Linz Austria

Upper Austria Summer Course in Social Work and Criminal Justice

University of Upper Austria in Linz, Austria

June 21 – July 4, 2015
The Upper Austria Summer course in Social Work and Criminal Justice is a two week intensive course of study in comparative social policy for which students can earn 3-6 hours of undergraduate or graduate credit in Social Work or Criminal Justice at during the summer semester at UWM. 


The program consists of a combination of lectures by Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences School of Social Work faculty, contact with professionals in social work and criminal justice, and service site visits.  Students may study in the areas of social work and/or criminal justice.  Special emphasis will be on substance abuse, family counseling, child welfare, prisons, and policing.   Within each of these broad areas, students will choose to focus on a particular topic in order to compare an aspect of the Austrian system to a comparable concept in the US.  Students are required to attend all lectures, site visits, and write a paper reflecting their work. A final paper is due in August and will represent approximately 75% of the course grade.        


Students are housed in university housing for the two weeks.  These flats consist of a double sleeping room, with bed and desk for each student, and a private bathroom.  Common rooms, a roof top garden for relaxing, and a student lounge are all a part of the complex.  Accommodations are on a direct bus line to the university and to the city center.  The city center is also within walking distance of shops, restaurants, pubs, book stores, antique stores, clothing stores, and parks. 


The two week course will focus on both social work and criminal justice perspectives in Austria.  Most professionals in Austria are bilingual, so lectures will be in English.  In addition, translators will be available at all the site visits to facilitate interaction with participants.  Students will attend lectures by Austrian professionals and academics and visit a number of sites where they can interact with professionals in the field as well as some users of services.  All students will hear lectures on European social policy, issues of immigration and crime, historical background on the Nazi era, and responses to family violence and substance abuse.  Site visits will include trips to an immigration center and refuge camp, a violence prevention center, a residential substance abuse facility, and Mauthausen (a former Nazi concentration death camp).  Students concentrating in social work, will also be able to visit a kindergarten for children of recent immigrants as well as participate in a workshop on family counseling.  Criminal justice students will visit local police departments, Garsten prison, and a residential center for youth involved in the criminal justice system.  The two weeks are full, but there is time built in for you to do a little touring. You will have one free weekend, so you can take advantage of day trips to Vienna, Salzburg, or the area around Linz. 


The assignments for the course include attendance at two preparatory meetings where students are expected to have done background reading and come prepared to discuss their area of anticipated study.  They are then required to submit a 3 - 4 page concept paper, based on their reading and group discussion, before they depart.  The purpose of this paper is to focus their reading, clarify their understanding of some of the key comparative issues, and prepare them for both the lectures and site visits they will have in Austria.  This paper is graded before their departure, with suggestions for areas they should consider while in country.

During the two weeks the students are in Austria, they are expected to attend all lectures and site visits.  Students are divided into concentration groups for some of the site visits.  At each of the visits, students generally attend a presentation after which they will have an opportunity to interact either with service users and/or staff. Students are graded on their active participation in these lectures and site visits as well as on their final assignment.  A UWM faculty advisor will attend the lectures and site visits and be responsible for grading concept papers and final papers.  Papers are graded based on the adequacy of the research and a comparative analysis.  A syllabus will be available before departure.


A final cost figure will not be available until after February 1, 2015.  The cost of the program includes tuition, ground transportation to site visits, room, breakfast, and many meals.  Airfare is not included, but many students have been able to get great deals by looking around and booking early.  Students can apply for and use financial aid for the program. 

Download an application.