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Social Work BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:


  • Level:


  • Duration:

    3 years full-time

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:


  • Fees International:


  • Location:


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For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

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0300 303 2772

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+44 (0)1604 894503

TEF Gold. Teaching Excellence Framework.


Social Work BA (Hons) is open for new applications for September 2021. You can apply now via UCAS.

Our Social Work BA (Hons) aims to equip you with the knowledge, skills and values appropriate for work in a variety of social work settings. The teaching and learning on this course is delivered by qualified/registered social work academic staff that are actively engaged in research and regularly contribute to publications, consultancy and direct practice.

Updated 22/02/2021


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Course Content

  • Social workers deal with some of the most vulnerable people in society at times of heightened stress. By the end of the course you will have been assessed against the the Professional Capabilities Framework and Social Work England (SWE) Professional Standards will be able to apply to Social Work England for registration.

    Competent practice is essential for the award and you will undertake 200 days of practice learning (placement and skills for practice) during the programme. Practice learning through placement experience is undertaken in blocks throughout the course, you will complete: 30 days experiential skills for practice at level four (in the University), 70 days (in placement) at level five and 100 days (in placement) at level six.

    In your course the value base of social work is emphasised, and you will engage in teaching designed to support your learning and understanding of anti-oppressive, anti-discriminatory and anti-racist practice in a model that promotes social justice. You will have an opportunity to undertake a five-day shadow placement in your first year with an employer provider. The first year is designed to prepare and assess you on your ‘readiness for direct practice’ prior to your first practice placement in your second year.

    Stage One

    You will be introduced to the knowledge and skills required for best social work practice which will continue to be developed throughout the duration of the course. The Skills for Practice module is designed to develop your skills and understanding about social work through teaching and learning that takes place in the University and is delivered by a range of qualified social work academics, service users and social work practitioners.

    Stage Two

    You will develop your understanding of different service user groups and service provision in social work settings. You will be provided with opportunities to work in small learning sets developing your reflective critical thinking skills, and develop your understanding of oppression, discrimination and inequality of gender. A 70-day assessed placement learning opportunity will be completed in a social work setting or other appropriate area of practice.

    Stage Three

    You will undertake a 100-day assessed placement learning opportunity in a social work setting or other appropriate area of practice. The teaching and learning at this stage of the course will focus on helping you to understand the importance of managing the professional task of social work. There will be opportunities to explore how services are provided with an emphasis on understanding risk and uncertainty in the assessment process.

    List of modules:
      • Module code: FHS_IPE20
        Status: Compulsory
      • Module code: SWK1008
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide social work students with a sound understanding of different models of social work practice and the social work process and to equip them with a range of theoretical perspectives needed to to be ready for practice.
      • Module code: SWK1054
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to become capable of using academic literacy thinking and reasoning in their current studies and in future career learning. It is designed to raise the overall attainment level of learners by helping them to develop or be identified as requiring additional support to develop the key skills and knowledge required for academic learning and where appropriate professional practice
      • Module code: SWK1067
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is for Social Work students to understand and be able to apply legislation and social policy appropriately when working with adults children and families. The module will introduce students to contemporary legislation social policy guidance and codes of practice relevant to current professional Social Work interventions and will be tested through a formal examination and a written essay.
      • Module code: SWK1068
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students with a broad understanding and appreciation of the relevance of sociological and psychological theories and approaches in understanding human behaviour within contemporary professional practice. It offers students the opportunity to consider human and growth development across the life course from a number of perspectives.
      • Module code: SWK1069
        Status: Compulsory
        The key purpose of this module is to prepare students for their 70-day practice placement at Level 5. It focuses on a range of core skills including reflective practice communication and interviewing problem solving and personal resilience. The module incorporates the requirements for skills practice set out by the relevant regulatory bodies.
      • Module code: SWK2006
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to prepare students for direct work with adults by developing an understanding of statutory responsibilities effective work outcomes and application of assessment tools. The module will also explore the diverse range of contexts in which Social Workers are employed and the implications of multidisciplinary working with other professionals service usres carers and families. The module also offers opportunities for individual development through group work sessions focusing upon professional identity
      • Module code: SWK2010
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop research mindedness for social work practice and enable learners to interrogate the utility of different types of empirical evidence both for developing practice prepareness and evaluating the outcomes of social work interventions.
      • Module code: SWK2011P
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to give students the opportunity to work under supervision in a professional practice setting. Students will be suppoorted to extend and develop learning and practical skills developed at level 4 with specific reference to SWK1049 (Skills for Practice). Students will also draw upon academic learning at Levels 4 and 5 to apply theoretical perspectives application of legsialtion anti-oppressive practice and promrote social justice to practice.
      • Module code: SWK2033
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding about Social Work Practice in the field of mental health disability working with refugees asylum seekers and substance misuse issues. Students will develop a broader understanding of social justice with regard to poverty dislocation inclusion and equality.
      • Module code: SWK2070
        Status: Compulsory
        This module aims to develop students understanding of the theory and application of assessing and managing risk in the arena of safeguarding.It will offer the students the opportunity to explore principles of social work practice within a multi agency context service provision/delivery as well as the outcomes for service users. It develops learning on social work values the nature of power and anti-oppressive practice and the context of discrimination and Human Rights Law. Students are encouraged to explore and draw on their own attitudes and values and apply this to complex cases. Students will be encouraged to explore the role of an individuals identity to include gender race sex sexuality etc when assessing and managing risk. Social Justice human rights and problem solving are at the heart of this module.
      • Module code: SWK3005P
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to give students the opportunity to work under supervision for a sustained period in a professional practice setting. Students will be suppoorted to extend and develop learning and practical skills developed at level 4 5 & 6 with specific reference to SWK2011P (70 day placement). Students will also draw upon analyse and apply academic learning from level 4 5 and 6 to apply critical understanding evaluation and reflection to the professional social work task.
      • Module code: SWK3022
        Status: Compulsory
        This module engages students in advanced level learning in respect of service users with complex needs advanced skills for practice and skills for managing stress and difficult situations. It builds on skill development at Levels 4 and 5 and supports the extended 100-day practice placement at the end of which students must demonstrate the attributes of a newly qualified worker.
      • Module code: SWK4007
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to study and interrogate one aspect of social work practice in depth. The dissertation is an opportunity to acquire advanced knowledge of a particular area of social work and to contribute to the knowledge base for social work practice. The module builds on all previous learning but in particular links to Research for Social Work at level 5. The dissertation is literature review based.
  • All applicants must have:

    • GCSE in Maths and English Language grade C/4 (or equivalent).
    • BBC at A-Level, DDM at BTEC, or 30 Merits and 15 Distinctions on an Access Course.

    In addition to standard entry requirements, you must demonstrate that you possess the entry level requirements under the Professional Capabilities Framework. This framework includes:

    • awareness of social context for social work practice,
    • self-awareness,
    • ability to develop rapport and potential to develop relevant knowledge,
    • skills and values through professional training.

    You will need to have had some experience of working in a social work/social care setting.

    All offers of a place on the programme are subject to:

      • satisfactory health declaration
      • enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and
      • successful interview by the University.
    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in all bands for study at undergraduate level.

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 2021/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £13,000
    2020/21 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 20/21 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK and EU Full Time: £9,250
    • International: £12,900
    Additional Costs

    Travel costs to and from placements, and extra costs associated with placements, may be incurred throughout your studies depending on where you are based.

    Placements are located within a 60-mile radius of the University- please make this clear throughout.

    There is also a five day ‘shadow’ placement in the first year which may lead to you incurring additional transport costs.

    You are not required to purchase any textbooks as we endeavour to ensure that all necessary material is available for free in the University library.

    Social Work Bursary

    The Social Work course attracts a very limited number of Social Work bursaries, which you may be eligible to apply for at the start of your course. However, the number of these bursaries allocated are minimal and you should therefore make appropriate financial arrangements to support your study.

    Scholarships and Bursaries

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

  • You will undertake 170 days of practice learning (placement). You will complete a student profile during your first year and, through strong partnerships between the university and employer providers, will be matched to a specific service.

    Placement learning opportunities can be outside of Northamptonshire. All placement providers are quality assured by the University. It is desirable that you hold a current UK driving licence.

    Please note that as a student Social Worker you will be expected to travel efficiently and independently for all your placements. Your placements will be within a 65-mile distance of the University of Northampton.

    Whilst on placement you will also be expected to travel effectively and independently. Being a holder of a current UK driving licence is desirable.

  • Successful completion of this course could lead on to one of our postgraduate programmes.

    Our postgraduate courses are a great way to enhance the skills you have already learnt. Benefit from our 20% alumni discount on postgraduate fees.

  • At the University of Northampton, everything we do, from funded trips to paid internships, is to give you everything you need to make a difference when you leave.

    If you join this full time degree at Northampton you will receive a laptop when your course begins. The laptops are built to a bespoke custom specification ideal for use in the seminar room, collaborative group work or studying at home.

    Whatever your ambitions, we’re here to help you to achieve them. We’ll support you to identify the skills you’re learning during your course, find your strengths and secure practical experience so that when it comes to applying for jobs or further study you’ll feel confident in standing out from the crowd. We’ve created the Northampton Employment Promise because we are so confident that if you focus on your studies and complete one of our awards you’ll be highly employable by the time you graduate. Putting you in a great position to secure employment or continue your studies.

    To check out the full list of perks visit our Student Perks page.

  • The programme is approved by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and supported by Social Work England (SWE)

    Logo showing that this course is approved by the HCPC and is approved by Social Work England

    The programme enables graduates to register with Social Work England as Social Workers.

    By the end of the course you will have been assessed against the the Professional Capabilities Framework and Social Work England (SWE) Professional Standards will be able to apply to Social Work England for registration.

  • Social Work students participate in a team day at Nene White Water Centre

    Students experienced a task-based day of fun, while learning to work as a team. They worked together to design, build and race a hand-made raft.

    The students answered questions about how building a raft will help them respond to anxiety provoking situations, how it will prepare them for forthcoming placements and what the event as a whole told them about their own personality.

  • What will I be taught?

    BA Social Work prepares you for professional social work practice by developing your practice skills and your skills and knowledge in working with other professions. Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to develop a range of  communication skills through experiential teaching and learning facilitated by Service Users and Social Work Practitioners in readiness for direct practice. The course raises your political awareness and encourages you to be creative, critical and reflective thinkers.

    The Social Work subject team are committed to the International Federation of Social Work definition of social work and the curriculum is informed by it.

    How will I learn?

    This course promotes an approach to learning that actively engages you with key issues and themes in Social Work practice. Teaching methods that are used on this course include group work, role play, individual skills development, enquiry-based learning, seminars and lectures.

    You will be able to incorporate your academic learning to two supervised and assessed placement learning opportunities. Over the three years you will experience a range of social work services and work with service users.

    How will I be assessed?

    Assessment of learning during the course takes many forms and covers both theory and practice. Each module is assessed against the learning outcomes for the module. The format of the assessments includes essays, posters, reports, presentation, and workbooks of evidence.

    There is only one exam in the course, a law exam in the first year. Second- and Third-Year placements are assessed through portfolios. In your third year you will complete a dissertation.

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Careers and Employability

Employment prospects for Social Work graduates are excellent and you will be able to pursue various social work careers across the country.

Successful graduates will need to apply to Social Work England for registration. As Social Worker is a protected title, you need to have this registration before you can practice as a social worker. Only those graduating from a social work course can apply for this.

If you leave the course before completion, you may be able to be awarded an intermediate award, but you will not be able to register as a social worker.