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    School of Applied Social Science Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Social Work

  • Start Date

    See Course

  • Course Duration

    Full-time 2 years MSc / 15–18 months PGDip

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


This intensive programme is for graduates from any discipline wishing to train and qualify as social workers.

Through a combination of academic and professional modules, you will focus on both the social science knowledge base of social work, and on developing your practice-relevant knowledge, skills and values through 200 days of practical learning.

Taught by qualified social workers with a range of practice specialisms and research interests, this course offers exciting opportunities to learn alongside students from related professional disciplines including occupational therapy, teaching, nursing and medicine, mirroring the interprofessional nature of social work practice.

Users of social work services, carers and experienced practitioners are also actively involved in the course and the delivery of teaching sessions. 

The postgraduate diploma (PGDip) can be taken as an alternative and shorter route to obtaining a postgraduate social work qualification with students learning alongside MSc students in all except the dissertation module. It is also available as an early exit award to those registered on the MSc who opt not to take the dissertation module but meet all other requirements of the PGDip.

The MSc and PGDip are both approved by the Health and Care Professions Council, the regulatory body for social workers and other health professionals. All students will address the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers throughout the course, alongside the former College of Social Work's Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).

Course structure

In line with the guidance of the College of Social Work, students undertake 200 days of practical learning across the course. This involves 30 days of developing practice skills within the university, a 70-day placement in year 1 and a 100-day placement in year 2.

Learning in practice is supported by periods of study at the university, directed study (with a range of learning materials) and small-group practice tutorials. The course reflects the interprofessional nature of social work, with opportunities for shared learning experiences with education, nursing, medical and occupational therapy students.

Areas of study

Year 1 introduces core skills, theories and approaches for social work practice in its interprofessional context and fosters a critical understanding of key law, policy and human growth across the lifespan.

Year 2 focuses on more complex and accountable practice together with the development of more specialised skills and knowledge. There is also a focus on research in social work and the critical use of evidence to underpin own practice.

It is possible to take the PGDip as a standalone qualification in 15–18 months, or as an early exit award for those registred on the MSc who choose not to take the dissertation module but who meet all other PGDip requirements. 


MSc and PGDip

  • Lifespan Development: Social and Psychological Contexts
  • Legal and Policy Contexts of Decision-Making in Social Work
  • Practice Learning 1
  • Decision-making in Assessment, Risk and Protection
  • Contemporary Social Work Practice
  • Practice Learning 2

MSc only

  • Research in Social Work: The Dissertation

Careers and employability

Social work is a rewarding career for those committed to improving the life opportunities and wellbeing of others, whilst promoting rights and social justice.

Registered social workers generally have little trouble finding employment. There are many relevant vacancies advertised locally and nationally, and there continues to be a demand for social workers both in established posts and with agencies who provide temporary staff to statutory organisations.

Social workers can specialise in many different areas, including working with children, youth offending, family centres, older people, disabled people, mental health services, homeless people, asylum seekers and refugees, and substance misuse.

Visit the Social Work (MSc/PGDip) page on the University of Brighton website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Brighton

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