BPhil / PG Diploma / PG Certificate in specialist social work with adults

Who is this course for?

This course is intended for qualified social work practitioners who are registered with the HCPC and work with adults. They may work for:

  • Local Authority Adults Services Teams
  • The voluntary or not-for-profit sector

Entry requirements

The course is offered at both graduate and postgraduate levels. To be eligible for the postgraduate programme you must hold a degree as well as a recognised social work qualification. To enrol on the BPhil programme, you must hold a recognised social work qualification. All candidates for the BPhil and PGDiploma follow the same programme of study. The PG Certificate comprises of one compulsory 20 credit module and 40 additional credits made up of other modules from the Postgraduate Diploma course. These modules are to be agreed with the course director.

How to apply

For all course options, all applicants need the support of their sponsoring authority. You will also need to complete an application form, including a 1000 word personal statement, and a university enrolment form.

Course structure

The course is delivered on a part time basis over 2 years. The BPhil and PG Diploma are made up of 7 modules, awarding either 10 or 20 academic credits. The PG Certificate is made up of 60 credits from these modules as agreed with the course director. Each module involves 3 to 6 days attendance at the University. Modules may be taken on an individual basis and are also open to colleagues from other disciplines.

The course was designed to meet the GSCC requirements for the Specialist Award in Social Work with Adults and is changing to meet current expectations for CPD.


  • Module 1 (Stage 1, compulsory module): Consolidating Social Care with Adults (20 credits)
  • Module 2: Developments in the Legislative Framework and Social Care Practice with Adults (10 credits)
  • Module 3: Working in a Multi-agency and Multidisciplinary context (10 credits)
  • Module 4: Safeguarding Adults and Social Care Practice with Adults (20 credits)
  • Module 5: Engagement and Support in Working with Carers in Social Care Practice with Adults (20 credits) (It is possible for candidates to undertake the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Best Interests Assessor Training module as an alternative if this is agreed with their employer and the course Director)
  • Module 6: Assessment, Independence and Risk in Social Care Practice with Adults (20 credits)
  • Module 7: Please see Practice Educator 1 (20 credits).

How is the course assessed?

  • Module 1: Analytical Case Study - This consists of 3,000-4,000 (depending upon level) words concerning a service user of social work/social care with adults.
  • Module 2: Assignment - BPhil (2,000 words) and PGDip (3,000 words).
  • Module 3: Analysis of a critical event (1,500-2,000 words).
  • Module 4: Oral presentation and critical write-up based upon analysis of a Safeguarding Adults scenario (1,500-2,500 words).
  • Module 5: Critical analysis of an example of intervention with a carer of a service user with whom they have worked, which demonstrates the ability to work collaboratively (3,000-4,000 words).
  • Module 6: Critical analysis of a complex social care assessment the candidate has completed with a service user where concerns involving risk were a central issue (3,000-4,000 words).
  • Module 7: Please see Practice Educator 1.

Candidates also have to provide an additional observation of their direct practice during Module 6.

Further information

Start date

September/October for Stage 1 (Module 1) or for direct entry into Stage 2 (Modules 2-6) February


2 years (part time)

Management processes

The programme has been developed in partnership with employer partners within the West and East Midlands. The development has been informed by the input into the consultation by service managers and practice assessors.

The Partnership consists of:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Derbyshire County Council
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Gloucestershire County Council
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Herefordshire County Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Derby City Council
  • The Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Birmingham

The Management Group, on which each is represented, manages all aspects of the programme.


Email: pqadults@contacts.bham.ac.uk