Postgraduate study
This course will give you a thorough preparation for a rewarding and challenging career as a social worker.
MA Social Work
2 years full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent) in any discipline, plus GCSE English and maths, 4 (C) or above. In exceptional cases, however, applicants holding a 2:2 may be considered where there is evidence of extensive relevant work experience.
Other requirements
Applicant must also have three months' full-time equivalent relevant work experience (450 hours minimum)
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£6,840 - Terms apply
International fees
£17,910 - Terms apply
Regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council
University Park



We are still currently accepting applications

The role of social worker is a position of privilege that enables you to collaborate with people who need your help, and to empower them to transform their lives. It therefore requires social work education of the highest standard to ensure you are fully prepared to register and practice when you graduate.

As a member of the D2N2 Teaching Partnership we contribute to the establishment of a social work academy of excellence, providing a holistic approach that not only gives you an essential broad-based, practical skillset, but also develops your deeper academic learning that will form the foundation of your practice.

Our teaching is delivered through the Centre for Social Work. You will learn from academics with years of expertise as practising social workers, and who have first-hand experience of working on the front line of social care.

Apply online

Applications are made through UCAS (institution N84, course L500) and will therefore appear to be subject to the 15 January 2019 deadline. However applications may still be considered up until 15 August 2019, subject to availability.

Assessment and interview days

We are appropriately rigorous in our selection process. Following your application you may be invited to attend an assessment day, where you will undertake a group discussion in the presence of service users, and a written exercise. If you are successful at this stage, you will then be invited for interview with an academic and social worker. You will also be given a role-play scenario designed to demonstrate your interpersonal and communication skills.

If invited for assessment, you will need to sign a declaration regarding any criminal record, health condition or other matter which may affect your suitability. All students must then complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Although a criminal record or health condition will not necessarily be a barrier to acceptance, failure to disclose relevant information may subsequently result in your offer being withdrawn.


Full course details

In your first week you will be introduced to your personal tutor, who will meet with you regularly throughout your first year. The majority of academic teaching takes place in the autumn semester of each year and teaching methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials, case discussions and experiential exercises, designed to encourage the integration of theory and practice.


Assessment includes written assignments, individual and group presentations, research projects and a seen exam.

Practice curriculum

In February of your first year you will begin your first 80 day placement with a local social care agency, where you will be given a caseload appropriate to your level. You will be supported and guided by your Practice Educator - a fully experienced senior social worker with years of experience in the sector and who is specifically trained to enable your reflective practice in a safe environment.

You will also undertake a 90 day placement in your second year, where you can develop your experience, skills and analytical thinking to an even deeper level.

Each placement will be assessed against the requirements of the Professional Capabilities Framework and the Knowledge and Skills Statements from the Chief Social Workers in England. You will also be fully supported throughout by your personal tutor, who will meet with you to monitor your learning development and wellbeing.



We have designed our curriculum to give you an in-depth yet broad knowledge base, which we believe will make you a more effective practitioner. Rather than limiting your opportunities by specialising from the outset, you will be able to progress in your career as a social worker who is equipped to tackle a range of social care issues affecting children and adults.

Year one

Core modules

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.

Research Methods and Research Management

This module provides a general introduction to a range of key issues in the design and conduct of social research, plus guidance on writing both a dissertation proposal and a dissertation. The module combines more formal taught sessions with practical exercises, some of which are group-based.

By the end of the module you will be equipped with the methodological and practical skills to carry out independent research using a variety of research designs and methods.

Social Work Theories, Models and Methods

This module prepares you for social work practice. It concentrates on the skills necessary to engage with service users and offers an overview of the social work process of assessment, planning, intervention and evaluation (APIE).

This provides you with a basic theoretical framework for social work practice in which the nature of social work theory is examined in relation to assessment, planning, intervention and evaluation. The module also considers the influence of values on social work practice. 


Year two

Core modules


This module will introduce you to key theoretical, legal and practice aspects of safeguarding children and adults at risk. 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.

Mental Distress: Social Contexts

This course invites you to critically explore concepts of mental distress with a focus on social perspectives.

The dominant medically orientated paradigm of mental 'illness', diagnosis, detention and pharmaceutical 'treatment' will be critically explored, with consideration given to contrasting frameworks of meaning and input from 'experts by experience'. An historical overview of societal responses to mental distress; current debates and wider bio-psycho-social contexts will be explored, with an emphasis on power dynamics and the social work role.


The module encourages you to critically engage with fundamental questions at the heart of social science research and their impact on social work practice. How, for example, do we seek to 'know' the world?

Research has a new prominence within social work and social care and this module:

  • points to the importance of 'evidenced-based' research for the social work profession
  • develops a critical understanding of the range of research informing social work practice, including practitioner research
  • stresses why social work practice needs to be grounded in social research which is critical of 'official' accounts of social welfare
  • aids student participants in the 'process' of formulating research plans
  • introduces you to the electronic resources which are available at the Hallward Library
  • focuses on the research methods, particularly qualitative methods, which will be central to the writing of the dissertation
  • explores issues related to the ethics of social research
  • highlights how the presentation of research findings is a major component of research activity

Optional modules

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.

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.



The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

Social work bursaries

The Government offers a bursary scheme for social work students. These will make a contribution towards your tuition fees, and are allocated on the quality of your application and performance at the assessment day and interview.

At the time of writing, a limited number of government bursaries are still available on this programme for a 2019 start but as this is contingent on government expenditure there is a possibility this may change in the future.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.


Careers and professional development

Graduates of this course are eligible to register as qualified social workers with the Health and Care Professions Council.

A number of our alumni maintain their links with our learning family by coming back to participate in guest lectures and events, or by mentoring our students in their role as Practice Educator.

Professional accreditation


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

Our graduates move into a wide range of careers following their time in the school. Studying at postgraduate level can give you a head start in the job market by helping you to gain new knowledge and develop vital skills.

Employability and average starting salary

96.3% of postgraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £27,900 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £31,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.


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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