Social Work MSc

2020-21 (also available for 2021-22)

It’s not too late to apply for September 2020. Find out more

Start date

21 September 2020


2 years full-time

Places available (subject to change)


Phone contact: +44 (0)1484 471836

About the course

This is a professional qualifying course in social work and is intended for graduates who are committed to a future career in social work.

It will assist you in developing the key skills required to become a confident and competent social worker in line with the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work.

The course offers you the opportunity to work with service users, carers, social work practitioners and experienced university tutors, as well as engaging with an internationally recognised research department in social work.

This is a professional qualifying course in social work and is intended for graduates who are committed to a future career in social work. The course is designed to help prepare you to work in all social care settings including residential, field, day care, healthcare and education within statutory, voluntary and private sectors, as well as multi-disciplinary settings and work teams.

This is managed and delivered by a long-standing partnership between the University and local social work agencies, including statutory, voluntary and service user-led organisations. You will have the opportunity to put what you have learnt into practice through undertaking two assessed work placements and a work-shadowing experience, helping you to enhance your academic and personal development. The course aims to produce practitioners who can critically reflect on their practice and promote anti-oppressive practice in a multicultural society. You will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills including communication, assessment, analysis and reflection, as well as gaining knowledge in a range of areas, such as legislation, policy and how people interact with their environments.

Course detail

Core modules:

Assessment: Planning in Social Work

You will critically explore the underpinning theory and methods of assessment, which will provide the opportunity for you to develop the ability to hypothesise, assess and analyse situations. You will also learn how to construct support plans and explore ways of assessing children, families and adults. Assessment will involve producing two pieces of coursework. Firstly you will undertake a presentation and written report focusing on families and children. Secondly you will produce a written essay, which will focus on the assessment of vulnerable adults and their carers.

Law and Social Work

This module will help you to examine the complexity of the relationship between legislation and social work practice. You will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge of a wide range of professional social work laws and examine how legislation sets the boundaries for social work practice. Assessment will be through four informal exams which will be assessed on a pass, refer or fail basis and a piece of written coursework.

Readiness for Practice

This module will support you in your preparation for practice. You will conduct an interview with a service user in which you will be asked to demonstrate your social work skills. The service user interviewed will provide you with feedback and you will be required to write a commentary on the interview experience. Based on the interview and commentary, a decision about your readiness to undertake direct practice will be made by a panel of tutors, service users, carers and employer representatives.

Reflective Practice

You will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge, skills and understanding of professional practice in accordance with the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work. The module emphasises the importance of evidence based practice with an ability to critically and systematically analyse, evaluate and apply theory to practice. You will have the opportunity to develop an awareness of the key skills required to become a competent, confident and resilient worker. Assessment will be through two pieces of coursework, a written assignment based on practice, and a digital story reflecting upon a critical incident in practice. You will also construct a Professional Development Plan which will be assessed on a pass, refer or fail basis.

Working Together with Service Users and Carers

This module provides the opportunity for you to develop a critical understanding of what it is like to be a service user or carer in today’s society. You’ll participate in interactive sessions with service users, service providers and carers to have the chance to develop your understanding of the issues faced by particular groups. Assessment will be through coursework involving a written reflective account of three of the interactive sessions as well as an essay demonstrating your understanding of assessment, empowerment and communication, discussing how, as a social worker, you would work in partnership with a service user to resolve a fictitious problem.

First Practice Placement

This module provides you with the opportunity to apply and develop your knowledge, skills and values in a practice setting. You will complete 70 days of assessed practice in a social work/care setting where you will be supported by a practice educator. You will be required to demonstrate that you can practice in accordance with the Professional Capabilities Framework for social work. Throughout the placement you will produce coursework in the form of a portfolio, which details your development and includes a final report from your Practice Educator, who will recommend a pass or fail in practice.

Social Work Knowledge and Interventions

This module provides the opportunity for you to critically consider how social workers can apply research, theory and knowledge gained from sociology, psychology, human growth and development to social work practice. You will study a range of social work interventions and how these can be critically applied in practice. You will have the opportunity to develop key skills which will enhance your confidence in being a research minded professional.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are considered on an individual basis and are normally:

  • An Honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject
  • Or an academic reference indicating you are expected to obtain an Honours degree (2:1 or above)
  • GCSE English Language and Maths (or equivalent) at grade 4 or above, or grade C or above if awarded under the previous GCSE grading scheme
  • You also need a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance prior to registration

We arrange these as part of the application process. You will be required to sign a self-declaration at the start of each year. All police contact during the course must be reported to the course leader as a matter of urgency and may lead to suspension or termination.

At interview you will be required to declare any involvement by social services relating to children or vulnerable persons living in your care or for whom you provide care, living in a household in which you live, or have lived. Information you provide may have to be discussed with the Local Authority Designated Officer before a decision is made on your application.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 7.0 overall with no element lower than 6.5, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

You may be eligible to gain Recognition for your Prior Learning (RPL).

If you have alternative qualifications you may wish to contact us for advice before applying.

You will be shortlisted on the strength of your written application and must demonstrate how you have used your previous experience (for example paid, voluntary, personal and educational) to help you develop some knowledge and understanding of the tasks and roles undertaken by social workers.


During the course you will undertake a 70 day placement in year 1 and a 100 day placement in year 2. These are managed and assessed by experienced practice educators, who provide opportunities for you to develop and apply the knowledge, value base and professional capabilities required of social workers in qualified practice.

Placements are undertaken in wide variety of settings within the voluntary and statutory sectors. For example, you may work with Local Authorities, national charities, drug and alcohol services, housing agencies, sexual health services and a wide variety of other social care and welfare services. Placements are also provided across a wide range of service user groups and you may have the opportunity to work with vulnerable adults, children and families, young people, people with learning disabilities or people with mental health issues.

Teaching excellence

  1. Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated institution delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning of the highest quality found in the UK (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2017).
  2. We won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award recognising the University’s commitment to world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners and critical thinkers (HEA, 2017).
  3. Here at Huddersfield, you’ll be taught by some of the best lecturers in the country. The University is joint first in England for the proportion of staff with teaching qualifications (HESA 2020).
  4. For the past ten years, we’ve been the UK’s leading university for National Teaching Fellowships too, which rate Britain’s best lecturers. It’s all part of our ongoing drive for teaching excellence, which helps our students to achieve great things too.
  5. We’re unique in the fact that all our permanent teaching staff* have, or are completing, doctorates. This expertise, together with our teaching credentials, means that students here learn from knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers and academics who are at the forefront of their subject area.

*Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching; research degrees applies to those on contracts of more than half-time.

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

Changes to a course you have applied for

If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.

Changes to your course after you enrol as a student

We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:

Changes to option modules

Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.

Major changes

We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.

For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.

Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

Termination of course

In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.