Social Work

Social Work is concerned with meeting the basic needs of people and communities and promoting social change. Being a confident Social Worker means helping people in diverse and constantly changing social contexts, working with a range of professions and adapting as situations change.

Social Work at Oxford Brookes has an excellent reputation for the quality of our education, research and student support. We provide placement opportunities in a wide range of settings including hospitals, agency teams, family centres, day centres and residential care homes. In addition, we have substantial and growing links with overseas universities, health and social care environments, and other education collaborators.


Our courses are designed and delivered to foster multidisciplinary perspectives, cultural competence, activism in public and social health policy, interdisciplinary and creative collaboration and professional leadership.

CourseAward and durationCourse focus
Social WorkBA (Hons) 3 yearsThis degree is for people who want to work as a registered professional Social Worker. It is also suitable for people who want to work in the voluntary or community sector to develop an approved level of skill and knowledge.
Social WorkPGDip 2 yearsIf you already have a degree and are interested in becoming a social worker, our PGDip degree can lead to the qualification you need. This course has seven modules.
Social WorkMSc 2 yearsIf you already have a degree and are interested in becoming a social worker, our PGDip degree can lead to the qualification you need. This course has the seven modules on the PGDip plus two additional modules (Applied Research Methods and Dissertation).
Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) Stage 1

20 level 7 credits, 12 months Distance Learning

If you want to act as Practice Educator for Social Work students on placements, you need to complete the PEPS course. Stage 1 covers providing an appropriate learning environment for student placements.

Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) Stage 2

20 level 7 credits, 12 months Distance Learning

Stage 2 is the second part of the Practice Educator Professional Standards course that enables you to act as a Practice Educator for Social Work students while they are on placement.


Children and Families research group

Children and Families

The focus of the work of the Children and Families Research Group is around children, young people and family wellbeing. Our research around children covers the prenatal period, up to age 18 years. It includes research on safeguarding, child protection, child health, looked-after children, and the role of the family unit including parenting, school, and community influences on child and family wellbeing.

We are interested in research that makes a difference to the lives of children and families and improves health and wellbeing outcomes. Our family-focused research covers additional topics such as domestic violence and abuse, family community services and the development of resilience.

Placement experiences

“The atmosphere at TCS is exceptionally inclusive.”

Kate Taheri, The Children's Society

I am so pleased with my experience that I have decided to work for TCS as a volunteer on a separate project when my placement ends.

“I felt challenged and at the same time protected and nurtured.”

Mandy Arnold (graduated), Family & Friends Team, Reading Borough Council

Most importantly even though they are such a close knit team, I was immediately welcomed and felt like I was part of them. They took my views seriously and commented that they enjoyed having a student as it gave the opportunity to see things from different viewpoints. I would say that being a student in this team is certainly challenging and you have to be prepared to put the work in and learn a vast amount in a short time, but the rewards are significant.

“The placement overall was above and beyond what I expected, it is an organisation able to cover all aspects of learning as providing great support along the way.”

Daniel Lee, Launchpad Reading

I could not of been happier to been given the opportunity to have my placement with Launchpad Reading as well as not being happier about the experiences I’ve had and learnt from.

“Shared Lives service gives the student the chance to work with service users, families and carers which gives students a better understanding of all areas of social work.”

Anastasia Edjourian, Shared Lives Scheme, Oxfordshire County Council

The staff and support received has been exceptional and very motivating. The team has given constant support and reassurance including understanding and flexible manager.

“All staff are welcoming and helpful.”

Sue Porter, Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Service, Banbury I was made

to feel as part of the team right from the start. I was challenged, encouraged and given the chance to develop my skills and knowledge at every given opportunity.

“The variety of experience the placement has to offer is exceptional, and the team values the importance of providing a rich learning experience for students.”

Anna Kieran, Children's Disability Team, Oxford County Council

Students are well supported by experienced and supportive social workers who are happy to share their experiences, successes, and flaws. The team recognise my skills and aspirations beyond the boundaries of placement and into the world of work. I am very grateful for all of their support and highly recommend the placement to any student who wishes to work in a child or family setting when they qualify.

“SSAFA gives student access to all types of social work experiences as well as offering a unique chance to work with a diverse population such as the military who face different issue compared to civilian lifestyle.”

Sarah Duviau, SSAFA, RAF Brize Norton Team

The SSAFA team are very supportive and help to explain how social work and armed forces policy work together or how to challenge it.

“This placement enabled me to develop my confidence by working directly with children, young people and families on a weekly basis...”

Martha Mirembe, Bicester Early Intervention Hub

...undertaking group work and delivering presentations to the children was the best experience I have taken with me.

“I feel this placement supported my professional and personal growth.”

Lynn Roberts, The Porch Steppin' Stone Centre

I would recommend this placement to anyone but in particularly students who have previous experience. It does challenge you on so many levels but by the end of the placement you have a better understanding of self and what you bring into practice with support to do so. This builds your emotional intelligence and self-awareness and skills in using reflection, and you experience first-hand the importance of colleague support and supervision.