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What makes Social Work at Worcester special?

The MA in Social Work delivers a professional qualification combined with an academic award. Successful completion of the course means individuals are eligible to apply to join the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register which is a requirement in order to practice as a social worker in the UK. This course is approved by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Key features

  • The course dynamically integrates theory and practice embracing both learning in the classroom and in placement settings. The course provides a generic learning opportunity encompassing all service user groups and every effort is made to involve service users, carers, practitioners and managers from across the social work arena in the learning experience.
  • While the course works to the UK points of reference including the QAA benchmarks the requirements of the HCPC, the course team also embrace the International Federation of Social Work’s definition: “The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.”
  • Links are developing with social work courses at universities in Russia and there may be opportunities for exchange visits as well as sharing with students from a number of countries attending the annual summer school at the university.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

Before applying candidates should possess the following:

• An Honours Degree at 2:1 or above in a relevant degree

• GCSE English Language & Maths grade C/4 or above (or an acceptable equivalent)

• Satisfactory occupational health clearance

• Satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check

• A minimum of six months contemporary, relevant practice experience (minimum of 10 hours weekly) verified by reference

• Candidates whose first language is not English must have a minimum standard of English at IELTS level 7, with no element below level 6.5

Other information

Additional Information

Given that students will be allocated placements in rural areas, access to a car or supported mobility arrangements for the duration of the placements is essential. The ability to meet this requirement will be checked at interview.

Candidates with additional support needs should contact the admissions tutor prior to interview to ensure the correct support and necessary reasonable adjustments are available at interview.

Successful candidates will be required to complete the university’s suitability documentation and an occupational health check as well as obtain an enhanced DBS statement.

A limited number of Social Work students will be put forward for an NHS bursary – for more details please access

Course content

What will you study?


Fundamentals of practice
Theories, approaches and skills
Applied law and policy for social workers
Assessment and safeguarding
Human growth and development
Practice - developing capabilities
Complex practice
Practice - achieving capabilities

Teaching and Assessment

How will you be taught?

The course is offered as a two-year full-time degree course. During the taught elements students will be in the university for a minimum of two days per week and during the placement periods will be in the agency 4.5 days a week over the course of both years. The next round of recruitment will be for a September 2018 start.

While the expectation is that students register for and complete the Masters award (180 credits), some students may for various reasons not meet the full requirement but may be able to claim an interim award: Postgraduate Certificate in Social Welfare Studies (minimum 60 credits) or Postgraduate Diploma in Social Welfare Studies (minimum 120 credits).

Applicants should note that only the full MA Social Work award will enable them to apply for registration with the HCPC as a social worker.

Teaching and Learning

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.  A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a  range of traditional and creative teaching strategies . This includes formal lectures and seminars complimented by a ‘flipped classroom’ approach, a blended learning strategy that reverses traditional learning.  You will engage  in peer and self-assessment to promote autonomy in your  learning. This also includes a Practice Portfolio which formatively and summatively supports learning and assessment in placement. Additionally, information technology is used to support casework in practice and teaching and assessment in academic modules. Recall days offer an opportunity for you  to reflect on experiences in practice, to share best practice and to debate, evaluate and consolidate your  learning experiences

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and 3 occasions in year 2 of the course.

You have the opportunity to undertake 2  practice placements: a 70 days placement in year 1 and a 100 day placement in year 2.

Contact time

In a typical week you  will have around 9 contact hours of teaching, which will include a mix of  lecturing activities as well as seminar activities.

During the practice placements as well as in the final year there is less contact time in order to allow students to focus more on independent study.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • Lectures
  • During the practice placement, around placement meetings and recall days
  • During dissertation, through group and individual tutorials

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you  are expected to undertake around 30 hours of personal self-study per week.  Typically, this will involve reading, literature searching, directed study activities via Blackboard, online discussions and preparation for assessment.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes  9 core academic staff (three FTE, two 0.5 FTE and four   0.8 FTE), all of whom are HCPC registered social workers. The team includes senior lecturers and a practice facilitator.

Teaching is informed by research and consultancy, and as at December 2017, 77%  of course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, with a further team member currently completing the PG Cert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments.  Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessment which is graded and counts towards the overall module grade.  

Assessment methods include essays, simulated learning, portfolios, oral presentations, a verbal examination and reflective pieces of work. All modules on this course are mandatory and therefore the formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1
3 essays
1 report
1 group presentation
1 individual presentation
1 portfolio
1 practice  portfolio
1 presentation of approx. 20 minutes/student

Year 2
1 essay
1 individual presentation
1 case evaluation
1 practice portfolio
Dissertation project of approx. 10,000 words


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Social Work Practice Placements

Laurie-Mo from Worcestershire County Council talks about Social Work practice placements at the University of Worcester.


Where could it take you?

On successful completion of the course you will be eligible to apply to join the HCPC register and seek employment as a qualified social worker in a variety of organisations in the statutory, voluntary and independent sectors.

The programme works closely with Worcestershire and Hereford Councils to enhance employment opportunities on completion of the degree.

To date graduates have demonstrated a good record in gaining employment.

  • Case study

    Nadia Parker, Social Work Graduate

    I have chosen Social Work to be my profession because I believe it gives me the opportunity to help the most vulnerable members of our society sustain and improve their well-being and environment. The two year MA course at the University of Worcester provided me with a solid foundation to my value-base, theoretical and practical knowledge and skills which I am now in the process of developing as a Newly Qualified Social Worker.

    The fact that English is my second language has never hindered me from achieving the academic and practice standards at Masters Level. I was also able to balance work with studies which gave me a sense of comfort and reassurance in maintaining my day to day living. I am currently working full time in a Team for Older People/Physical Disabilities in Southern England. Although some days can be overwhelming and challenging, knowing that I am making a difference with support from colleagues and management, is rather fulfilling and rewarding.


How much will it cost?

Please visit the Course Fees page for full information.

Postgraduate Loans of up to £10,000 are now available for UK students. For more information visit our postgraduate loans page. 



How do you apply?

The next intake will start in September 2018. You can apply through the UCAS website by following the below link and searching for the course. 

Apply via UCAS

If you have any questions, please contact our admissions office on 01905 855111 or


Application tips

When completing the UCAS application form, you should indicate why you wish to pursue a career in social work. This relates to the requirement for practice experience which should have involved settings either working alongside social workers or with people affected by social work decisions.

You can find waged and unwaged practice experience with a range of agencies working with children, young people or adults who are vulnerable. This may, for example, be work with children’s centres, adults who have a physical or learning disability, people with mental health issues or older people with incapacity issues or dementia. There may be opportunities in residential work, supported housing and day care services. This work experience will help you decide whether social work is for you and also begin to develop their understanding of social work as well as introduce them to the underpinning values.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Admissions office

01905 855111

Admissions tutor

Kay Wall
01905 855345