Social Work BA

Start date
September
Duration
3 years
UCAS code
L501
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

For 2020/21:
£9,250 (Home/EU students) 
£18,120 (International Students) 
More fees and funding details.

Find out about the NHSBSA bursary

Our Social Work programme offers a stimulating and dynamic learning environment, where you will learn not only from academics, but also past and present service users, carers and practitioners. The involvement of service users and carers is an integral aspect of the programme.

Social Workers play a vital role in society, working with vulnerable people in their times of greatest need.  As such, Social Work is an incredibly rewarding career, which makes a real difference in peoples’ lives.

Opportunities for Inter Professional Education are also offered where you will work with students from other health related disciplines, to develop your understanding of how Social Workers need to work together with other related professions to provide support that is holistic.

Throughout the Social Work degree there will be an emphasis on fundamental professional principles, including a commitment to human rights, social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion. Key areas of practice are explored, including communication, relationship-based practice, and working collaboratively within organisations.

A BA Social Work with Year Abroad programme is also available, further details will be made available in due course.

Download our course brochure (PDF - 1.65MB)

“I am now Team Manager for two adult social work teams in Birmingham. I manage 30 staff across both teams and we provide assessment and support planning for adults with complex care needs in our constituencies. We work with students from the University of Birmingham and provide quality placements for them and provide a range of shadowing and mentoring opportunities.”

Joanne Lowe, BA Social Work graduate

 

On this Social Work degree programme, you will study in one of the most attractive and heritage-rich campuses in the country only a few minutes from the centre of Birmingham.

Modules

Year 1

In the first year you will study five modules introducing you to the social and organisational content of social work. This introduction to social work will provide you with the opportunity to develop your skills to prepare you for working with service users and carers:

  • Psychology and Human Development for Social Work
  • Research for Evidence Based Learning
  • Social Issues and Social Policy for Social Work
  • Social Contexts for Social Work
  • Social Work Skills, Values and Approaches

The social work regulatory body, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requires that before students go out into their practice placements, they have the basic skills needed to work with a variety of people and to communicate with service users with understanding and respect. As part of the assessment of your ‘readiness for practice learning’, you will carry out an assessed role play interview with a service user or carer and also spend time in a local social care organisation.

Students’ readiness for practice will be assessed through observed simulations. These simulations do not carry academic credits but a pass mark is required to proceed to year 2.  Those failing the readiness for practice assessment but passing their academic assessments in year 1 would receive 120 credits and continue with the academic components of year 2 and 3 and would transfer to the existing Level H programme BA Applied Social Sciences. Students who fail the readiness for practice assessment cannot continue on the BA Social Work programme as they cannot undertake placements.

Year 2

You will complete 70 days professional practice learning, in addition to five academic modules designed to help you develop and apply the knowledge, values and skills required in social work practice. 

  • Enhancing Skills for Social Work Practice
  • Placement 1
  • Law for Professional Practice
  • Theory, Methods and Practice
  • Research for Evidence Informed Practice
  • Social Identity, Citizenship and Social Work Practice 

We currently run an International Exchange Project in second year, where students have the opportunity to go abroad to work with the social work department and social work students from a University in another country. This may be offered for new students, further details to follow.

Students who pass the academic but fail the practice component of Placement 1 will be switched to Reflection on Practice 1.

The University of Birmingham has joined one of the government's Teaching Partnerships. This is the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership and involves the University of Birmingham working collaboratively with 11 Local Authorities. The overall aim of the Partnership is to enhance practice leadership across the region via a 'University at Work' model.

The Teaching Partnership will strengthen the existing relationships between service users, carers, practitioners and academics at the University of Birmingham. The relationship between the University and these 11 Local Authorities will be enhanced in many ways including in terms of placement opportunities.

We will continue to work in collaboration to shape evidence based curriculum that aims to raise the standards of social work education and ensure that it is fit for purpose for local employers.

At present the majority of our Practice Learning Placements are provided by Birmingham City Council.  We also have some placements in a range of voluntary and private sector organisations. We also have a few placements with some neighbouring local authorities. However at present we cannot guarantee any placements outside of Birmingham itself and so students who live outside of Birmingham will be required to travel. It is anticipated however that over time, due to the West Midlands Teaching Partnership, placements may become available across a wider range of local authorities within the Teaching partnership.

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/Women’s Aid
  • Refugee and asylum
  • Special educational needs
  • Fostering
  • Child protection
  • Disabilities
  • Substance misuse
  • Mental Health
  • Older adults

You will need to be aware that placements in particular areas of interest are not guaranteed. However all placements are quality assured, meet required HCPC standards and provide a wide range of learning which is transferable to any setting.

Year 3

In your final year you will complete a further 100-day professional practice placement and the following modules: 

  • Advanced Practice: Individuals, Families and Communities
  • Dissertation A
  • Placement 2
  • Dissertation B

Students who pass the academic but fail the practice component of Placement 2 will be switched to Reflection on Practice 2.


Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2020, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Home/EU students

Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2020-21

Full-time: £9,250

Overseas students

Overseas students entering in 2020-21

Undergraduate Band 1 (Classroom): £18,120

Scholarships

At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.

The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.

Learn more about our scholarships and awards .

When you apply for this course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and should ensure that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Our Social Work programmes include a significant amount of time spent on placements in a variety of settings, and so when budgeting to study you should also allow for travel to and from placements, as well as textbooks, printing, photocopying and stationery that you may need.

NHS Bursaries

For the latest information regarding the NHSBSA bursary, please go to www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/students .

You can download a copy of the ‘Reforming social work bursary information pack’ and a copy of the ‘Reforming the Social Work Bursary consultation outcome’ from the Department of Health website.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

How To Apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com  
Learn more about applying 

UCAS

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

Standard offer

International Requirements



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:

  • Pathways to Birmingham plus the equivalent of two grades below standard offer, e.g. BBC instead of ABB.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall
  • 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 30 are to be achieved with Distinction and 15 to be achieved with Merit
  • BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are accepted but a related BTEC subject area is required. Grades: BTEC Extended Diploma DDM; typical offers when offered in combination with A Levels: A in A Level + DM in BTEC Diploma or B in A Level + DD in BTEC Diploma; or AB in A Level + M in BTEC Subsidiary Diploma or BB in A Level + D in BTEC Subsidiary Diploma
  • 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 Vocational Diploma qualifications (previously known as NVQs)and professional qualifications, we are not able to consider them in place of academic qualifications.

Plus:

  • GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C or above (or certificated equivalent)

 Plus:

A minimum of 3 months or 60 days 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 central Admissions team for guidance.

Find out more about the University of Birmingham's Code of Practice on Admissions

  1. Applicants must show, in the appropriate section of the application form, that they meet or intend to meet all of the academic criteria.
  2. Their ability to meet the academic criteria should be confirmed in their academic reference.
  3. 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.
  4. Their personal statement should also provide evidence of their ability to write in a clear, coherent and accessible style.
  5. Shortlisted applicants may be required to read a short academic text and complete a written test on their understanding general issues related to social work.
  6. Applicants completing this test may then be invited to undertake an interview.
  7. Selected applicants will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and Declaration of Suitability for Social Work form, before registration on the programme.
  8. 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.
  9. A satisfactory social care practice reference will also be required.
  10. All students will be required to sign the Fitness to Practise Code of Conduct (PDF) on entry. 
  11. 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.
  12. Although modules on  our social work programmes are compulsory, the university APL policy allows us to give credit for learning that has been assessed 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.

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.

A Disabled Person's Guide to Becoming a Health Professional

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) have produced a document called 'Health, disability and becoming a health and care professional' for people with a disability or long-term health condition which is available for download. 

Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) documents

Applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the:

International Students

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements (IELTs : 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band).

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset of our Social Work degree, you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Teaching and Assessment

Our BA Social Work degree is underpinned by research-informed teaching and practice, and you will be supported by academics who are engaged in ground breaking research. Our Social Work degree will equip you with an understanding of social work values, evidence-informed practice, making professional judgements, and the ability to apply a range of interventions in practice. Our aim is for our students to graduate as confident and competent professionals. Our degree programmes have a strong commitment to human rights, social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion.

We offer a range of teaching methods, including lectures, small group seminars, group work, role play and self-directed learning and online tasks. As part of the programme, you will also undertake two practice placements in a social care setting, totalling 170 days. These placements will be supervised by the University. As part of the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership we work collaboratively with 15 local authorities, 2 children’s trusts, 1 foundation trust and 7 Higher Education Institutions within our region. This collaboration allows us to offer a large variety of practice learning opportunities. As part of your practice learning, you will be required to work with children, their families, adults and communities.

We use a range of assessment methods throughout the programme, including written essays, examinations, portfolios, presentations and live practice scenarios. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular module. You will receive feedback on each assessment within three to four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on your previous work and use this to develop your future assessments.

Support

Each student will be assigned an academic and personal tutor, who will meet with you for a face to face tutorial a minimum of three times per academic year. As well as being supported by your academic tutor, we offer an Academic Skills Service in our Main Library, which undergraduates can also access for support around their academic writing.  A Welfare Tutor is also offered by the Department, they provide support around any difficult personal circumstances you may experiencing at any given time during your studies.  As a Department, we pride ourselves on the high level and quality of support we offer our students, across the board.

Service user and carer involvement

Involving service users and carers in all aspects of admissions and the development and delivery of our social work qualifying programmes is a priority for us. We believe it offers students the opportunity to have a thorough grounding in service users’ and carers’ experiences and expectations from the very start of their social work training and careers.

Practice placements

We offer students a wide range of practice opportunities within statutory, voluntary and independent social care settings. The learning gained from these placements supports and builds on the learning taking place at the University. Whilst on placement all students will have a practice tutor and a practice educator, they might also have a day-to-day supervisor called a practice supervisor.

Students all have two placements; the first is for 70 days and the final is for 100 days. During both placements the practice educators will be qualified registered social workers; for the first placement the practice supervisors may come from a variety of professional backgrounds related to social care such as nursing, teaching, youth work etc. For the final placement students will all have a practice educator who will be a qualified, experienced and registered social worker with a stage 2 practice educator qualification. They might also have a practice supervisor who will be a qualified registered social worker, working towards a stage 1 practice educator qualification. The practice educator provides support and guidance to the student, and will have overall responsibility for both the ongoing and final assessment of their ability throughout the placement.

Contact Hours

In your first year of BA Social Work, you will have an average of 10 hours of direct contact time per week, made up of lectures, seminars and small group workshops and exercises. In addition, you will be involved in guided self-directed learning and online tasks.

Your 2nd and 3rd years of the programme will involve a full-time practice placement (70 days in the 2nd year and 100 days in the 3rd year). You will receive education, supervision and support from a practice educator and a practice tutor throughout the placement.

The remaining parts of the 2nd year will involve an average of 10-12 hours of direct contact and in your 3rd year you will have an average of 12-15 hours made up of lectures, seminars and small group workshops and exercises. 

In all years of the programme, you will receive at least one individual tutorial with your academic tutor per term.

Your Birmingham Social Work degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Career opportunities

On successful completion of our BA Social Work degree, we will equip you to work in a wide range of areas. We make sure you have experience of working with two different service user groups in two different social care settings whilst on placement. The Advanced Practice, Specialist Teaching and Dissertation modules in the final year of the BA Social Work degree allow you to build on both specialist and generic knowledge and skills, and apply for a wide range of jobs in the voluntary, private and statutory sectors.

Indeed, 85% of Social Work graduates from Birmingham are in professional or managerial careers six months after graduating and enjoy average starting salaries of £26,000 (UNISTATS, 2016-17).

This Social Work degree offers professional training, which on successful completion, will give you eligibility to apply to register with the HCPC as a professional Social Worker.

The HCPC will require you to complete an application for professional registration form upon graduating our Social Work degree, and it is this professional body who will determine your professional status. As such, the offer of a place on the Social Work degree programme is not a guarantee that you will be able to register with the HCPC.

Careers network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoringglobal internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline, all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Visit the University of Birmingham Careers pages for further information on how we are 'investing in your future'.