Social Work BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code


  • Level


  • Duration

    3 years Full-time

  • Starting


  • BBC at A-Level
    DDM at BTEC

  • Fees UK 24/25

    Full Time: £9,250

  • Fees International 24/25

    Full Time: £15,200

  • Location

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries
0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries
+44 (0)1604 893981


The University of Northampton’s BA Social Work degree 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 and registered social work academic staff that are actively engaged in research and regularly contribute to publications, consultancy and direct practice.

This social work university programme was approved by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and by the current regulator Social Work England (SWE)

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

By the end of the degree in social work you will have been assessed against the Professional Capabilities Framework and Social Work England (SWE) Professional Standards will be able to apply to Social Work England for registration.
Logo showing that this course is approved by the HCPC and is approved by Social Work England

Updated 28/05/2024


  • The BA Social Work course enables graduates to register with Social Work England as a Social Worker.
  • Our Social Work university programme meets the definitions set by International Federation of Social Workers.
  • A range of placements are available to give you practical social work experience.
  • Guaranteed paid internship with the Northampton Employment Promise.
  • HP laptop and software included with this course for eligible students* (*see eligibility criteria and terms and conditions).

Course Content

  • Social Workers work with some of the most vulnerable people in society at times of heightened stress. By the end of the BA Social Work degree, you will have been assessed against the Professional Capabilities Framework and Social Work England (SWE) Professional Standards and 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 of 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.

    Throughout this BA social work degree, 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. In the first year, you will attend a practice knowledge development week where you will meet and hear from a variety of organisations, learn about the many different settings in which social work takes place and gain a better understanding of the placements you will undertake in years two and three of the programme.


    The University of Northampton is central to the Northamptonshire Social Work Teaching Partnership. This Department of Education led initiative ensures that there is a close working relationship between the University of Northampton, as education providers of qualifying Social Work programmes (BA (Hons) Social Work and MA Social Work) and the statutory services of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust and Northamptonshire Adult Social Services, who provide services for a wide range of identified need in the county.

    This also means that as a University, we work closely with our partners to develop the undergraduate Social Work degree curriculum to ensure it is current, innovative and reflective of practice, identify practice placement opportunities within statutory settings (Children, Mental Health, Adult Services) and prepare  graduates for employment.

    The Teaching Partnership will additionally progress partnership working between a range of programmes at The University of Northampton that offer training and education in  Health and Social Care, Youth Work and a range of statutory and non-statutory service providers.

    List of modules:

    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 24/25. The modules relating to the academic year 25/26 will be available from June 2025.

    • 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 social work degree. The Skills for Practice module is designed to develop your skills and understanding of 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.

      • Module code: FHS_IPE20
        Status: Compulsory
      • 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 introduces students to contemporary legislation, social policy, guidance and codes of practice relevant to current professional Social Work interventions.
      • Module code: SWK1098
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to introduce key concepts, principles and frameworks of Social Work to provide students with a broad perspective of professional practice. The module incorporates the requirements for practice skills set out by the relevant regulatory bodies.
      • Module code: SWK1099
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to prepare students for their 70-day practice placement. It focuses on a range of core skills and knowledge, including reflective practice, professional curiosity, self-awareness, emotional intelligence and personal resilience. The module incorporates the requirements for practice skills set out by the relevant regulatory bodies.
      • Module code: SWK1100
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the application of critical thinking around common Social Work practice situations and making defensible judgements in an interprofessional context.
      • Module code: SWK1101
        Status: Compulsory
        This module provides students with a broad understanding 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 and behaviour, individually and socially.
      • Module code: SWK1102
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop students understanding of contemporary social issues and their relevance to social work practice. It focuses on developing an initial understanding of social issues, social policy,relevant theory and interventions.
    • 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.

      • 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 SWK1084 and SWK1085. 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: 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: SWK2085
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to prepare students for direct work with individuals, groups and families 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 users, carers and families. The module also offers opportunities for individual development through group work sessions focusing upon professional interventions.
      • Module code: SWK2086
        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.
    • You will undertake a 100-day assessed placement learning opportunity in a social work setting or other appropriate areas 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.

      • 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 supported to extend and develop learning and practical skills, developing autonomy, applying critical understanding, evaluation and reflection to professional social work.
      • Module code: SWK3042
        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.From 26/27:This module enables students to develop as independent researchers, focusing on an aspect of social work practice, through the development of a research question and literature review. It promotes the acquisition of knowledge and research mindedness which is an essential aspect of social work practice.
  • All applicants for the BA Social Work degree must have GCSE in Maths and English Language grade C/4, or a certified Level 2 equivalent, regardless of other qualifications. Applicants without these will not be considered.

    In addition to one of the following:

    • BBC at A-Level or
    • DDM at BTEC/Cambridge Technical or
    • 30 Merits and 15 Distinctions on an Access Course or
    • Pass (C and above) at T Level

    We welcome applications from students with a mix of A levels and BTEC/Cambridge Technical qualifications.

    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 experience of working with people who are experiencing challenges. This can be through volunteering or in paid employment. This experience should be over a period of at least six months and have totalled at least 250 hours.

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

    • satisfactory health declaration
    • successful Occupational Health Screening
    • 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.

  • 2024/25 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 2024/25 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £15,200
    2023/24 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted for the degree in social work relate to study in the Academic Year 23/24 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £14,750
    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 65-mile radius of the University.
    • There is also a five day ‘shadow’ placement in the first year which may lead to you incurring additional transport costs.
    • Living away from home may incur additional accommodation costs.

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

    Social Work Bursary

    The BA Social Work degree 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.

    For more information about possible funding options, please visit our Fees and Funding pages.

  • 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 in social work 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 BA Social Work 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 or dedicated International Perks page.

    * UK fee payers only (see Terms and Conditions for further details)

  • What will I be taught on the social work degree?

    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 Workers definition of social work and the curriculum is informed by it.

    How will I learn on BA Social Work?

    Our social work degree 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 on the degree in social work?

    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.

    How will I be supported to develop my academic skills on the course?

    Throughout your programme of study you will have access to the Social Work Online Workbook. This workbook is designed to support you to:

    • improve your academic study skills;
    • develop your academic confidence;
    • gain a greater understanding of what is expected of you as you study for your degree;
    • learn more about how to learn, and develop greater autonomy as a learner.


Careers and Employability

Employment prospects for Social Work university 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.

Master’s Opportunities

Successful completion of the BA social work degree could lead on to postgraduate study.

The University of Northampton’s Master’s courses are a great way to enhance the skills you have already learnt. Benefit from our 20% alumni discount on postgraduate fees.