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Course content

Why this course?

Social Work (Research Methods) offers students with an interest in social work research the opportunity to learn about key issues in this area while they develop the skills required to carry out their own research, at an advanced level.

The course offers an attractive Masters qualification and individual modules will offer a Continued Professional Development option for social work practitioners who wish to critically evaluate their own practice. A social work qualification is not necessary to take this programme. Students will benefit from a vibrant learning environment that draws on a range of professional expertise.

What you'll study

The programme is offered on a full time (12 months) and part time (24 months basis) and students will complete six modules and a dissertation. The first three modules are offered on a faculty wide basis, hence students will benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach and will share learning with students from a range of backgrounds.

Major projects

Students will complete a 12,000-word dissertation in an area of their choice that relates to social work research. Assessments in other modules will prepare students to undertake the dissertation by requiring them to think in-depth about a range of methodological and ethical issues.

Students will be matched with a supervisor who has expertise in their chosen area. Supervisors will support students to develop a range of strategic links across relevant organisations including government departments, local authorities and third sector organisations.

Guest lectures

This course is taught by staff with expertise in undertaking social work research with a range of service user groups including children and families, those with mental health problems and learning disabilities and criminal justice service users. Guest lectures will be given by 'users' of social work research including policy makers, service managers, social workers and people who use social work services.

Learning & teaching

The course will be delivered primarily using a lecture and workshop format. Where relevant, there will also be a range of field trips to visit key stakeholders in social work research.


Each module will be assessed using a range of methods including essays, case studies and projects. Assignments are tailored to allow students to develop expertise around particular areas of interest. Assignments will allow students to develop knowledge that will contribute directly to their 12,000-word dissertation.


Graduates with a Masters degree in Social Work (Research Methods) will be able to choose between two distinct career paths:

  • a career in senior management within a local authority or other social work organisation including within policy and planning divisions of these organisations
  • a career in social research within research organisations, charities, pressure/ lobbying groups, independent or third sector organisations, academic research, central and local government

Given that this programme fulfils ESRC training requirements for subject specific research training, it is also likely that many graduates will use this qualification as a platform to PhD study.

Visit the Social Work (Research Methods) MSc page on the University of Strathclyde website for more details!




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