BA Social Work

UCAS code Typical offer Length
L500 BBB (See full entry requirements) 3 years full-time
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Students in a group work discussion

Discussion and exploration

Establishing a social worker identity - represented creatively with a cake

Creativity and professional identity

Students in a social work lecture

Friendly and welcoming

Our BA Social Work programme provides you with the academic knowledge and practical skills required to become a registered social worker in England.

Explore: Social Worker Identity 

Social Policy and Social Work brochure ‌

Course overview

We are accepting applications for the 2016/17 academic year. Your application will need to go through the UCAS clearing system. Please call Rachel McAllister on 01904 321273 to discuss.


  • The degree consists of course work and practical placement experience to enable you to gain the knowledge and skills needed for effective practice within a demanding but rewarding profession.
  • Social work at York is widely recognised to be of the highest standard, consistently featuring within the Top 10 of national subject league tables.
  • You will study a carefully tailored programme, gaining the knowledge, practical skills and understanding required to work effectively in your chosen career.
  • You will achieve the qualification needed to work as a social worker, as recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Important notes about applying for this course

Admission to the course is by interview, which take place from December to March.

All students are required to provide a satisfactory health declaration and undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Having either a health condition or criminal conviction is not necessarily a bar to entry but failure to disclose relevant information may result subsequently in termination of training. Should you declare a criminal conviction, it may be necessary to consult our partnership agencies in relation to placements.

In addition to A Level (or equivalent) entry requirements, you will also need GCSE Maths and English at grade C or equivalent, such as adult numeracy and literacy skills at Level 2 (see Gov.UK for details).

You must be at least 18 years old when you start the course.

Funding notes

  1. The NHS Business Authority (NHS BSA) offers bursaries for students studying social work in years 2 and 3 of their degree, subject to eligibility* and availability. These are worth up to £4,862 per year.
  2. The University of York will prioritise students for available NHS bursaries in order of their interview scores and their overall marks at the end of the first year, weighted equally.
  3. University of York students are placed with many individual social work agencies. Some agencies reimburse students for travel costs incurred as part of the placement, but others do not.
  4. Bursaries and scholarships are also offered by the University, subject to eligibility. These are worth up to £3000 per year (again, for 2014 entry).

*For full details on eligibility criteria, the financial value of the bursaries and availability of application packs, you can visit the NHS Social Work Bursaries website. Alternatively, call the Bursaries team on 0300 330 1342 or 0191 279 0569.


Please take a moment to read the advice from Accommodation Services about choosing accommodation on campus.

Course content

What you'll study

A Professional programme in Social Work

The BA Social Work is validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The programme is designed to enable you to acquire professional capabilities in nine 'domains' at different levels as you progress towards your degree.  

There are several key aspects to our approach to these professional capabilities:

  • The programme has three parallel streams: the knowledge stream will equip with what you need to know to become an effective social worker; the context stream will enable you to understand the legal, policy and ethical frameworks that shape social work practice; and the practice stream will equip you with the skills for undertaking professional social work practice. The three streams cover all 9 domains of the PCF.
  • Social workers need to be proficient in all three streams and able to integrate them. Skilled social workers know about social problems and about how to intervene. They will apply this knowledge, using their practice skills in a specific practice context, with a clear commitment to the aims and values of professional social work in that particular context. 
  • The three streams run in parallel throughout the first two years of the programme – but with regular 'integrative skills weeks' where all three strands are brought together for the detailed development skilled practice in a specific area of social work. In the final year the three streams are fully integrated throughout. You will choose one of the specialist option modules and undertake a dissertation project before your final placement.
  • Much of the learning is interactive and small group-based. This is because we believe that social work learning needs to be highly participative if social workers are to own and integrate their learning and practice.
  • You will spend time in University-based teaching and learning, to include 30 days skills training. You will spend 70 days in a first placement and 100 days in a final placement, in two different practice settings.


Year 1
  • Practice Stream: Readiness for Practice (40 credits) 
  • Knowledge Stream: Knowledge for Social Work (40 credits)
  • Context Stream: Context for Social Work (40 credits)
Year 2
  • First Placement (60 credits) 
  • Practice Stream: Developing Practice (20 credits) 
  • Knowledge Stream: Applying Knowledge for Social Work (20 credits)
  • Context Stream: Expanding the Context (20 credits)
Year 3
  • Dissertation and Research Skills (30 credits) 
  • Choice of Option: (30 credits)
    • Children and Families
    • Youth Social Work
    • Health and Disability
    • Mental Health 
  • Final Placement (60 credits)

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct;
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work;
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts;
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.


How you'll be taught

Your lectures, seminars and tutorials will be delivered by enthusiastic and knowledgeable academic staff who are experienced practitioners. Guest speakers with specialist expertise, including service users, will also contribute to various modules.

Teaching is delivered via lectures and seminars. In keeping with the applied nature of the course, most modules also include some degree of group work. Students also have the opportunity to develop professional skills via presentations based on both academic and practice based work throughout the programme. Some modules also provide extra online input via module specific discussion boards.

As well as time spent in class, you will need to develop knowledge and understanding via focused and guided reading. You will also need to read preparatory material in advance of taught sessions. The library is very well stocked with appropriate reading, while sometimes materials will be provided or made available via the VLE.

The structure of the programme, and its provision within an intellectually stimulating and satisfying environment, is geared to ensuring that you develop both academic and practice-based skills which will be useful both in your future work as a practitioner, or in other fields you might choose to enter.

We are constantly seeking to improve the organisation and delivery of the programme and there are various opportunities for students to provide feedback, both face-to-face and in writing, to the teaching team, which we welcome and take on board wherever possible. For example, in response to student feedback we have recently introduced regular Professional Development Groups which new students will participate in throughout their 3 years at York. These additional sessions will foster further development of applied, clinical knowledge and skills via tutor led debate and discussion.


All students are allocated a personal supervisor who is responsible for providing both academic and pastoral support throughout your three years. Your supervisor will be a member of the teaching staff well placed to advise on how best to engage with the content of the programme and your assignments. Whilst undertaking placements, you will also receive additional specialist support from a practice educator or work based supervisor who will induct you into the organisation you are placed with and provide you with guidance for the duration of the time which you spend there.


How you'll be assessed

The majority of programme modules are assessed via written assignments. You will receive both formative and summative feedback on your work. Formative feedback enables you to develop your academic skills in advance of formal submission of work, and is provided on the basis of either written work or presentations undertaken at various interim points during modules. Summative feedback on your assignments will offer constructive comments about your work, clarifying issues or misunderstandings and commenting on how you might improve your writing or analysis in the future. We provide written feedback on all assignments within 4 weeks of submission.

You will also be assessed via examination in the Social Work Law module.

Your performance on placement is assessed by your practice educator, who will assess your competence to practice via observation of your interaction with service users, reading your written work and the collation of feedback from service users and colleagues.


Careers and employability

On successful completion of the degree, you will be eligible to register as a social worker in England. Qualified practitioners remain in demand and so career prospects for social work are very good.

At key points in their early career, our graduates are more likely to be employed in a professional role, have higher employment rates than undergraduates in comparable disciplines and achieve higher salaries.

Some of our students choose to undertake further study, often towards a PhD. The department offers a Masters degree in Social Work Research which is designed to bridge the gap between undergraduate and PhD level study.

Health and Care Professions Council

Social work is a regulated profession and qualified social workers are registered with the HCPC. As a social work student you will be expected to adhere to the standards set out in the HCPC codes of practice. Completion of the degree/MA/Dip in Social Work makes you eligible to apply for registration. As well as regulating individual social workers and students, the HCPC also regulate social work courses. For more information visit the HCPC website.


How to apply

All applications to undergraduate degree courses at York must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

To use the UCAS course search, choose courses starting in 2016, select search by course code, and use course code L500. The UCAS institution code for the University of York is Y50.

Help and advice about the application process may be directed to Student Recruitment and Admissions.

Detailed information regarding our degrees is not available on UCAS and is only available through course profiles on our website.

Once you have submitted an application

Before acceptance you will be expected to attend an interview. You will have the opportunity to learn a little more about the subject, our Department and the University. We are particularly looking for candidates who have:

  • Some understanding of the various roles and responsibilities of social workers
  • Motivation to become a social worker, shown by having a clear rationale for doing so gained from experience in a helping role
  • Some self-awareness and empathy for others
  • Awareness of and a commitment to the values of social work
  • Ability to succeed academically

Successful offer holders will then have access to You@York, our dedicated site for accepted applicants to the University.

Important notes

Please read carefully the important notes on the 'Overview' tab, which include additional requirements for entry in addition to A Levels (or equivalent).

Non-traditional education backgrounds

We are very committed to making offers to people from a range of different backgrounds that have varied educational, employment and life experiences after leaving school. If you have a non-traditional educational background and want to know more about whether you would qualify for entry then please have an informal discussion with our admissions tutors for guidance.

We particularly encourage students who have completed Access to Higher Education courses to apply.

Entry Requirements - Essential Subjects

GCSE grade C or above in Maths and English or a recognised equivalent.

For example Level 2 key skills in application of number and communication, and certificates in adult literacy and adult numeracy, are sufficient to meet the GCSE equivalent requirement.

Entry requirements

A levels


A level General Studies and Critical Thinking are accepted.

International Baccalaureate

Obtain Diploma with 31 points overall.



Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AABBB at Higher level

Irish Leaving Certificate



BTEC National Diploma: DDM

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: DDM

European Baccalaureate

75% overall average

Other qualifications

Cambridge Pre-U: M2, M2, M2

Access to HE: Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 30 credits achieved from units awarded Merit or higher

Other qualifications are accepted by the University: please contact Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally asked to provide evidence of English language ability. Exceptions may be made where an applicant's other qualifications provide sufficient evidence of ability to use English in an academic setting at degree level.

One of the following:

  • IELTS: score of 7 overall, with 6.5 or better in each section
  • Pearson: 64% overall with 59 in each component
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: C
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: A
  • GCSE: C
  • IB (English B): 5

Mature students

Many mature students have studied successfully in the Department. Interest in social work is often aroused through life experience, which enriches the course for all widens the knowledge and skills base of the profession.  We welcome applications from mature students and we have a firm commitment to supporting their progression through all our courses.

Other options for this subject

If you already hold a degree, you may be interested in our MA Social Work programme, which also allows you to register as a social worker with the HCPC.

Information about Confirmation, Adjustment and Clearing 2016

Any questions?

Contact us if you have any questions about our degree programmes or the Department:

Angela Chapman

Undergraduate Administrator 

Dr Katherine Graham
Admissions Tutor

Dr Katie Graham‌‌‌‌

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