• University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Edinburgh Featured Masters Courses
  • Swansea University Featured Masters Courses
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Cambridge Featured Masters Courses
  • Ulster University Featured Masters Courses
  • Jacobs University Featured Masters Courses
  • FindA University Ltd Featured Masters Courses
King’s College London Featured Masters Courses
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
University of Edinburgh Featured Masters Courses
Ulster University Featured Masters Courses
University of Manchester Featured Masters Courses

Social Work MA

Course Description

The Masters in Social Work is the professional postgraduate qualification for social work throughout the UK. The course aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills and values appropriate for work in a variety of social work settings. The teaching and learning is delivered by qualified/registered Social Work academic staff who are actively engaged in research, consultancy, direct practice and publication.

Course content

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.

Year One
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

Year Two
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.

Course modules (16/17)

-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

Methods of Learning

This programme promotes an approach to learning that engages students as active participants. This includes group work, role play, individual skills development, inquiry based learning, seminars and lectures. Students link academic learning to two supervised and assessed placement learning opportunities. Over the two years you will experience a range of social work services and work with service users.

Facilities and Special Features

-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.

Other admission requirements

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.

Visit the Social Work MA page on the University of Northampton website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An undergraduate degree (minimum 2:2 classification or above) or other recognised equivalent qualification. See course description for further admission details.

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University of Northampton
Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.
Email Sent

Share this page:

Cookie Policy    X