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.
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.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Social Work at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
This master's degree in Social Work aims to:
• prepare students for employment as professionally qualified social workers
• lay the foundation for students’ continuing professional development
• reflects the key themes of contemporary social work in Wales
- The Times Higher League Tables 2014 ranked the Undergraduate Social Work degree at Swansea joint 1st in the UK, and the Guardian League Table ranked social work in Swansea 1st in the UK in 2015.
- the Social Work programme meets all the Care Council requirements and is now fully approved as a professional social work programme as defined in The Approval and Visiting of Degree Courses in Social Work (Wales) Rules 2012
Teaching and Employability:
- 95% of Social Work students from Swansea University are employed in graduate level jobs within six months of graduating (undergraduate programme). Postgraduate–level students are expected to be in similar demand
- the professional qualification is recognised in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as other countries such as Australia
- the Social Work programme operates in partnership with five local authorities in the South West Wales region: Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion
- teaching from a wide range of practitioners from social work teams and agencies plus guest speakers from Welsh Government
- a minimum of 200 days practice learning are undertaken
- successful completion allows students to register as qualified social workers with the Care Council for Wales
- applicants may be eligible for a student bursary from the Care Council for Wales which includes a contribution towards tuition fee
Social Work is about change and human growth through supporting the social care and welfare needs of individuals, groups and local communities.
Social work has been an established course at Swansea University for many years and combines a commitment to both academic excellence and practical learning. There are strong links between the Department and social services agencies in south and west Wales, and in local authority and voluntary sectors.
The master's degree in Social Work lays the foundation for students’ continuing professional development. It also reflects the key themes of contemporary social work in Wales.
Qualifying Social Work students will be:
- equipped to understand and work within the context of a profession whose nature, scope and purpose can be the subject of contested debate
- able to critically analyse, adapt to, manage and eventually lead the process of required changes in social work, delivery of social services, and social care policy and law
- prepared to promote bilingual service provision in Wales and to be able to critically reflect on the importance of the Welsh context as a cultural, social and historical landscape for social work practice
This qualification in Social Work is also recognised by Care Councils in other UK nations.
First year postgraduate Social Work students have the opportunity to participate in a 3 week global opportunity at the University of Houston, Texas.
Modules on the MSc in Social Work programme typically include:
Theories and Perspectives for Informing Social Work
Social Work Skills and Knowledge in Practice
Critical Practice in Child Care & Law
Ethics and Values in Social Work
Undertaking & Using Social Work Research for Practice
Social Work Skills and Knowledge and Service Users' Perspectives
Dissertation in Social Work Research and Evidence for Practice
Critical Practice in Adult Care & Law
The Social Work course is both academic and practice-based and students are required to undertake a minimum of 200 days practice learning across the two years. Half of the Social Work programme is devoted to supervised practice in social service agencies, where students learn through observation, rehearsal and performance. The social work placements take place in the local authorities of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion.
Social Work students will undertake academic study based on Singleton campus during Semester 1 and then placement learning in a social care agency during Semester 2.
During Semester 1, Social Work students can expect to be on campus a minimum of four days per week. Placement learning is full-time Monday to Friday, following agency hours. Students will undertake 200 days of practice learning across the 2 years.
In Year One Social Work students undertake a 20-day observational placement followed by an 80-day ‘direct practice’ placement.
In Year Two students undertake a 100-day ‘direct-practice’ placement. The social work placements take place in the local authorities of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion.
In Year Two students will be expected to complete a ‘desk-based’ research project and complete a dissertation with supervised support from a member of the teaching team.
All teaching staff members on the Social Work course are research active and involved in research activity at both national and international level which spans a number of interest areas including: looked-after children, sexuality and wellbeing, service user and carer involvement in education, asylum seeking children and migration, children’s rights and welfare, and social inclusion and care needs of older people.
There are many possibilities for career progression in social work and for postgraduate and post qualification study. UK social work qualifications are also recognised in other countries.
The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience.
In addition, Social Work students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.
Prepare for a career in social work with a course that is well connected with social work and social care service providers in the region. As a result of these connections, you get the benefit of supervised practical work in a range of social work settings.
Placements and work experience
Practical work experience is at the heart of this course. We have a 100% record of placing students in quality-audited placements. You spend 170 days putting what you’ve learned into practice in real working situations, such as • social work teams • family centres • primary care practices • hospitals • mental health settings • women's refuges and a range of family support services for vulnerable people.
These placements take place with our partners in local authority, private and voluntary agencies across South Yorkshire and the North East Midlands. Previous students have worked in statutory local authority social work teams, NHS mental health units, youth offending teams working with the police, and charities including the NSPCC, Age UK, Barnados, Mind and Women's Aid.
Your placements are supported by 30 specialist skills days. You work with experts, professionals and service users on specific topics such as how to assess risky behaviour, or interventions for safeguarding children. In your final year, we run a workshop with employers on how to apply for jobs in social work.
There are also opportunities to spend time studying abroad. Previous students have attended a summer school in Berlin, gaining new, international perspectives on social work and discovering how it is practised around the world.
During the time you spend at university, you are based at our Collegiate Crescent Campus which includes our £13 million purpose-built Robert Winston Building, a newly built Heart of the Campus complex and a learning centre which is open 24 hours and seven days a week. You use specialist facilities including our courtroom, where you learn how to give evidence, and our virtual reality training environment which is used to practise different cases.
We are one of the most experienced providers of social work, education in the country, and we have a wide range of expertise. Social work is part of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, which enables us to apply specialist knowledge and resources from across a range of health and social care professions.
All our teaching staff are qualified and experienced social workers, or have experience in related professions. You experience a range of different ways of learning, including role play with actors, real-life case studies and virtual reality experiences alongside lectures and seminars,
Many of our lecturers are involved in research in social work and have a well-established reputation in various international projects, including
This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). After successfully completing the course you are eligible to apply to register with them to practise as a social worker.
We are in a transitional period where the work of the College of Social Work has come to an end and some functions are temporarily hosted by the British Association of Social Work.
This is a full time course that can lead to professional registration as a social worker and therefore requires extensive study.
Taught modules take place on average three days a week. but you will be required to engage in study outside of these times. A large proportion of the course is spent on placement within social care organisations – during these times you are required to attend for five days a week.
Social work programmes provide a combination of practice learning and academic modules, that build together in order to equip you with the range of knowledge and skills you need in order to meet the requirements of this challenging profession. The strategies of teaching, learning and assessment across the 24 months are progressive, so that you gradually develop the abilities to be a self-directed learner. At the beginning of each year there will be an induction period to help you orient yourself to the shape of your studies for that year, and the increasing levels of academic and professional standards expected of you.
Additionally, some of the academic modules contain skills days, which further reinforce that there are strong links between the intellectual abilities you need in order to be a social worker, and the practice skills that are also needed. The programme structure comprises five interrelated elements
Year one modules
Year two modules
You will be able to take advantage of a high demand for qualified social workers in the South Yorkshire and East Midlands regions and nationally in areas such as • social services departments • education and other local authority departments • residential care • housing associations • national and local voluntary organisations • private sector care providers.
You can work in careers alongside other professionals including • nurses • police officers • lawyers • teachers • occupational therapists • doctors • housing officers • a range of care and support staff.
You work with a range of people who require professional support such as • children and young people • parents and carers • people with mental health problems, learning difficulties or physical disabilities • older adults • refugees and asylum seekers.
This unique programme is aimed at international and UK students with an interest in international social work, community development, and comparative social policy. The programme examines advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and community development in an international context. You will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of global social issues (such as social exclusion, poverty, environmental degradation, and disasters) and relate this knowledge to developments in their own country. You will be equipped with the skills to engage in research and to apply research findings effectively in practice. The programme includes a two-week field-based learning opportunity in a social work or community work agency. The dissertation provides space for you 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 research, theory, and practice. Our social work team has edited the prestigious International Social Work journal and works closely with social work’s key international organisations - , the International Association of Schools of Social Work, .the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), and the International Council of Social Welfare (ICSW). Its Programme Director also represents social work at the UNFCCC and other UN bodies.
You will study in a small group of international students, and also 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.
International Social Work (30 credits)
Social Work: Context and Practice (30 credits)
Community Development and Organising (15 credits)
Practitioner Research and Dissertation (60 credits)
Field Based Learning (15 credits)
Note students are required to pay for travel costs to and from their fieldwork practice placement.
These are subject to staff availability. In previous years, typical modules offered were:
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)
Social workers deal with some of the most vulnerable people in society at times of greatest stress. By the end of this programme you will have been assessed against the Standards of Proficiency for Social Work and the Professional Capabilities Framework. Once qualified, you will be able to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration. Competent practice is essential for the award and you will undertake 200 days of practice learning (placement and skills for practice) during the programme. Practice learning through placement experience is undertaken in blocks of the course and skills for practice, 30 days experiential skills for practice during Year one (in the university), 70 days (in placement) during Year 1 and 100 days (in placement) during Year two.
For students enrolled on the programme, you will be expected to travel to placements with employer providers and be able to travel to service users. Being a holder of a current UK driving licence is therefore desirable.
During this initial year your knowledge and skills for social work practice is developed and assessed. The value base of social work is emphasised and you will engage in teaching designed to support your learning and understanding of anti-oppressive, anti-discriminatory and anti-racist practice in a model that promotes social justice and relationship based practice. The Preparing for Professional Social Work Practice module is designed to develop students’ skills, knowledge and understanding about social work. The course is delivered by a range of qualified social work academics, service users and social work practitioners, which includes 30 days experiential skills. You will have an opportunity to undertake a five-day shadow placement with an employer provider in a social work setting. The first year is designed to prepare and assess students’ ‘readiness for direct practice’ prior to the 70 day placement
You will develop your understanding of different service user groups and service provision in social work settings building on the teaching and learning during Year one. The teaching will provide opportunities for you to work in small learning sets developing your reflective critical thinking skills. A module on diversity develops your understanding of the correlations between oppression, discrimination and inequality and how gender shapes organisations and service delivery. A 100-day assessed placement learning opportunity will be completed in a social work setting. During this final year you will also undertake research which is either empirical or literature based which is presented in a final dissertation.
Masters in Social Work students will have the opportunity to enrol onto the Developing Housing Practice module. This is a 10 credit level 7 module which, on completion, gives students partial accreditation with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) which is equivalent to 10 credits towards postgraduate housing related training. This would be offered to the Masters students as an elective online module. There are a number of overlaps between housing and social work which include: vulnerable adults, people seeking asylum, safeguarding children, domestic abuse, hate crime, community safety and anti-social behaviours. This optional module would support the employability of the Masters students and offer a unique partial accreditation in housing-related training which complements social work.
-Life Span 1: Human Growth and Development
-Social Work Law and Policy
-Dissertation and Research Skills for Effective Social Work Practice
-Preparing for Professional Social Work Practice
-Life Span 2: Assessing and Managing Risk in Child and Adult Protection
-Developing Housing Practice, Knowledge and Provision
-Gender and Sexuality Studies in Social Work
-Prepares you for professional social work practice
-Enables you to develop their practice skills
-Develops your skills and knowledge in working with other professions
-Raises political awareness and encourages you to be a creative, critical and reflective thinker
-The Social Work subject team sign up to and hold the International Federation of Social Work definition of social work
-Students will have the opportunity to develop a range of communication skills in the first year through experiential teaching and learning facilitated by Service Users, Social Work Practitioners and Practice Educators.
You will undertake 170 days of practice learning (placement). You will complete a student profile during the first year of study and through strong partnerships between the University and employer providers, you will be matched to a specific service placement. You will be expected to be able to travel effectively to and from the placement and be able to carry out community based duties (where required) during the placement which may involve independent travel. It is therefore desirable that you hold a current UK driving licence. Placement learning opportunities can be outside of Northampton. All placement providers are quality assured by the University.
English Language & Mathematics: Social work entrants must hold at least a GCSE grade C in English Language and Mathematics (O level grade C or CSE grade 1 are the equivalent). Key Skills Level Two qualifications are also acceptable. For students whose first language is not English an IELTS score of 7 is required.
You will be required to declare that you have these qualifications.
-Ability to write thoughtfully, insightfully and coherently about your motivation in applying for the course and understanding and commitment to the social work profession.
-Relevant work experience. Students must demonstrate (100 days or equivalent) relevant previous experience in social care or a related area. This could be paid or voluntary work.
-Students yet to graduate should provide an academic reference on the application, indicating their predicted degree classification. Students who have already graduated can also provide a professional reference.
-All applicants must confirm prior to interview/offer decision making that they have the ability to use basic IT facilities, including word processing, internet browsing and the use of email, and may be asked to specify how these skills have been obtained.
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 you with 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.
You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting from the first term, you will 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.
In previous years, typical modules offered were:
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)
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 you to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research, to present your own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that you can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance
Modules are usually assessed through essays. Statistics modules may require you to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow you to submit formative assignments in order for you to obtain a sense of how well you understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.
Further academic support is available. You will have the opportunity to learn from your dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops, and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week where you can access additional support for your modules, assignments and so forth. In addition, both the University and the School host seminars for external speakers that are open to all students.
You will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.