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BA (Hons) Social Work

Start your career as a social worker on a course which knits together study and practice

2018/19 entry

Show 2017/18 entry

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

Typical offer

BBB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

Fees for 2018/19 to be confirmed. See fees and funding.

International fees

£16,620 per year (2018/19)

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The BA in Social Work at York provides you with the academic knowledge and practical skills you need to become a registered social worker in England.

Through a carefully tailored programme of coursework and placements you'll gain the knowledge and skills required for effective practice in this demanding and rewarding profession.

Completing this degree will mean you're eligible to apply for registration as a social worker with the Health & Care Professions Council.


This course is validated by the Health & Care Professions Council.

You'll acquire professional capabilities in nine different domains as you progress towards your degree. These capabilities are defined in the Professional Capability Framework (PCF) for Social Work.

Students participating in a user group as part of the BA in Social Work
I was really impressed by the diversity of students on my course and how supportive they were of each other. My tutor and the teaching staff were always there for me.
BA Social Work (Graduated 2011)

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.

Throughout your three years you'll study the three parallel streams that make up the Professional Capabilities Framework:

  1. The Knowledge Stream - what you need to know to be an effective social worker
  2. The Context Stream - understanding the legal, ethical and policy frameworks that shape the practice of social work
  3. The Practice Stream - the skills for professional social work practice.

You'll also undertake two work placements with different social work agencies. Some agencies reimburse travel costs but others don't.

Study abroad

Spend a few weeks or a whole summer on a short course, volunteering programme, or career-related summer school with one of our international partners.

Year 1

In your first year you'll study three required modules that follow the streams in the Professional Capabilities Framework.

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

In your second year you'll continue to study the three steams from the Professional Capabilities Framework. You'll also undertake your first placement which will last for 70 days. This will contribute 60 credits toward your course.

Year 3

As part of your third year you'll undertake your final placement. This will take 100 days and will contribute 60 credits toward your course. You'll also chose a module that will allow you to study a particular branch of social work in more depth.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

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:

  • Critically evaluate and apply empirical knowledge and theoretical perspectives from across the social sciences to social work practice (including human development theories, person-centred theories and approaches, and risk models) 
  • Critically evaluate local, national and international social policy and its influence on social work practice within the legislative framework 
  • Use highly developed communication skills to engage with service users, colleagues and other professionals to develop effective working relationships. Skills include the ability to adopt a person-centred approach, active listening, advocacy, negotiation and managing conflict, and the appropriate use of ICT 
  • Fulfil the role of a professional social worker, taking individual reponsibility for upholding professional values and ethics, and for continuing own professional development, showing adaptability in rapidly changing social and professional environments 
  • Reflect critically on the complexity of their own practice experience and demonstrate how both critical information-gathering and structured reflection has led to learning and to the development of their own professional practice 
  • Work as an effective member and leader of social work and interdisciplinary teams, showing commitment to the aims and values of social work and an ability to understand the roles and tasks of other professionals in order to promote co-operative working. 
  • Take responsibility for own emotional health and professional resilience through appropriate self-reflection and constructive use of supervision 
  • Work effectively with complex problems faced by individuals, families and communities, analysing information from a range of different sources, including service user perspectives, in order to develop appropriate assessments and interventions
When I visited York it just clicked. The course structure, the variety of modules and the emphasis on group work all appealed to me. In our Ethics and Values and Law modules I've enjoyed learning about the legislation that will govern our role as social workers.
Phil BA Social Work

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 (2017/18)

Fees for 2018/19 are subject to increase in line with government policy. Updated fees information will be published as soon as possible after the government announcement.

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

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.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

The NHS Business Services Authority offers bursaries for students studying social work in years 2 and 3 of their degree, subject to eligibility and availability.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. 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 all be delivered by knowledgeable and enthusiastic academic staff who are also experienced practitioners. Guest speakers with specialist expertise, including service users, also contribute towards some modules.

Teaching is delivered through lectures and seminars. Because of the applied nature of social work most of your modules will also include some group work. You will undertake focused and guided reading to develop your own understanding and knowledge and you'll develop professional skills through presentations of your work. Throughout the three years of your degree you'll participate in regular professional development group sessions, developing social work knowledge and skills.

You will be allocated a personal supervisor, a member of teaching staff who will provide support through your three years here. 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.

How you'll spend your time

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars372 hours
120 hours
60 hours
Independent study828 hours
660 hours
540 hours
Placement0 hours
420 hours
600 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17. Subsequent years' courses may differ.

Independent study may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work which is based on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in Campus West, with some additional teaching on Campus East. You will also take part in placements with agencies across the UK. You will be responsible for travel costs to placements although some agencies may reimburse travel costs, but others don't. 

Course location

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 campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

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. You'll be asked to provide written work or presentations at interim points during modules, and we'll provide feedback on improving your work for the later assessments.

You'll also be assessed on your placements by your 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.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams11%0%0%
Practical exams11%0%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17. Subsequent years' courses may differ.

One of the most valuable opportunities I had on placement was to work with 'real' service users but in a safe and supportive environment, allowing me to practice my basic social work skills. I feel that I achieved an immense amount on my placement and I am confident that I will be able to use everything I have learned as a solid base for the future.
BA Social Work (Graduated 2015)

Careers and skills

After completing the BA in Social Work you'll be able to register as a social worker in England. Some of our students choose to go on to further study, often progressing to a PhD. We offer an MA in Social Research which bridges the gap between undergraduate and PhD level study.

Career opportunities

As well as registering as social workers graduates from our department 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

The BA in Social Work will help you develop a range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, including:

  • Critical analysis
  • Debate
  • Research and evaluation skills
  • Presentation skills.

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

BBB. We accept General Studies and Critical Thinking.

GCSEs Grade 4 (C) or better in Maths and English (or a recognised equivalent)
Access to Higher Education Diploma 21 credits at Distinction and 24 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma: DDM
Cambridge Pre-U Pass with M2 in three subjects
European Baccalaureate 75 per cent average overall
International Baccalaureate 31 points overall
Irish leaving Certificate H3, H3, H3, H3, H3, H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AABBB

English language

  • IELTS: score of 7.0 overall, with 6.5 or better in each component
  • Pearson: 64 per cent, with 59 or better in each component
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: C
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: A

Other accepted tests and qualifications


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

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 Department as well as look around the campus. 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.

We welcome applications from people from a range of different backgrounds. If you have a non-traditional educational background and want to know whether you would qualify for entry then please have an informal discussion with our admissions tutors for guidance.

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Learn more

Social Policy and Social Work

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