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BA (Hons) - Social Work

Do you want to work within the community to encourage change and help others? We can help you harness your passion and become a confident and fully qualified social worker, allowing you to make a positive difference in vulnerable and disadvantaged people's lives.

Our social work degree is approved by Social Work England, and is designed to give you the knowledge, practical experience and connections that will allow you to kickstart a successful career in social work.

What’s more, our social work courses are ranked in the top 25 in the UK overall, and 3rd in the North West for students satisfied with teaching (Guardian University Guide 2023 Results).

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Approved by:

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Social Work England

Course Overview

On this social work course, you’ll get hands-on experience and the chance to talk to and work with people in the care system. You will gain insight into your future profession with 170 days of placements (70 days in year two and 100 days in year three). Our expert tutors will teach you theory through lectures, seminars and hands-on practice using facilities including hands-on training for social practice including simulations of home visits, hospital discharge meetings and court work. You will learn to work as a team and develop leadership skills to boost your confidence and future career.

You'll benefit from our great reputation as a provider when applying for jobs. Upon graduation from this BA (Hons) Social Work degree, you will be eligible to apply for registration as a social worker with Social Work England. You'll be in the ideal position for a career as a professional social worker or practitioner.

On this course you will...

  • Have access to people with lived experience of social work services, allowing you to speak to people who have had social workers in their lives. They will talk to you about their experiences within social work.
  • Learn from lecturers who take pride in being approachable and caring for your health and wellbeing. They will provide excellent support to you throughout the programme.
  • Study social work using transformative learning, including simulations of hospital discharge meetings and mock case conferences. Our mock hospital ward and mock house will help you develop your practical skills.
  • Be taught by registered social workers with many years of experience in both adult and children services. Their experience is used to guide your learning in real-life scenarios.
  • Complete 170 days of professional placements, allowing you to gain real-world experience and boost your key skills ready for when you become a qualified social worker.

Course Structure

What you will learn

Social workers assist and support the most vulnerable people in society either by protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse or through supporting people in overcoming and dealing with addiction, illness, or disability.

As part of this programme, you will engage with complex issues that impact diverse communities and affect contemporary social work practice. You will gain experience and confidence through supervised practice, developing the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to excel in Social Work. Within our Institute of Health, you will have the opportunity to engage with students in other disciplines in authentic ways, gaining a wider awareness of their roles and how to work in multi-agency teams. For example, experiential learning opportunities, such as our court day experience take place throughout each year.

We also offer the option to study 1 year of our Health and Social Care IFY before beginning this course. Not only will this prepare you to succeed in your BA, with key modules in academic and professional skills as well as baseline introductions to mental health and human anatomy, it is also ideal for those applicants who do not hold the required qualifications for direct entry but are passionate about pursuing social work. You will also be supported by our academic team to make a strong application to your chosen transfer course.

Year one

In your first year, you will learn the basic counselling, engagement and intervention skills needed to develop and maintain working relationships with service users and carers.

You will gain a background understanding of the law and social policy underpinning social work in the UK. You'll be introduced to theories about the nature of human development and society. Opportunities will be provided to help you develop into a more self-aware social worker who integrates their personal experience, philosophy and values into practice.

  • Law and Social Policy
    Introduction to social welfare, social policy, and social work legislation.
  • Politics, Discrimination and Social Justice
    Introduction to a range of theories and debates regarding inequality, social justice, diversity, and the distribution of power present within contemporary society.
  • Professional Skills 1: Core Skills for Working with People
    Introduction to the professional skills that are core to social work practice and essential when working with people with a variety of needs.
  • Development through the Life Course
    Develop an understanding of human development through the life-course.
  • Experts By Experience
    Gain an in-depth understanding of how service users and carers experience social care and social work intervention.
  • Safeguarding Adults and Children
    Introduction to the knowledge required to identify safeguarding issues for both adults and children and to formulate actions to protect vulnerable people.
Year two

In your second year, the focus moves to developing skills in analysis, reflection, and inquiry. You will gain a more detailed knowledge of social work, gaining an understanding of how to research for social work practice is generated and the techniques for carrying out research.

Additionally, students will undertake their first 70 days social work placement.

  • Professional Skills 2: Applying Models of Assessment and Intervention in Practice
    Build upon Professional Skills 1 by extending and developing your key skills set for social work practice.
  • Understanding and Developing Research and Evidence Based Practice
    Learn to critically evaluate research findings in published research and utilise the findings as a basis for evidence based practice.
  • First Placement
  • Reflection on Practice
    Learn to reflect upon core social work knowledge, values, and skills.
  • Working with Children
    Build on knowledge of social work theory and social work legislation relevant to the field of children and families work.
  • Working with Adults
    Build on knowledge of social work theory and social work legislation relevant for the field of adult social work.
Year three

In your final year, you will be challenged to take your academic and practical skills to a higher level and to become career-ready. You'll carry out an independently managed social work dissertation, focused on a specialist research topic of choice.

You will explore contemporary issues in social work, informed by the teams' research interests, encouraging you to become a research-minded practitioner. We aim to educate you to become a social worker who will be a leader of the future. You will undertake a final 100-day placement that will give you the chance to bring all prior learning and development on the programme together, and demonstrate that you are ready to complete the programme.

  • Professional Skills 3: Specialist Skills for Social Work Practice
    Building upon the previous two Professional Skills module, this module will equip you with the advanced and specialised social work skills required for practice.
  • Dissertation
  • Critical Evaluation of Social Work Practice
    Develop the ability to critically reflect, analyse and evaluate the knowledge, values, and skills developed throughout the programme and identify how theory, models of intervention, research and professional values can be synthesised in the field.
  • Organisational Factors and Leadership in Social Work
    Develop an understanding of the organisational contexts of social work practice.
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Work
    Enhance understanding of current issues which influence or impact contemporary social work.
  • Final Placement

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
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