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MSc
Social Work

Do you have a desire to work with the most vulnerable in society? Then this course will help you to hone existing skills and acquire new ones, whilst providing an understanding of the framework that governs social work.

Qualification: MSc

UCAS code: L500

Study mode: Full-time

Location: High Wycombe Campus

Duration: Two years

Start date: September


Is this course for me?

This course is designed for graduates who have already completed an honours degree in any subject, and are interested in qualifying as a social worker. The programme consists of a mixture of academic modules and practice placements. The study combines challenging classroom theory with extensive practice based learning, much of which involves the participation of current social work employees and service users.

Many candidates who apply to be on the course have experience of working in a social care setting as care workers or have voluntary experience working with vulnerable groups. Some candidates also have personal experiences of involvement with social services or have members of their family that have had such involvement. You will gain the necessary skills and knowledge that employers value such as team working skills, high level communications skills, problem-solving skills and analytical and evaluative skills.

The motivation to do the course is rather varied but almost all say that the desire to work with the most vulnerable in society pushed them towards social work as a career, and that they want to train to do a job that would give them most satisfaction.

This course will help to hone existing skills and as well acquiring new ones relevant to social work, whilst also providing an understanding of the theoretical and legislative framework that governs social work practice in the UK. The qualification is also recognised in many other countries and can lead to employability internationally.

View our Becoming a Social Worker brochure here.

What will this course cover?

Social workers act as adviser, advocate, counsellor and listener to vulnerable or troubled members of our society. As a social worker, you will help people find solutions to their problems and enable them to live more happily within their local communities.

This two year course incorporates the recognised qualification that is necessary for eligibility to apply for registration as a qualified social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council.

The course covers a range of areas related to social work and can involve a variety of service user groups. There is also scope for specialisation and in the final year you will be required to undertake a piece of primary research for your dissertation. 

In order that you, as a prospective social worker, truly understand the people who will rely on you, this course involves frequent participation from service users and professionals.

Our course tutors are actively involved in various forums where discussions on the future of social work take place. This means that the course is constantly kept updated, enabling students to be aware and respond to the new challenges faced by the social work profession. Many of the course lecturers are also published authors in the field of social work. 

Year One

  • Advanced Skills for Professional Development L7 20
  • Sociology, Psychology and Social Policy for Social Work
  • Putting the Law into Practice
  • Preparation for Intervention with Service Users
  • Developing Social Work Skills for Practice

Year Two

  • Dissertation
  • Advanced Skills for Professional Development L7 10
  • Inter-Professional Practice
  • Practice Learning 2
  • Research Methods for Social Work

What are the entry requirements?

You must normally hold an honours degree at 2:1 or above. However, we accept honours degrees at 2:2 provided you can demonstrate a high degree of experience, knowledge, skills and aptitude in relation to social work.

You must hold GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above, or equivalent, ie Numeracy and Literacy at Level 2.

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

You should list all qualifications on your application form.

You will be expected to demonstrate how your life and work experiences have helped to prepare you for social work training and to demonstrate your learning from these experiences. You should also be able to demonstrate the appropriate personal and intellectual qualities needed to be a social worker.

You will also need to show proficiency in basic IT skills, including using the internet, email and word processing.

Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning

The programme positively supports applicants who wish to accredit their prior certificated (APCL) learning.  If an applicant has a prior qualification at BSc level that may exempt them from part of the course the student may apply for accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning.  All applications are assessed at the faculty credit accumulation and transfer scheme committee.  Any application for APCL credit must be based on prior learning or experience at a suitable level that is equivalent to the exemption being applied for.  The maximum amount of credit that can be applied for is 50% not including the final placement or dissertation.

All applicants who apply for APCL will have their certificated learning closely mapped to the learning outcomes of the module/s in question, to ensure that the relevant HCPC standards of proficiency (SOPs) have been previously met.  AP(E)L is not considered as part of the admissions to this programme.

If you wish to find out more about making an APEL application, contact our Admissions Team on 0330 123 2023.

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

How much does it cost?

September 2016 entry

Home and EU students: £6,250 per year

If you would like more information on fees and finance, please take a look at our fees and funding web page.

For information on fees and finance, please view our fees and funding section.

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.

For fees for international students, visit our international section.

How do I apply?

Applications for this full-time course must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Information on making an application through UCAS is available in our Applicants area.

If you are an international student, visit our international students section.

How will you help me prepare for my future career?

The programme consists of practice placements and academic modules in each
year, covering all aspects of social work.

It includes a range of academic learning and involves work with a variety of service user
groups. In the second year, you will be required to undertake a piece of primary research for your dissertation.


I worked at Yeading Junior School for 70 days and go to work in one-on-one sessions with children and also dealt with parent groups to cover any issues they may have had. I benefited from the practical experience and it is a good link-up between the school and the University.

Abena Graham


I particularly enjoy the partnership with service users and carers. We are well supported by tutors and practice assessors. After just one year I am beginning to feel like a professional social worker.

Current Student


I have been very well supported on my placement by my practice educator and the whole placement team. There have been some excellent learning opportunities.

Current Student


This has been an amazing learning opportunity

Current student