MA Social Work

Course Overview

The College of Social Work Logo The aim of our MA in Social Work is to provide students, who already hold a first degree, with a professional social work qualification at Master's level. The course will enable you to be a confident, competent, qualified social work practitioner. We offer a well established course with a national reputation for producing high-calibre workers. Our course is designed, managed and delivered by a Programme Management Board that includes practice placement agencies, students, lecturers and practitioners. Stakeholder involvement ensures that our course maintains a dynamic, outward-looking approach towards social work education with a clear focus on the needs of service users.

‌Does successful completion of the course result in a social work qualification recognised by Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)?


It is important to point out that successful completion of the award does not mean automatic entitlement to registration with the HCPC. Social work graduates must apply and meet the criteria specified by the HCPC in order to register and practise as a qualified social worker in England.

When does it start?

The next intake is September 2015

How long is the course?

Two years (full-time)

Is there a placement element to the course?


Students will need to pass two assessed practice placements in contrasting settings, one of which must include statutory work. The first will run for 70 days in year one and the second for 100 days in year two. Students need to be prepared to travel to practice placements within a 30 mile radius of the University of Bradford and many placement providers will expect students to possess a full UK driving licence.

Is the course full-time?


When not on placement, students will usually be required to attend teaching at the university for at least 2 days per week and, during some weeks will need to attend supplementary classes, tutorials, workshops and conferences on other days. Students will also need to undertake a considerable amount of private study in addition to attending lectures, if they are to successfully complete the course. Students will, therefore, need to manage their time and other commitments to facilitate this, throughout the whole two years.

Both placements are full-time (usually 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday), while some require that students participate in staff rotas which involve attendance at weekends and overnight on rare occasions.

What values and principles underpin this course?

We are committed to social work based in social justice and in critical reflection and analysis.

How and when should I apply?

This can be by direct online application to the University of Bradford or through UCAS. To apply online, please click here

NB. In recent years the number of applications for places on the MA Social Work has greatly outnumbered the number of places available. Selection interviews for the course starting in September 2015 will begin in November 2014. To guarantee consideration for interview applications need to be made by 15 January 2015. Where appropriate, applicants are advised to include information about any relevant training or paid or voluntary work planned for the future, in their personal statements.

Professional Regulation

Social work is a profession regulated in England, since 1 August 2012, by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). As a social work student you will be expected to adhere fully to the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics and to be committed to working towards the HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England

Disclosure and Barring Scheme

All students will need to consent to and co-operate with ‘enhanced’ DBS checks. Students are responsible for paying the relevant fees.

Students who have lived outside the United Kingdom

All students will be required to provide information and relevant documentation, in lieu of DBS checks, for all periods they have lived outside the UK. Again, students are responsible for paying any fees required by the agencies involved.

Preparation for practice opportunities

We offer an exciting programme of skills development sessions on top of your academic modules and practice placements. The main purpose is to prepare students for their first placement by providing structured opportunities to practice key generic skills and to increase their understanding of the social work role, without the immediate pressure of assessment, and without the need to be in a social worker role with service users and carers. We also provide opportunities later in the course to develop more advanced skills. 

Entry Requirements

We require successful applicants to:

  • Possess an undergraduate honours degree normally at 2:1 or higher in any discipline or
  • Possess an undergraduate honours degree at 2:2 in a relevant discipline.
  • Demonstrate that, by the time they start the course, they will have acquired current and relevant underpinning knowledge from psychology, sociology and social policy, at a level, which will allow them to complete the MA (Social Work). Applicants who have not acquired such knowledge in completing their first degrees or who obtained their degrees several years ago should consider what further study and/or reading is required as well as study skills revision to prepare them for this level of study. They may need to consider enrolment on foundation level courses at their local university or distance learning packages, such as the Open University’s ’Introducing the social sciences’ module DD102.
  • Demonstrate that they have relevant work experience equivalent to a minimum of 6 months full-time work (approximately 910 hours). This may be paid or voluntary work and could have been undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis. Applicants are usually expected to have had a substantial part of such experience during the past 2 years and to have had experience which includes working with vulnerable groups in Britain. Applicants who have limited experience or who have had little or no relevant experience during the past 2 years should consider seeking relevant employment or volunteering via organisations, such as their local Council for Voluntary Services, local Children’s or Adult Services Departments or local voluntary sector agencies. (Please see 'All Prospective Entrants' information below).
  • Demonstrate that their understanding of social work is informed both by underpinning knowledge and by reflection on their experience.
  • Hold certificated qualifications in Maths and English which are, at least, equivalent to GCSE (at grade C or above).
  • The minimum level of English Language attainment for entry to MA Social Work is IELTS 7 or equivalent.
  • Have Information, Communication Technology (ICT) skills which are sufficient to allow them to begin both study and practice and that they will be able to develop these skills during their progress through the course. (Applicants without such relevant skills will need to demonstrate that they have plans in place to acquire them prior to starting social work training).
  • Complete a health disclosure form.
  • Complete a declaration form regarding matters that include criminal convictions, cautions and reprimands and any disciplinary action by employers, in order to satisfy the programme that they are suitable to work with vulnerable children and adults.
  • All information obtained from the admissions process is used to assess a candidate's potential to successful complete the social work programme and to eventually practice as a qualified worker in accordance with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulatory standards for Social Work and the College of Social Work’s (TCSW) Professional Capabilities Framework.

All prospective entrants

Work experience and contact with a social worker prior to the start of the degree

You may or may not know that it is a course requirement that all potential Social Work students obtain relevant work experience and have the opportunity to spend some time with, or speak to, a qualified social worker prior to the start of your degree.

We recognise that many students will come to the course with considerable relevant work experience and contact with qualified social workers. However we are also aware that some students may not have a great deal of paid or voluntary work experience, nor had the opportunity to talk with a qualified worker.

The task of finding relevant work will obviously be dependent upon your knowledge of local resources. Simply finding out about your local voluntary/ statutory resources is very important in itself, and will undoubtedly help you with your future studies. Listed below are a few ideas for finding local information and also the names of a few organisations that may be helpful in obtaining employment:

Finding out about local information: Internet, Library, Citizens Advice Bureau, G.P and Dental surgeries, Local Newspapers and Local Websites.

Organisations which may be helpful in finding employment: Community Volunteer Service, local councils’ Children’s Social Care and Adult Services , Yellow Pages (look under charitable and voluntary organisations), social care recruitment agencies (there are at least five of these who employ unqualified workers) and organisations which help to coordinate all voluntary agencies within a particular town/ region.

Fees & Finance

In contrast to many other MA Social Work programmes, we maintained our fees for Home and EU students at £3,996 per year for 2014/15. This meant that for all students receiving an NHSBSA bursary, their fees were paid in full by the NHSBSA. (For 2015/16 fees for International (non-EU) students are £13,250.)

For 2014/15 a total of 25 bursaries were available. All successful applicants who think that they will meet the requirements set by the NHSBSA are advised to apply for the social work bursary. In June 2015, the university will nominate successful applicants to NHSBSA in rank order according to scores achieved during the selection process. Scores will be generated from an individual interview and written exercise.

Further information regarding bursaries can be found from the NHSBSA.

Financial assistance may be available for this course »


Monireh Brigolin, Social Work and Social Care

“Bradford is a beautiful city, very diverse and the staff at the university is very friendly. The campus has become green in the last few years and the student accommodation is great. The staff are always happy to help in any possible way, especially the personal tutor. He or she can really become a good friend during your university years”

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Stage I

The course has been designed to ensure that students obtain the appropriate skills and knowledge to pass the professional social work award at Masters Level. The structure for the programme starting in September 2015 is as follows:

September 2015

  • Social Work Theories and Methods
  • Ethics, Professionalism and Reflective Practice
  • Interviewing and Communication Skills

January 2016

  • Social Work with Children and Families
  • Social Work with Adults
  • Law for Social Work

Stage II

September 2015

  • Research Methods for Social Workers
  • Inter-professional Working

Practice Placement Learning II (plus 100-day placement from January-July 2016)

How to Apply

Application information »

Course enquiries:

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This course is taught in the Division of Social Work and Social Care

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This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.