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Our Social Work MA 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 who are actively engaged in research and who regularly contribute to academic publications, consultancy and direct practice.
This course has a January intake only.
Waterside is our purpose-built campus, designed to provide you with the learning experience and opportunities you expect from a modern university.
We know our staff and students want the very best, and that’s what Waterside will provide. It is the embodiment of our mission to transform lives and inspire change.
We’ve designed Waterside to put you first – it is flexible to the changing needs of our students but also makes the most of our fantastic staff. A University that teaches in a way that mirrors the skills you will need when you graduate, a place that provides everything you will need to live and learn, and that will provide a home-from-home as you enjoy one of the best and most fulfilling experiences of your life.
Our new campus opens its doors in September 2018 and while Waterside will be home to most of our teaching, we’ll also be making use of the excellent facilities around the town. We’ll also be retaining some facilities at our current campuses (Park and Avenue) on a temporary basis for the initial period. These will mostly be used to offer off-campus accommodation options to make sure we have a great range of rooms to suit everyone.More about our campuses »
Social workers deal with some of the most vulnerable people in society at times of heightened stress. By the end of this course you will have been assessed against the Standards of Proficiency for Social Work and the Professional Capabilities Framework. Once you have qualified, you will be able to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) 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 course. Practice learning through placement experience is undertaken in blocks of the course and skills for practice:
- 30 days experiential skills for practice during Year one (in the University)
- 70 days (in placement) during Year 1
- 100 days (in placement) during Year two
Please note: As a student Social Worker you will be expected to travel efficiently and independently for all of your placements. Your placements will be within a 60 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.
During this year your knowledge and skills for social work practice is developed and assessed. The value base of social work is emphasised and you will engage in teaching that is designed to support your learning and understanding of anti-oppressive, anti-discriminatory and anti-racist practice in a model that promotes relationship based practice. The Preparing for Professional Social Work Practice module is designed to develop your skills, knowledge and understanding about social work. This course is delivered by a range of qualified social work academics, service users and social work practitioners, which includes 30 days experiential skills. You will have an opportunity to undertake a five-day shadow placement with an employer provider in a social work setting. The first year is designed to prepare and assess your ‘readiness for direct practice’ prior to the 70 day placement.
You will develop your understanding of different service user groups and service provision in social work settings, building on the teaching and learning during Year one. The teaching will provide opportunities for you to work in small learning sets developing your reflective critical thinking skills. A module on diversity develops your understanding of the correlations between oppression, discrimination and inequality and how gender shapes organisations and service delivery. A 100-day assessed placement learning opportunity will be completed in a social work setting. During this final year you will also undertake research which is either empirical or literature based which is presented in a final dissertation.
Studying the Social Work MA will give you the opportunity to enrol onto the Developing Housing Practice module. This is a 10 credit level 7 module which, on completion, gives you partial accreditation with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) which is equivalent to 10 credits towards postgraduate housing related training. This would be offered to you as an elective online module. There are a number of overlaps between housing and social work which include: vulnerable adults, people seeking asylum, safeguarding children, domestic abuse, hate crime, community safety and anti-social behaviours. This optional module would support your employability and will offer you a unique partial accreditation in housing-related training which complements social work.
Course modules (17/18)
Life Span 1: Human Growth and Development (20 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM012
- Core module Y
Diversity (20 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM011
- Core module Y
Social Work Law and Policy (20 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM015
- Core module Y
Dissertation and Research Skills for Effective Social Work Practice (60 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM010
- Core module Y
Preparing for Professional Social Work Practice (20 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM014
- Core module Y
Life Span 2: Assessing and Managing Risk in Child and Adult Protection (20 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM013
- Core module Y
Developing Housing Practice, Knowledge and Provision (20 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM016
- Core module N
70 Day Practice Placement (0 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM018P
- Core module N
100 Day Practice Placement (0 Credits)
- Module code: SWKM019P
- Core module N
Module information is quoted for 17/18 entry. Please note that modules run subject to student numbers and staff availability, any changes will be communicated to applicants accordingly.
Methods of Learning
This course promotes an approach to learning that actively engages you with key issues and themes within Social Work. Methods of learning used on this course include group work, role play, individual skills development, inquiry based learning, seminars and lectures. You will have the opportunity to incorporate your academic learning to two supervised and assessed placement learning opportunities. Over the two years you will experience a range of social work services and work with service users.
Facilities and Special Features
- prepares you for professional social work practice
- enables you to develop your practice skills
- develops your skills and knowledge in working with other professions
- raises your political awareness and encourages you to be a creative, critical and reflective thinker
- the Social Work subject team sign up to and hold the International Federation of Social Work definition of social work
- you will have the opportunity to develop a range of communication skills in the first year through experiential teaching and learning facilitated by Service Users, Social Work Practitioners and Practice Educators
You will undertake 170 days of practice learning (placement). You will complete a profile from your placement experiences during the first year of study and, through strong partnerships between the University and employer providers, you will be matched to a specific service placement. You will be expected to be able to travel effectively to and from the placement and be able to carry out community based duties (where required) during the placement which may involve independent travel. It is therefore desirable that you hold a current UK driving licence. Placement learning opportunities can be outside of Northampton. All placement providers are quality assured by the University.
How to apply
For application information please see our how to apply page.
The Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) web page also provides information to prospective applicants about Standards of Proficiency and Regulation.
If you are successful in applying for this course you will be invited to attend a formal interview with academic tutors, practitioners and service users.
An undergraduate degree (minimum 2:2 classification or above) or other recognised equivalent qualification.
For entry onto the MA Social work we ask that you hold at least a GCSE grade C/4 in English Language and Mathematics (O level grade C or CSE grade 1 are the equivalent). Key Skills Level Two qualifications are also accepted as equivalents. If your first language is not English an IELTS score of 7 is required. All candidates will be asked to declare any DBS cautions or convictions prior to interview and enrolled students are subject to regular monitoring of their DBS status in line with HCPC and University guidelines.
You will be required to declare that you have these qualifications in order to be eligible to complete the course:
- ability to write thoughtfully, insightfully and coherently about your motivation in applying for the course and understanding the commitment to the social work profession.
- relevant work experience. You must demonstrate (100 days or equivalent) relevant previous experience in social care or a related area. This could be paid or voluntary work.
- If you haven’t graduated from your undergraduate course yet you will need to provide an academic reference on your application, indicating your predicted degree classification. If you have already graduated you can also provide a professional reference.
- all applicants must confirm prior to interview/offer decision making that they have the ability to use basic IT facilities, including Microsoft Office software, email and the internet for research purposes, and you may be asked to specify how these skills have been obtained.
Fees and funding
Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 18/19 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.
If you are starting a postgraduate Master’s course in 2017/18 you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,280 through Student Finance England.
For more information on the postgraduate loans please visit the GOV.UK website.
Travel costs to and from placements, and extra costs associate with placements, may be incurred throughout your studies depending on where you are based.
The Social Work programme 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.
Please note you will not be able to get a postgraduate loan if you will be getting a Social Work Bursary – unless you only get a Placement Travel Allowance.
This course is available to international students.
Full-time international tuition fees
For information on our international tuition fees, please see our Tuition fees for international students page.
Please note that tuition fees for EU students will remain the same as UK fees for 2018/19. For more information, please visit the Gov UK website.
How to apply as an international student
For information on how to apply to study with us, please see our How to apply page.
Scholarships available to international students
For information on the scholarships available to you as an international student, please see our International scholarships page.