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BA (Honours) Social Work

Gain the skills and knowledge to become a qualified social worker in today’s society.

Course length 3 Years
Location Collegiate Campus
UCAS L500 Course code

Course description

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 on this degree.

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 guidelines for training.

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 including occupational therapy and law and criminology.

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 and is delivered through placements in relevant workplaces.

Placements take place in the public sector, private and voluntary agencies. During placement periods, you spend 5 days/35 hours per week putting what you’ve learned on the course into practice.

Placement providers will be offering services to children, families and vulnerable adults. Safeguarding is at the heart of the social work profession and along side this you learn how to offer support to service users through difficult times. You maintain professional relationships with service users, often acting as a guide and advocate. Sometimes you need to use your professional judgment to make tough decisions that might not always be well received by those you are trying to help.

Social work is practised in a variety of settings within a framework of relevant legislation and procedures. Settings may include homes, schools, hospitals, or the premises of other public sector and private, voluntary organisations.

Attendance on placements is mandatory. This means you must complete 70 days for a first placement in Year 2, and 100 days for the second placement in Year 3. Your placement attendance, learning and practice is assessed as part of your course.

On placement, you work with other professionals, service users and carers. You develop your knowledge and skills in assessment, planning of services, social work interventions, and reviewing service users' needs. You apply the professional value base of social work.

On placement, your attendance reflects the working times of the team you are placed with. This may involve shift work including weekends, evenings and nights. It will be necessary to travel to or live near the placements.

There is a range of support on placement. You receive regular weekly support on your placement which includes formal supervision by your Practice Educator. The Practice Educator is a registered social worker who also needs to be further accredited to take on this role. In addition your University tutor will visit you on placement. There are planned visits at the start of placement, to undertake a learning agreement meeting with your Practice Educator, and also midway through your placement to review your progress. Your University tutor will also be on hand during your placement for any additional support you feel you may require.

There may be additional costs associated with attending placement - including travel and appropriate car insurance for business use. You need to wear appropriate dress and clothing as required by the placement setting.

You may be able to study abroad as part of the Erasmus programme.


During the time you spend at university, you are based in our £13 million purpose-built Robert Winston Building, described by a leading UK health body as 'a beacon for the future development of health education in this country'.

You use specialist facilities including 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

Professional recognition

This social work degree is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Graduates are eligible to apply to register with them. You must be registered with the HCPC to practise as a social worker in the UK.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

You must have some experience of delivering care in a professional or voluntary capacity and have a reference from a current or recent employer or educational institution.

Normally five GCSEs at grade C or grade 4 or above, including English language or literature and mathematics, plus one of the following

• 120 UCAS points from A levels or equivalent BTEC National qualifications. We do not accept AS levels. We accept A level General Studies.

New UCAS tariff points system for courses starting from September 2017. This is significantly different to the current points system and uses an alternative method of calculation. You can find information about these changes on the UCAS website and use the UCAS tariff calculator to work out your points.

• Access – Access to HE Diploma for a QAA recognised Access to HE course in health studies, health science, social sciences, nursing or other relevant course. Normally we require 15 credits at Level 2 and 45 at level 3 of which at least 30 level 3 credits should be graded at distinction level.

• FdSc Professional Practice in Health & Social Care - If you are in the process of completing or have successfully completed the above programme at one of our partner colleges (The Sheffield College, Barnsley College, Chesterfield College, North Lindsey College & Dearne Valley College) and are looking to progress your career as a registered professional within the Health & Social Care sector, we would welcome an application from you via UCAS, to commence this programme from year 2 onwards.

GCSE equivalent for English and maths

equivalency test from www.equivalencytesting.co.uk

You need to demonstrate an ability to

• study academic subjects at degree level

• debate topics and issues

• draw on conclusions from written material

• study independently as well as a member of a group

• use computers and technology associated with contemporary teaching, learning and assessment methods

• successfully complete a range of assignments including researched essays and practical examinations

This is normally by completing academic study at level three or above in the last four years.

You must be able to show an understanding of some of the challenges of working in social care and social work. This will be through direct experience of working with carers and service users in a paid or voluntary capacity.

If you already have a first degree you may be able to apply for our MSW Social Work.

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.

International and European Union entry qualifications

If you are an international or EU student, please visit our international qualifications web page to see the country specific academic qualifications we accept.


If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in all skills, or a recognised equivalent. If your level of English language is currently below IELTS 7.0 we recommend you consider an appropriate Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve the required level of English. Please note that the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) require IELTS 7.0 with no element below 6.5 for registration.

Care experience

Before you apply for health courses, we require you to have gained some practical experience relating to your subject area. Download our applicant experience guidelines for information about the kinds of experience we expect you to have and the best places to gain it. Evidence of the experience gained, understanding of the profession and a genuine, reasoned commitment to studying a professional course must be explicit in your personal statement to be selected for interview.


You can find out more about how to apply to university, and your personal statement here. For social work courses your personal statement should

• Demonstrate some understanding of what social work is and that you are aware of the complex demanding nature of it. Include in your statement evidence of social work values and the legal and safeguarding aspects of social work practice.

• Evidence that you have done some reading and thinking about social work.Try to provide evidence that you are aware of current research and policy initiatives relating to social work. If possible provide examples of how these relate to your own experiences.

• Reflect upon relevant work experiences, drawing out your own skills and knowledge and what you have learned about the experiences that service users have. Try not to list the types of work you have undertaken.This is your opportunity to relate your own experiences to social work practice and values. Download our applicant experience guidelines for more details.

• In preparing your application you should review the Professional Capabilities Framework for social work, which contains information about the expectations for anyone wishing to pursue a career in social work.

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

• unfiltered criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings. For further information on unfiltered offences please see the Disclosure and Barring Service website.

• involvement in disciplinary proceedings during paid or voluntary employment or education establishments

• involvement with safeguarding proceedings, social services or related organisations

In addition

• you must attend a Pre-Course Day event to undertake the professional requirements of your course

• you must undertake an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check prior to or during the enrolment week of your course. This will be provided by the University free of charge.

• where your DBS Enhanced Disclosure certificate contains any recorded information you must present this to the professional issues team within five working days of receipt of the certificate.

• your full enrolment on your course will not be confirmed until the professional issues team have confirmed that your DBS Enhanced Disclosure indicates that you are suitable to work with vulnerable people.

• You must undertake occupational health screening to determine your suitability to undertake the course. This will be provided by the University free of charge.

• You must undertake a programme of immunisations as required by the Department of Health. This will be provided by the University free of charge

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 5637.

Disability support

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).

Open day

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.


For more details on how to apply, download our guide (.DOCX, 16KB)

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.

Course structure

Three years full-time

Typical modules may include

Year one

Year 1 provides foundational learning, and is composed of the following modules

• readiness for social work practice 1 - evidence for studies and practice • psycho-social studies for social work • foundations for effective collaborative practice • the people we work with in social work • social work law, policy and practice • readiness for social work practice 2 - values and anti-oppressive practice.

Year two

Year 2 builds on the foundations laid in year 1, commencing with the first full time work placement.

• social work practice learning 1 • evidence informed social work • developing capability for effective collaborative practice • social work practice with children and families • social work practice with adults

Year three

Year 3 brings your learning and skills up to the level required for you to achieve an honours degree and enter the register for social work with the Health and Care Professions Council.

• enhancing the quality of services through effective collaborative practice • social work practice learning 2 • global perspectives in social work • research for social work practice • developing critical practice

  • coursework
  • case studies
  • examinations
  • presentations
  • reflective portfolio of work


As a graduate you are 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.

As a qualified social worker you are expected to continue your professional development by studying to keep your skills updated. We also deliver post-qualifying courses in children, young people and families, mental health and leadership and management.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

For the course fee and further information on scholarships and bursaries please visit our fees and funding pages.

2017/18 academic year

Please visit our health and social care funding pages for more information.

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 for year one and £15,000 for years two and three (including the placement fee)

2017/18 academic year

Typically £12,750 a year

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS.

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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