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PgDip Professional Social Work Practice

Course Description

This programme has been endorsed by TCSW and the HCPC as having met the social work professional quality criteria.

Step Up to Social Work: information for applicants - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/step-up-to-social-work-information-for-applicants

Course Summary

This practical, work-based course will give you the chance to achieve a nationally recognised professional qualification in Social Work together with a postgraduate academic award.

You will acquire the systematic and independent ability to critically evaluate both current theoretical understanding and practice, and develop skills to apply knowledge-informed and evidence based practice in your workplace.

You will also have the opportunity to undertake a piece of supervised original research.

Intermediate qualifications available:

- Postgraduate certificate – 60 credits at Masters level

Choose Professional Social Work Practice PgDip at Bedfordshire and:

- Study and evaluate the power structures in society which create inequalities, and acquire an awareness of the tools and techniques which can be used to counter them
- Explore your own and others’ practice and current research in the discipline
- Develop a deep and systematic understanding of the applied social sciences, including sociology, social policy, law and ethics, and the way these disciplines inform social work knowledge and practice
- Gain a critical awareness of current issues in the practice of social work, and learn the approaches required to address them
- Benefit from opportunities to develop the skills of initiative, resourcefulness, critical reflection and emotional literacy that you will need in order to develop creative and sympathetic solutions to human problems.

Why choose this course?

The Master of Professional Social Work Practice (Step-Up to Social Work) course is an innovative work-based course, commissioned by two regional employer partnerships to provide high quality work-based education and training for aspiring social workers. As a work-based learning course students will spend considerable time practising and applying in he workplace the knowledge and skills gained during the course.

Entry requirements

This course does not currently allow for open access. Recruitment is governed by the Department for Education (DfE) and advertising and the initial application process is managed by the DfE. Standard University entry requirements apply but applicants must also meet the DfE and College of Social Work entry requirements as set out below.

Standard entry requirements for UK students http://www.beds.ac.uk/howtoapply/ukugentryreqs

Students from the European Union - http://www.beds.ac.uk/howtoapply/eu/guides

International students international students are not eligible for this course unless they have indefinite leave to remain and access to public funds. International applicants must have achieved IELTS Level 7 in order to be considered.


In order to be eligible for this course you must have a first degree (First Class or Upper Second Class honours) in any discipline, in addition, you must meet the Department for Education criteria of having experience of working with children, young people and families and demonstrate emotional resilience. As for any qualifying Social Work course all successful applicants must also have achieved at least Key Skills level 2 in English and Mathematics. This would normally be equivalent to grade C in the GCSE examination in English and Mathematics.

The initial recruitment process will be managed nationally by the Department for Education and applicants will then be shortlisted and interviewed locally by regional employers and their partner HEIs, in this case the University of Bedfordshire. You will then be required, through the selection process, to demonstrate substantial relevant experience and an aptitude to work with children and families in need, i.e. the appropriate personal qualities, values and skills to be a social worker (i.e. the Professional Capabilities Framework at entry level). The local selection process will include a written task, group exercise, role play and personal interview in accordance with the College of Social Work guidance on recruitment. You will be required to declare any previous offences (including reprimands and formal warnings) and any previous disciplinary matters, and if selected, you will be required to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure your suitability for working with vulnerable groups. In addition you will need to complete a health declaration and give permission for contact with your GP, where necessary, to confirm your suitability for Social Work training and professional registration.

If you have relevant prior experience and /or certificated learning you may be able to claim RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) in accordance with the Universitys published criteria and up to a maximum of 60 academic credits at M level.

Should you wish to make a claim for admission with advanced standing you should identify yourself at the earliest opportunity and complete and submit the form which can be found at


Career Management Skills

As a professional qualifying course the Postgraduate Diploma of Professional Social Work Practice prepares students to enter the field of Social Work as Registered Practitioners. Through work-based learning and some key academic units you will be supported to consider your career options and explore the realities of professional practice. Placement experiences across at least two different Practice Learning settings allow you to experience working in the diverse range of settings in which modern social work practice takes place. It is a requirement that all students experience working within the statutory and legal framework as well as gaining experience of different settings and/ or service user groups in order to develop a rounded understanding of the practice arena. Units focusing on specialist and inter-disciplinary practice, together with employer led skills development days and workshops on career planning, job seeking and preparation for interview all aim to support you and increase your career choice and management skills.

Students progressing to the Master of Professional Social Work Practice award will carry out research in their practice area which will both consolidate their knowledge and further enhance their career opportunities.

Career/Further study opportunities

On completing this course students are likely to progress into the following areas:

Career: Graduates achieving the Postgraduate Diploma will be able to apply to enter the HCPC Professional Register as qualified Social Workers and to work in a wide range of Statutory, private, voluntary and independent organisations providing services to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, children, families, groups and communities.

Further study: Post-qualifying (PQ) level study is available to qualified Social Workers in a range of settings, allowing graduates to engage in continuous professional development and demonstrate their fitness for continuing registration. The University of Bedfordshire offers its PQ courses at Post-Graduate level with more courses being developed with local employers to meet the needs of the workplace.

Students who complete the Master of Professional Social Work Practice will also be well-placed to progress on to one of the Department of Applied Social Studies Professional Doctorate (DProf) awards in due course to enhance their own knowledge and career development as well as being able to make a distinctive contribution to their profession.

Visit the PgDip Professional Social Work Practice page on the University of Bedfordshire website for more details!

Entry Requirements

See Course Description

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Recipient: University of Bedfordshire

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