This programme enables those with a BA degree to obtain the new professional qualification in Social Work, as well as a Masters degree. You join students on the new undergraduate route for Social Work for Year 3; your academic work is assessed at the higher M level, which includes a dissertation. You undertake two assessed social work placements in line with government requirements of 200 days of practice over the two years of the programme (changing to 170 days for entrants in 2013). International students undertake the same placements as UK students and obtain a detailed understanding of the operation of the English social work system.
The MA follows an exciting programme. Committed to social justice, anti-oppressive practice and relationship based social work and drawing upon a number of disciplines informing social work practice, it includes the study of social work values, knowledge, law, theories, methods and skills. Additional teaching offers students the opportunity to focus on particular areas of interest and exciting new projects, such as the International Exchange Project, and the award-winning Survivor Arts Project, allow students to move beyond the core curriculum and explore different ways of seeing the world and more creative ways of working. Watch the following video diary of our first exchange visit to Rotterdam, and a film of our award-winning Survivor Arts Project.
In the first year of the degree you will have the opportunity to develop core academic knowledge and skills. Learning will focus on Social Work Law, Theory and Methods, Anti Discriminatory and Anti Oppressive practice and skills development in relation to research-mindedness, evidence-based learning and practice and critical reflection. You will also be introduced to the social and organisational context of social work and will be given the chance to develop practice skills in readiness for your first 70 day placement for professional practice learning.
The social work regulatory body, the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the College of Social Work requires that before our students go out onto placement that they have the basic skills needed to work with a wide variety of people and talk to service users with understanding and respect. As part of this skills development you will be required to undertake a Practice Orientation period with a local organisation. During this period you will be oriented to core processes of referral, assessment, multi disciplinary working - including engagement with service users. During this period you will be assessed on your professional behaviour. You will also undertake Readiness for Practice Learning Interviews, role plays carried out with service users and carers. This way we ensure that students meet the basic standard before they go out into the 'real world'.
We work in partnership with Birmingham City Council, who provide the majority of the placements, and a range of voluntary and private sector organisations. We also have a few placements with some neighbouring local authorities. However, we cannot guarantee any placements outside Birmingham itself and so students who live outside Birmingham will be required to travel. The placements on offer are challenging and also very rewarding. Some of the areas of social work covered on placement are:
* Family support and prevention
* Domestic violence
* Refugee and asylum
* Special educational needs
* Child Protection
* Substance misuse
Students should be aware that placements in particular areas of interest are not guaranteed. However, all placements are quality assured, meet required HCPC and College of Social Work standards and provide a wide range of learning opportunities which are transferable to any setting, and have international relevance.
In Year 2 you will undertake a further 100 days of professional practice learning which, in line with HCPC requirements, will be with a different service user group in a different agency setting. All students will have the opportunity during at least one of their practice placements to undertake some statutory duties.
In conjunction with this you will again have the opportunity to reflect upon your learning in preparation for and within practice. Students will undertake learning in relation to work with both children and families and adults and communities and this will be incorporated within a framework which encourages students to adopt a think family approach to social work. Teaching and learning will concentrate on cross-cutting issues for practice around risk and protection, whole-family approaches, collaborative working, and strengths based approaches.
Also in this final year you will develop, conduct and write-up in the form of a dissertation, an individual piece of literature and/or empirical based research in an area of social work you are particularly interested in.
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
NHS Bursaries:NHSBSA have now confirmed that a limited number of bursaries will still be available to eligible 'home' students starting on the social work programme in the 2013 academic year for the MA Social Work (over both 1st and 2nd years). For the latest information regarding the NHSBSA bursary, please go to .
You can download a copy of the Reforming social work bursary information packand a copy of the Reforming the Social Work Bursary consultation outcome from the Department of Health website
Scholarships may be available.
For further information contact the Department directly or contact the Student Funding Office via the online enquiries system at