MSW Social Work
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This course is for graduates who want to start a new career in social work, providing people with help, support and guidance when they need it and protecting vulnerable children, families and adults.
You split your study time between learning the latest knowledge and necessary skills at university, and then putting it into practice on professional work placements. You spend a total of 200 days working in professional settings and attending specialist skills days.
Develop your knowledge, skills and experiences working in professional settings and attending specialist skills days.
Gain a complete view of social work, working alongside students and staff from related disciplines including occupational therapy and law and criminology.
Benefit from a huge range of expertise in one of the largest social work departments in the UK, learning from a team that includes practising social workers and service users.
Make connections and gain experience using our strong partnerships with care providers, charities and the justice system.
Full-time 26 months
Taught modules take place, on average, three days a week. You must be available for and complete one day of self-directed learning for each taught University study day you attend. Periods of practice learning require you to attend for five days week.
This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). After successfully completing the course you are eligible to apply to register with them to practise as a social worker.
The course is also endorsed by the College of Social Work.
Fees – home and EU students
For further information see the Department of Health section on our fees and funding pages.
2015/16 academic year
Full-time typically £9,000 a year
Part-time typically £4,500 a year
Prepare for a career in social work with a course that is well connected with social work and social care service providers in the region. As a result of these connections, you get the benefit of supervised practical work in a range of social work settings.
What you study
You study the theories, skills and values of social work, learning how to work with people who have problems in their lives or whose actions cause significant problems for others.
You follow the Health and Care Professions Council and The College of Social Work guidelines for training, which include assessment, planning, intervention and review role play dissertation or project psychosocial knowledge professional ethics law and policy social work theory.
We make sure your learning is up to date so you graduate with the latest thinking on current areas of importance in the sector. We invite experts like charity the Snowdrop Project to come in and discuss topical issues such as human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
Because social workers need to work with many other professionals, you study alongside students and staff from related disciplines. For example, you practise giving evidence in court with law students, and barristers and judges visit the university to cross-examine you in our courtroom.
Service users and carers are central to all aspects of the course delivery and development, including teaching, assessment and placements. Other key aspects of the course and assessment include essays, presentations, exams and a dissertation.
Placements and work experience
Practical work experience is at the heart of this course. We have a 100% record of placing students in quality-audited placements. You spend at least 170 days putting what youve learned into practice in real working situations, such as social work teams nurseries family centres primary care practices hospitals residential settings.
These placements take place with our partners in local authority, private and voluntary agencies across South Yorkshire and the North East Midlands. Previous students have worked in Doncaster Prison, NHS mental health units, youth offending teams working with the police, and charities including the NSPCC, Age Concern, Barnados, Mind and Women's Aid.
Your placements are supported by 30 specialist skills days. You work with experts, professionals and service users on specific topics such as how to assess risky behaviour, or interventions for safeguarding children. In your final year, we run a workshop with employers on how to apply for jobs in social work.
There are also opportunities to spend time studying abroad on an exchange. Previous students have attended a summer school in Berlin, gaining new, international perspectives on social work and discovering how it is practised around the world.
During the time you spend at university, you are based in our £13 million purpose-built Robert Winston Building, described as 'a beacon for the future development of health education in this country' by a leading UK health body.
You use specialist facilities including our courtroom, where you learn how to give evidence, and our virtual reality training environment which is used to practise different cases.
We are one of the most experienced providers of social work, youth and community education in the country, and we have a huge range of expertise. Social work is part of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, which enables us to apply specialist knowledge and resources from across a range of health professions.
All our teaching staff are qualified and experienced social workers, or have experience in related professions. You will experience a range of different ways of learning, including role play with actors, real-life case studies and virtual reality,
Many of our lecturers are involved in research in social work and have a well-established reputation in various international projects, including
international practice learning opportunities for students
EU-funded projects to develop an international curriculum
projects developing social work practice and social work education
Includes essays examinations practice-learning portfolios group presentations report writing.
You put together a number of portfolios as evidence of your personal and professional development. You can use them to demonstrate your specialist ability when you go on to post-qualifying study.
We involve service users and carers in teaching and assessment, including service user-led workshops.
You must have some experience of delivering care in a professional or voluntary capacity and a reference from a current or recent employer or educational institution.
Typically you need one of the following
a first degree of 2.2 or above in a relevant subject, which includes psychology, sociology, social policy and public administration
a first degree of 2.2 or above in any subject, together with relevant personal or professional experience of social care
a professional qualification at degree level in areas such as teaching, nursing, occupational therapy, youth work or allied health/education professions
You also need to complete a personal statement to support your application. You do not need to confirm your research interests at this stage.
You must meet the requirements for social work training, where you must
have the appropriate personal and intellectual qualities to be a social worker
mathematics and English at grade C or an equivalent qualification, such as Key Skills level 2 in English and Application of Number
be able to make use of written materials and communicate clearly and accurately in spoken and written English. Non-native English speakers need to be proficient in English, typically shown by an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with no single element less than 6.5.
If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 7.0 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.
If you do not have a suitable qualification in mathematics, Learn Direct offer on-line tests and support packages to assist with gaining a level 2 qualification in numeracy.
The selection event
If you are shortlisted, we will invite you to a selection event, and you should bring a passport or photo driving license with you. You can bring other forms of photo ID for the selection event, but if you do, you will still need to present valid identity documents required by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) at your pre-course day.
View our selection event guidance to ensure you understand the selection process.
Course enrolment professional requirements
Before enrolling, you must fully declare during the admissions process any
unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings. For further information on convictions that must be declared see the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) website.
disciplinary proceedings during paid or voluntary employment or educational establishments
involvement with safeguarding proceedings, social services or related organisations
You also need to complete
a DBS Enhanced Disclosure, and provide us with a copy of your DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate if requested. Enrolment also depends on the DBS check being deemed suitable for professional training.
occupational health screening to determine your suitability to undertake the course and an approved programme of immunisation, as recommended by the Department of Health. Health screening and immunisation are provided by the University.
a pre-course day
If you have a criminal record, it does not necessarily prevent you from taking this course. All applicants must be clear of any convictions or statutory supervision linked to a sentence of the court for two years by August 31 on the year of enrolment. Download our procedure for applicants with criminal convictions for more information.
If you are an overseas student, you must have been granted permanent leave to remain in the UK. If you have spent time abroad, you must provide a certificate of conduct, which must cover the years not spent in the UK. This is necessary when you apply for the enhanced disclosure required to work in the health and social care sector.
Students on this course are not normally tested for immunity and infection. However, some high risk placements may require you to complete immunisation as specified by the placement provider.
If you fail to comply with any of these requirements your offer could be withdrawn.
If your personal circumstances change in relation to any of the professional requirements from when you apply to the end of your course you must tell the Professional Issues Team immediately by calling 0114 225 3995 or 0114 225 5786.
You must demonstrate in your application, and at interview, an understanding of some of the challenges facing you as a social worker. This may include issues in social care or other areas including education health criminal justice childcare community or youth work. You also need to demonstrate a commitment to valuing the culture and diversity of others.
You must have at least six months recent experience of working with service users and carers. This can be paid or voluntary work and we ask you to bring a reference to your interview.
If you have relevant life experience as a service user or carer this can be used to support your application. You should discuss this reflectively as part of your application form. Personal experience alone would not be sufficient for entry to the programme.
Accredited prior learning
Previous study or work experience can sometimes count towards your qualification. Successfully completing all or part of a higher education course may allow you on to the second or third year of a course. A smaller amount of credit, at higher education level, may count towards your qualification. We call this accreditation of prior credited learning.
We may also consider relevant work experience, provided it is at an appropriate level for your course. This is called accreditation of prior experiential learning.
We strongly recommend that you tell us about any long term health conditions, learning difficulty or disability you may have. This is so we can assess whether we can deliver the course in such a way that you can meet the HCPC standards of proficiency and take part without disadvantage both in University and on placement.
The Disability Disclosure booklet provides information for students on health and social care courses and will help you understand the importance of disclosing your disability at the earliest possible stage. This is so you can be assessed for the support you may require to succeed on the course. You can contact our disability co-ordinator for social work and social care on 0114 225 5769 to discuss any queries you may have or you can contact our university disabled student support team on 0114 225 3964 (voice and Minicom).
As social work can involve psychologically and emotionally taxing work, we recommend that you come along to a University open day to learn more about the general expectations of the course.
You apply directly to UCAS for this course using the UCAS code L508.
International and European entry qualifications
If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.
Social work programmes provide a combination of practice learning and academic modules, that build together in order to equip you with the range of knowledge and skills you need in order to meet the requirements of this challenging profession. The strategies of teaching, learning and assessment across the 26 months are progressive, so that you gradually develop the abilities to be a self-directed learner. At the beginning of each year there will be an induction period to help you orient yourself to the shape of your studies for that year, and the increasing levels of academic and professional standards expected of you.
Additionally, some of the academic modules contain skills days, which further reinforce that there are strong links between the intellectual abilities you need in order to be a social worker, and the practice skills that are also needed. The programme structure comprises five interrelated elements:-
pre-enrolment and induction
the inter professional learning module
core professional modules
mandatory practice education modules
The programme commences with a short induction period, to provide orientation to Sheffield Hallam systems and processes, and to facilitate a transition back into study for mature students from a diverse range of backgrounds. The first suite of modules introduces students to the professional identity of social work, providing the foundation for subsequent teaching on the legal, policy and knowledge frameworks that underpin the social work profession Included in these modules are 12 skills days that address core communication skills for relationship building and interviewing, key social work practice skills, and fundamental professional skills such as self-management and organisational skills.
Introduction to social work
You gain an overview of professional social work, looking at practice settings, policy and values. This is an interprofessional module, taught with MSc Occupational Therapy students. You examine the professional codes of practice, the role of social work.
Law and policy for social work
You evaluate the political, organisational and legislative frameworks that support interprofessional social work. You also examine the impact of these on service users and carers. Topics include *models of risk* professional judgement and decision making and communicating with children.
Psycho-social theories and methods for social work practice
You study the social science theories behind social work. You learn about social work intervention methods in ethical, service user centred practice. You explore sociological psychological and social policy perspectives alongside theories of power (anti-oppressive practice). You then evaluate how appropriate it is to apply these theories to different practice environments.
The next suite of year one modules develop students knowledge and understanding of more complex aspects of social work, including responsibilities for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, methods of intervention, and concepts of anti-oppressive practice, working with diversity and social justice.
Readiness for social work practice
The course is designed around the PCF (TCSW) and SOPS (HCPC) which requires an assessment at the levels of: Readiness for practice in year one: at the end of first placement, and qualifying level at the end of year two. Your progression through the programme is dependent on the successful completion of each required domain of the PCF and the SOPs as required at each level (TCSW 2012c)
Foundations of values, ethics and anti-oppressive practice for social work
You gain an overview of values and ethics, as they relate to the perspectives of service users and carers, are fundamental to the programme, and embedded throughout.
Research knowledge, methods and skills for social work
As a qualified social worker, you need to understand and contribute to the research base of the profession. Topics include *ethics and research governance *writing up research* presenting and distributing the results. you study research methods and develop a possible research top to prepare for your dissertation.
Practice learning 1 and 2
You produce a portfolio that provides evidence of your practice experience in line with the 9 domains from the Professional Capabilities Framework (TCSW 2012). You complete 170 days on placement to meet the HCPS and TCSW requirements for practice learning and the HCPC code of practice for students. You are assessed by a qualified practice teacher when you are out on placement.
The second year of the programme commences in January, with a further brief induction period, to re-orientate students to the academic modules and the shape of the remainder of the programme. At this point students have intense teaching around the dissertation project; this approach is intended to facilitate students engagement with the dissertation to promote successful completion prior to commencement of placement two. The suite of modules in year two is designed to provide a bridge between the end of placement one and the qualifying level of the PCF (TCSW 2012).
Theories and knowledge for social work, applied across the life course is an example of a module that requires students to engage with increasingly complex, higher-order intellectual and practice concepts, such as: risk identification and reduction, professional judgement and decision making, and systemic approaches to working with families and groups.
The organisational context of social work addresses themes such as responding to the ever-changing inter-professional context of service delivery, and anti-oppressive and empowering practice with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and individuals.
The enhanced social work practitioner
You focus on your career by developing your leadership skills. You identify creative solutions to the challenges within social work practice, focussing on the service user group or a community of service users. You develop strategies for applying evidence-based practice, seeking the expert opinion of the service user, professional colleagues, employers and academics etc. The assessment is a presentation on a service improvement project.
Your dissertation is an independent piece of research work based on a topic of your choice. it involves original research, a review of an appropriate body of research or an original critique of theory using a case study. It is between 12,000 and 15,000 words.
After successfully completing all the modules, including the dissertation, you gain the masters in social work. If you do not complete the dissertation we award a post graduate diploma in social work. If you only complete the dissertation and not the placements, then we award you with a masters in social care.
You will be able to take advantage of a high demand for qualified social workers in the South Yorkshire region and nationally in areas such as social services departments education and other local authority departments residential homes housing associations national and local voluntary organisations, such as Barnados, the NSPCC and Age Concern.
You can work in careers alongside other professionals including nurses lawyers teachers occupational therapists doctors social security officers housing officers.
You work with a range of people such as children and young families people with mental health problems, learning difficulties or physical disabilities old people young people.