The MA follows an exciting programme. Committed to social justice, anti-oppressive practice and relationship based social work and drawing upon a number of disciplines informing social work practice, it includes the study of social work values, knowledge, law, theories, methods and skills. You undertake two assessed social work placements, the first lasting 70 days and the second 100 days. International students undertake the same placements as UK students and obtain a detailed understanding of the operation of the English social work system. Additional teaching offers students the opportunity to focus on particular areas of interest and exciting new projects, such as the International Exchange Project, and the award-winning Survivor Arts Project, allow students to move beyond the core curriculum and explore different ways of seeing the world and more creative ways of working. Watch the following video diary of our first exchange visit to Rotterdam, and a film of our award-winning Survivor Arts Project.
Social Work video materials
Rotterdam International Exchange Project
Survivor Arts Project
In Year 1 you will have the opportunity to develop core academic knowledge and skills and will study four academic modules:
- Law for professional practice
- Social identity, citizenship and social work practice
- Social Work skills, values and approaches
- Together with a theory and methods module linked to your first professional practice learning placement of 70 days, and an associated academic assignment
The social work regulatory body, the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) requires that before our students go out onto placement that they have the basic skills needed to work with a wide variety of people and talk to service users with understanding and respect. As part of this skills development you will be required to undertake a Practice Orientation period with a local organisation. During this period you will be oriented to core processes of referral, assessment, multi disciplinary working - including engagement with service users. During this period you will be assessed on your professional behaviour. You will also undertake Readiness for Practice Learning Interviews, role plays carried out with service users and carers. This way we ensure that students meet the basic standard before they go out into the 'real world'.
We work in partnership with Birmingham City Council, who provide the majority of the placements, and a range of voluntary and private sector organisations. We also have a few placements with some neighbouring local authorities. However, we cannot guarantee any placements outside Birmingham itself and so students who live outside Birmingham will be required to travel. The placements on offer are challenging and also very rewarding. Some of the areas of social work covered on placement are:
- Family support and prevention
- Domestic violence
- Refugee and asylum
- Special educational needs
- Child Protection
- Substance misuse
Students should be aware that placements in particular areas of interest are not guaranteed. However, all placements are quality assured, meet required HCPC and College of Social Work standards and provide a wide range of learning opportunities which are transferable to any setting, and have international relevance.
In Year 2 you will undertake a further 100 days of professional practice learning which, in line with HCPC requirements, will be with a different service user group in a different agency setting. All students will have the opportunity during at least one of their practice placements to undertake some statutory duties.
In conjunction with this you will again have the opportunity to reflect upon your learning in preparation for and within practice. Students will undertake learning in relation to work with both children and families and adults and communities and this will be incorporated within a framework which encourages students to adopt a ‘think family’ approach to social work. Teaching and learning will concentrate on cross-cutting issues for practice around risk and protection, whole-family approaches, collaborative working, and strengths based approaches.
Also in this final year you will develop, conduct and write-up in the form of a dissertation, an individual piece of literature and/or empirical based research in an area of social work you are particularly interested in.
The University of Birmingham has been providing social work education since 1908 and recently celebrated 100 years of social work education. As the oldest running social work education programme in the country, we are proud of our history and we are committed to continuing our work to raise professional social work standards and promote good practice.
The Department has developed a reputation for delivering high quality teaching and learning which enables students to become critically reflective, research informed practitioners.
The entry requirement is an upper second-class (2.1) degree classification or higher and a minimum of 3 months or 60 days related social care experience (related personal experience will be considered but only alongside practice-based experience). Equivalence is reviewed for international students. Applicants with a 2:2 degree classification may be considered, on a case-by-case basis, if they have further related postgraduate study. We also require GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C or certificated equivalent level two numeracy and literacy qualification.
If your qualifications differ from those listed here, please contact the the Central Admissions Contact Team, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44(0)121 415 8900 or +44(0)121 414 5488.
Applicants must confirm prior to interview/offer decision making that they have the ability to use basic IT facilities, including word processing, internet browsing and the use of mail, and be asked to specify how these skills have been obtained.
Please note that work experience is not considered in lieu of meeting the academic entry requirements. You will be required to meet the practice element in addition to meeting the academic criteria.
A Disabled Person's Guide to Becoming a Health Professional
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) have produced a document called 'A Disabled Person's Guide to Becoming a Health Professional' for people with a disability or long-term health condition. You can obtain a copy of this on the HCPC website
Find out more about the University of Birmingham's Code of Practice on Admissions
Learn more about entry requirements
- Applicants must show, in the appropriate section of the application form, that they meet or intend to meet, all of the academic criteria.
- Their ability to meet the academic criteria should be confirmed in their academic reference.
- In addition to this, applicants must provide details, within their personal statement, of their related personal or social care experience and the influence this has had on their commitment to and understanding of, social work. A subsequent practice reference will be required if an offer is made.
- Their personal statement should also provide evidence of their ability to write in a clear, coherent and accessible style.
- Shortlisted applicants may be required to read a short academic text and complete a written exam on their understanding of general issues related to social work.
- Applicants completing this test may then be invited back for an interview. In some instances some applicants will attend the interview before the written exam.
- Selected applicants will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and Delcaration of Suitability for Social Work form before registration on the programme.
- Where an applicant has disclosed a criminal offence, they will be asked to provide further details on this offence in a letter to the department.
- A satisfactory social care practice reference will also be required.
- All students will be required to sign the Fitness to Practise Code of Conduct on entry.
- Please note that work experience is not considered in lieu of meeting the academic entry requirements. You will be required to meet the practice element in addition to meeting the academic criteria.
- Although all modules on our social work programmes are compulsory, the university APL policy allows us to give credit for learning that has been asssessed and certificated by another HEI. Any applicants wishing to apply for entry to years 2 or 3 of the BA programme, or year 2 of the MA programme, can note this on their UCAS form. Any potential applicants are invited to contact the admissions tutor to discuss their situation in further detail, as each is considered on a case by case basis.
Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) documents
Applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the: