Developed in conjunction with


(2018-19 Intake)


A Message from the Programme Director 


The pursuit of postgraduate studies is an effective means for helping professionals advance and enrich their professional knowledge and competence. Our Department has offered the Master of Arts in Family Counselling and Family Education (MAFCFE) Programme (Part-time) since 2002. Many enthusiastic responses from students and favourable feedback from external examiners have been received.


This Programme has the following characteristics. First, its students come from different helping professions, and are namely social workers, guidance teachers, student counsellors, pastors, nurses, speech therapists and occupational therapists. The multidisciplinary mix of the students provides an excellent learning opportunity for them to widen their academic and professional scope. Second, this Programme puts an emphasis on helping students to integrate theoretical concepts with practice; the first year curriculum focuses on the acquisition of foundation theories and knowledge related to family education and family counselling and the second year curriculum focuses on applying the acquired knowledge to different clienteles (e.g. families with adolescents at risk, families suffering from mental disorders) in different social service settings (e.g. school, family services, hospitals and residential service). Third, this Programme is taught by a group of high calibre teaching staff with different areas of expertise in family education and family counselling. Both dedicated and conscientious, the faculty members use different teaching methods, including lectures, experiential learning, small group discussions, live demonstrations, clinical observations, simulated role-plays and various presentations to facilitate the students' learning. Fourth, through provision of scholarships, students are encouraged to present their master projects in international, national and local conferences and participate in overseas study tours and international Summer Institute (e.g., the 7th Summer University in Social Work in Lausanne, Switzerland in July 2016).


Besides quality teaching, this Programme is backed up by the Social Welfare Practice and Research Centre and the Family and Group Practice Research Centre of the Department. There are five practice research projects under the Family and Group Practice Research Center: (a) multiple-family group therapy for Chinese families of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; (b) family therapy for Chinese families suffering from maltreatment in parent-child relationships; (c) treatment groups for elderly people suffering insomnia; (d) transformation based family education using experiential learning and mindfulness practice; and (e) multiple-family group therapy for adults suffering from depression. Students can participate in live demonstrations and clinical observations to better understand principles pertinent to the success of multidisciplinary collaboration and co-operation in clinical practice.


Prof. Joyce Ma
Programme Director
Master of Arts in Family Counselling and Family Education

prof ma lai chong joyce

Prof. Joyce Ma

Programme Director

MA Programme in Family Counselling and Family Education




The rapid social changes in Hong Kong undermine traditional family functions and structures. The increasing incidence of extra-marital affairs, single parenthood, cohabitation and family relationship problems as well as the complexity of family issues such as sexual assault, child abuse and suicide among family members all indicate the vulnerability of Hong Kong families. As a result, there is a rising need for family related services and an increasing demand for social workers and human service practitioners to acquire more advanced and practical skills in family counselling and family education in order to help families cope with different crises effectively.


In view of this situation, the Department offers a part-time 2-year Master of Arts in Family Counselling and Family Education (MAFCFE) Programme. The Programme aims to help students acquire specialised training in family counselling and family education. It enables students to advance their professional competence and skills in relation to family practice and parental education.


Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of the Programme, students are expected to demonstrate a thorough understanding of:


1) The theoretical foundations and conceptual frameworks of family counselling and family education;


2) Professional skills used in analysing human behaviour and family systems, conducting family groups and family education, handling programme evaluation, and developing their own personal style of helping in family counselling and family education; and


3) Using scientific research methods to address critical family issues and applying theories to practice.


Programme of Study


Study mode available
Part-time: 2 years


The Programme consists of 9 courses (7 required courses and 2 elective courses) to be completed in two academic years of study beginning in September. The courses are usually taught in the evenings. The courses offered are as follows:


Required Courses Units
SOWK5011 Family in Changing Society 3
SOWK5014 Theories and Practice of Family Counselling 3
SOWK5015 Theories and Practice of Family Education 3
SOWK5630 Mental Health and Mental Disorders 3
SOWK5810 Programme Evaluation 3
SOWK6011 Groupwork Practice with Families 3
SOWK6013 Family Counselling/Family Education Project 3


Elective Courses* Units
SOWK6031 Clinical Supervision 3
SOWK6062 Seminar on Selected Topics: Special Topics (I) 3
SOWK6070 Social Policy Research II 3
SOWK6210 Seminar on Selected Topics: Special Topics (II) 3
SOWK6211 Seminar on Selected Topics: Structural Family Therapy 3
SOWK6215 Seminar on Selected Topics: Marital Therapy 3
SOWK6904 Cognitive-behavioural Intervention 3
SOWK6905 Solution-focused Approach 3
SOWK6924# Use of Arts, Dance and Experiential Learning in Social Work Practice 3
SOWK6925# Family-centered Social Work Practice 3
SOWK6935# Clinical Social Work Practice in Mental Health 3


*Students are required to take two of these elective courses which are offered in accordance with resources available.


# A fixed number of quota is set.





The following scholarships are available to students of the MAFCFE Programme:


1) Master of Arts in Family Counselling and Family Education Scholarship

 The scholarship amount will be equivalent to full, half or a quarter of the total programme tuition fee. 


2) Distinguished Academic Scholarship for Master of Arts in Family Counselling and Family Education Students


The Department reserves the right to review the scholarship terms and conditions at any time without prior notice.