Study contents and study structure

Majors, Topics of Enquiry in Social Work and Focus areas

You can choose between a major in Social Work or Social Pedagogy. The study content is based on four topics of enquiry. These deal with important issuos of Social Work. By choosing a focus area, you can set an individual focus.


Key topics Social Work:

  • Methodical action in social work
  • Assistance process and case management
  • Specific forms of help and intervention
  • Legal social work
  • Case management
  • Conversation techniques
  • Large-group techniques and moderation
  • Poverty and welfare theories
  • Social room work/community work
  • Urban sociology/community economics

Key topics Social Pedagogy:

  • Methodical action in social pedagogy
  • Development and age
  • Participation and cooperation
  • Assistance process and case management
  • Media education
  • Social policy in the welfare state
  • Legal and economic framework and localisation of spheres of activity in social pedagogy
  • Education and upbringing within the traditional context of social pedagogy
  • Specific forms of help and intervention


Topics of enquiry:

  • Social Work as a discipline and profession
  • Professional understanding and shaping of development processes
  • Professional organisation in social inequality contexts
  • Social Work in a welfare state


Focus areas:

  • professional challenges in the face of endangered/injured integrity of individuals
  • Professional challenges in connection with global, local and social transformations

The study programme in Social Work is divided into a Bachelor's and Master's degree. The generalistic and interdisciplinary Bachelor's prgromme enables you to a scientifically sound and practice-oriented professional approach. You can complete the Bachelor's degree in three different ways: full-time study, part-time study, and practice-oriented study. This therefore allows for flexible study planning and takes into account personal, professional or family obligations or pursue top-level sport.


Foundation and main study

The Bachelor's programme in Social Work is modular in design and divided into a foundation and a main study area. In the foundation course, we teach you the basics of social work. You decide on your direction of study, choosing between social work and social pedagogy in addition to selecting a specialisation. Two practical modules (internships) and practical training events form an important part of the Bachelor's programme and you will complete them in different work fields of social work.


Master's Degree

At Master's level, the foundations acquired in the Bachelor's programme are expanded in an application-oriented manner with greater scientific content. You can complete the Master's degree as a full-time or part-time course of study.


Student portfolio work

The student portfolio work as a content-superior structure in the bachelor's degree program supports the reflection and integration of all sub-areas of the program. It serves as an opportunity for students to actively engage with the module contents and practical experiences from the beginning of their studies and to steer their own professional development beyond the degree.


Interdisciplinary contextual studies

In addition to the compulsory modules Ethics and Politics, various cross-disciplinary courses are available (compulsory elective modules). These enable you to look at topics and competences from interdisciplinary perspectives and to deepen them in advance of different reference sciences.

You can complete the Bachelor’s degree in three different ways. Depending on the intensity of study, it takes between three and six years.


Full-time study

A full-time Bachelor's degree in social work lasts at least six semesters. Students are usually present at the OST four days a week (either Monday to Thursday or Monday and Tuesday as well as Thursday and Friday). Another day of the week is required for self-study. Apart from studies, no gainful employment is planned.


Part-time study

A part-time Bachelor's degree in Social Work lasts usually eight to ten semesters. The course allows for flexible study planning and takes into account professional or family obligations. If you study part-time, you will be at the OST two to three days a week. Another half day is required for self-study. In addition to the courses on your study days, plan the participation of one to two block weeks per semester. During the practical semesters, you are at least 50% active in a practice organization in addition to the school days.


Practical part-time study

If, during your studies, you work at least 50% in the function of a social worker or a social pedagogue, you can complete your studies in parallel with practical work. The prerequisite is that your employer is a practice organisation recognised by the university and that you are accompanied by a recognised practical training person. The study period is usually eight semesters. In practical part-time study, you are usually two days a week (study days: Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday) at the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences. Another half-day is required for self-study.

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

Start of the semester

  • Autumn semester: calendar week 38
  • Spring semester: calendar week 08

For new students, the course begins with the introductory week. This takes place in the autumn semester in calendar week 37 and in the spring semester in calendar week 07.


Study days

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

Students are expected to be present at Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences on the days of study chosen by them.


Lecture-free period

The lecture-free time is used for self-study, writing seminar and bachelor theses, the processing of practical projects, practical modules as well as for exam preparation.


Practical modules

The practical modules (internship) start in week 33 and 05 and last 18 to 20 weeks full-time (part-time modules correspondingly longer). Part-time students also complete their practical modules in the form of two qualifying practical phases - usually at the approved employment percentages.



The exams usually take place in calendar weeks 02 and 03 as well as 24 and 25.


Obligatory attendence

In some modules and individual courses attendance is compulsory.

Qualified for a broad field of Social Work

The Bachelor's degree confers a «Bachelor of science OST in Social Work with a focus on Social Work and Social Pedagogy». Upon completion of the Bachelor’s degree, you will have acquired competencies to work in the broad field of social work. You will also have access to the continuing Master's degree. At Master's level, the foundations acquired in the Bachelor's degree are expanded in an application-oriented manner with greater scientific content.


Key entry-level skills

After successfully completing the Bachelor’s program, you will have acquired key skills that are needed for entering the broad field of social work:

  • You will have a generalist qualification, but you will also have specialised by choosing a major and focus area.
  • You will have learned to analyse real-world situations – always taking into account the needs of the beneficiaries and the social and organisational framework conditions.
  • You will also be able to fall back on various professional action models and concepts to help you act appropriately and make good decisions in different situations and contexts.
  • You will be able to identify social developments and translate findings into new approaches.


Career prospects

OST graduates are sought-after specialists in the job market. The Bachelor’s program in Social Work opens doors for you in interesting professions. By attending specific training and development courses at university level, you can continue your education after graduating, either to specialise in a specific area or to enable you to perform additional roles (e.g. project manager, team leader).

The Bachelor’s program gives you access to the consecutive Master’s program. It builds upon the skills and knowledge already acquired and qualifies you to take on more responsibility and handle more complex projects and tasks. Alongside technical expertise, analytical and conceptual skills are of particular importance. On the Master’s program, you will acquire research skills that will qualify you for scientific work and enable you to pursue an academic career. If you hold a master’s degree, you can also apply for a doctoral program.