportionately longer for part-time students). Under the supervision of a recognized practical trainer, students complete their practical courses in the form of two qualifying practical phases – as a rule, in line with the approved employment percentage.


The examinations usually take place in calendar weeks 02 and 03, as well as 24 and 25.
Mandatory attendance

Attendance is mandatory for certain courses.

Equipped with professional skills required for the broad field of social work
Upon completion of your studies, you will be awarded a «Bachelor of Science OST in Social Work». After completing your Bachelor's degree, you will have gained key entry-level skills necessary for a career in the broad field of social work. In addition, you will now be able to pursue an advanced Master's degree program. At the Master's level, you will hone the fundamental skills and knowledge gained during your Bachelor's degree program and expand upon these with a practical, scientific focus.

Core competencies for entering professional work

Completing your Bachelor's degree equips you with key entry-level skills necessary for a career in the broad field of social work:

  • You have completed a generalist education, while also having honed your skills in certain areas through your choice of study topics and specialization.
  • You have learned to analyze practical situations – always with a view to the needs of the person in question, as well as the social and organizational framework conditions.
  • In addition, you can draw on various professional models of action and concepts in order to make decisions and take appropriate action in different contexts.
  • You are able to recognize social developments and apply insights into new approaches to practice.

Professional prospects

OST graduates are highly sought after on the labor market. A Bachelor's degree in Social Work will open doors to a variety of interesting career paths. By attending specific executive education courses at university of applied sciences level, you can gain further qualifications if required, either to specialize in certain topics or to assume additional functions such as project or team manager.

A Bachelor's degree gives you access to the advanced Master's degree program, which builds on the skills and expertise you have already acquired. This will qualify and enable you to take on additional responsibilities within more complex projects and tasks. In addition to technical expertise, analytical and conceptual skills are especially important. During the Master's degree program, you will acquire research skills, which will enable you to carry out scientific tasks and open up the possibility of a career in academia. After obtaining your Master's degree, you will be able to pursue a doctorate.