The Masters in Social Work is an academic and professional qualification where you will experience an integration of practice and research. Social workers have a key role in working with other professionals to offer support to some of society's most vulnerable citizens.
This innovative and accelerated postgraduate social work course, approved by Social Work England, offers the opportunity to engage with an intensive and immersive programme of teaching and learning integrating practice placements. Over the duration of the programme, you will develop into a competent and enthusiastic social work practitioner ready to engage with the rigours of this dynamic and exciting profession.
We have excellent relationships with local employers through our long-standing stakeholder group. As a result, some of your teaching with be co-delivered by practising social workers and service users.
This programme offers an accelerated route to becoming a professional social worker for highly motivated recent graduates or for career changers looking for new challenges and opportunities. You will be able to develop into an excellent and valued social worker with the capacity to work in all statutory social work settings and in a wide variety of private and voluntary workplaces in the UK. You will also be able to take advantage of high quality placements in both adult and children’s services including a final 100 day placement where you will undertake statutory interventions.
This programme is approved by the regulatory body for the profession, Social Work England. Graduates with MA Social Work are able to eligible to register as social workers once their qualification has been published by the university.
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You will be studying a range of social work theories and will learn the skills to apply these in different practice contexts. This will include psychosocial perspectives, sociology, psychology and human development. There will be a focus on relationship based practice as well as systemic theories.
You will study relevant aspects of legislation and the application of these in practice. The curriculum is mapped against the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) Standards of Proficiency (SoPs) and the Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) for both children and adults.
You will undertake extensive skills training as part of your readiness for direct practice learning. This will include skills such as use of self, communication, managing conflict and a range of interventions. These will be applied in practice and greatly enhanced and developed throughout your two placements. In your final year you will undertake your dissertation, applying research skills and knowledge.
This module will provide you with the core skills and knowledge to undertake practice competently and safely, in preparation for your first practice placement. Subjects you will cover will include communication skills, use of self, and professional practice
Here you will learn vital social work theories to enhance your practice interventions; for example systems theory, attachment perspectives and strengths.
This module will introduce you to key legislation and its application in practice relating to adult and child and family social work.
This module builds on the Social Work Law and Practice Placement modules and highlights the legal, ethical and value debates affecting various areas of practice, including adult and child safeguarding.
You will follow the life course from birth through to adulthood and on to end of life care. This will include observations of children and of adults to support you in understanding child development and factors that impact on the adult life course such as disability, mental health and ageing.
This module will introduce you to social research methods. You will explore how these can be applied in social work research and consider how you yourself might apply these to your dissertation.
This module is to complete 70 days of social work practice within an approved organisation/setting providing care and support with opportunities for direct practice and experience of working with service users and carers and members of the public. With assistance of Practice Educators you will utilise tools which support your development and learning needs in relation to BASW’s specific level descriptors for the nine professional capability domains at the End of the First Placement (PCF) and Social Work England’s Professional Standards (2019).
This module is to complete 100 practice learning days within a relevant and approved organisation/setting providing care and support with opportunities for direct practice and experience of working with service users/carers and members of the public. Under the supervision of a Practice Educator you will undertake a placement in a setting with more complex situations, where you have the opportunity to undertake statutory social work tasks. This is to enable you to meet the Professional Capabilities Framework (BASW, 2018) End of Last Placement level domains and Social Work England Professional Standards (SWE 2019). You will also become familiar with the Knowledge and Skills Statements in Adults Services (DoH, 2015) or Knowledge and Skills Statement for Child and Family Practitioners (DfE, 2018).
You will undertake a dissertation relevant to Social Work practice. You will be supported by an academic supervisor who will help you to navigate your research and the writing of your dissertation.
See the course specification for more information:
We have developed new approaches to teaching and learning for the 2023 academic year.
We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2023 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our in-person teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.
Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.
The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.
This information is likely to change slightly for 2023 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.
Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2023/24
Live in-person on campus learning
Contact hours per week, per level:
Live online learning
Average hours per week, per level:
Tutor set learning activities
Average hours per week, per level:
Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.
Definitions of terms
You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.
Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.
You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.
Once qualified, our graduates have gone onto work as Social Workers in a range of settings working closely with vulnerable people from groups such as:
Our Social Work graduates have gone onto work in local authorities, charities, voluntary sector organisations and private/ independent sector organisations, with many finding employment with our placement partners within neighbouring London boroughs and beyond.
Dr Hingley-Jones has worked for many years as a child and family social worker, particularly with disabled children and their families. She is an active researcher and is the Research Degrees Coordinator for the Department.
Dr Allain has a number of years’ experience in child and family social work and has published a range of books and articles focused on social work practice with looked after children; in child safeguarding and in social work education.
We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.
Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.
Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.
At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.