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MSocW (Hons) Social Work

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

2018/19 entry

Show 2017/18 entry

UCAS code

L507

Institution code

Y50

Length

4 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 MSocW Social Work is a professional qualification which entitles you to register as a social worker: a challenging and rewarding career. 

This course replaces the BA Social Work, which accepted its final students in 2017.

This four-year course with an integrated Masters year 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 more opportunities to gain experience on placements in diverse social work settings and receive a broader grounding in the social sciences.

Through a carefully tailored programme of coursework and placements you'll gain the knowledge and skills required to lead in the development of a rapidly changing and fast paced profession. The course's integration of research, theory and practice means you will be a critically reflective social worker, able to make informed judgements based on sound analysis, often in unpredictable circumstances.

You will develop professional skills and knowledge to improve the lives of vulnerable people. Service users and carers contribute directly to our teaching, giving you an unparalleled insight into the complexities of social work. You'll gain the ability to face complex and difficult human situations with confidence, creativity, compassion and integrity. You'll learn to work alongside people and to incorporate principles of social justice into your everyday practice.

Join a thriving department, internationally recognised for its teaching and research excellence and gain a solid foundation from which to begin your professional journey.

Students participating in a user group
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The small cohorts allowed much more room for discussion and a very supportive atmosphere. The variety between lectures, seminars and workshops often with specialist agencies allowed us to understand real practice applications. I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying at York.
Esther, Social Care Manager: Social Work, 2017

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.

Study abroad

We have close relationships with international organisations and offer opportunities for placements in Uganda and Peru. Please contact the Admissions team for more information.

Year 1

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

Core modules

Introducing Social Policy explores international perspectives, with a focus on high-income nations. You'll learn key concepts and investigate current debates. (30 credits)

Introduction to Social Work is a broad overview of the varied profession of social work. It will expose you to areas of practice you may not have thought of and lay foundations for the development of your social work skills throughout the course. (30 credits)

Introducing Sociology & Social Psychology offers different perspectives and some key theories and concepts in sociology and social psychology. You'll consider the influence and relevance of social and cultural context on individual behaviour in range of settings and situations. (30 credits)

Exploring Social Policy & Social Justice covers topics such as social justice and inequality, needs, rights, vulnerability and citizenship, as well as substantive issues such as migration, demography and labour markets. You'll begin to explore different ways of researching and understanding the social world. (30 credits)

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

The four 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 voluntaryorganisation or independent social care agency. You'll also learn how to evaluate and develop service provision, and carry out practice-related research.

Core modules

Community Development and Social Change will challenge and support you to critique and connect ideas of equality, citizenship and empowerment to real world contexts in community organisations and grassroots advocacy. You will explore how community development approaches seek to challenge the power relations embedded in professional practice. You will critically evaluate research, policy and practice evidence and put your learning into practice. (30 credits)

Skills for Social Work is an opportunity to learn and practice some core social work skills, such as communication, collaboration and negotiation with others. You will develop a project to undertake within a private, voluntary or independent sector organisation as part of your first placement. (30 credits)

Social Research Methods introduces principles and methods for quantitative and qualitative research. You'll explore the politics and ethics of social research, critically evaluate published findings and gain some hands-on experience of research techniques.

Placement: You will undertake a project with an independent social care agency over the course of a 30-day placement. You'll experience work in the care industry first hand, building relevant professional skills and knowledge while exploring your career interests. (30 credits)

Year 3

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.

The placement begins in the Spring Term and lasts for 70 days, alongside a module designed to support your professional development.

Core modules

Autumn Term and Spring Term

Readiness for Statutory Social Work Practice brings together three strands - knowledge, context and practice - to prepare you for your first statutory social work placement. It covers communication and assessment skills, practice skills, integrative skills, and professional skills. (20 credits)

Knowledge for Social Work Practice focuses on core social work theories. You'll extend your knowledge of human development through the lifecourse and critically reflect on the knowledge you've gained on the programme so far. (20 credits)

Context for Social Work Practice explores the legal, organisational and policy context for social work in England and Wales. With a particular focus on statutory social work, you will consider values and ethics. Through exploring competing perspectives and theories, you will develop a critical understanding of the sometimes challenging context for social work practice. (20 credits)

Spring Term and Summer Term

Developing Social Work Practice runs alongside your first statutory placement, giving you a chance to reflect upon and develop your practice. The module is designed to help you describe and analyse your personal and professional development. (20 credits)

Placement I (60 credits)

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 five Skills Days at the University, developing specialist techniques for working with families, groups, parents, and refugees and asylum seekers. 

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.

Year 4

As part of your fourth year you'll undertake your final statutory 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.

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.

You'll also choose an option module to focus your studies and practical skills in a specific area of social work.

Placement II (60 credits)

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 as well as five days at the University, developing skills for career-long learning, self-care and leadership.

Dissertation (60 credits)

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

Option modules

Choose one of the following modules:

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:

  • Work effectively with complex problems faced by individuals, families and communities in different contexts, using appropriate assessments and interventions.
  • Engage effectively with a wide range of service users, colleagues, other professionals and organisations to build strong working relationships, taking individual responsibility for upholding professional values and ethics.
  • Work co-operatively within organisational structures and promote effective interdisciplinary co-operation in statutory and non-statutory social work contexts.
  • 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.
  • Develop skills and capacity to build professional resilience through appropriate self-reflection and proactive use of supervision.
  • Design, conduct and critically evaluate your own social work research, informed by a critical understanding of research and evaluation methodologies relevant to the social sciences.
  • Critically reflect on the complexity of own practice experience, informed by theory and research, and identify opportunities for continuing professional development, including the development of leadership skills.
When I visited York it just clicked. The course structure, the variety of modules and the emphasis on group work all appealed to me.
Phil, Social Work student

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.
£16,620

Additional costs

You will be responsible for travel costs to placements. Some agencies may reimburse travel costs. 

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.

Funding

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

Home/EU students

International students

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 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 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 twice 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 30 days on placement in Year 2, 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.

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

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. 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.

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 practise 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.
Claire, Social Work graduate

Careers and skills

After completing the MSWSS 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.

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 MSWSS 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
  • Time management
  • Interpersonal skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

BBB

General Studies and Critical Thinking are accepted

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 Diploma: DDM, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: DDM
Cambridge Pre-U M2, M2, M2
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: 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in each component
  • Pearson: 64, with a minimum of 59 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (Taken from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 176 each component
  • TOEFL: 96 overall, with at least 22 in Listening, 23 in Reading, 23 in Speaking, 22 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE III: Distinction in all components

Applying

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

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 contact our admissions tutors for an informal discussion.

Interview

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.

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Learn more

Social Policy and Social Work

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