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Advanced Practice (MSc)

Course Description

The MSc Advanced Practice provides high quality training that enables you to critically evaluate theory and utilise research findings in relation to advanced practice and leadership.

The course is delivered via a part-time, modular approach which offers flexibility to suit the needs of social workers wishing to continue their professional development. It provides professionally and academically rigorous postgraduate training for experienced workers in social care and health services, and will lead to academic and professional qualifications at Masters and Advanced levels. There are two pathways leading to the qualification: Children & Families and Leadership & Management.

This course will build upon the long-standing partnerships that the Department of Social Work has with employer agencies and service user groups.

Students are able to exit at different stages through the course. Those who successfully complete stage one can achieve a Postgraduate Certificate, and those also completing stage two can achieve a Postgraduate Diploma (with Higher Specialist Award in Social Work). Completion of three stages will lead to the award of MSc.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/socialwork/coursefinder/mscadvancedpractice.aspx

Why choose this course?

The Department of Social Work at Royal Holloway has run successful post graduate and post qualifying courses for many years. Below is some recent feedback from students and external examiners on our courses:

- “There is real evidence through the assignments that students are given excellent teaching input and guidance on reading which is relevant to the contemporary professional workplace.”

- “Each aspect of the programme has enabled me to explore my practice, gain knowledge and develop my skills. Having lectures relating to a range of different client groups and areas of work has given me the opportunity to place my work in a broader, more informed context.”

- “The programme has opened up new challenges for me in terms of application of research into practice, using theories and the need to be a reflective practitioner, and I owe it to the service users to maintain personal and professional development and improvement in social work services.”

- “The teaching is of a high standard and lectures are interactive with opportunities for small group activity.”

- “Staff are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and professional.”

Department research and industry highlights

Since its inception, the Department has developed a reputation for delivering high quality research across a range of areas by engaging with matters of public concern. In the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 45% of the department’s quality profile was ranked 3-4*. Some current research projects and interests of staff in the department are:
- Child protection responses to forced marriage
- Black men and mental health
- Practitioners use of discretion and knowledge in social work
- Cultural competence in social work education
- Decision-making in child care social work

Course content and structure

You will study 6 course units, combining both compulsory and optional units. Subject specific experts will deliver lectures, seminars, and individual tutorials. In addition, Academic Tutors will guide you throughout the course.

Stage 1 course units:
- Value and Ethics for Advanced Practitioners, Leaders and Managers
- Work-based learning: Advanced Practive and Leadership or Risk and Decision-Making
- 1 Optional course unit

Stage 2 course units:
- Risk and Decision-Making or Work-based learning: Advanced Practice and Leadership
- Inter-professional working: Power, Identity and Organisational Culture
- 1 Optional course units

Stage 3 course units:
- Research Methods and Dissertation
- Optional course units:
- Advanced practice in public law family court proceedings
- Advanced practice in child protection and family support
- Work with children with sexually harmful behaviours (run in partnership with NSPCC)
- Development and assessment of professional practice (including stage 2 of the practice educator framework)
- Supervision of professional practice

On completion of the course graduates will have:
- Developed their ability to critically evaluate theory and utilise research findings in relation to advanced practice and leadership.

- Enhanced their skills and ability to provide ethically-sound and effective practice and leadership within an anti-oppressive practice framework.

- Undertake independent, critical analysis and thinking, and enhanced professional development through reflective learning and practitioner-led research.


A range of assessment methods are used and they include essays, case study analysis, oral presentations, direct observation and use of video material, reflective commentaries , practice evidence, and for the Masters award a 15,000 word dissertation.

Employability & career opportunities

A postgraduate learning experience of this kind will assist students in thinking more deeply and critically about their work and setting and about the roles they take within it. This programme will provide knowledge and skills that are transferable to a wide variety of employment opportunities in advanced practice, leadership and management in social care and health services.

This course also provides a firm foundation for further postgraduate study and research,

The Department of Social Work runs in collaboration with St Georges and Kingston University, a Doctorate in Professional Studies (Health and Social Care Practice) which students who wish to pursue further study could participate in. In addition The Department offers the standard PhD option.

How to apply

Candidates will normally be nominated to the programme by their agency Training Manager and complete the required application form. Self-funding candidates must have employer permission for the practice elements of the programme.

Visit the Advanced Practice (MSc) page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Students would normally have a social work or other professional qualification in a relevant discipline at degree or masters level. Students must be currently involved in practice or management work in a social care or health setting. Students with a DipHe (e.g. DipSW) and at least two years practice experience are able to apply.

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Recipient: Royal Holloway, University of London
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