If you are interested in studying social work, take a look at the Entry requirements (below).
About the department
The Social Work programme sits within the Institute of Applied Social Studies (IASS). IASS provides a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate social policy and social work programmes, including accredited post-qualifying awards in social work. The Institute has three research centres and staff within IASS have a strong national and international research profile. Information about the centres and about the research interests of staff can be found on the IASS website: www.birmingham.ac.uk/iass.
IASS social work staff have also played an active part in the University’s HEFCE-funded Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Mental Health (CEIMH). Information about the CEIMH can be found at www.birmingham.ac.uk/ceimh.
The following is a brief outline of the course content for the three years of study on the BA Social Work, as well as 170 days of professional practice learning (70 in Year 2 and 100 in Year 3). Additional electives offer students the opportunity to focus on a particular area 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 electives
Rotterdam International Exchange Project
Survivor Arts Project
You will have the opportunity to develop core academic skills and explore the key disciplines informing social work: Social Policy; Psychology and Human Development; Sociology; Social Welfare and Inequalities. You will also be introduced to the social and organisational context of social work and will be given the chance to develop and practice skills in readiness for your first placement of 70 days professional practice learning. This will take place at the beginning of your second year.
The Social work regulatory body, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the College of Social Work, 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 the readiness for practice skills development, you will be required to undertake a Shadowing Assessment period with a local family support organisation. During this period you will meet and interact with service users, carers, agency staff and other professionals and will be assessed on your performance before you are able to go out on your first practice placement.
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’.
Students will undertake 70 days of professional practice learning.
If you are interested in studying social work, take a look at the entry requirements (below).
We work in partnership with Birmingham City Council, who provide the majority of our 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 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
Refugee and asylum
Special educational needs
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 which is transferable to any setting.
In addition to your practice placement you will participate in a practice based reflection module designed to help you apply the values, knowledge and skills acquired, to the practice setting and in your work with a specific service user group. You will also undertake a module in Social Justice and Inclusion and will follow a strand of teaching entitled: Respect, Integrity, Critical Perspectives and Helpfulness in Social Work Practice (RICH).
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 during the Professional Practice Reflection module. Following on from this, the RICH strand of teaching will concentrate on cross-cutting issues for practice around risk and protection, whole-family approaches, collaborative working, and strengths based approaches. You may then select one elective from a range focusing on areas such as: youth justice; substance abuse; domestic violence; disabled parents and families; learning disabilities and international perspectives in social work.
The final module, concentrates on research methods and skills and prepares you to develop, conduct and write up in the form of a dissertation, an individual piece of literature based research in an area of social work you are particularly interested in.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: ABB
Required subjects and grades: Critical Thinking is accepted.
General Studies: not accepted
We will also consider one of the following:
A2B (Access to Birmingham) plus the equivalent of two grades below standard offer, e.g. BBC instead of ABB. Access to Birmingham (A2B) Scheme leaflet - further information for students (PDF).
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 34 points
An Access Diploma in a related area (social science-based) with a minimum of 60 credits, with 45 at Level 3 of which at least 15 are to be achieved with Distinction and 15 to be achieved with Merit
An equivalent further education qualification, eg A BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in a related subject (social science-based) with distinction – i.e. DDM
A combination of the above – ie, a 60-credit BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma plus two A-levels or 120 credit BTEC Level 3 Diploma plus one A-level (including one related subject).
CACHE Diploma with a grade B overall (from the practical and theoretical components)
Other new UK qualifications will also be considered – eg, Cambridge Pre-U, Advanced Diplomas, AQA Baccalaureate, Open University 60-credit module
Please note, whilst we recognise the value and relevance of National Vocational Qualifications and professional qualifications, we are not able to consider them in place of academic qualifications.
A minimum of six weeks (approximately 30 days) to three months related practice-based experience. Personal experience may count towards your practice-based experience but it is important that you are able to evidence some practice-based experience alongside this. This must show a sustained commitment, evidenced by a practice based reference (as appropriate).
If your qualifications differ from those listed here, please contact the Admissions Officer, Heather Buckley for advice. Email: email@example.com, Telephone: +44(0)121 414 7908.
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 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.
Where an applicant has disclosed a criminal offence they will be asked to provide further details of this offence in a letter to the department.
A satisfactory social care practice reference will also be required.
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.
Transfer applicants: we do not consider applicants who have studied, or are studying, social work elsewhere. We do however consider, on a case-by-case basis, if there is a valid reason for doing so, applications for entry into the first year of our programme from applicants wishing to withdraw from their current programme of study. For applicants wishing to do this, we would require a reference from a tutor on the programme where they are currently or have previously studied social work.
All 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 email, and be asked to specify how these skills have been obtained.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 32–34 points
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
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