This unique programme is aimed at international and UK students with an interest in international social work, community development, and comparative social policy. The programme examines advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and community development in an international context. You will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of global social issues (such as social exclusion, poverty, environmental degradation, and disasters) and relate this knowledge to developments in their own country. You will be equipped with the skills to engage in research and to apply research findings effectively in practice. The programme includes a two-week field-based learning opportunity in a social work or community work agency. The dissertation provides space for you to carry out research on an aspect of social or community work in the UK.
Durham University is a world leader in international social work and community development research, theory, and practice. Our social work team has edited the prestigious International Social Work journal and works closely with social work’s key international organisations - , the International Association of Schools of Social Work, .the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), and the International Council of Social Welfare (ICSW). Its Programme Director also represents social work at the UNFCCC and other UN bodies.
You will study in a small group of international students, and also alongside UK students on postgraduate social work and research degree programmes. This will give you plenty of opportunities to share knowledge and experience in addition to your learning through lectures, presentations and seminars.
The MA consists of five core modules, designed to give you an understanding of social work as it is practiced in the UK, and a thorough grounding in research methods and their application. You will also choose two specialist modules according to your particular professional interests. Finally, you will undertake a research project and write a dissertation. To achieve the Master's degree, you must accumulate a total of 180 credits, as listed below.
International Social Work (30 credits)
Social Work: Context and Practice (30 credits)
Community Development and Organising (15 credits)
Practitioner Research and Dissertation (60 credits)
Field Based Learning (15 credits)
Note students are required to pay for travel costs to and from their fieldwork practice placement.
These are subject to staff availability. In previous years, typical modules offered were:
Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)
Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice (30 credits)
Crime, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)
This course offers students knowledge, skills, understanding and reflective practice in the field of community youth work and an opportunity to gain a professional qualification in community youth work. The programme has three main aims: 1. The development of effective professional practitioners in community youth work. 2. The delivery of a postgraduate programme that will challenge, develop and engage critically in issues that relate to the field of community youth work through informed and innovative methods of teaching and learning. 3. To enhance the professional skills and employability of community youth workers.
The programme will initially be studied in part-time mode. This is the second revalidation of this programme offering potential students a unique opportunity to gain a professional qualification, validated by the North South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) and an academic award of the University of Ulster. Students will follow six modules for the postgraduate diploma in community youth work for the professional endorsement by the NSETS leading, if desired, to the award by dissertation of a MSc in Community Youth Work. Students will be required to have the postgraduate diploma before embarking on to the Masters level. The modules are arranged to meet the criteria set out by NSETS and to meet the needs of students training to become professional workers. All students will follow a placement module which is supervised by a University tutor and a practice teacher. The placement is an opportunity for CYW staff to assess at first hand the development of professional practice based on the monitoring student skills through reflective practice. The course maintains both academic and professional coherence through the use of modules that underpin fundamental concepts of community youth work, i.e. the context of youth. The module has been specifically designed to facilitate the needs of a postgraduate programme and will be taught exclusively for this cohort. Past experience suggests that it is important to build a strong collegial group early on in the programme. While it is envisaged that other modules will be taught alongside the undergraduate course the first module is explicitly designed to create a sense of belonging for the new intake.. This is followed by more applied modules, i.e. principles and practice of youth work; communities in focus and the in-situ/exigency placements at the beginning of year. After the placement students will follow the principles and practice of youth work: leadership, management and supervision module preparing them for management roles in youth work and the critical thinking and professional development module to consolidate their learning and to focus on areas that they may wish to research or develop further including inter-professional collaboration. The modules have been designed to facilitate the underpinning knowledge, skills and understanding needed to become a professional community youth worker. The modules are: (i) THE CONTEXT OF YOUTH WORK; (ii) PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF YOUTH WORK; (iii) COMMUNITIES IN FOCUS; (iv) IN-SITU AND EX-AGENCY REFLECTIVE PLACEMENTS; (v) PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF YOUTH WORK; SUPERVISION, LEARDERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT; (vi) CRITICAL THINKING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Award of postgraduate diploma in community youth work with professional endorsement; (i) DISSERTATION Award of MSc in Community Youth Work.
This assessed practice period placement(s) focuses on youth and community work in the context of an agency. Students will build on learning from the taught modules and their own experience. They will use the placement to reflect and evaluate their practice in four disparate but inter-related areas: 1. The development of self; 2. Understanding individuals; 3. The role and function of the group; 4. The agency context within a given community. The students will therefore be offered opportunities to experience; a. Informal education work with young people and adults, individually and in groups, b. Youth service and community agencies, c. Different types of youth and community work provision. d. A reflective and evaluatory experience with supervisory support by a professionally qualified in-situ practice teacher.
Students are expected to: develop appropriate programmes of social education within the constraints of the agency. - develop their 'helping' and 'enabling' skills. - gain experience in terms of the management of practice. - gain an understanding of a specialist agency which focuses on a particular target group (ex-agency placement). - link the practice experiences with theoretical concepts. - record and evaluate their work.
Endorsed by the North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) (JNC Recognised) for the purpose of professional qualification.
Due to the nature of this postgraduate programme being initially about professional endorsement the career opportunities for students is already set, i.e. they are in employment. The development of a new module, ‘Critical thinking and professional development’ is an indication of the staff teams belief in enhancing the understanding of continuing professional development through evidence- based practice and the development of critical thinking. The students on the programme will benefit from reflecting on their profession and indeed looking at how it is viewed in relation to other professions. One can assume, if past history about the course is anything to go on, that those who gain the PGD in CYW will be highly skilled, knowledgeable and highly employable. For others the course itself if part of their professional development as many students have been working the in the field without professional training.
The Durham MSW is a 21 month programme engaging students with the knowledge, skills and values that underpin social work practice with individuals, groups and communities. Academic study is complemented by two practice placements with different service user groups. Practice experience of statutory interventions with children and families or ‘vulnerable adults’ is complemented by opportunities for innovative practice in the voluntary and independent sectors in areas such as family justice, homelessness, substance use, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, community interventions and self-advocacy. With strong involvement of service users, carers and practice partners throughout the programme, the MSW provides strong foundations for practice in any field of social work.
Local and global perspectives
Our approach to social work education reflects the connections between individuals, their families and communities. We offer you a broad foundation for social work practice underpinned by the global definition of social work and emphasise the connections between local and global issues in social work. Shared learning alongside postgraduate students studying International Social Work and Community Development, and Community and Youth Work, provides valuable opportunities for the exchange of ideas and experiences.
Excellent employment prospects
There is very strong demand for Durham MSW graduates by employers in local authorities and non-government organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. Durham MSW graduates have been able to transfer their registration to other countries including Australia, Canada, Scotland and the USA.
The MSW is structured around seven modules designed to meet the academic and practice learning requirements for a degree in social work.
The MSW is full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 21 months. The programme does NOT run to university terms. There are approximately 12 weeks of vacation, including public holidays, during the course of the whole programme. In Year 1 the first four months are spent developing the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare you for your first practice placement of 70 days. In Year 2 you undertake a 100 day placement with a different service user group and in a contrasting setting where you will gain experience of statutory interventions in social work. Practice placements provide the opportunity to develop a range of skills set out in the Professional Capabilities Framework. You also extend your skills in linking theory, policy and practice, and undertake a research dissertation.
A range of assessment methods is used including essays, observation studies, project reports, case studies, group and individual presentations. Knowledge and understanding of social work law and policy is assessed in a take away exercise. Before embarking on the first placement, you will undergo a practical assessment of your communication skills in readiness for direct practice. Practice placements are assessed by critically reflective accounts of work with individuals, groups or communities and by your practice educator who provides regular supervision and observes your practice. You are also expected to seek, and reflect on, feedback from service users and professional colleagues. Research in Social Work is assessed through a 10,000 word dissertation.
Placements normally take place in the north east region and students are required to travel independently to these.
Our Master of Social Work (MSW) programme is a professional postgraduate qualification for those looking to practise as qualified social workers.
The MSW qualification is recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council and The Health and Care Professions Council, and those who successfully complete the programme are eligible for registration as a social worker.
You’ll gain a fundamental understanding of the theory and practice that underpins all work in the field, splitting your time between theoretical learning on campus and practical work in various learning environments.
The programme is approved by the Scottish Social Services Council, complies with the Scottish Requirements for Social Work Training and enables you to meet the Standards in Social Work Education and the Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection. It is also recognised as a professional qualification in social work across the world, including the United States and Canada.
You will study over two years, with periods of practice learning in both years. You will complete six courses in your first year and three in your second year, at the end of which you will present your dissertation.
First year courses:
Second year courses:
You have periods of practice learning in both first year and second year.
Successful completion of our MSW programme qualifies you to practise as a social worker.
For full details please see the MSW Accreditation information on School of Social and Political Science web site.
Many of our MSW graduates go on to work across a range of diverse settings in social work practice, training, research, government and in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
You will also develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.
This course is designed to meet the requirements of the new regulatory frameworks of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and The College of Social Work (TCSW).
The course has been approved by HCPC and has been endorsed by TCSW as having met the social work professional criteria. The TCSW kitemark of quality has been awarded to fewer than half of the qualifying social work degree programmes in England. The programme provides you with the skills and knowledge to meet the challenges and developments of the social work environment. The master’s route offers a rapid and challenging way of obtaining a sought after professional qualification as well as providing the enhanced academic achievement and status which comes with a postgraduate award. All students participate in the same core curriculum so that you are equipped to undertake any role suitable for a newly qualified social worker.
In Year 1 you are introduced to the core skills and values of social work and what it means to be a professional social worker. You are also introduced to the legal and policy background which governs how social work is carried out.
You then learn important contextual information which social workers need including human development, how people react to difficult life events and life changes and more about the nature of social problems faced by different groups in society.
Year 1 and Year 2 contain modules called Think Family which give you essential learning in working with all adults and children and prepare you for your placements. You must demonstrate evidence of readiness for practice before you begin the first placement* of 70 days which takes place from June to September.
You also study organisational issues and are challenged to think about how you can make the best issue of supervision and contribute to design and improvement of services.
In your final year you undertake a further social work placement of 100 days in a different setting from the first and also write a dissertation, with support, based around a real practice issue. You use published literature and data to develop ideas for how practice can be improved in your chosen area.
The strong organisational and service improvement dimension to the master’s programme helps you develop quickly in your field.
*Some placement providers may require you to drive with access to your own vehicle. If you have any questions about this please contact us before applying.
Modules offered may vary.
Where you study
You study at Teesside University on our Middlesbrough campus. You undertake adult and children placements in the statutory and voluntary sectors across the region.
How you learn
Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, small group work, micro-teaching skills and professional/practice placements.
How you are assessed
Assessment approaches including essays, small group and individual presentations, dissertation based around service improvement, reports, and assessment of skills in interacting with service users and carers. The assessments have a strong focus on social work practice and preparing you for the workplace. You are also assessed on your practical social work skills in two placements.
Achievement of MA in Social Work gives you eligibility to apply for registration as a social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council. The programme includes two assessed placements in social work settings. The placements will be in different settings with different service user groups and at least one placement will normally be in a statutory setting or in a placement where statutory work can be experienced
A master’s degree in social work can lead to a long career as a professional social worker with adults or children. There are many job opportunities in local authority social work departments as well as voluntary sector organisations and increasingly new types of employers such as social enterprises and the private sector.
Master’s degree students are especially attractive to employers because of the skills which they have achieved as postgraduates. A master’s degree can help graduates to advance quickly in their careers. The degree provides graduates with transferable skills including report writing and interpersonal skills. These skills can be applied across a range of graduate employment opportunities.