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MSW Social Work

Course Description

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.

For more information, see the website: https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/find-a-course/msw-social-work

What you study

You study the theories, skills and values of social work, learning how to work with people who have problems in their lives or whose actions cause significant problems for others.

You follow the Health and Care Professions Council and The College of Social Work guidelines for training, which include:
-Assessment, planning, intervention and review.
-Role play.
-Dissertation or project.
-Psychosocial knowledge.
-Professional ethics.
-Law and policy.
-Social work theory.

We make sure your learning is up to date so you graduate with the latest thinking on current areas of importance in the sector. We invite experts – like charity the Snowdrop Project – to come in and discuss topical issues such as human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

Because social workers need to work with many other professionals, you study alongside students and staff from related disciplines. For example, you practise giving evidence in court with law students, and barristers and judges visit the university to cross-examine you in our courtroom.

Service users and carers are central to all aspects of the course delivery and development, including teaching, assessment and placements. Other key aspects of the course and assessment include essays, presentations, exams and a dissertation.

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 at least 170 days putting what you’ve learned into practice in real working situations, such as:
-Social work teams.
-Family centres.
-Primary care practices.
-Residential settings.

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 Doncaster Prison, NHS mental health units, youth offending teams working with the police, and charities including the NSPCC, Age Concern, 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 on an exchange. 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 in our £13 million purpose-built Robert Winston Building, described as 'a beacon for the future development of health education in this country' by a leading UK health body.

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, youth and community education in the country, and we have a huge 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 professions.

All our teaching staff are qualified and experienced social workers, or have experience in related professions. You will experience a range of different ways of learning, including role play with actors, real-life case studies and virtual reality.

Many of our lecturers are involved in research in social work and have a well-established reputation in various international projects, including:
-International practice learning opportunities for students.
-EU-funded projects to develop an international curriculum.
-Projects developing social work practice and social work education.

Professional recognition

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.

Course structure

Full time – 24 months. 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.

Starts March (subject to HCPC approval).

Year One
-Introduction to social work
-Law and policy for social work
-Psycho-social theories and methods for social work practice
-Readiness for social work practice
-Foundations of values, ethics and anti-oppressive practice for social work
-Research knowledge, methods and skills for social work
-Practice learning 1 and 2
-Social work skills development days

Year Two
-Theories and knowledge for social work, applied across the life course
-The organisational context of social work
-The enhanced social work practitioner


Includes: essays; examinations; practice-learning portfolios; group presentations; report writing.

Visit the MSW Social Work page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally five GCSEs at grade C or above, including mathematics, English language or literature or equivalent*, plus an honours degree recognised in the UK at 2.2 or above in any subject, together with relevant personal or professional experience of social care. See the website for a complete list of course requirements: View Website

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