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Leading to a professional qualification in social work, UCLan’s MA Social Work course has been developed in close co-operation with social work agencies in the voluntary, independent and statutory sectors and in conjunction with service users and carers. It incorporates 170 days placement experience as well as structured academic learning, including input from service users. A work based (part-time) route taking a minimum of three years, is available for employees who are sponsored by our partner agencies. The course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and has been developed in line with the HCPC Standards of Proficiency, the College of Social Work Professional Capabilities Framework, and the QAA benchmarking statements. A key principle of the programme is the promotion of student self-directed and enquiry based learning, with the model of action learning sets embedded within the teaching and learning strategy of the programme. The aim is to enable students to develop advanced knowledge, skills and values for social work.


This course will involve access to children and/or vulnerable adults. You will be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB) and we will guide you through this process.


This course has been approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) as meeting the Standards of Education & Training required for social work programmes. Students who successfully complete all social work elements of the course are eligible to apply to the HCPC for registration as qualified social workers.


Teaching and learning opportunities include lectures, workshops, use of action learning sets and facilitated tutorials, student-led projects, presentations, e-learning, discussion groups, workshops and self-directed study. Social work practitioners and service users and carers contribute to programme delivery.

The modules, plus practice learning opportunities, enable students to meet the academic and practice outcomes as specified by external regulators.

Academic assessments include; essays, exams, presentations, case studies, oral interviews, practice placements, portfolios and a 10,000 word dissertation.


Social workers work with a wide cross section of society, which includes a significant proportion of some of the most disadvantaged and excluded people in our society. Social work students therefore need to develop the knowledge, skills and appropriate values to work positively with service users and carers. This course will offer you opportunities to develop and integrate knowledge, skills and values for and in practice, which will allow you to demonstrate that you meet The College of Social Work Professional Capabilities at the Qualifying Level for Social Work in England as well as the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency in practice by the end of the course.

The MA Social Work course will consist of 1800 hours structured academic learning and 170 days of learning in practice settings.

As part of the taught element of the course which is University- based students will experience a minimum of thirty skills development activity days. In Year 1 the focus is on generic skills which form the basis of an assessment of the student’s Readiness for Direct Practice and the development of capabilities at ‘end of first placement’ level. These include: communications skills; interviewing skills; skills of observation; understanding social work contexts; and direct communication with and learning from service users and carers. In Year 2 students will have the opportunity to develop more ‘advanced skills’ such as working with ‘hard to engage’ service users and direct work with children.

Key aspects of the programme include:

-Professionalism: developing awareness in students of how to behave as a professional social worker

-Values and ethics: understanding and applying to practice the ethical values and principles of social work

-Diversity: recognising diversity and applying anti-oppressive principles in practice

-The advancement of human rights, social justice and economic well-being

-Applying knowledge for social work: knowledge of human growth and development, psychology, social policy, sociology, law and theory for social work

-Critical reflection and analysis in respect to professional decision making

-Skills to intervene to promote independence provide support and prevent harm and abuse

-Working in organisations including collaborative working between agencies

-Taking responsibility for the professional learning and development of others through leadership


Recent graduates have successfully gained employment in social work teams in a variety of settings such as child protection, parenting and family support teams, youth justice, community drug teams, community mental health teams, adult social care services. Some graduates have returned to the School to undertake post qualifying courses for experienced practitioners and continue their academic study.

Students can access the ERASMUS scheme, which provides students with opportunities to travel to UCLan partner universities in Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Portugal. In addition, there may be a range of opportunities for international study visits – students recently have visited Istanbul, Copenhagen, Cyprus & Ireland.

Visit the Social Work - MA page on the University of Central Lancashire website for more details!




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