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Full Time MA Degrees in Social Work, Durham, United Kingdom

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This unique programme is aimed particularly at international or UK students, with an interest in international social work, community development and comparative social policy. Read more
This unique programme is aimed particularly at international or UK students, with an interest in international social work, community development and comparative social policy. The programme will give students advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and community development in an international context. It will encourage students to develop a critical understanding of global social issues (such as social exclusion, poverty and environmental degradation) and relate this knowledge to developments in their own country. It will also equip students to engage in research and to apply research findings effectively in practice. The programme includes a two-week placement in a social work agency and the opportunity to carry out research on an aspect of social or community work in the UK.

Durham University is a world leader in International Social Work and Community Development. Our social work team edit the prestigious International Social Work journal and work closely with the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social Work.

Course structure

You will study in a small group of international students and alongside UK students on postgraduate social work and research degree programmes. This will give you plenty of opportunities to share knowledge and experience in addition to your learning through lectures, presentations and seminars.

The MA consists of five core modules, designed to give you an understanding of social work as it is practiced in the UK, and a thorough grounding in research methods and their application. You will also choose two specialist modules according to your particular professional interests. Finally, you will undertake a research project and write a dissertation. To achieve the Master's degree, you must accumulate a total of 180 credits, as listed below.

Core Modules

-International Social Work (30 credits)
-Social Work: Context and Practice (30 credits)
-Field Based Learning (15 credits)
-Community Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Practitioner Research and Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules

Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students studying this programme in previous years.
-Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
-Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
-Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice (30 credits)
-Crime, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)

Learning and Teaching

The MA International Social Work and Community Development provides students with advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and community development in an international context. The programme is offered full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms, or part-time over 24 months.

Core teaching on the programme falls primarily within the two 10 week terms. The programme is taught according to a variety of approaches, including lectures, seminars, Field-Based Learning, independent learning and empirical research/ dissertation.

Lectures enable staff to present scholarly material, both generic and subject-specific, to introduce the main debates within each topic and to situate arguments within broader debates. They introduce the subject at both a conceptual and a practical level. Seminars furnish opportunities for both staff and students to explore issues arising from lectures and from independent learning and to pursue them in more depth and in greater detail. Independent learning allows students to acquire subject-specific and generic knowledge by reading contemporary and historical debates in the topic; and by developing a critical awareness appropriate to advanced study. The Dissertation provides students with the opportunity to plan, design, carry out and present a piece of research. Dissertation work is supported by a dedicated module and by the student’s supervisor who will advise students at each stage of the project. Students have a ten-day field-based learning (FBL) opportunity in a local social welfare agency. FBL normally takes place in the north east region and students are required to travel independently to these.

Modules are assessed through essays, observation studies, project reports, case studies, group and individual presentations. Practitioner Research is assessed through a 12,500 word dissertation.

Further academic support is available as both the University and the School organize seminars by external speakers that are open to all students. Students will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.

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The MA Social Work Studies is a one year course that may be taken by students with a first degree from the UK or any other country with an interest in social work or contemporary social problems, but not intending to register as a social worker. Read more
The MA Social Work Studies is a one year course that may be taken by students with a first degree from the UK or any other country with an interest in social work or contemporary social problems, but not intending to register as a social worker. The course involves study alongside students of social work, community and youth work and social research methods. Each student will also undertake a dissertation in an area of special interest to them, supported by research methods training.

Course Structure

Students take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Typically towards the conclusion of the second term, students undertake an optional module on research design which enables them to develop a research proposal for their dissertation.

Core Modules

•Contemporary Social Work
•Introductory Social Work Studies
•Perspectives on Social Research
•Policy Related and Evaluation Research
•Dissertation
•Policy Related and Evaluation Research
•Either: Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science;
•Or Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science.

Optional Modules

Up to two modules from the list below:
•Youth Policy and Practice
•Community Policy and Practice
•International Social Work
•Statistical Exploration and Reasoning
•Research Design and Process.

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This programme provides an introduction to the principles and values of social work and an understanding of the organisation and delivery of social welfare and related services in the UK. Read more
This programme provides an introduction to the principles and values of social work and an understanding of the organisation and delivery of social welfare and related services in the UK. It also provides a grounding in the social research methods necessary to conduct applied types of research that are a fundamental part of social work practice and evaluation.

Course Structure

Students take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting from the first term, students undertake a module on research design which enables students to develop a research proposal for their dissertation. Part-time candidates take an equal balance of credits in each year.

Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students styuding this programme in previous years.

Core Modules

-Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
-Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
-Research Design and Process (15 credits)
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Social Work Context and Practice (30 credits)
-Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits)

Learning and Teaching

These MA Research Methods programmes are full time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms.

The main teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and computer practical sessions. Lectures introduce the key concepts, theories, current debates and other issues critical for understanding the topics. Seminars are opportunities for students to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research, to present their own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that students can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance

Modules are usually assessed through essays. Statistics modules may require students to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow students to submit formative assignments in order for students to obtain a sense of how well they understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.

Further academic supports are available. Students have the opportunities to learn from their dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops, and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week, when students can come without having to make an appointment beforehand. Both the University and the School organize seminars by external speakers that are open to all students. Students will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.

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*Individual modules are also available as short courses, which can be combined into the large qualifications. Read more
*Individual modules are also available as short courses, which can be combined into the large qualifications.

This programme provides an ideal route for practitioners working with young people, including youth workers and those who manage them, enabling them to develop an advanced understanding of the issues involved in managing work with young people. It is designed for those who wish to further their understanding of these issues at postgraduate level and who already have (or do not require) a professional qualification in Community and Youth Work.

Course structure

Core Modules

-Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Professional and Personal Development (30 credits)
-Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
-Practitioner Research and Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules

Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students studying this programme in previous years.
-Community Analysis (15 credits)
-Community Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Crime, Justice and the Sex Industry (30 credits)
-Drugs, Crime and Society (30 credits)
-Gender, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)
-Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

To study the PG Certificate in Managing Youth Work Practice you will be required to take Management in Community and Youth Work and Youth Policy and Practice plus one 15 credit optional module.

To study the PG Diploma in Managing Youth Work Practice you will be required to take Management in Community and Youth Work, Youth Policy and Practice and Professional and Personal Development plus 45 credits from the optional modules.

Learning and Teaching

The MA Managing Youth Work Practice is designed for a range of professionals working with young people including youth workers and those who manage them, who wish to undertake related advanced study. It is ideal for those wishing to develop their understanding of the management of this work especially for those who already have or do not require a professional qualification in Community and Youth Work. It is offered through both a full time and part time route however, this summary refers to the full time route with the part time options being individually tailored to accommodate work patterns of those students already employed in profession practice. The programme is delivered through a range of lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, reflective practice seminars, research seminars and study visits.

Within an ethos of Informal Education our teaching and learning incorporates a range of methods which reflect this and time is allocated to provide a balance between tutor-led and self-directed learning.

Typically, taught sessions provide students with academic input on a particular area of the professional disciplines of youth work and reflect the diverse range of settings within which the management of practice takes place. Drawing from relevant literature and legislation and acknowledging the related range of professional skill, competence and understanding, issues are identified for discussion and draw from historical and contemporary contexts. Seminars provide the opportunity for students to discuss and debate the issues, to share ideas and experience, broaden their understanding and test out their knowledge gained through the taught sessions and independent study. Classroom learning provides students with the latest research and critical theory on the subject area.

The MA Managing Youth Work Practice provides the student with a learning opportunity within which they can apply and test understanding, knowledge and skills related to the managerial roles and responsibilities of their practice settings. A critical examination of the relationship of theory and practice is central to this. The programme is assessed through continual assessment using a range of methods including written assignments, reflective journals, individual and group presentations so there is an expectation that students will undertake independent study to prepare and plan for their classes, through reading relevant literature and legislation, journals and drawing on their current and previous practice experience.

This programme is part of the School of Applied Social Sciences and is significantly involved with the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action at Durham University, as well as being a partner in many collaborative pieces of research and professional practice developments. There are therefore many events and initiatives which the students are encouraged to attend such as extracurricular training, research seminars and workshops to broaden their understanding and deepen their knowledge of wider issues related to their professional discipline.

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This programme provides an exciting opportunity to develop professional practice that is supported by an in-depth theoretical understanding for those working in a wide range of careers with young people and communities. Read more
This programme provides an exciting opportunity to develop professional practice that is supported by an in-depth theoretical understanding for those working in a wide range of careers with young people and communities. The programme attracts practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context. At the same time, it enables students to become professionally validated by the National Youth Agency (with JNC recognition) for practice in the UK. Learning on the programme incorporates reflective professional approaches to informal education which enable the development of young people and communities. These are integrated together with wider critical learning on shaping the wider social, political and organisational context in which such practice takes place. The programme combines academic study on taught modules, two periods of fieldwork practice and students conducting their own choice of research with support from experienced researchers. The fieldwork practice placements enable students to develop their practice within local agencies (e.g. local charities and non-governmental organisations) with supported from experienced supervisors. Find out more about the programme from staff and students by watching our short videos.

Course structure

Core modules:
-Community Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Professional and Personal Development (30 credits)
-Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
-Research in Professional Practice (45 credits)
-Fieldwork Practice Development 1 (15 credits)
-Fieldwork Practice Development 2 (30 credits)

Students are required to pay for travel costs to and from their fieldwork practice placement.

Academic learning is assessed through 3,000 word essays, fieldwork reports, self-assessment, oral presentation and a 10,000 word research report. There are no examinations. To gain a Durham University MA, you must gain 180 credits at Masters level (pass mark 50%)..

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a range of lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, reflective practice seminars, research seminars, fieldwork practice and study visits.

Within an ethos of informal education, our teaching and learning incorporates a range of methods which reflect this and time is allocated to provide a balance between tutor-led and self-directed learning. The programme is taught as part of a group of programmes, which attract practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context, whilst including a particular focus on UK policy and practice.

Typically, taught sessions provide students with academic input on a particular area of the professional discipline of community and youth work and reflect the diverse range of community and youth settings within which practice takes place. Drawing from relevant literature and legislation and acknowledging the related range of professional skill, competence and understanding, issues are identified for discussion, drawn from historical and contemporary contexts. Seminars provide the opportunity for students to discuss and debate the issues, to share ideas and experience, broaden their understanding and test out their knowledge gained through the taught sessions and independent study. Classroom learning provides students with the latest research and critical theory on the subject area. Two assessed periods of fieldwork practice offer opportunities for learning in practice settings related to community and youth work.

The MA Community and Youth Work provides the student with a learning opportunity within which they can apply and test understanding, knowledge and skills related to professional roles and responsibilities in practice settings. A critical examination of the relationship of theory and practice is central to this.

Core modules are structured to enable students to attend university for teaching on an average of one day per week (part time) or two days per week (full time), so that their study can fit around other commitments that they may have.

The programme is assessed through continual assessment using a range of methods including written assignments, reflective journals, individual and group presentations, and assessed fieldwork practice. There is an expectation that students will undertake independent study to prepare and plan for their classes, through reading relevant literature and legislation, journals and drawing on their current and previous practice experience.

The Community and Youth Work Programme is part of the School of Applied Social Sciences and is significantly involved with the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action at Durham University, as well as being a partner in many collaborative pieces of research and professional practice developments. There are therefore many events and initiatives that students are encouraged to attend, such as extra-curricular training, research seminars and workshops to broaden their understanding and deepen their knowledge of wider issues related to the professional discipline.

Other admission requirements

Applicants with substantial professional experience may be admitted by concession without an upper second class honours degree, providing that they have demonstrated an ability to undertake Masters level work. All applicants for this programme have to pass an informal interview, which can be conducted either in person in Durham or via telephone/webcam. This will also give applicants an opportunity to find out more about the programme from a member of the teaching team and have any questions answered. If potential applicants have any queries about the entry criteria or programme before making an application, we are happy to respond to informal queries at any stage and to discuss the programme with you.

Admission is subject to satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Disclosure check being undertaken upon an offer of a place being made, to assess whether applicants have any previous convictions that prevent them from working with vulnerable people. The cost of a DBS check is currently £44.

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*Individual modules are also available as short courses, which can be combined into the large qualification. This programme provides an opportunity for a range of professionals whose role includes engaging with communities to undertake related advanced study and professional development to develop their career further. Read more
*Individual modules are also available as short courses, which can be combined into the large qualification

This programme provides an opportunity for a range of professionals whose role includes engaging with communities to undertake related advanced study and professional development to develop their career further. It is ideal for those wishing to develop their understanding of the management and policy context of this work at a postgraduate level, especially for those who already have (or do not require) a professional qualification in Community and Youth Work. This might include those practising in community development, housing associations, community health, community enterprise, neighbourhood regeneration, community arts, and professionals in a range of statutory, voluntary and private sector posts that have an element of community involvement and engagement; for example, economic development, planning, policing, transport, and voluntary sector development.

The programme attracts practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context. Core modules enable students to explore and develop their understanding of management, policy and practice in this field, as well as learn core research methods skills and carry out their own piece of advanced research. Students have a choice of optional modules to enable more focused study in their own areas of interest.

Course structure

Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students styuding this programme in previous years.

Core Modules

-Community Policy and Practice (15 credits)
-Professional and Personal Development (30 credits)
-Management in Community Settings (30 credits)
-Practitioner Research and Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules

Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students styuding this programme in previous years.
-Community Analysis (15 credits)
-Crime, Justice and the Sex Industry (30 credits)
-Drugs, Crime and Society (30 credits)
-Gender, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)
-Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)

To study the PG Certificate in Managing in Community Practice you will be required to take Community Policy and Practice and Management in Community and Youth Work plus one 15 credit optional module.

To study the PG Diploma in Managing Community Practice you will be required to take Community Policy and Practice, Management in Community and Youth Work and Professional and Personal Development, plus 45 credits from the optional modules.

Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a range of lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, reflective practice seminars, research seminars and study visits.

Within an ethos of Informal Education, our teaching and learning incorporates a range of methods which reflect this and time is allocated to provide a balance between tutor-led and self-directed learning. The programme is taught as part of a group of programmes which attract practitioners from a wide range of contexts and countries, enabling learning in an internationally-comparative context, whilst including a particular focus on UK policy and practice.

Typically, taught sessions provide students with academic input on a particular area of the professional discipline of community work and reflect the diverse range of community settings within which the management of practice takes place. Drawing from relevant literature and legislation and acknowledging the related range of professional skill, competence and understanding, issues are identified for discussion and draw from historical and contemporary contexts. Seminars provide the opportunity for students to discuss and debate the issues, to share ideas and experience, broaden their understanding and test out their knowledge gained through the taught sessions and independent study. Classroom learning provides students with the latest research and critical theory on the subject area.

The MA Managing Community Practice provides the student with a learning opportunity within which they can apply and test understanding, knowledge and skills related to the managerial roles and responsibilities of their practice settings. A critical examination of the relationship of theory and practice is central to this. Core modules are structured to enable students to attend university for teaching on an average of one day per week (part time) or two days per week (full time), so that their study can fit around other commitments that they may have.

The programme is assessed through continual assessment using a range of methods including written assignments, reflective journals, individual and group presentations so there is an expectation that students will undertake independent study to prepare and plan for their classes, through reading relevant literature and legislation, journals and drawing on their current and previous practice experience.

The Community and Youth Work Programme is part of the School of Applied Social Sciences and is significantly involved with the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action at Durham University, as well as being a partner in many collaborative pieces of research and professional practice developments. There are therefore many events and initiatives to which the students are encouraged to attend such as extracurricular training, research seminars and workshops to broaden their understanding and deepen their knowledge of wider issues related to their professional discipline.

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