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    2022 start September 

    Social Work

    Department of Sociological Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences

    Develop your understanding of the theories surrounding social work, as well as their practical implications, to become a professionally competent, reflective and analytical social work practitioner.
    Students sat around desks with laptops

    Course description

    The academic side of the course is rigorous and challenging. You’ll develop a clear understanding of the theory. Through work placements, you’ll become a confident, skilled practitioner.

    We’re working in collaboration with the four local authorities in South Yorkshire to lead the way for social work education. This means that you’ll benefit from a social work curriculum that is enhanced by increased collaboration with placement providers and employment agencies.


    This degree makes you eligible to apply for registration with Social Work England as a qualified social worker.


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Over the two years you will take 180 credits. You'll take 60 credits each year plus a dissertation worth 60 credits, spread over both years.

    Law and Social Policy for Social Work

    This unit forms part of Year One of the MA in Social Work. It examines key areas of the law and social policy relevant to social work. The unit introduces key concepts in the legal system and social policy. It then critically examines law and policy relating to human rights, youth justice, mental health, community care, the family and child protection. Material from public enquiries and actual cases reported in the courts and the media will be used to supplement learning and students will also consider social policy from comparative perspectives, using examples from other countries.

    30 credits
    Social Work Practice - Contexts, Values and Skills

    This unit forms part of Year One of the MA in Social Work. This unit enables students to develop a range of literature search skills and skills for social work practice. Students will be introduced to a range of key principles and values underpinning professional activity and be provided with an introduction to core professional skills which will enable them to prepare for and progress to their first practice placement. Final assessment will utilise case material drawn from work undertaken on the student's first practice placement. Classroom exercises will focus on identifying service user perspectives and the skills and strategies required to practice in a safe, responsible and ethical way.

    15 credits
    Human Growth and development through the Life Course for Social Workers

    Students will critically evaluate theories and literature in the areas of child and adult development and consider ways in which these relate to social work practice across the human life course and at the end of life. They will also consider the research evidence and theoretical perspectives which underpin a range of approaches to social work practice interventions based on these differing perspectives. A variety of taught sessions and seminars incorporating service user and practitioner perspectives will focus on helping students to make age-appropriate assessments across the life course, to understand the importance of cultural context, to explore aspects of parenting and influence of family structures on child and adult experiences with the aim of helping students to acquire the skills and strategies necessary to practice in a safe, sensitive, responsible and ethical way.

    15 credits
    Readiness for Practice Placement One

    All students following a qualifying level social work programme are expected to undertake a minimum of 200 practice learning days across two 100-day placements, including approved independent study time. Under new professional arrangements, no student can be allowed to commence their first period of practice placement (SCS6058) without the University having satisfied itself that the safety of vulnerable service users will not be compromised. The 4 preparatory skills days included in this module, together with the relevant assessment elements of other academic modules (see SCS6059 and SCS6061), will provide an assessment of a student's readiness for practice and their capability and entitlement to progress onto their first practice placement.

    Practice Placement One

    All students following a qualifying level social work programmes are expected to undertake a total of 200 practice learning days, including approved independent study time. The first practice placement is for 78 days, including 4 preparatory skills days prior to placement commencement which will contribute to the assessment of a student's readiness to undertake direct practice and 4 further (a total of 8) skills development days, as set out in the new national curriculum proposals, designed to enhance student learning on more specialist skills. It consolidates and builds students' skills relating social work theories and approaches, life course development, legislation, policy and guidance informing practice. It provides opportunities to apply this knowledge to direct work with service users in a diverse range of settings; and to develop skills in working in organisations and increase their understanding of, and skills in, multi-disciplinary practice.

    Continuing across years one and two:


    Students undertaking the MA should begin working for their dissertation as early as possible in the course and no later than the summer period between Year 1 and Year 2 (ideally during semester 2 of year 1). Students are expected to define their own topic in consultation with tutors. This topic must be related to practice issues in social work.

    60 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.

    Upcoming open days and campus tours


    2 years full-time


    You’ll learn through lectures, small-group work, individual and group projects, supervised dissertation.


    You will be assessed on essays, group project work, peer assessment, group and individual presentations, examination and dissertation.

    Entry requirements

    A 2:1 honours degree. We can accept a 2:2 if you have a lot of relevant work experience, which can include voluntary work.

    You must have GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C or above. We accept alternatives to this, including: a minimum 12 credits for Mathematics or English GCSE equivalent unit, providing these are approved university and Access Validating Agency units. We also accept level 2 adult numeracy and literacy as valid substitutes, but not application of number.

    Before joining the course, you will be expected to have basic IT skills, including being able to use the internet, word processing software and email.

    Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    The fees below are per year. This is a two-year course.

    NHS bursaries are available for this course.

    Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    SCST18 Off

    The fees below are per year. This is a two-year course.