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Social Work

MA / PGDip

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

We are offering two social work qualifications - an MA and a PGDip - for applicants who hold a relevant degree and experience of paid or voluntary work with vulnerable people.

The Social Work MA is a two-year full-time course (maximum 5 years on a part-time basis) while the PGDip can typically be gained in 22 months.

Graduates completing the MA or PGDip are eligible for registration as a qualified social worker with the social work regulatory body, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) but due to change to Social Work England.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Marston Road site

Course length

  • Full time: MA/PGDip: 2 years (inclusive of summer months)
  • Part time: maximum of 5 years

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Our graduates are highly employable with virtually 100% obtaining  employment on successful completion of their programme.
  • Social Work courses at Oxford Brookes University have been ranked highly in league tables (The Guardian and The Sunday Times University Guides).
  • This is an evidence-informed course delivered via innovative mixed mode learning methods (classroom, distance and work-based).
  • You will have access to a wide range of work-based learning opportunities in Oxfordshire and neighbouring authorities and allied agencies.
  • Our teaching benefits from the input of experienced researchers working in established areas of children and families, drugs and alcohol, ageing, and inter-professional education and collaborative practice.
  • We provide a broad range of student support schemes to facilitate your learning and development.

Professional accreditation

Graduates completing the MA or PGDip are eligible to apply for for registration as a Qualified Social Worker with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

This course is currently approved by the HCPC, but please note this approval is subject to review and can be withdrawn at any time.

The core modules are:

  • Skill Development and Professional Communication
  • The Policy and Law Context of Social Care
  • Social Work Practice 1 (70-day practicum experience)
  • Social Work Theory, Assessment and Evidence-Informed Intervention with Adults
  • Foundations in Child Welfare and Wellbeing
  • Social Work Practice 2 (100-day practicum experience)
  • Social Work Theory, Assessment and Evidence-Informed Intervention with Children and Families

In addition, MA students will be required to undertake

  • Applied Research Methods
  • Dissertation

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly, the list of modules may vary from that shown here.

Approach to assessment

Our modules are assessed in a variety of ways, including written assignments, class tests, portfolios, presentations and a dissertation.


Practice placements

Both awards require two practice placements, which will include attendance throughout the summer months.

For Full-time students Social Work Practice 1 is completed in the 1st Year during Semesters 2 and 3. Social Work Practice 2 is completed in the 2nd Year during Semesters 1 and 2.

The Part-time mode of study allows more flexibility as to when placements can be undertaken. Usually, for Part-time students Social Work Practice 1 is completed in the 2nd Year during Semesters 2 and 3 and Social Work Practice 2 is completed in the 3rd Year during Semsters 1 and 2.

Attendance pattern

The full-time route is a full-time course which requires five days a week commitment to learning in the University, in practice placement and distance learning.

A typical part-time route would be three days a week. This is dependent on modules taken and the number of years. Practice placement requires a minimum of three days per week attendance.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £7,340 (Masters) £6,610 (Diploma)

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £3,740 (Masters) £3,370 (Diploma)

International - full time: 2019/20: £14,050

International - part time fee: 2019/20: £1,520 per single module

Where full time & part time fees are quoted there will be approximately a 2% increase on fees each year. For information there are 9 single modules to pay for in a full masters programme

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Social Work Bursary

At the time of writing, Postgraduate social work students may be eligible to apply for the social work bursary (SWB). Please visit the NHSBA website for further details. The social work bursary is administered by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBA) on behalf of the Department of Health who set the number of bursaries available each year. Performance at interview day will be used to rank applicants in order for the SWB, with applicants for the full MA given priority over applicants of the PGDip.

Entry requirements

You can apply for either the MA in Social Work or the PGDip in Social Work. Both courses lead to fully qualified social work status.

You must:

  • have a good honours degree (2:1 or above for the MA; 2:2 or above for the PGDip), or a professional qualification equivalent to an undergraduate degree, normally in a cognate area
  • have GCSE Maths and English or equivalent at least to grade C or above, and basic IT skills with reliable access to the internet, preferably through a broadband connection.


  • You should have experience of paid or voluntary work with vulnerable people. This experience should be sufficient to enable you to clearly demonstrate your commitment and motivation, and your understanding of the knowledge, skills and values of social work. This would typically be the equivalent of one year’s full-time experience of social care or health care-related practice in either the statutory or the voluntary sector. Caring in a personal capacity may in some instances be acceptable as relevant experience.

Candidates who did not complete GCSE English Language within the UK will be asked to obtain one of the following:

  • IELTS: a score of 7.0 overall and with no category scoring below 6.5
  • Cambridge Certificate in Proficiency in English: grade C or above.

All applicants must be screened for fitness to practise and undertake a full Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Credit Transfer

Candidates may be admitted with credit from APL or APEL for the University based part of the programme. In exceptional circumstances where the student can demonstrate the required capabilities and meet assessment criteria, credit for placement learning will be considered. For more information contact the Enquiry Centre 01865 484848 or speak to programme staff at open or interview days.

We welcome applications from individuals as well as those sponsored or supported by their employer.


All applicants will be screened for fitness for practice and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

English language requirements

If you did not complete GCSE English Language within the UK, you will be asked to obtain one of the following:

  • IELTS: a score of 7.0 overall and with no category scoring below 6.5
  • Cambridge Certificate in Proficiency in English: grade C or above.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

International applicants will:

  • need to apply early to allow enough time for obtaining visas if offered a place
  • be asked to pay a deposit of £1,000 to secure a place on the course.

Applications are dealt with on a first come, first served basis, so please act early to avoid disappointment.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

Graduates of our programmes will have fulfilled the requirements for social work training specified by the Department of Health and the Health and Care Professions Council.


On successful completion of the MA and PGDip programmes graduates are eligible to apply for registration as a qualified social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council (due to change to Social Work England), and then to enter employment.

Graduates of the MA programme will be well-placed to apply for a place on an MPhil / PhD programme should they wish to pursue a career in research at a later date.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

All our courses adopt a student-centred approach to teaching and learning and are strongly focused on encouraging you to attain your full potential as lifelong learners.

There is a range of support for students, such as academic advisers, who will facilitate your academic development, and student support co-ordinators, who provide a drop-in service for queries about any aspect of student life, covering both academic and personal welfare.

The university’s support services include Upgrade, which provides advice on study skills such as planning and writing essays, assignments and dissertations, research, or preparing for an exam. They also give advice on statistics and maths. There is a dedicated Student Disability and Dyslexia Service, which provides support for students with disabilities including sensory and mobility impairments, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, mental health problems and medical conditions. Here, staff offer advice and support on a range of issues, including physical access, funding, alternative assessment arrangements and liaison with teaching staff to ensure that they are aware of your requirements.

EU/International students

The university also provides a comprehensive range of support networks and services to EU/international students. For more information, go to www.brookes.ac.uk/international/support

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

We have a number of promising and senior experienced researchers working in established areas including children and families, drugs and alcohol, ageing, interprofessional education and collaborative practice.

See these links for more detail on our research in Children and Families

Ageing: Dr Sally Richards is a member of the Gero8 Collaboration of Social Work academics undertaking and promoting research in gerontological social work.

Disability: Dr Nick Pike is a Visiting Research Fellow, an experienced academic and a practitioner specialising in disability

You will find details on other areas of research in The Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health at: