Social Work BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Cambridge, Chelmsford

September 2017

code: L501

Apply via UCAS


If you thrive on the unexpected and want to make a difference in people’s lives, social work could be the career for you. Our degree course is nationally recognised and will enable you to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a social worker.

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Full description

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Our course is approved by the HCPC, which makes it a professional qualification in social work. When you graduate, you’ll be able to apply to register with the HCPC as a social worker.

As a social worker, you’ll be at the forefront of helping the people most in need. You could work with a range of people, who are facing a range of issues, in a public, private or charitable organisation. You could even work independently. Increasingly, social workers work closely in teams with professionals from other disciplines. Your placements will have given you experience of working both with adults and children, by the end of the course you will have a better idea of the area you are most interested in.

Our course will prepare you for working in a variety of settings, many of which can be as rewarding as they are challenging. You’ll learn to work safely and within the law, and develop a wide range of transferable skills, including case management and communication skills. Examples of settings our graduates work in include the YMCA, learning disability charities, family centres and county or city councils. Different services our graduates are involved in are adult safeguarding, youth offender, adult in needs, children protection, fostering and adoption. Read our graduates' employability case studies for more details.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice
    This module will prepare you for undertaking your first placement by making sure that you have experienced appropriate preparation opportunities. This includes an assessment of 'Readiness to Practice' before you start your first placement.
  • Ethics, Values and the Legal Context of Social Work
    The purpose of the module is to give you a broad understanding of the centrality of ethics and values to the profession. You’ll also consider the tensions and conflicts that are linked to the legal context within which the social work profession must operate.
  • Knowledge, Evidence and Practice
    You’ll reflect on how knowledge is created and applied in the activity of social work. This module prepares you to evaluate the quality of knowledge whether as evidence, research or in the interpretation of professional practice
  • Communication Skills and Key Theories Applied to Social Work Practice
    You’ll be introduced to key theory and concepts relating to communication in its different forms. You’ll study how these might be used in practice situations.
  • Social Work in Society
    This module will help you understand how service users' lives are influenced by their social and policy context. Poverty, inequality and social exclusion are key factors shaping the lives of most of the people that social workers engage with in their practice and you’ll gain a good understanding of these topics.

Year two, core modules

  • Social Work with Adults
    This module will give you an overview of five key areas of social work with adults: mental health, disability, age, gender and culture. You’ll examine the inter-relationships between these dimensions and the notion of safeguarding of vulnerable adults.
  • Social Work with Children and Families
    This module provides you with an understanding of the context of child and family intervention and how to recognise signs, symptoms and consequences of child abuse.
  • Powers, Duties and Accountability in Social Work
    You’ll be required to examine and evaluate the sources of professional power, structures of accountability and their duties when making professional decisions and judgements. This module will give priority to duties relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. You’ll also undertake a placement of 70 days in a Social Work setting.
  • Practice 1: Communications Skills and Partnership Working
    This practice module helps you learn how to critically analyse and put communications and partnership skills into practice. You’ll aim to maximise the choices available to people who have faced difficulties in society, including abuse, disadvantage, discrimination, marginalisation and poverty.
  • 70-day placement
    You will normally be placed in a private, voluntary or independent sector agency where you will undertake direct work with people who are vulnerable or have particular needs. The focus will be on engagement, assessment, interpersonal skills and gaining an understanding of the core elements of the social work role.

Year three, core modules

  • Wellbeing Across the Life Course
    This module provides an opportunity for you to examine different dimensions of well-being, in particular, mental health and social inequalities in health. You will also undertake a 100 day placement in a Social Work setting.
  • Transition into Professional Practice
    This module prepares you for transition into the Assessed and Supported Year in Social Work (ASYE) of professional social work practice. It will help you gain critically informed insights about the implications of powers, duties and responsibilities arising from both the internal and external environments.
  • Practice 2: Analytical Thinking and Decision-Making
    This module will help you develop the understanding and skills needed to undertake effective assessments and care plans that lead to appropriate interventions. You’ll be able to critique and analyse different approaches to assessment and intervention.
  • 100 - Day Placement
    You will normally be placed in a statutory related setting, such as a Local Authority Social Work team, where you will work under the direct supervision of a Qualified Social Worker and undertake assessments and interventions as part of formal or statutory processes. This will include risk assessment, safeguarding and the appropriate use of authority.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The undergraduate major project enables you to raise and address significant questions relating to your chosen topic/issue. You'll be supported by a tutor with similar interests and research profile. This module requires autonomous study and it is your chance to demonstrate that you have met our University’s expectations and are ready to graduate.

Please note that you will need to complete all of the above core modules. This course does not have any optional modules. Modules are subject to change and availability.


Assessments are your opportunity to show the skills and knowledge that you are gaining in your journey to become a social worker. We use a variety of assessment methods which include assignments, presentations, learning journals, portfolios, patchwork texts (short pieces of writing, or ‘patches’, built up week-by-week), poster design and placements.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education is the largest provider of health, social care and education courses in the East of England, with over 6,000 students from more than 20 countries.

With 95% of our students finding full-time employment within six months of graduating, you can be sure that our courses have been designed with your career in mind. We’ve been educating nurses, midwives and social workers for over 25 years.

At the cutting edge of research, we offer a range of internationally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses taught by friendly, supportive and experienced staff.With over 150 research students across our three doctoral programmes (PhD; DProf and EdD), we provide the multi-disciplinary perspective and potential for academic debate that reflects our position as a leader in practitioner-focused and practice-led research studies.

Designed to enhance your learning experience, our facilities include state-of-the-art simulated skills laboratories that mirror real-life clinical situations and UK hospital wards. Our students also benefit from our Early Childhood Research and Resource Centre; a space in which they can experiment with equipment and play activities.

You’ll study in an exciting, modern faculty which has strong links with regional, national and international organisations, including healthcare trusts, social services, local and regional authorities, schools and academic institutions.

Your enthusiasm. Our passion. Your best foot forward.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


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For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

Up to £500 for travel. 

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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