Social Work BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2018 entry

Qualification
Social Work | BA Hons
UCAS code
L509
Duration
3 years full-time
A level offer
ABB
Required subjects
GCSE English and maths, 4 or above, or equivalent
IB score
32
Course location
Course places
35
School/department
 

Overview

Delivered through a centre with a 60-year history of providing social work education, this course offers a route into the field, providing you with a degree and a professional qualification.
Read full overview

Social work is concerned with the relationships between individuals, families and society. As such, social workers seek to enable people to negotiate complex and sometimes painful transitions and decisions in their lives. As an academic discipline, our primary mission is to ensure that students are professionally capable of carrying out such tasks.

The BA Social Work enables successful graduates to register as qualified social workers. As a result, the course has been constructed to ensure that all the mandatory elements of a social work qualifying course are met including assessment, communication skills, human growth and development, inter-professional working, law, and planning intervention and review.

More generally, our undergraduate programme ensures that you will be able to demonstrate the capacity for critical thinking and creative action in relation to the complex problems of human life. In this respect, the connection between social work and social policy is critical.

You'll take a mixture of academic modules that are specific to the development of social work alongside others that focus on social policy. In addition, in years two and three, you'll complete assessed placements in social work settings.

Overall, the course seeks to engage with a number of critical issues in the delivery of social work within the context of the current state of welfare.

A typical week of university-based learning will include 12-15 hours of time spent in lectures/seminars/tutorials and the remainder in private study.

Assessment is by written assignments, individual and group presentations, projects, and seen and unseen written examinations.

The staff who teach on the programme have national and international reputations for the quality of their research and publications and this knowledge at all times informs their teaching.

Year one

You will spend the first year based at the University, where you will explore social work's key functions and develop skills for social work practice. You will also study core aspects of sociology and social policy which underpin the profession's knowledge base.

Year two

You will be based at the University during the first semester, and study central aspects of social work's knowledge base, including the law, social work theories and human development. You will go out on placement for 80 days during the second semester.

Year three

You will again be based at the University during the first semester, and will have the opportunity to focus on studying key issues within social work with adults or children and families, depending on your preferred area of practice. You will also study central themes for all social workers, such as safeguarding. You will go out on placement for 90 days during the second semester.

Key facts

  • We ranked 1st for social work in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2018
  • The quality of our teaching provision is often recognised by awards such as a University Chancellor's Award for teaching quality
  • We are one of 18 institutions in the UK to have been selected to participate in the Q-Step programme, in recognition of our commitment to developing students' quantitative expertise
  • This course is regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council
  • The University is a member of the D2N2 Social Work Education Teaching Partnership with local employers, funded by the Department for Education and Department of Health
 

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB excluding general studies and critical thinking

GCSE: GCSE English and maths, 4 or above

Understand how we show GCSE grades

Scottish Advanced Highers/Highers: AB plus ABBBB

Welsh Baccalaureate: Where the two non-core elements making up the Baccalaureate are standard A2 qualifications any offer is likely to be based on our standard A-level offer, ie ABB. Any other contributing qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AABBB

English language requirements

IELTS: 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English. Successful students can progress onto their chosen degree course without taking IELTS again.

International applicants

We welcome students from all over the world and have a dedicated International Office that offers guidance and advice for international applicants.

Mature students

At the University of Nottingham we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information in our guide for mature students.

Alternative qualifications

We encourage applications from all sections of the community including from people with disabilities, people from all ethnic, national and religious backgrounds, people of any gender or sexual orientation, and adults (18+) of all ages, including applicants who may be returning to work or changing career. Mature applicants, including those on Access courses and those with alternative qualifications are encouraged to apply.

Access courses: Access to HE Diploma, preferably in Social Work or Social Sciences, with 45 credits at level 3, at least 30 of which must be at Merit or Distinction plus at least 6 level 3 credits in study skills

BTEC National Diplomas: Grades DDD, and the Diploma will need to be in a subject area of direct relevance to social work (for example, the BTEC National Diploma in Health and Social Care)

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

The minimum age for entry is 18 years old. Applications must be made through UCAS. No applicant will be offered a place without first participating in our two-stage candidate assessment process.

The first stage is an assessment day: a written test, a group exercise involving service users, and an opportunity to meet Centre for Social Work staff. Applicants who are successful at the first stage will be invited back on a subsequent occasion to the second stage: an interview conducted jointly by a member of University staff and a practising social worker. Assessment days and interview days will normally take place between December and April.

Although there is no requirement for prior experience of social work, applicants who have some relevant voluntary or paid experience in a helping role, or can demonstrate that they have personal insights or understandings to reflect upon are likely to produce a better personal statement and have more to draw upon during the interview.

If invited for interview, applicants are required to make a signed declaration regarding any health condition or criminal record and then complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check once registered on the programme. Although a criminal record or a health condition is not necessarily a bar to acceptance, failure to disclose relevant information may subsequently result in the offer of a place, or registration being withdrawn.

From your application and interview, we look for:

  • evidence of motivation to become a social worker, shown by having a clear rationale for wanting to join the profession, and preferably some experience in a helping role
  • some understanding of the roles and responsibilities of social workers
  • some degree of self-awareness and empathy for others
  • the capacity to succeed academically
 
 

Modules

A total of 360 academic credits are taken over three years, divided into 120 credits per year. This is the equivalent of 40 hours of University-based study per week, or 40 hours per week of practice based learning.

Typical year one modules

Core modules

Communication Skills for Practice

The module introduces you to a range of theories, skills and evidence-based practice in relation to communication with service-users and carers. You will study theories of communication and perception. You will be assisted through group work, experiential learning exercises and self-reflection to develop basic skills for interviewing and assessment. These will be augmented by learning around theories and skills concerning work in group contexts and in situations of conflict where social workers are required to exercise professional authority.

Throughout the module your attention will be drawn to the values and ethics which underpin professional practice and the broad organisation, legal and policy context in which it takes place. You will be introduced to work with a diversity of service-user groups and required to consider the implications of this diversity for your mode of communication.

You will also be encouraged to develop a critical awareness of the various theoretical perspectives presented in the module alongside an ability to apply this knowledge to social work practice.

 
Introduction to Social Work

This module will introduce you to the core knowledge, skills, ethics and values underpinning social work practice. You will be encouraged to develop a sense of what it means to be a reflective practitioner. You will be taught a range of approaches to social work practice, what it means to be 'professional' and the impact of the 'use of self'. You will explore the service user/carer perspective and underpinning anti-oppressive principles for working with inequality and diversity.

You will be given the opportunity to practice generic key skills and your understanding of the social work role through innovative teaching methods including role play and observations. You will also be given the opportunity to spend time shadowing and observing a social care practitioner in their work. This module incorporates three skills days.

 
Investigating Social Worlds

This module introduces you to philosophical debates on the production of knowledge about the social world, examining the interlocking philosophical and ethical problems that can arise when the methods of the natural sciences are applied to the study of the social world.

It then introduces two of the major research traditions within the social sciences, positivism and interpretavism and explores their links to some basic methods of data gathering employed in the social sciences, including survey methods, interviewing, and observation.

You will be given opportunities to gain some preliminary practical experience of working with a variety of sources and methods.

 
Policy and Social Justice

This module introduces you to the main areas of social policy in the United Kingdom. The module first explores the concepts of policy, justice and key theories in policy and welfare as well as resourcing.

The module then goes on to examine the role of the family in welfare provision, and the operation of key public sector services (housing, NHS, social care, social security).

 
Understanding Contemporary Society

This module introduces you to a range of approaches in social analysis. Through introductions to key concepts, theorists and research studies in the disciplines of sociology, cultural studies and social policy, you will be equipped with the skills necessary for more advanced study of contemporary society.

 
 

Typical year two modules

Core modules

From Theory to Practice

The module provides an introduction to social work theories and models, and to the methods through which they are applied. The module seeks to develop the theoretical learning that is needed in order to practice reflectively and effectively by promoting understanding of the principles and concepts which constitute various approaches.

The module will include a consideration of some of the main theories underpinning social work, including person-centred approaches, systems theory, cognitive-behavioural theory, etc; some of the models that can be applied to social work, including task-centred work, assessment, etc and some of the methods of intervention that social workers are required to practice, including interviewing skills and solution-focused approaches. This module also requires you to demonstrate your readiness for practice.

 
Human Growth and Development Across the Life Course

The module provides you with an introduction to a range of theories and evidence about human growth and development. You will be enabled to understand the ways in which human growth and development is affected by a range of factors across the life course and how these factors may impact on the development of resilience and well-being. You are encouraged to develop a critical awareness of the various theoretical perspectives alongside an ability to apply this knowledge to social work practice.

The module follows a life course perspective, tracking human growth and development from the cradle to the grave and draws on theoretical material from a range of different disciplines.

 
Law for Social Work

This module prepares you with an introduction to relevant legislation, policies and guidance for social work practice with a variety of service users. The programme recognises the centrality of the law and its interaction with policy and research in promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and adults, and the necessity for practitioners to be confident when representing agencies and working with service users in legislative contexts.

To enable a better understanding and application of law to practice, the module includes a general consideration of the English legal system and considers areas around court structure, civil vs. criminal procedures; differing burdens of proof; duties vs. powers; delegated legislation and so on. It focuses on specific legislative frameworks for working with children, including youth justice, older people and people with mental health problems.

 
Political Theory and Social Policy

As an academic subject, social policy is underpinned by a wide variety of social, political and economic theories. Without an understanding of these theories our analyses of both society and of welfare systems are likely to be inadequate. For instance, we may overlook the extent to which policies and welfare reforms are sometimes based upon weak theoretical foundations and assumptions.

This module explores a range of both traditional and contemporary themes and concepts, including liberty, equality, citizenship, needs, class, old and new welfare ideologies, as well as recent developments in welfare theory.

 
Social Work Research

This module considers the ways in which social workers (should) use research in practice and explores the concept of research-mindedness in social work.

Social workers need research to practise effectively; to understand service users' lives, make informed decisions and to change/develop organisations. Putting empirical evidence into practice will be explored using an applied approach and concrete examples from peer-reviewed papers.

 

Plus:

Practice Learning 1 - 80-day placement

This module comprises 80 days of assessed practice learning. It will focus on your ability to satisfy the requirements of the Professional Capabilities Framework at the interim stage of judgement.

The placement will be assessed on a pass/fail basis and must be passed in order to progress on the programme. The written assignment must be passed in order to progress on the programme; students who fail the written assignment may be required to resubmit without having to complete a further placement.

 
 

Typical year three modules

Core modules

Critical Perspectives on Social Work

This module examines the nature of knowledge in social work and some of the main social theories which conceptualise the nature of social work and its relationship to the state, society and the individual. You will be enabled to understand how different theoretical approaches provide different ways of thinking about the nature of social work in advanced modern societies and their implications for social work practice.

The theories and debates covered will include the role of research in social work and evidence-based practice; reflexivity; structure/agency, power and inequalities; psychoanalysis and the place of emotions. At the heart of the module will be a focus on developing knowledge and skills for reflective practice and a grounding of social worker-service user encounters in a relationship based practice.

 
Safeguarding

This module will introduce you to key theoretical, legal and practice aspects of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. It will require you to engage in learning from previous situations in which social work intervention has failed to protect children or vulnerable adults from abuse.

 

Either:

Social Work with Adults

This module acts as the bridge between academic learning and professional qualifying practice. It provides you with an insight into topical issues for practice through a series of workshops led by expert practitioners and /or academic staff.

Alongside these issues based teaching sessions will be run that enable and expect you to make the links between the learning and your own professional development.

 

or

Social Work with Children and Families

This module acts as the bridge between academic learning and professional qualifying practice. It provides you with an insight into topical issues for practice through a series of workshops led by expert practitioners and/or academic staff.

Alongside these issues based teaching sessions will be run that enable and expect you to make the links between the learning and your own professional development.

 

Plus:

Practice Learning 2 - 90-day placement

This module comprises 90 days of practice learning. It will focus on your ability to satisfy the requirements of the Professional Capabilities Framework at the final stage of your qualification.

To pass this module both the 90 day placement and the practice analysis assignment must be passed. If the 90 day placement is not passed the entire 90 day placement has to be repeated and the assignment has to be submitted as a first sit. If the assignment is failed this can be resubmitted without the placement being repeated.

 
 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Placements

Designed to help you develop the skills required to register as a qualified social worker and regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council, this course includes supervised placements in years two and three. You will be supported throughout the process with resources and supervision from our team here at Nottingham.

Through practice based learning - undertaken in a variety of settings, working with a range of different service users - you will be introduced to a variety of approaches to helping people. You will spend a total of 170 days in practice during your degree. Each period of practice learning will be assessed against the requirements of the Professional Capabilities Framework.

We have excellent links with statutory and voluntary agencies in the region, which provide practice learning opportunities for our students. We have an outstanding record of providing high quality placements. We recognise that this is a vital part of your learning during your degree and work hard to ensure that placements are successful in meeting students' needs. Students and practice assessors are well supported by the programme throughout the practice learning.

All placements are undertaken on a full-time basis and while on placement students are expected to work the same hours as other members of staff in that setting.

When allocating practice learning placements, care is taken to match individual student's learning needs and personal requirements to the opportunities offered within a particular organisation. Placements are normally within the geographical boundaries of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

 

Careers

Most of our social work graduates obtain employment as qualified professionals in local authority children's or adult's services. Some take up positions in the independent sector.

Our graduates are valued by employers for their ability to:

  • develop an argument and justify it with evidence
  • write coherently and succinctly with a clear structure
  • complete work on time and to the specification required
  • think critically and challenge accepted ideas
  • select, collect and analyse relevant materials in order to carry out independent research
  • present their work verbally and in writing to a group
  • work as a team to achieve goals

Professional accreditation

HCPC-logo

This course is regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Average starting salary and career progression

Newly qualified social workers could expect to earn £22,000 and this could rise up to £40,000 as you take on additional tasks, gain responsibilities and experience.*

* According to the British Association of Social Workers.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

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Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 40 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

Social Work bursaries

Students in their second and third years of the social work degree programme may be eligible to apply for a limited number of social work bursaries. The Government reserves the right to vary the number of social work bursaries available each year, but we expect to be allocated around 20 bursaries for undergraduate social work students. Bursaries are allocated to individual students on the basis of their academic performance during the first year of study.

The social work bursary is money over and above the financial support available to other undergraduate students and is intended to help with the costs of travel to and from placements and contribute towards tuition fees. Students who do not receive a full social work bursary, but who still meet residency criteria, may be eligible for a travel allowance to help with costs of travel to and from placement.

Eligibility for a social work bursary or travel allowance depends upon being "ordinarily resident in England"; social work education in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is funded separately and students from these parts of the UK will not be eligible for this funding. For those who are eligible, the social work bursary is non-income-related, which means that earnings, savings and other sources of income such as local authority funding are not taken into consideration.

The NHS Business Services Authority administers the social work bursary scheme: see the NHS bursary website for further details. Please note: the Government is currently reviewing the social work bursary scheme and may amend or close the scheme in the future.

 
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)


KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

Assessment

Several modules include assessments that are not credit bearing.
L312SW requires students to pass a Suitability for Professional Practice exam L32SW5 requires that students pass a Readiness for Practice Assessment interview before they are able to go on placement L327SW requires that students pass the 80 day assessed placement linked to this module L336SW requires that students pass the 90 day assessed placement linked to this module.

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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