Social work is a profession that is deeply committed to social justice and the well-being of vulnerable and marginalized individuals and groups in society. It involves working with people to help them improve their lives by addressing the social, psychological, and economic factors that affect their ability to thrive.
Masters degrees in Social Work are advanced professional courses, training postgraduates to become practitioners and managers in a wide range of healthcare, welfare and social support roles.
Most of these courses are intended for applicants with existing experience, but some will admit students 'converting' from a different undergraduate degree pathway.
Some academic research programmes are available (awarding MRes and MPhil degrees) but most of the courses in this area are taught qualifications, focussing on key skills and training. Many are offered part-time in order to better fit the needs of applicants seeking Continuing Professional Development alongside their existing employment.
Why study a Masters in Social Work?
Whether you begin one of these courses following an undergraduate degree or enter as a professional, you'll normally be seeking to further a career in Social Work.
That said, Social Work itself is a broad profession, with many opportunities to specialise in different areas. In fact, specialisation is the driving force behind most of the programmes in this subject-area. You could train to work with specific groups (such as children, the elderly or refugees) or you could gain administrative skills and move into management within a community health service or hospital.
And, whilst individual courses usually have fairly clear practical applications, these can often encompass a range of vocational opportunities.
Qualifications in Childcare, for example, can involve assisting families with difficulties, working within educational and care organisations or providing support to minors following traumatic experiences or events. Similarly, courses in Careers Guidance can lead to obvious roles within a school or university, to a position helping jobseekers find employment or to work looking at graduate (and postgraduate) outcomes and associated policy issues.
As the field of Social Work evolves, there is a growing need for highly trained professionals who can address complex social problems and work collaboratively with individuals, organizations, and communities to promote positive change. A Masters degree in social work offers a pathway to this rewarding and impactful career.