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 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.
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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 aims to provide you with the core skills and knowledge to undertake practice competently and safely for your first practice placement. Subjects covered will include communication skills, use of self, and various Social Work interventions. Theories such as systems theory, social learning theory, attachment and many others will also be explored.
In this module, you will explore the key legislation, guidance and case law relevant to Social Work practice and will learn how to apply this effectively. 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.
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, carers 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.
Please see below for an example programme timetable.
|September to December||On-campus teaching|
|January to March||70 day placement. Plus teaching and study leave (one week)|
|March to April||100 day placement begins. Plus teaching|
|Spring break (April)|
|April to August||Continuing 100 day placement. Plus teaching|
|August to October||Final 100 day placement. Plus teaching|
You will be assessed via a combination of formative and summative written assignments, group work, assessed role plays and reflective writing based on practice experience. Your practice will be assessed by your practice educator who will be supporting and supervising you throughout your placements. There are currently no examination assessments on the programme.
If you’re starting university in 2020, we’ll be teaching you in different ways to make sure you get the best learning experience possible. You’ll learn through live sessions with teaching staff and have the chance to study independently too, with access to all the online resources you need through our globally available student portal.
We’re planning different scenarios for teaching so that we can be flexible. While we’re social distancing, we’re aiming to teach you through some practically focussed sessions on campus, with the majority of your theoretical teaching and larger lectures delivered online. If you’re unable to make it to campus at first, or we need to limit access to campus in the future, your course can be delivered fully online.
The table below shows current plans for your learning across a typical week, including scheduled live online teaching and an indication of what we hope to teach face to face, where you can make it to campus. While some weeks might look different to this, due to how we schedule classes and make arrangements for any face to face sessions (for example, in some cases these could take place every two weeks with an increased number of hours), the table gives you an idea of what to expect based on the overall number of teaching hours on your course.
Please note that attending classes on campus and placements are compulsory parts of the course, so if you are unable to attend due personal circumstances, please get in touch with us so we can work with you to resolve your situation.
You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.
Course delivered with a mix of online and face to face learning with social distancing in place
Contact time per week per level:
Self-paced learning time
Average hours per week per level:
On demand resources
Average hours per week per level:
Contact time per week per level:
Practice placements in 2020-21 will be delivered in carefully planned and supervised ‘hybrid’ arrangements, with face to face and on-line elements.
Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.
Future plans for teaching
We’re developing our timetable for face to face teaching with current government advice on social distancing to keep you safe. If social distancing requirements are lifted, we’ll start to safely move back towards our usual teaching arrangements with more opportunities for face to face learning. Some learning and support might stay online in this scenario. If more restrictions are put in place, or there is another lockdown, we’ll be prepared to deliver your learning and support fully online, with alternative arrangements made for any required placements. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.
Definitions of terms
You’ll 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 mainly be delivered online and you’ll 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’ll 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.
Read our guide to what’s been happening in your subject area recently and more about what to expect this autumn.
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.