The Postgraduate Diploma 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 and abroad. 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 PGDip 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.
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.
You will explore the key legislation, guidance and case law relevant to Social Work practice and will learn how to apply this effectively.
In this module, you will have the opportunity to apply your practice experience to your knowledge of Social Work theory and social policy.
This module will explore 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
You will be supervised to undertake two practice placements. The first of these will be 70 days and the second, which will be in a statutory Social Work setting, of 100 days. On these placements you will supervised and supported by a practice educator. You will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you have learnt in practice with vulnerable adults, children and families.
See the course specification for more information:
Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.
We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we've learnt in recent years by enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.
You will learn through research, reading and critical reflection, workshops, tutorials and class discussions. As part of the North London Social Work Teaching Partnership we have a range of academics delivering teaching as well as service users, careers and social work practitioners.
Due to the accelerated nature of the programme teaching blocks will be intensive and you can expect an immersive education experience. Holiday and study periods have been timetabled at regular intervals of the programme to ensure you can plan your studies. You should anticipate that the 14-month period of study will be focused and dedicated to your social work education. Please see below for an indicative programme flow chart. Please note that this is indicative only and dates are subject to change.
We have developed new approaches to teaching and learning for the 2023/24 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 2022/23
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.
Edd leads the Law and Advanced Social Work Practice module. He has extensive social work practice experience of working in both Mental Health and Learning Disabilities services .
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.