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MSc Advanced Social Work Studies

Course Description

This course focuses on the complex issues and challenges of 21st century social work.

At Dundee, we have a range of expertise and experience, including interdisciplinarity (a specific and unique strength of the programme), leadership, research, values and social work practice. We are particularly keen to establish links between theory and practice. Our modules also draw on experienced and knowledgeable guest lecturers both from the field and from academic research.

Why study Advanced Social Work Studies at Dundee?

The MSc in Advanced Social Work Studies will allow you to engage with advanced level social work theory and develop the knowledge base and enquiry skills required to understand and contribute to 21st century social work.

The course curriculum will encompass taught modules which require you to engage with ethical issues and dilemmas relating to social work. You will have the opportunity to critically engage with the challenges and opportunities of inter-professional collaboration and the role that organisational culture and change plays in the way social work is shaped and delivered.

The course will require you to develop and apply research skills and methods to social work issues in order to produce a Master’s level dissertation. This will allow you to explore and examine social work issues and contexts in order to develop new ways of thinking and understanding, and in turn seek to be transformative and impactful.

Who should study this course?

If you do not require a qualification to practise social work, but wish to enhance and develop your social work skills and knowledge at Master's level, this course is for you. Without the requirement for practice placements, the qualification can be achieved within one year.

If you are a postgraduate student wishing to develop a research profile, or to further your career in terms of practice or leadership, this course is also suitable.

How you will be taught

At the University of Dundee, we emphasise the development of autonomous and self-directed learning, with support and guidance through structured personal tutor and module leaders. Our approaches include:

Group based discussions
Enquiry and action learning – collaborative research and problem solving.
Collaborative group inquiry activities (including inter-professional collaboration)
Online materials - discussion boards, academic activities, core materials and signposts to literature.
Independent and autonomous study and research which is supported and guided by module leaders and /or personal tutors.
Option for work based project to situate learning and research.

What you will study

Semester 1

Decision Making (30 credits) - which will provide a critical insight into contemporary social work issues around risk, values, ethics and social work law.

Research Methods for Professional Enquiry (30 credits) - which will provide students with a Master’s level knowledge of research skill.

Additionally students will have the opportunity to select one optional module from the MSc Social Work, MSc Community learning and Development or MSc Leadership and Innovation courses which will provide interdisciplinary learning and collaboration.

Semester 2

Research project (60 credits) relevant to Social Work which will be supported by a dissertation supervisor and ongoing collaboration with peers. This module will run the full length of the semester and the full dissertation will be completed during the summer.

Inter‐Professional Collaboration and Organisational change (30 credits) - joint module with Community Learning and Development and Leadership and Innovation students.

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods will include a combination of:

reflective and critical essays
oral presentations
research visualisations
research reports


The programme will prepare you for your chosen career in social work or a related field and gives you the flexibility and choice about how best to do this. The scope for applying advanced social work skills is vast - social workers are employed in a wide variety of settings, beyond what might traditionally be considered 'social work.'

Visit the MSc Advanced Social Work Studies page on the University of Dundee website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should have an Honours Degree of 2:2 or above. IELTS of 6.5 or equivalent (if first language is not English).

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