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.
Excellent social workers are always striving to gain new knowledge. The Master of Social Work (MSW) is the right programme for you if you already have a professional qualification in social work and want to improve your practice.
The MSW programme is intended for practitioners who wish to undertake advanced study of a specific aspect of social and community work. The MSW is flexible and offers you opportunities for both full and part-time study.
The MSW is a thesis-based programme that encourages social workers to pursue research in a particular field of practice, population, or area of interest. It equips social workers to develop and use research skills in their practice settings and keep current with the very latest theories and practice.
Practice-based social work research can include needs assessments, programme development, implementation assessment and programme evaluation. It also includes theory development in a New Zealand context.
Professionally trained people working in the social services make a vital contribution to present day New Zealand society, and their skills are in increasing demand.
The Master of Social Work will enable you to practice at senior levels in New Zealand and many other countries in a wide range of social service fields. These include government services, such as Child, Youth and Family and Community Probation, Hospitals, and Iwi, hapu, and Pacific Island organisations.
Graduates with the MSW can expect to take up leadership roles in all these settings, and they may achieve senior positions in a variety of career paths. These can include any of the roles in the list below.
Prepare for a career in social work with a course that is well connected with social work and social care service providers in the region. As a result of these connections, you get the benefit of supervised practical work in a range of social work settings.
Placements and work experience
Practical work experience is at the heart of this course. We have a 100% record of placing students in quality-audited placements. You spend 170 days putting what you’ve learned into practice in real working situations, such as • social work teams • family centres • primary care practices • hospitals • mental health settings • women's refuges and a range of family support services for vulnerable people.
These placements take place with our partners in local authority, private and voluntary agencies across South Yorkshire and the North East Midlands. Previous students have worked in statutory local authority social work teams, NHS mental health units, youth offending teams working with the police, and charities including the NSPCC, Age UK, Barnados, Mind and Women's Aid.
Your placements are supported by 30 specialist skills days. You work with experts, professionals and service users on specific topics such as how to assess risky behaviour, or interventions for safeguarding children. In your final year, we run a workshop with employers on how to apply for jobs in social work.
There are also opportunities to spend time studying abroad. Previous students have attended a summer school in Berlin, gaining new, international perspectives on social work and discovering how it is practised around the world.
During the time you spend at university, you are based at our Collegiate Crescent Campus which includes our £13 million purpose-built Robert Winston Building, a newly built Heart of the Campus complex and a learning centre which is open 24 hours and seven days a week. You use specialist facilities including our courtroom, where you learn how to give evidence, and our virtual reality training environment which is used to practise different cases.
We are one of the most experienced providers of social work, education in the country, and we have a wide range of expertise. Social work is part of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, which enables us to apply specialist knowledge and resources from across a range of health and social care professions.
All our teaching staff are qualified and experienced social workers, or have experience in related professions. You experience a range of different ways of learning, including role play with actors, real-life case studies and virtual reality experiences alongside lectures and seminars,
Many of our lecturers are involved in research in social work and have a well-established reputation in various international projects, including
This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). After successfully completing the course you are eligible to apply to register with them to practise as a social worker.
We are in a transitional period where the work of the College of Social Work has come to an end and some functions are temporarily hosted by the British Association of Social Work.
This is a full time course that can lead to professional registration as a social worker and therefore requires extensive study.
Taught modules take place on average three days a week. but you will be required to engage in study outside of these times. A large proportion of the course is spent on placement within social care organisations – during these times you are required to attend for five days a week.
Social work programmes provide a combination of practice learning and academic modules, that build together in order to equip you with the range of knowledge and skills you need in order to meet the requirements of this challenging profession. The strategies of teaching, learning and assessment across the 24 months are progressive, so that you gradually develop the abilities to be a self-directed learner. At the beginning of each year there will be an induction period to help you orient yourself to the shape of your studies for that year, and the increasing levels of academic and professional standards expected of you.
Additionally, some of the academic modules contain skills days, which further reinforce that there are strong links between the intellectual abilities you need in order to be a social worker, and the practice skills that are also needed. The programme structure comprises five interrelated elements
Year one modules
Year two modules
You will be able to take advantage of a high demand for qualified social workers in the South Yorkshire and East Midlands regions and nationally in areas such as • social services departments • education and other local authority departments • residential care • housing associations • national and local voluntary organisations • private sector care providers.
You can work in careers alongside other professionals including • nurses • police officers • lawyers • teachers • occupational therapists • doctors • housing officers • a range of care and support staff.
You work with a range of people who require professional support such as • children and young people • parents and carers • people with mental health problems, learning difficulties or physical disabilities • older adults • refugees and asylum seekers.
This programme offers you a professional qualification recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council and The Health and Care Professions Council, and eligibility 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:
This programme qualifies you to practise as a social worker. Many of our students go on to work in 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.