Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses 2024/25>Social Work (MSocW)

MSocW (Hons) Social Work

Start your career as a social worker with an advanced four-year course which knits together study and practice

Year of entry: 2024/25
Show year of entry: 2025

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time

Typical offer

BBB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£23,700 per year

Undergraduate Open Days

Book your place for our Open Days on 6 and 7 September.

Book your place

in the UK for Social Work

Complete University Guide 2024

for the quality of our social policy and social work research

Times Higher Education’s ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2021

The Master in Social Work (Hons) is a professional qualification which entitles you to apply to register as a social worker: a challenging and rewarding career. 

This four-year course, which includes two years of postgraduate study, provides an advanced alternative to standard three-year BA Social Work degrees. You'll gain a Masters-level qualification which is highly valued by employers. You'll have the opportunity to gain practice experience in a voluntary sector placement in your second year, followed by placements within diverse social work settings in Year 3 and 4.
Service users and carers contribute directly to our teaching, giving you an unparalleled insight into the complexities of social work. Join a thriving School, internationally recognised for its teaching and research excellence and gain a solid foundation from which to begin your professional journey.


After completing this degree you can apply to register as a social worker with Social Work England. As a social work student you will be expected to adhere to the standards set out in the Social Work England professional standards.

Student Satisfaction

We're ranked 3rd in the Russell Group for Academic Support in Social Work according to the National Student Survey 2022

Employment prospects

Current demand for professionally qualified social workers is strong in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Course content

This course follows the British Association of Social Workers Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). Throughout your four years you'll focus on the PCF's nine key domains:

  • Professionalism
  • Values and Ethics
  • Diversity
  • Rights and Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Critical Reflection
  • Intervention and Skills
  • Contexts and Organisations
  • Professional Leadership


Three placements, including two which provide statutory social work experience, will cultivate a wide range of essential skills and ensure that you are well-prepared for the realities of social work in different sectors. You will spend 200 days on placement, and complete 30 skills days which are integrated into modules throughout the course.

Before starting a placement that forms part of your course, you are likely to be asked by the placement provider to sign a confidentiality agreement. This is to ensure that you do not disclose any information that is confidential to the placement provider.

Year 1

In your first year you'll study core modules which introduce fundamental social and sociological theory.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study one option module. Examples from previous years have included:

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

The core modules of your second year will introduce more practical elements, building on Year 1's theoretical foundation. You'll develop essential skills for social work, which you'll have a chance to refine on placement with a voluntary organisation or independent social care agency. You'll also learn how to evaluate and develop service provision, and carry out practice-related research.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study one option module. Examples from previous years have included:

Year 3

Core modules


In the first half of Year 3 you'll prepare for your first statutory placement with a range of core modules which ensure you're ready for practice. You'll explore the ethical, legal and policy contexts for social work, which will equip you to manage the competing pressures of social work practice.

The placement begins in Semester 2 and lasts for 70 days, after completion of a module designed to support your professional development.

This counts towards the 200 days of practice which you must complete before you can register as a social worker. You'll spend 70 days at a social work agency as well as Skills Days at the University, developing specialist techniques for working with individuals, families and groups.

You'll work with a qualified social work practice educator who will support and assess you throughout the placement. Your placement is a chance to develop and follow your own professional interests, with guidance from our academic staff.

As part of your placement report you will complete written work which will evidence how you have brought the knowledge gained in the classroom into your professional practice.

Year 4

Core modules

As part of your fourth year you'll undertake your final statutory placement. This will take 100 days. This counts towards the 200 days of practice which you must complete before you can register as a social worker. You'll spend 100 days at a social work agency, developing skills for career-long learning, self-care and leadership.

Throughout the year you'll work on your Masters dissertation. This is a 16,000-word extended essay based on your own original research. You'll work with your supervisor to choose a topic which interests you and design an empirical study or systematic literature review to explore your research question in depth.

The dissertation will allow you to demonstrate your skills in research as well as applying insights from the taught modules and your placement experience.

Examples of recent dissertation titles include:

  • A case study of a community mental health team's experience using cognitive behaviour therapy for the treatment for adult depression
  • Back to real social work? The implications for the practice of care managers following the introduction of individual budgets
  • Domestic violence - whose problem is it? An analysis of multi-agency services and responses to domestic violence
  • Self harm: the experience of professionals

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Make informed decisions concerning complex problems faced by individuals, families and communities in a wide range of social work contexts, by using appropriate assessments and interventions, analysing information from a range of different sources and incorporating stakeholder and service-user perspectives.
  • Critically evaluate, synthesise and apply empirical knowledge and theoretical perspectives from across the breadth of social science disciplines to social work practice.
  • Critically analyse local, national and international social policy and its influence on social work practice within the legislative framework.
  • Critically engage with concepts of social justice and social change, and apply this understanding to participation in advocacy, and community and service development.
  • Develop strong working relationships with service users, colleagues and other professionals, and within social work and interdisciplinary teams, based on high level communication and collaboration skills.
  • Work effectively as a professional in multi-layered organisations and social work contexts by understanding and respecting the roles and tasks of others, including non-statutory professionals, and upholding professional values and ethics.
  • Reflect systematically on social work practice and engage proactively in supervision processes in order to adapt to new situations, improve practice, build professional resilience and identify professional development opportunities, including the development of leadership skills.
  • Design, conduct and critically evaluate challenging social work research projects, informed by a critical understanding of research and evaluation methodologies relevant to the social sciences.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £23,700

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

You will require a DBS check to take part in this course. You will pay £40 at the beginning of your course and a £13 update fee in subsequent years.

You will be responsible for travel costs to placements but can apply for an NHS Bursary to meet these costs (British citizens only).  Some agencies may reimburse travel costs. 

Course books will be available to you from the Library either in print or online format - new copies, if you wish to buy them, usually cost around £30. All other teaching resources will be available online.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

NHS bursaries

The NHS offers bursaries for students studying social work in years 3 and 4 of their degree, subject to eligibility and availability.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Free online courses

Get a taste of university-level study on one of York's free short courses, including our subject course, 'Understanding and solving poverty and inequality'.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

Gold-standard education

Our teaching, learning and student experience is outstanding, recognised by a Gold rating from the Office for Students in the 2023 national assessment (Teaching Excellence Framework).

Why we’re gold-rated

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

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 from our Service User and Carer Participation Advisory Group, provide unique insights into social work practice.

You will develop your knowledge and understanding with focused and guided reading and group work. For some modules you'll undertake online activities to support your learning beyond the classroom. Throughout your degree you'll participate in regular professional development group sessions, developing social work knowledge and skills.

You'll meet with your personal supervisor at least once each term. This is a member of teaching staff who will provide academic and personal support. While on placements you will receive specialist support from a practice educator or work-based supervisor who will manage your induction on the placement as well as guide you through your time there.

In order to qualify as a social worker you must spend 200 days in practice learning. This comprises 70 days in Year 3 and 100 days in Year 4. In addition over the course of Years 3 and 4 you'll participate in 30 skills days, offering insight into a variety of social work settings.

Teaching Partnership

We are part of the Yorkshire Urban Rural Teaching Partnership, working closely with local councils and the University of Huddersfield. The partnership collaborates to develop, inspire and sustain highly-skilled and confident social workers to improve outcomes for children, adults, families and communities.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures6 hours per week
Seminars3 hours per week
Practicals3 hours (no practicals in Year 1)

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during semesters. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Teaching location

You will be based in the School of Business & Society which is based on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in Campus West, although there may be some teaching on Campus East.

You will undertake three placements with agencies based predominantly in York and North Yorkshire. You will be responsible for arranging travel to and from your placements.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can use the fast and frequent bus service. Take a campus tour.

Assessment and feedback

Most of your modules will be assessed by written assignments and presentations. We'll provide you with feedback on assignments within four weeks of submission. Types of assessment in this course include:

  • Essays
  • Written exams
  • Presentations, portfolios and reports
  • Viva (oral exam)
  • 16,000 word dissertation

Your placements are assessed by your social work practice educator. They'll assess your competence to practice by observing your interaction with services users and by reading your report. They'll also use feedback from services users and your colleagues when assessing your placement.

You'll also submit work that won't count towards your final grade. The feedback you receive will allow you to discover your academic strengths and identify areas for improvement.

Careers and skills

After completing the Master in Social Work you'll be able to apply to register as a social worker in England. Some of our students choose to go on to further study, often progressing to a PhD.

Career opportunities

As well as registering as social workers, graduates go on to work in a range of areas, including:

  • Advocacy and advisory services
  • Child protection
  • Community care management
  • Media, marketing and public relations
  • Research
  • Youth development work

Transferable skills

You'll develop a range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, including:

  • Critical analysis
  • Debate
  • Research and evaluation skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Time management
  • Interpersonal skills

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels


Access to Higher Education Diploma 21 credits at Distinction and 24 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDM
Cambridge Pre-U M2, M2, M2
European Baccalaureate 75% overall
International Baccalaureate 31 points overall
T levels We will consider a range of T Level qualifications for entry. Please visit our dedicated T Levels page for a full list of accepted T Levels.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers Scottish Highers - BBBBB

Advanced Highers - not required for entry

We may also be able to consider three Advanced Highers or a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers, where an applicant does not meet the grade requirement through Highers alone. Please contact us to discuss your qualifications.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

Grade 4 (C) in GCSE English or an equivalent qualification. An offer of a place will also be subject to a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and a satisfactory health declaration.

Experience of working in social care, health care or any related field, including voluntary work, or direct experience of service provision, is essential.

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic) 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR 185, with a minimum of 185 in each component
Oxford ELLT 8, with a minimum of 8 in each component
Duolingo 130, minimum 130 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT C1 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic C1 Expert with a minimum score of 25/50 in each component
KITE 495 Main Flight score with 495 in each component
Skills for English C1: Pass overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 67, with a minimum of 67 in each component
TOEFL 96 overall, with a minimum of 24 in each component
Trinity ISE III Distinction in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

If you receive an offer of place it will be subject to a satisfactory disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and a satisfactory health declaration. Having either a criminal conviction or a health condition is not an automatic bar to entry. However, failure to disclose relevant information may result in the termination of your training.


Before we offer you a place we'll invite you to an interview. You'll have the chance to learn a little more about our School. We look for applicants who have some understanding of the role of a social worker as well as the motivation to become a social worker.

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

School for Business and Society

Related courses

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.

Meet us

Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.