School of Social and Political Science

Social Work


BSc Social Work degree

The BSc (Social Work) comprises two years of foundation studies in the social sciences followed by two years of professional education and training.

The social work degree provide an introduction to policy and practice in social work, as well as covering the history of social work and its place in society, and key research studies in social work.

Entry to Honours years

Towards the end of Year 2, you will apply for entry to the second half of the degree programme. If you are selected on the basis of suitability for social work, you will proceed to the professional part of the course for two more years.

If you do not wish to progress to the professional course, or who are not selected to do so, you can transfer to the main social sciences degree courses of BSc or MA (one or two years, respectively).

Years 1 and 2

In Years 1 and 2, you will take three courses in social work plus other outside subjects.

These are your pre-Honours years and we offer a broad social sciences foundation upon which to build your professional development in the final two Honours years studies.

In Years 1 and 2 you will be offered a broad introduction to social work as it is organised and practised.

You will be introduced to key landmarks in the development of social work and the policy and legal frameworks in which social workers practise. The field of practice is set in its wider socio-economic, political and policy context.

Pre-Honours Handbook: BSc Social Work pre-Honours Handbook 2020-21

Required courses

The social work programme requires that you undertake six specified courses in the first two years - three of which provide you with a social policy-related understanding of social work's wider context.

These courses are undertaken alongside another six that you will choose in consultation with your Personal Tutor.

The six specified courses are:

Year 1
  • Social Work: Making a Difference (20 credits)
  • From Research into Practice: Landmarks in Social Work Research (20 credits)
  • Social Policy and Society (20 credits)
  • Politics of the Welfare State (20 credits)

You must also take other outside courses at SQF Level 8 to a total of 40 credits.

Year 2
  • Social Work: Policy & Legal Frameworks (20 credits)
  • Social and Political Enquiry (20 credits)

You must also take other outside courses at SQF Level 8 to a total of 80 credits.

There are specific criteria which must be met to allow progression into Year 3. Please see the Social Work Programme Handbook for details.

Honours years

In the Honours years there is a shift towards professional and qualifying-level teaching and learning.

You will be taught through a combination of:

  • coursework
  • groupwork
  • practice learning
  • dissertation work 

You are required to attend regularly and participate fully in the programme.

The Programme Director (Gary Clapton) is available during semester to offer guidance and support. Each student has access to a tutor who will support both academic and practice learning.

Academic Curriculum

Year 3

The programme includes five courses including practice learning and dissertation work:

  • Social Work in Communities
  • Social Work with Individuals and Families
  • Working with Self and Others: Skills, Theories and Methods
  • Professional Practice in Social Work 1
  • Understanding Care and Control

In Year 3, you will also begin preliminary work on your dissertation.

Year 4

  • Working with Risk, Trust and Complexity
  • Professional Practice in Social Work 2
  • Dissertation in Social Work


BSc Social Work  Honours Handbook 2020-21 

Programme specifications

Programme specifications are summary statements about our degree programmes, regularly revised and approved by our Board of Studies.

They provide very useful overviews of the fundamental objectives and structures of degree programmes. They also provide key information about:

  • basic educational aims
  • anticipated learning outcomes
  • core skills students are expected to acquire through their studies
  • the structure and progression of programmes over the four years

Current versions of the Degree Programme Specifications (DPS) can be found alongside the relevant programme title in DRPS.

Student category
Programme Information