About the course
The Social Work MA programme aims to educate and train individuals to be reflective, research-minded practitioners who are able to work critically and professionally and in accordance with the principle of anti-oppressive practice.
Graduates who successfully complete this programme are eligible to apply for Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration.
The professional and academic elements are closely integrated throughout the programme. There are 170 placement days, with the working week divided between time in placement and time in the University.
This MA Social Work degree programme aims to provide high quality post graduate social work education and training to equip students with comprehensive pre-entry skills to work in any agency employing social workers in the United Kingdom.
Although the statutory sector is the major employer, increasingly social workers are being recruited into voluntary and private sectors in a variety of service provision roles including community-based, residential or day care services in the UK and abroad.
The programme seeks to encourage the personal responsibility of students to function as independent learners and to develop a critical and reflective appreciation of the role of social work in society.
The curriculum provides teaching in both academic and practice elements, which are fully integrated at Brunel University London. It is designed to ensure that learning occurs in an incremental way, with learning outcomes that develop across levels enabling students to demonstrate progression in professional knowledge, skills and values through two years of study.
Specifically, the programme aims to:
- Prepare students for critical and reflective professional practice according to the HCPC’s approval standards of education
- Equip students to practise ethical, innovative and effective social work practice that actively promotes social justice in a diverse society
- Integrate learning in academic and practice elements of the programme so that students have a holistic understanding of social work in variety of professional contexts
- Enable students to identify, understand and critically appraise evidence and research which can inform social work practice
- Enable graduates to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and apply for membership with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).
Compulsory Modules (year 1)
The Foundations of Social Work Practice
Social Work Theories and Perspectives
Life-span Behaviour and Development
Legal Frameworks for Social Justice
Social Policy and Sociology
Professional Skills Development I
Practice Learning I
Approaches to Research
Compulsory Modules (year 2)
Assessment and the Management of Risk and Complexity
Effective Practice with Domestic Violence, Mental Health and Substance Misuse
What Works in Social Work
Professional Skills Development II
Practice Learning II (100 days)
Year 2 Pathways (choose one)
Social Work with Children and Families
Main topics: working with children in need and child protection; theory, research, law, policy and practice; inter-professional workshops on the impact of parental problems including parental substance misuse and domestic violence; critical review of inter-agency and inter-disciplinary practice through serious case reviews; children looked after and leaving care and service user voices; theory and research specific to social work practice with children and families; risk analysis and risk management; the centrality of relation based practice in direct work and communication with children and young people; the family court system and skills in analysing and presenting case material.
Social Work with Adults
Main topics: the development of community-based care and support and integrated adult health and social care including ideological underpinnings and contemporary issues in policy and adult social work practice; person-centred and care management approaches to community-based adult social work practice; and adult practice specialisms.
Note: As this programme may involve regular access to children and/or vulnerable adults, students will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application, previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. The application will cost £51.86 (this amount may be subject to change) and the University will send further instructions as part of the admissions process. For further guidance please email [email protected]
Brunel University London has an excellent placement team that takes care to match students to appropriate children and families and adult social work placements within the London area. Placement providers have been consistently positive about their experience supervising post-graduate students and have frequently hired students back into permanent posts after they have completed their degree.
A wide range of teaching methods are used in the MA Social Work programme including lectures, seminars, workshops, coupled with individual tutorials and group tutorials to ensure large group learning is translated in a more discursive way. Assessments include essays, exams and presentations and students are expected to complete a total of 180 credits of assessed academic work along with a 60 credit dissertation.
The programme is transitionally approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.
Students enjoy first-rate facilities in the new Mary Seacole Building.
We are one of the leading providers of university-based social work and social policy research in London and have attracted funding from, amongst other sources, the ESRC, the AHRC, Nuffield Foundation, the Rowntree Trust, the European Union, the Department for Education and Skills and the NHS.
Students benefit from close links with social care providers in local government and in the voluntary sector.
Service users and carers are crucial to our work, and our BEEC (Brunel Experts by Experience Committee) enables them to be involved at all stages of the MA, from interview to assessment.
Recent groundbreaking research into personalisation, service user involvement, Family Drug and Alcohol Courts, young onset dementia and youth and religion, amongst other areas, feed into our taught programmes, making them highly relevant and up-to-date. Our academics include the authors of best selling books on citizenship, community care and child protection.
Anti-oppressive practice has been at the core of our education and training philosophy for some years and this emphasis is evident in the teaching of this programme.
Brunel University has a long history of securing a range of quality placements across London and surrounding areas. We have substantial experience in working across the statutory and independent sector and have strong partnership links.