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.
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 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
- Professional Practice and Partnership Working
- 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.
In Year 3 you will take modules in professional development and write a dissertation on a topic related to social work.
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
Human Growth and Development 1: The module aims to introduce the concept of using evidence in professional practice, to develop skills of literature searching and evaluation, and to discuss inclusion, diversity, beliefs and attitudes, social and environmental factors in relation to team working in professional practice.
Human Growth and Development 2: This module aims to give an understanding of some of the key personality theories and some additional factors, including childhood attachment, which shape and influence personality and behaviour across the lifespan.
Legal Aspects of Social Care: This module provides an overview of the legal context of social care and social work practice in England and Wales. It also explores the relationship between the legal and policy framework, service provision and empowerment.
Social Policy: Social Policy is the study of social welfare, and its relationship to politics and society. It identifies the factors that impact on welfare, and the role of the state in mediating, promoting or reducing them.
Skills Development and Professional Communication: The module focuses on the assessment of suitability to work with a vulnerable population with the title of student social worker.It incorporates a twenty day skill development pathway to prepare for starting social work practice.
Safeguarding Vulnerable People: This introduces a foundation level understanding of safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, enabling students begin to consider the impact of abuse and neglect on people's lives, and to consider an appropriate professional response.
Evidence in Professional Practice: This module aims to provide an introduction to using evidence in professional practice which will form a basic grounding for academic and practice development throughout the remainder of the professional course and career for which the student is studying.
Social Work with Adults: This informs and supports students in preparation for practice with the most vulnerable adults in society. It focuses on social work practice from statutory and independent sector perspectives.
Social Work with Children and Young People: This helps students explore and evaluate children's rights and needs and the role of the state when these are not met. The law, theories of child development and evidence informed practice and research are used to explore the role of the social worker in relation to children, young people and their families.
Mental Health for Social Workers: Social Workers frequently interface with individuals and families challenged by Mental Health Disorders. This module will introduce students to the models, theories, legislation, research and practice, which provide the context for current mental health services.
Support to Social Work: This module seeks to develop students' introductory level knowledge and skill base, following successful completion of the first year of the programme, in order to provide an applied context to social work theories, methods and models.
Social Work Practice 1: This is a 70-day placement, by the end of which, students are able to demonstrate a developing understanding of the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Social Work (SOPS), and how they are able to evidence meeting them, together with the Professional Capability Framework (PCF) requirements, at the ‘End of First Placement’ level. The placement will be in a private, voluntary or independent sector setting. The module includes five preparation/skill development days which will occur before and during the placement.
Working with Teams, Groups and Communities: The focus of this module will be on how health and social care professionals work collaboratively in order to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups and diverse communities. This will lead to a greater awareness of the multiple strategies used by organisations and groups to develop supports that meet their own needs, often outside the framework of statutory commissioning.
Social Work Practice 2: This is a 100-day placement in a social welfare or care setting, undertaking statutory social work tasks. on completion students are able to demonstrate that they are achieving an understanding of the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Social Work (SOPS), and how they are able to evidence meeting them, together with the Professional Capability Framework (PCF) requirements, at the ‘Qualifying Social Worker’ level.
Practice Learning Interventions: Students critically examine a piece of work undertaken as part of practice learning. They are required to make links between learning in University based modules and practice in placement.
Professional Consolidation: Students are given the opportunity to prepare for employment as a newly qualified social worker. They analyse and engage with key current debates for the social work profession in the UK, and in an international context, and locate them within a philosophical and ethical framework.
Dissertation in Social Work: The dissertation draws together and enhances the ability to utilise the knowledge, understanding and skills developed across the programme in a substantial piece of investigative, literature based research.
Decision Making and Social Well-being: This module requires students to explore the complexities of professional practice. This includes evaluation of the practitioner’s role within the context of organizational decision-making when promoting social well-being. Students are required to critically examine the influences of personal and professional values when justifying practice decisions. In addition, students will discuss ethical responsibilities in effective leadership and management, and will be able to appraise the requirements of professional mentorship.
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.
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