Social Work

BA (Hons)

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Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2024 / September 2025

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: 6 years


Approved by Social Work England (SWE)

UCAS Tariff Points



If you're interested in becoming a social worker, our Social Work BA leads to the qualification you need. As a graduate you can apply for social work registration in England with Social Work England.

Our degree consistently delivers high quality social work education. We have been approved by and teach to Social Work England (SWE) Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England, and the British Association of Social Workers’ (BASW) Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).

Your practice-based learning includes two work placements. You'll work with your practice educator to develop your capabilities as part of the PCF.

Our lecturing staff base their teaching on evidence-based practice, promoting the most current social work research. 

You can study full-time over three years. Or choose part-time or mixed-mode study.  

We have links with Local Authority employers, local private voluntary and independent sector organisations. So it's likely you will secure a job before qualifying.

How to apply

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

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


Further offer details

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 4 (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 requirements

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: Grade 4 (C) in English and Maths. For English and Maths, Level 2 Functional Skills are accepted as alternatives to GCSEs.

Relevant experience (e.g. paid or voluntary work with vulnerable people) or a suitable indication of your interest in, and understanding of, the social work profession.

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. Alternatively, you may be eligible for study at MA or PGDip level.

We also welcome applications from individuals sponsored or supported by their employer.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.


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

Selection process

If you are short-listed you will be invited to an interview day where you will be assessed by an individual interview and a written test.

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.

International qualifications and equivalences


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.

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

Many of our courses consider applications for entry part-way through the course for students who have credit from previous learning or relevant professional experience.

Find out more about transferring to Brookes. If you'd like to talk through your options, please contact our Admissions team.

Application process

Full time Home (UK) applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home (UK) applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time international applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Extra Costs

  • DBS – Fees for Post Office ID Document checking fee & Update Service Registration
  • Travel & parking – including those for placements
  • Inter-Library Loans and Articles
  • Books
  • Printing & Photocopying

Learning and assessment

Our curriculum meets the requirement for social work registration, as defined by SWE, BASW and QAA Benchmark Statements.

Year 1 provides a common academic and skills foundation for all social work practice.

In Year 2 you will study specialist modules on social work with children and families, and adults and mental health. You will also take modules on research methods and interprofessional practice.
In both Years 2 and 3 you will take part in unpaid work-based placements (70 days in Year 2 and 100 days in Year 3). 
Placements could involve working with:

  • children
  • older people
  • people with disabilities
  • people who may have mental health issues. 

Placements offer opportunities to engage with service users in a real and meaningful way. You could work with statutory, voluntary, private or independent organisations. Placement settings include: 

  • hospitals
  • agency teams
  • family centres 
  • day centres
  • residential care settings.
Student and academic

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Evidence in Professional Practice I

    This module introduces you to the foundation of knowledge and skills to help you prepare for social work practice.You will be using evidence in professional practice which forms your basic grounding for academic and practice development throughout the course and your career.

    You will explore how evidence is used to make decisions about everyday practice and also:

    • develop your library skills (referencing, database use)
    • develop your evidence location skills (finding, reading, summarising and evaluating) 
    • develop your critical thinking
    • consider different research methods.
  • Professional Development

    This module introduces you to the foundation of knowledge, skills and understanding, to help you prepare for your social work practice. 

    Your learning will be set in a professional social work context of

    • social work values
    • theoretical concepts
    • research findings 
    • evidence-based practice. 

    You will study the Social Work professional codes, standards, performance and ethics. To gain a deep understanding and knowledge of the social work profession.

  • Communication

    This module is your introduction to the foundation of knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviours to help you prepare for your social work practice. You will have an eight day skill development pathway which ensures that you are fully prepared for starting your social work practice learning when you reach stage two of the Social Work Course.  

    This mixture of theory and practical learning will help you develop your knowledge and skills of effective communication. You’ll get to use the communication skills suites for practice and assessment. Also the Voices of Experience (service user and carer) group will contribute to your learning and assessing.

  • Human Growth and Development I

    This module is your introduction to a broad range of theories and models (bio-psycho-social) which seek to explain what shapes and influences personality and behaviour across the lifespan. You will examine theoretical constructs in terms of the context of their development, their strengths and weaknesses, their interface with other theories and their applicability in understanding and working with others. 

    Through this module you will better understand human behaviour and formulate strategies to employ this knowledge within your future professional work with people.

  • Human Growth and Development II

    This module will further your knowledge that you gained on the Human Growth and Development 1 module. You’ll take a deeper look at the theories that inform how people grow and develop across the life course. You’ll revisit some theories, others will be contextualised within a variety of frameworks. 

    You will focus on exploring how structural challenges are relevant to developmental change. Your attention will be given to:

    • considering the impact of attitudes to physical disabilities and mental ill health 
    • discussing relevance of gender, race, class and culture on human development
    • considering the influence of both deficit and strengths based approaches 
    • developing creative approaches to critical arguments
    • application to real life case studies.
  • Social Policy

    You will explore social processes associated with, for example; poverty, unemployment, poor health, disablement, lack of education and other sources of disadvantage. Then you’ll examine the manner in which these issues lead to marginalisation, isolation and exclusion. You will focus on the impact of social policy initiatives on the demand for social work and social care services, and contemporary social work/social care practice.

    You will develop further understanding of policy and the social work sector.

  • Legal Frameworks

    The module will help you gain understanding of the legal context of childcare, social care and social work practice in England. Also you’ll explore the relationship between the legal and policy framework, service provision and empowerment. You will:

    • explore the role of social work within the legal context
    • discuss the responsibilities social workers have within the legal framework
    • evaluate the impact social care law has on people at risk
    • gain a deep understanding of the social care legal system in England.
  • Safeguarding People at Risk

    This module is your introduction to a foundation level understanding of safeguarding children and adults at risk. You will consider the impact of abuse and neglect on people‘s lives, and to think about an appropriate professional response might be to the identification and management of risk. Also you’ll build knowledge and understanding of:

    • definitions of terminology
    • practice within a political and social context
    • connections between deprivation and harm
    • a framework for understanding abuse and harm across the lifespan.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Social Work Placement 1

    In year 2 you will undertake a 70 day work-based placement. 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. 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.

  • Working with Teams, Groups and Communities

    In this module, you’ll be introduced to knowledge, understanding and behaviours that shall support your development in your social practice. You’ll focus on the skills needed as a health and social care professional to work collaboratively, enabling you to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups and diverse communities. You’ll deepen your awareness of multiple strategies and frameworks used by organisations and groups. You will study three key themes: (1) Interprofessional team working, (2) Community development, (3) Citizenship and social inclusion.

  • Social Work with Children

    In this module, you will consider the important rights and relationships in social work practice across the needs of children, families and communities. You will explore themes covering law, policy and social work theory, examining the role of the state when these needs are not met. Central to this module will be the focus on child protection and family support, which you’ll explore across young people in alternative situations, for example, those under kinship or in foster care. You will be encouraged to use your critical analysis and reflective skills in this module.

    By the end of this module your employability and professional development shall be well supported. 

  • Sustainable Development in Social Work

    In this module, you’ll be able to choose to either research findings from a previous project of yours, or participate in a live practical experience. Your self-funded involvement in the live practical experience will consolidate your knowledge of sustainable development in social work, and will aid your study towards social research work in the wider community. You shall be able to translate theory into research practice, culminating in a reflective shared learning presentation at the beginning of the next academic year.
    You can expect to have the opportunity to evaluate sustainable practice in social care, from anywhere in the world, including in the UK. Drawing on the wisdom of local populations, you will identify community assets and barriers. You will explore the cultural context and consider the UN sustainable development goals and the People’s Charter for an eco-social world to inform your study on this module.

  • Support to Social Work Practice

    You’ll be introduced to the knowledge, skills, understanding and behavioural habits that are key to your work as a social work practitioner in the field.

    You’ll be offered a contextual background on social care, enabling you to explore what it means to work as a social care professional in today’s society and consider people’s different walks of life. Central to this module will be an opportunity to explore different social work theories, methods, and models. You’ll also revisit previous theories from Year One, reflecting on them critically in terms of their use and value in practice.

  • Evidence in Professional Practice 2

    In this module, you’ll explore how ensuring an evidence-based practice means a more reliable outcome and informed decision-making for social work intervention and care plans. You’ll be shown the step-by-step research process for integrated social work evaluation and strategy design, the associated research methods, data analysis and the importance of ethical consideration associated with health and social care research.

    By the end of this module you’ll be able to demonstrate techniques and skills for data collection and analysis, understand the distinctive strengths and limitations of your evidence-based research and apply your findings to real-world situations, which will set you in great stead for your final year dissertation.

  • Social Work with Adults

    This module will prepare you for confidently working with adults in social care, drawing on practice-based knowledge, skills and understanding. You will learn how the latest research techniques can inform your social work practice from statutory and independent sector perspectives, to assessment and methods of interventions for different adult groups.

    On completion of this module you shall be able to identify a diverse range of evidence-based methods to form effective intervention plans for adults, from a statutory and perspective sector perspective. You’ll focus on identifying needs, promoting rights, considering alternative perspectives, and analysing practice. 

  • Mental Health

    In this module, you’ll be introduced to the main theories of mental health, to support your social work practice. You will explore the models, theories, legislation, research and practice used within current mental health services. You’ll be encouraged to develop the skills required to locate and critically evaluate current research on mental health so you can be an evidence-informed practitioner, wherever and whenever, your social work practice takes you.

    As part of this module, you’ll consider real-world applications of mental health research to treatments, policy, and wider mental health perspectives.  

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Social Work Placement 2

    In this module you’ll participate in a placement experience that will introduce you to the knowledge, skills, behaviours and processes of social work practice. You’ll be supported thoroughly throughout this phase as you consolidate your learning and prepare for the workplace as a qualified social worker. On completion of this module you will have met the social work proficiency standard requirements for practicing as a registered social worker. 

  • Dissertation in Social Work

    This is your opportunity to consolidate all your knowledge from the course into a written project. You shall have the opportunity to study a subject that you find interesting, worth investigating and of relevance to social work. You’ll be encouraged to demonstrate your knowledge in your particular interest, with the aim to highlight new perspectives.

    You’ll exercise your research skills by collecting evidence, analysing, and critically evaluating material to present findings. Your dissertation may be presented in a variety of formats.

  • Practice Learning

    The role of a social worker is very important in ensuring patients get the right care when they need it most. In this module, you discover how as a social worker, you can support people in a multitude of ways from helping adults with mental health, children with emotional support and arranging safe living accommodation. You’ll draw connections between your study in the lecture room, and your practice in placement, enabling you to formulate effective interventions. You’ll also hone your knowledge in making meaningful assessments across individuals, family situations and communities, to ensure higher chances of intervention success. 

  • Professional Consolidation

    In this module you’ll learn to prepare yourself for employment as a newly qualified social worker. To practice safely, responsibly, and professionally, you will be given the tools to equip yourself with the knowledge, understanding and skills of social work practice to set the foundations for continuous development. You will be given the opportunity to gain direct experience of application and interview for a qualified social worker post. By the end of this module, you will fully understand the philosophical and ethical framework of the social work arena, and should feel confident enough to conduct yourself with professionalism in your chosen field of employment. 

  • Decision Making for Social Wellbeing

    Social workers make decisions about their clients’ wellbeing everyday, and also have to react suitably on the decisions their clients make. This module will enhance your knowledge on how to deal with decision making in your role and how to best navigate potentially challenging situations as a qualified social worker. You’ll be encouraged to critically examine the influences on personal and professional values when justifying practice decisions. In addition, you’ll discuss ethical responsibilities in effective leadership and management, and will gain skills in understanding the requirements of professional mentorship.

Work Placements

Compulsory modules

  • Social Work Placements

    In year 2 you will undertake a 70- day work-based placement and in year 3 you will undertake a 100- day work-based placement. 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. 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.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Our teaching includes a blend of:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group work
  • Role Play / Simulated Interviews
  • Guest Speakers
  • Service User Input
  • Online Learning

We encourage active student participation. You will have opportunities to contribute your own knowledge.

IT plays an important role in our courses. An extensive range of learning resources are available through Moodle, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

There will be opportunities to share your learning with other health care students. This 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 activities fall outside of these hours.


Assessment methods used on this course

Our modules are assessed in a variety of ways including: 

  • written assignments
  • in-class tests and an exam
  • portfolios
  • assessed interviews
  • presentations
  • a dissertation

After you graduate

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.

Recent 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).

Professional accreditation

On successful completion of the BA (Hons) Social Work degree, students are eligible to apply for professional registration with Social Work England (SWE).

International Students should note that completion of the Oxford Brookes Social Work programme allows you to apply for registration with the UK regulator of Social Work. Any practice overseas is likely to require you to meet the country's requirement for regulation. The responsibility for identifying and working towards the requirements for registration overseas is with the student. You may wish to check the compatibility of the Oxford Brookes award prior to application.

Further study

Oxford Brookes offers a variety of programmes suitable for studying at post-qualifying level, including our Social Work MA.

Our Staff

Ms Jill Childs

Programme Lead/ Principal Lecturer for BA and MA/ PG Dip Social Work, Jill Childs has a background in working with homeless people, particularly those who are disenfranchised and excluded from service provision.

Read more about Jill

Free language courses

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.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

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.