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Social Work

BA (Hons) - single

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council

Interested in becoming a social worker? Our Social Work course leads to the qualification you need in order to apply for social work registration in England with the HCPC but due to change to Social Work England. Our aim is for you to become a competent, resourceful and confident practitioner, able to work autonomously in multiprofessional environments.

Oxford Brookes’ BA (Hons) degree in Social Work has a consistent track record of delivering high quality social work education. The course has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can study full-time over three years, or opt for part-time or mixed-mode study.


Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Marston Road site

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years
  • Part time: 6 years

UCAS code


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

  • ​In the TEF the Social Work programmes are sector leading in terms of securing employment post qualification.
  • In 2016/17 96% of our students rated their social work practice placements as either good or very good.
  • You will be prepared for social work according to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England, and The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).
  • You will experience a significant component of practice-based learning, with two work placements during your course, where you work alongside your own practice educator to develop your capabilities as part of the PCF.
  • You will be studying with lecturing staff who pride themselves on their ability to ground their teaching in evidence-based practice, promoting the most current social work research.
  • You will be supported and prepared for your work placements with a specialist module in your first year, part of which takes place in our Communications Skills Suite, where we use two-way mirrors, video recording of your work and service user input to support you as you develop your skills.

The curriculum meets the requirement for social work registration as defined by the former College of Social Work, Health and Care Professions Council and QAA Benchmark Statements.


Study modules

This course leads to a professional qualification, and therefore all modules are compulsory.

As our courses are reviewed regularly, the module list may vary from that shown below.

Year 1

Year 1 is designed to provide a common academic and skills foundation for all social work practice. Core module content includes:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Law and Social Policy
  • Skills Development and Professional Communications
  • Evidence in Professional Practice
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable People.
In Year 2 you will study specialist modules on social work with children and families, adults and mental health, and you will also take modules on research methods and interprofessional practice.
  • Social Work with Adults
  • Social Work with Children and Young People 
  • Mental Health for Social Workers
  • Support to Social Work
  • Working with Teams, Groups and Communities
  • Social Work Practice 1

In Year 3 you will take modules in professional development and write a dissertation on a topic related to social work.

  • Social Work Practice 2
  • Practice Learning Interventions
  • Professional Consolidation
  • Dissertation in Social Work
  • Decision Making and Social Well-being

In both Years 2 and 3, you will spend time on placement (170 days in total), where you will work alongside your own practice educator while you are introduced to social care and social work roles.

Years 2 and 3

Work placements

To help you feel confident in starting your work placement, you take a preparatory module on Skills Development and Professional Communication in the first year. This includes specific skills development, augmented by communication practice in our skills suite.

In both Years 2 and 3 you will undertake work-based placements (70 days in Year 2 and 100 days in Year 3). Placements could involve working with children or older people, people who are disabled or those who may have mental health issues. Statutory, voluntary, private and independent organisations all offer opportunities to engage with service users in a real and meaningful way. The settings include hospitals, agency teams, family centres, day centres and residential care settings.

We offer a range of support mechanisms both within the University (including an academic adviser/link lecturer) and in the placement area itself. While on placement you will be supported by a named member of staff. Your capability in practice is assessed by a suitably qualified and experienced practice educator. They will be responsible for helping you to develop your practice to reach the required standard by the end of the your placement.

The faculty has a dedicated Practice Education Unit that provides administrative and academic support for placement learning/practice education for all its pre-qualifying courses.

Travel costs to / from placement may be incurred. Students may be eligible for a fixed contribution towards placement travel expenses through the social work bursary scheme.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Attendance pattern

Full-time students typically attend university for two days per week and are in placement for the other three days of the week, or undertaking online / independent study. This varies slightly from year to year, and depends upon the type of placement setting.

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.

Teaching and learning

The teaching and learning includes an exciting blend of lectures, outside speakers, group work and the use of multimedia. The course encourages active student participation and urges you to contribute your own knowledge and experience.

IT plays an increasingly important role in our courses and an extensive range of learning resources can be accessed through Moodle, an online repository of lectures, handouts, information and learning exercises. Some experience of IT is therefore necessary.

In health and social care no professional group works in isolation. Oxford Brookes teaches a wide range of pre-qualification and foundation courses. They include nursing (adult, children's and mental health), midwifery, occupational therapy, operating department practice, paramedic emergency care and physiotherapy. You will share your learning with these other health care students. This is a key component of the course - it is essential to developing teamwork skills and an understanding of the other roles you will encounter in practice.

The majority of teaching and assessment activities take place between Mondays and Fridays, 9am to 4pm. There may be occasions when such activities may fall outside of these hours.

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 30%70%0%
2 30%59%11%
3 9%57%34%

Approach to assessment

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

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 0%0%100%
2 13%0%88%
3 13%0%88%

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,150 2019/20: £13,410

*Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

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

Home and EU students in their second and third year of study can apply for a non-means-tested Social Work Bursary from the Department of Health (DOH). The number of bursaries is limited/capped and the number allocated by the DOH to the University reviewed annually. Students must meet eligibility and residency criteria, and be nominated to receive a bursary. The basic grant includes a fixed contribution to placement travel expenses.  Students who meet all the eligibility criteria but are not allocated one of our bursaries can receive the Placement Travel Allowance. Please check the Social Work Bursary website for further details about the social work bursary and their capping arrangements.

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112

A-Level: BBC or equivalent

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

IB Diploma: 30 points


Specific entry requirements

A-Level: 3 A-levels at grade BBC

GCSE: 3 GCSEs at Grade 4 (C) to include Mathematics and English Language

  • BTEC extended diploma candidates should aim for grades DDM, preferably in a relevant subject area.
  • Experience of paid or voluntary work with vulnerable people is needed. This experience should be sufficient to enable you to clearly demonstrate your commitment, motivation and understanding of social work's knowledge, skills and values.

Additionally, for applicants aged over 21 years:

  • Applicants who do not meet all of the academic entry criteria can still be considered if they have significant and relevant life or work experience with vulnerable people. However, we would expect to see all applicants with a GCSE at grade C or above in Mathematics and English Language plus further studies at level 3 - for example, an A-level or Open University course in a relevant subject.
Please note: all grades where stated are minimum requirements.

Entry to the course through the accreditation by Oxford Brookes University of prior certificated learning will be considered.  

We welcome applications from people who already have a degree in another subject; you may be eligible for study at MA or PGDip level.

We also welcome applications from individuals 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.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

If you are short-listed you will be invited to an interview day which comprises a written test and an individual interview.

Information about health, criminal, employment and personal history will be collected on the day of interview, but will not be disclosed to the interview team or used to make a decision about making you an offer.

If you disclose something that needs further exploration, this will be done separately from the interview process and any offer of a place will be made on a conditional basis, while your circumstances are further assessed.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need an IELTS score of 7.0 overall, with no category scoring below 6.5.

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.

How to apply

If you are an international applicant, you will need to apply early to allow enough time for obtaining a visa and completing the necessary screening if you are offered a place.

International applicants

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.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Many of the clinical and community settings you will be learning in have national and international reputations, exposing you to up-to-the-minute practice in care and support.

One of the world's great academic cities, Oxford is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education, science, the arts and many other subjects. It is a small but vibrant city with plenty of attractions for its large student population.

Support for students studying Social Work

We offer a very friendly and supportive environment in which to learn, and all our courses adopt a student-centred approach to teaching and learning. We strongly focus on encouraging you to attain your full potential as a lifelong learner.

There is a wide range of support mechanisms for students. These include 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, whether academic or personal.

The University’s support services include Upgrade, which provides advice on:

  • planning and writing essays, assignments and dissertations
  • exam preparation
  • 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.

The service's staff offer advice and support on a range of issues, including:

  • physical access
  • funding
  • alternative assessment arrangements
  • liaison with teaching staff to ensure that they are aware of your requirements.

Specialist facilities

We have excellent teaching facilities including a 280-seat lecture theatre, a dedicated communication skills suite and simulation resources, and fully networked computer rooms. We also have excellent library resources, accessible both through the web and through a range of locally based facilities on University and NHS sites.

General support services

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.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Professional accreditation

On successful completion of the BA (Hons) Social Work degree, students are eligible to apply for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) but due to change to Social Work England.

Please note, HCPC approval for this course is subject to review and can be withdrawn at any time.

Career prospects

There are a wide range of job opportunities for social workers in a variety of settings, with the possibility of employment in the statutory, private, voluntary or independent sectors. Our careers service will support you in the development of your application skills.

Current data indicates that approximately 90% of students are in employment six months after finishing the course. Local authority and private, voluntary and independent partners employ many graduates who go on to undertake the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (AYSE).

Further study

Oxford Brookes offers a variety of programmes suitable for studying at post-qualifying level. 

Course downloads

  • Social Work