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)
Social workers deal with some of the most vulnerable people in society at times of greatest stress. By the end of this programme you will have been assessed against the Standards of Proficiency for Social Work and the Professional Capabilities Framework. Once qualified, you will be able to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration. Competent practice is essential for the award and you will undertake 200 days of practice learning (placement and skills for practice) during the programme. Practice learning through placement experience is undertaken in blocks of the course and skills for practice, 30 days experiential skills for practice during Year one (in the university), 70 days (in placement) during Year 1 and 100 days (in placement) during Year two.
For students enrolled on the programme, you will be expected to travel to placements with employer providers and be able to travel to service users. Being a holder of a current UK driving licence is therefore desirable.
During this initial year your knowledge and skills for social work practice is developed and assessed. The value base of social work is emphasised and you will engage in teaching designed to support your learning and understanding of anti-oppressive, anti-discriminatory and anti-racist practice in a model that promotes social justice and relationship based practice. The Preparing for Professional Social Work Practice module is designed to develop students’ skills, knowledge and understanding about social work. The course is delivered by a range of qualified social work academics, service users and social work practitioners, which includes 30 days experiential skills. You will have an opportunity to undertake a five-day shadow placement with an employer provider in a social work setting. The first year is designed to prepare and assess students’ ‘readiness for direct practice’ prior to the 70 day placement
You will develop your understanding of different service user groups and service provision in social work settings building on the teaching and learning during Year one. The teaching will provide opportunities for you to work in small learning sets developing your reflective critical thinking skills. A module on diversity develops your understanding of the correlations between oppression, discrimination and inequality and how gender shapes organisations and service delivery. A 100-day assessed placement learning opportunity will be completed in a social work setting. During this final year you will also undertake research which is either empirical or literature based which is presented in a final dissertation.
Masters in Social Work students will have the opportunity to enrol onto the Developing Housing Practice module. This is a 10 credit level 7 module which, on completion, gives students partial accreditation with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) which is equivalent to 10 credits towards postgraduate housing related training. This would be offered to the Masters students as an elective online module. There are a number of overlaps between housing and social work which include: vulnerable adults, people seeking asylum, safeguarding children, domestic abuse, hate crime, community safety and anti-social behaviours. This optional module would support the employability of the Masters students and offer a unique partial accreditation in housing-related training which complements social work.
-Life Span 1: Human Growth and Development
-Social Work Law and Policy
-Dissertation and Research Skills for Effective Social Work Practice
-Preparing for Professional Social Work Practice
-Life Span 2: Assessing and Managing Risk in Child and Adult Protection
-Developing Housing Practice, Knowledge and Provision
-Gender and Sexuality Studies in Social Work
-Prepares you for professional social work practice
-Enables you to develop their practice skills
-Develops your skills and knowledge in working with other professions
-Raises political awareness and encourages you to be a creative, critical and reflective thinker
-The Social Work subject team sign up to and hold the International Federation of Social Work definition of social work
-Students will have the opportunity to develop a range of communication skills in the first year through experiential teaching and learning facilitated by Service Users, Social Work Practitioners and Practice Educators.
You will undertake 170 days of practice learning (placement). You will complete a student profile during the first year of study and through strong partnerships between the University and employer providers, you will be matched to a specific service placement. You will be expected to be able to travel effectively to and from the placement and be able to carry out community based duties (where required) during the placement which may involve independent travel. It is therefore desirable that you hold a current UK driving licence. Placement learning opportunities can be outside of Northampton. All placement providers are quality assured by the University.
English Language & Mathematics: Social work entrants must hold at least a GCSE grade C in English Language and Mathematics (O level grade C or CSE grade 1 are the equivalent). Key Skills Level Two qualifications are also acceptable. For students whose first language is not English an IELTS score of 7 is required.
You will be required to declare that you have these qualifications.
-Ability to write thoughtfully, insightfully and coherently about your motivation in applying for the course and understanding and commitment to the social work profession.
-Relevant work experience. Students must demonstrate (100 days or equivalent) relevant previous experience in social care or a related area. This could be paid or voluntary work.
-Students yet to graduate should provide an academic reference on the application, indicating their predicted degree classification. Students who have already graduated can also provide a professional reference.
-All applicants must confirm prior to interview/offer decision making that they have the ability to use basic IT facilities, including word processing, internet browsing and the use of email, and may be asked to specify how these skills have been obtained.
This course provides a route to qualified social worker status for those who want to pursue a role in this profession.
The Social Work Task Force and Reform Board promote social work education for a challenging job. The profession demands the application of reflective, critical thinking skills, the ability to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity and use and create best evidence in assisting people and society in a complex world. This course responds to these initiatives providing a course that meets the government, professional body and disciplinary requirements.
As this is a Master's course, you'll be required to develop a sound understanding of the research underpinning social work practice and attendant areas. You'll develop your capacity to act as a research-minded, aware and capable practitioner, undertaking a dissertation and creating knowledge for social work.
As part of the course you will undertake two placements which will provide you with the opportunity to apply the theory you have learnt to practice situations. Your placements will allow you to experience a variety of different social work settings and develop a broad range of practical skills.