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Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding

This is currently the only master's course in the UK that covers the safeguarding of both children and adults. You'll gain a unique perspective on how to improve the lives of society's most vulnerable people and make a difference in cases of extreme, entrenched, or multi-generational abuse and neglect.

Qualification: MSc

Credits: 180

Study mode: Full-time

Location: High Wycombe Campus

Duration: One year

Start date: September

Is this course for me?

Our MSc Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding is now more relevant than ever, with recent changes in safeguarding legislation (i.e. the Care Act 2014), and the impact of high-profile enquiries, such as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham and Child Sexual Abuse. Offered on a full-time or part-time basis, it's ideal for professionals who want to improve their knowledge and practice when working with vulnerable people.

This unique, multi-disciplinary programme attracts working professionals in a range of areas and roles. Our postgraduate students include social workers, nurses and midwives, early years professionals, police officers, and doctors who want to become experts in safeguarding.

The course also appeals to analytical people who enjoy problem solving and want to add to research in this vital area. We attract graduates from a range of disciplines including sociology, psychology and education. Your peers will help you develop a greater understanding of the challenges faced by the safeguarding system.

What will this course cover?

Our teaching staff are experienced professionals and lead research in areas such as healthcare, social care, education and policing. As such, their teaching is wide-ranging and informed by best practice. We offer a wide range of optional modules including: disability, psychology, sociology, leadership/management, education, criminology and healthcare.
You can expect to:

  • learn how to facilitate positive change and best practice in safeguarding
  • learn the policy, research and practice settings for safeguarding work
  • understand social behaviour and experience
  • understand the social causes of abuse
  • learn to identify risk indicators
  • understand how to a be a socially responsible social scientist
  • develop critical analysis skills.

The dissertation element of the programme may take the form of a work-based project, which will allow you to actively combine a critical theoretical analysis with reflective project work. This can also be an extended review of the literature on a particular topic.

Leading research
Our teaching team are leaders in their fields. They come from different professional backgrounds and are actively involved in research. At Bucks we have a strong reputation for conducting safeguarding research, evaluation and consultancy to a range of organisations and government bodies. Because of the multi- disciplinary nature of the teaching staff, you will finish the course with a strong understanding and wide- ranging knowledge of safeguarding.
We are currently the only university offering a MSc in safeguarding exploring both children and adult content, which gives you a broader basis for your research and future career path. We use current best evidence to inform your decision making, whether in policy or practice.

Some projects undertaken or led by our team are:

  • Service Improvement and Research Evaluation Project (SIREP)
  • Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
  • Social Work Academy
  • Out of Hospital Workforce across Thames Valley
  • High Risk, Harder to Reach Young People - an evaluation of the protocol
  • BME children subject to a child protection plan or who are looked after (2006-2010).

Meet future employers
Bucks' Service Improvement Research and Evaluation Project (SIREP) enables our postgraduates to network with health and social care providers, who can help you develop your research topic in 'live' health or social care situations. By taking part in SIREP, you can meet and work with potential employers, as you talk to them about solutions to their organisational needs.

Flexible learning
Bucks offers flexible study spread over one or two years, allowing you to study full-time or part-time alongside employment. Whether you're training to build your skills in your current role or change your career path, this course ensures you can immediately apply your increased knowledge in a professional setting.

As well as support from your lecturers, who are experts in their field, you will also benefit from a range of guest speakers who provide specialised workshops that add to your knowledge. Their expertise and real world experience will inspire and emphasise how your qualification can be used to benefit others.

Year One

  • Applied Research Skills
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Postgraduate Dissertation
  • Critical Practice in Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding


You can take this course full-time or part-time. The part-time route is completed in 2 years, and the full-time route in 12 months. Part-time students will need to allow at least 10 hours a week for study outside of class, and 18 hours if you're studying full-time. The majority of classes are offered during one weekday afternoon and evening.

What are the entry requirements?

We usually expect candidates to have a second-class honours degree in a related field or discipline. We also consider candidates with professional qualifications and directly relevant work experience. Because this isn't a practice-based course, you don't have to be currently working with vulnerable people to be accepted as a student

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

How much does it cost?

Fees for September 2017 to August 2018 entry
We are currently reviewing our fees for this course.

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You may be eligible for a postgraduate loan. For further information on financial assistance to support your learning, visit our postgraduate funding section.

Fees for September 2016 to August 2017 entry

Full-time Home and EU: £7,450 per year. 
Full-time International: £9,400 per year.

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

Further information
Find out more about our fees and funding.
Find out more about our fees for international students.

Questions about fees?
Contact our Student Centre on:
01494 603 020

Fees quoted are for the next intake and are subject to change. Fee costs for subsequent years are subject to rise with inflation or course delivery costs.

How do I apply?

Full information on the application process can be found at

What are my career prospects?

Safeguarding children and adults is an extremely rewarding career that makes a big difference in the lives of society's most vulnerable members. When you graduate from this course, you will be able to advance your current career, change careers into a role more specifically focused on safeguarding. You'll also be in the position to pursue further academic research.

After completing this course, you can expect to work in roles of increasing seniority within your profession, or to work for local authority Safeguarding Children and Safeguarding Adults Boards. NHS Trusts/CCGs, local authorities, voluntary/charities and schools have specific roles for those qualified in safeguarding.
Bucks graduates have gone on to roles including:

  • Safeguarding Leads
  • Local Authority Designated Officer
  • Head of Safeguarding
  • Policy Adviser (Skills for Care)
  • NSPCC Research Officer
  • Policy Advisor for NGOs.

Some of our graduates choose to continue their education by completing a PhD. Continuing your education gives you the opportunity to develop your skills further and research your area of interest.

How will you help me prepare for my future career?

The Safeguarding course will provide you with a strong skill set and the confidence to improve the quality of care and communication with vulnerable children and adults.

If you want to develop a career in safeguarding practice, this course will prepare you for job roles such as policy developer, researcher, team leader, programme manager or unit
manager in the NHS, local government and charities.

My degree from Bucks has enabled me to apply for and successfully get promotion in my career. It gave me researching and analytical skills, more in-depth knowledge, and all those things have contributed to give me greater professional confidence.

Read more

Joanna Goddard

After finishing my social work degree, work was difficult to find. However, after attending the master's degree I was able to gain employment. The analysing and critiquing skills learnt in relation to current safeguarding practice is fundamental to best practice.

Emma-Jane Simmons

Taking up my place on the MSc in Child Protection & Adult Safeguarding was the best career decision I could have made - it provided me with the skills and knowledge I needed to progress in my chosen field and the opportunity and encouragement to find my voice as a researcher.  Taking part in the University's SIREP Project also connected me with a high profile charitable organisation and led to full-time employment - all made possible by the amazing teaching and support from the Faculty lectures and staff.  A big thanks to all those at Bucks New University for helping me achieve my goals and land my dream job!

Rose Lloyd

Having studied the BSc Social Work at Bucks, it was, for me, natural progression to go on and study the MSc Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding. I knew when I graduated that I wanted to continue my studies and that the masters would be ideal in terms of building on my existing knowledge and developing my career.
The course has given me the opportunity to share experiences with my peers, many of whom are safeguarding leads, from a variety of professions including medicine, social work, social care and nursing. The result is a broad spectrum of knowledge; one that has assisted me in my role as a mental health support worker enormously. I have developed  greater appreciation and understanding of the challenges faced by other agencies when addressing safeguarding concerns. Furthermore, the course has developed my understanding of policy and the legislative framework as it relates to practice for the agencies I work alongside daily, lessening the misunderstandings and greatly increasing my determination to take the lead on interagency communication and information sharing.
In terms of my workplace, my manager and colleagues are enormously supportive and fully appreciate the benefits that studying the MSc brings to the team; a large, complex caseload means that I have had opportunities to put my learning into practice with a confidence and belief in my decision making that I would not otherwise have held without the course.
The academic team at Bucks are enormously supportive and approachable; I have always felt able to ask for clarification, guidance or just a little moral support and have been given that and more. Studying for the MSc around full-time work, parenting and life in general requires good juggling skills! But it results in an increased sense of achievement and ongoing fulfilment in my career. I know this course will stand me in good stead moving forwards.

Sahar Coombs