(from left to right) Eloho Adunola Etireri, Nigerian, Law UG ; Flora Elspeth Hodgson, British, Nutrition UG

Social Work BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

Embark on a career as a social worker and make a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable individuals and communities. As a social worker, you’ll play a vital role in protecting vulnerable individuals, championing human rights and inspiring positive change. You could work with a wide range of people including children, older people, carers or people with disabilities. This is a role that is challenging but also incredibly rewarding.

Our BA Social Work degree is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills and practical experience you need to succeed in this field. From theory to practice you’ll study relevant legislation, policies and guidance for social work practice. You’ll also have the opportunity to shadow social workers and observe their practice.

You’ll develop essential skills like communication, building relationships, and report writing. Learn through hands-on experience in the classroom and simulated skills days.  You’ll be fully supported in your two placements, enabling you to apply your skills and knowledge in a learning environment.

Our course is regulated by Social Work England and prepares you to practice in both adults and children’s services. Successful completion of the course makes you eligible to apply for registration as a social worker with Social Work England. Be empowered to make a lasting positive difference to society.

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Communication Skills for Practice

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to Social Work

Mandatory

Year 1

Investigating Social Worlds

Mandatory

Year 1

Social Science Uncovered 1

Mandatory

Year 1

Social Science Uncovered 2

Mandatory

Year 2

From Theory to Practice

Mandatory

Year 2

Human Growth and Development

Mandatory

Year 2

Law for Social Work

Mandatory

Year 2

Practice Learning 1 - 80-day placement

Mandatory

Year 2

Social Work Research

Mandatory

Year 3

Practice Learning 2 - 90-day placement

Mandatory

Year 3

Social Understandings of Mental Distress

Mandatory

Year 3

Social Work with Adults and Families

Mandatory

Year 3

Social Work with Children and Families

Information Icon

About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Monday 11 September 2023.

Modules are delivered through lectures, seminars, workshops and work-based learning opportunities. We use a variety of teaching methods to help you develop the professional knowledge and practical skills required to become a qualified social worker, including the use of audio-visual technology, role-play, and information communication technology.

Across the programme you will have input from service users who are experts by experience, they will assist your learning through providing valuable insight into their lived experience.

During year one, you will shadow a social worker and observe their practice. In subsequent years, university-based learning during the first semester is followed by full-time work experience in a social work-related setting. This is 70 days in year two, and 80 days in year three. Class sizes vary between 30 to 50 students, with seminars held with 10 to 15 students at a time.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
     

Social work students are assessed against the professional standards for social work as well as academically.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Examinations
  • Presentation
  • Reflective portfolios
  • Poster submissions

A typical week will comprise of around 13 hours of teaching, split between lectures and seminars. You will have regular tutorials with your personal tutor during each year of your study. In addition, you are expected to undertake 27 hours a week of self-directed study.

When on placement in years two and three, your hours will equate to full-time work: approximately 37 hours per week over five days. Your personal tutor will provide support throughout your placement.

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

Graduate destinations

While most of our graduates work as social workers in local authority children's or adults' services, some take up positions in the independent sector. Our graduates have gone on to work in organisations including Derby City Council, Framework Housing Association, and Nottinghamshire County Council.

Average starting salary and career progression

Newly qualified social workers could expect to earn £25,000 and this could rise up to £40,000 as you take on additional tasks, gain responsibilities and experience.*

* British Association of Social Workers.

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 consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

University undergraduate student Cole Pearce studying in Nightingale Hall accommodation's library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

There is a holistic coverage of all aspects of social work across the course. Teaching includes a range of modules and skill-days that feature practical and theory-based learning. The course is the perfect place to develop as a socially conscious person as well as a social work professional.

Lewis Elgie

BA Social Work

Course data

Open Day June 2022