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Course content

The Master of Social Work (MSW) is a 21 month programme that prepares graduates for professional social work practice with children and families, and with adult service users. It is run in partnership with local service providers in the statutory and voluntary sectors, and with service users and carers who contribute to all stages of the programme. Following successful completion of the MSW students are eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a social worker, a protected title in the UK.

The Durham MSW offers excellent learning experiences facilitated by leading social work researchers and educators, including academics and social work practitioners as well as children, young people and adults who have experience of accessing social work services. The first year of the programme includes opportunities for joint learning with students undertaking MAs in ‘International Social Work and Community Development’ and ‘Community and Youth Work’. We have strong partnerships with a wide range of practice agencies offering high quality placements. Durham MSW graduates have excellent employment prospects.

Course Structure

The MSW is structured around seven modules designed to meet the academic and practice learning requirements for a degree in social work.

Year 1

-Social Work in Practice (40 credits)
-Social Work in Context (40 credits)
-Professional and Personal Development (30 credits)
-Social Work in Practice 1(50 credits)

Year 2

-Research in Professional Practice (45 credits)
-Advanced Social Work (30 credits)
-Social Work Practice 2 (70 credits)

Learning and Teaching

The MSW is full time, starting in early October and continuing over 21 months. The programme does NOT run to university terms. There is approximately twelve weeks 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 with children and adults, and undertake a research dissertation.

Modules are assessed through 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, all students undergo a practical assessment of their readiness for direct practice. Practice placements are assessed by a practice educator and through critically reflective accounts of case studies of work with individuals, groups or communities. Research in Professional Practice is assessed through a 10,000 word dissertation.

Practice Placements
Placements normally take place in the north east region and students are required to travel independently to these.

Other admission requirements

-GCSE Mathematics and GCSE English grade C or above, or equivalent, at the time of application.
-Applicants must have sufficient recent experience (in employment, as a volunteer, as a service user or carer) in a social care, health care or related voluntary setting to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the capabilities of a social worker as indicated at the entry level of the Professional Capabilities Framework. As a guideline, this period of experience is unlikely to be less than six months.
-Applicants for whom English is not a first language will be required to demonstrate evidence of English Language Competence equivalent to IELTS 7 with no element less than 6.5.

You will also be required to:
-Attend an interview*.
-Demonstrate fitness to undergo social work training.

A. At the interview stage you are asked to declare any health conditions or disabilities that may affect your ability to undertake a practice placement safely and effectively.
B. Upon acceptance of a firm offer on the course, you are asked to complete an occupational health screening in line with national guidelines agreed with relevant professional bodies.
C. Provide evidence that you do not have a criminal record that might restrict your opportunities to work with children or vulnerable adults. Candidates will be required as a condition of admission to undertake, or provide evidence of, a current DBS check.

*Candidates who are based overseas and cannot attend an interview in person may be interviewed remotely and should contact the admissions secretary if necessary to seek advice.

The Admissions Tutor gives equal consideration to all applications received before the UCAS January deadline, in accordance with UCAS regulations and University policy. However, we start assessing applications and interviewing from November onwards, in order to meet the required timescales. It is, therefore, advisable to make an early application.

Visit the Social Work (MSW) page on the Durham University website for more details!





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