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.
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.
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.
Introducing Social Policy
Focusing on the main concepts and approaches to social policy, this module assumes little or no background knowledge. It looks at the means by which something is framed as a social problem, with particular reference to poverty and issues of exclusion.
You will be introduced to the main areas of social policy, mainly in the UK, and explore how different social groups experience social policies, the interaction of public, private, voluntary and informal sectors in welfare provision, and ways in which it is financed.
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 the nature of social research through exploration of the fundamental philosophical, methodological and ethical debates on 'how to think of social research' and 'how to do social research'.
The module begins with discussions of the primary features, functions and characteristics of social research, the distinctions between social research and other modes of investigating and producing knowledge about the social world and the steps typically involved in conducting social research.
Next, attention is focused on social research paradigms and how the different ontological, epistemological and methodological specificities map onto research questions, methods and designs. Attention will then be placed on some of the principal methods of data collection in the social sciences such as surveys, social experiments, interviews, visual methods, group discussions and observation.
The module concludes by examining issues of ethics, status, power and reflexivity in social research.
Understanding Contemporary Society
The first part of the module introduces you to some of the contemporary and historical debates in social sciences in the 21st century.
The social sciences are centrally concerned with the investigation of a changing world and the recent arrival of the internet, globalisation, migration and other features will be investigated. However social science is a discipline with a long historical tradition. Here it is key that you have a working knowledge of Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Du Bois to understand the world of the 19th and early 20th century. The module explores the historical and contemporary relevance of these ideas.
The second part of the course mostly relies upon the social science thinking of the 20th and 21st century. Questions such as the impact of the arrival of the consumer society, the importance of difference and diversity, the role of utopia, the importance of art and social movements, the development of the network and mediated society, issues related to gender identity and sexuality, and our shared ideas about the urban setting and the future are all covered in this part of the course.
Overall, you will be introduced to a range of different perspectives in helping you understand a changing world.