Working in this sector is very rewarding. Social workers help some of the most vulnerable people in society. The role provides support and assistance to a host of individuals, families, and groups, from the homeless to people with learning and physical disabilities. Social workers often spend their time with people – be it at hospitals, care homes or at people's homes, assessing their circumstances and building relationships.

This is both an academic and a professional qualification with all successful graduates are eligible for registration as professional social workers with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The aim of the programme is to develop practitioners who can meet the needs of the service users, carers and communities in the context of a complex and changing welfare environment. Founded on holistic, service user-centered model of care, the course produces creative, innovative and reflective social work professionals committed to working in partnership to promote well-being and make a real difference.

On MA Social Work practice-based learning complements university-based lectures, seminars, and workshops, drawing on established, contemporary and innovative approaches to work with a diverse range of service users. The course is underpinned by a commitment to inter-professionalism, service-user and carer empowerment and involvement, anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory values and evidence-based practice. The course adopts a systematic approach to the development and assessment of your social work skills and includes a specific programme of social work development.

There are five core areas of knowledge and understanding relevant to social work:

  • Social work services and the needs of service users
  • The service delivery context
  • Values and ethics
  • Social work theory
  • The nature of social work practice.

These areas are systematically explored throughout the course in relation to the key roles of social work, which include:

  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Support
  • Managing risk
  • Managing your own practice
  • Demonstrating professional competence.

Employment-based route

It is also possible to study the MA Social Care on an employment-based route (EBR). Candidates need to be sponsored and supported by their employing agency to undertake this. It is taught alongside the existing MA Social Work and the structure is the same, but students have the option of doing the dissertation in the third year and completing their qualification over a three year period.


Key course information - ordered by mode

Mode Duration Start Date Location
Part-time (EBR) 3 years September Southwark Campus
Full-time 2 years September Southwark Campus
Full-time (EBR) 2-3 years September Southwark Campus


Year 1

  • Readiness for direct practice
  • Human growth and development
  • Practice placement 1
  • Social work Law
  • Methods and theories for practice

Year 2

  • Society and ethics
  • Professional capabilities in social work practice settings
  • Communication and collaborative working
  • Practice learning placement 2
  • Limited systematic review dissertation

Recent guest lecturers

  • Professor Joan Orme, Glasgow School of Social Work
  • Professor Jan Fook, University of Southampton
  • Pam Trevithick, author of 'Social Work Skills'
  • Creating sustainable futures: defeating the politics of austerity, Social Work Action Network Conference, April 2013
  • Partnership in Social Care at a Time of Cuts, March 2012
  • Neo-Liberalism vs Social Justice: is social work ready for the challenges of the future? Social work student conference, February 2010


Social work as a career

You will normally specialize in a certain group of society, such as children. Much of the work is around helping decide the level of support or protection required, responding to requests for help and working with other agencies and professionals for the best outcomes. Most opportunities are with local authorities, where salaries can vary substantially between regions - you are likely to earn more working in London. However, there are also opportunities available at private care homes, charities, and NHS Trusts.

A patient, non-judgemental mindset is needed, with the ability to communicate effectively with a host of different people and gain their trust. The work demands a level of resilience and a genuine desire to help people, as some cases may be disturbing, and some people won't want your help.

Career progression

On graduation, you will be eligible to register as a Social Worker, with starting salaries ranging from £19,500-£25,000, with this possibly rising to £40,000 with experience and further responsibilities. (National Careers Service)

After qualifying as a social worker there are a variety of postgraduate professional development courses you could undertake.

We are the University of the Year for Graduate Employment - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

  • An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
  • Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.

Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.

Entry requirements

  • A Bachelor degree equivalent normally to a UK Second Class Honours Upper Division (2:1) or above in any subject
  • GCSE passes in English and Maths (at grade C or above) or a recognized equivalent
  • You should be at least 21 years of age on application and will be required to present evidence of social work knowledge and social care as well as work experience in some aspect of social work/social care full-time over six months, or the equivalent part-time (e.g. 15 hours per week over one year in voluntary work). At least some of this experience needs to be in the UK

We are proud of our diverse student group and positively welcome those from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups.

Selection criteria

Selection is by a written essay and individual interviews.

The selection process addresses the following key areas:

  • The ability to communicate clearly and accurately, verbally and in writing
  • Analysis and critical thinking skills
  • A knowledge of social work, and an understanding of the perspectives of service users and carers
  • Motivation to qualify and practice as a social worker, and an awareness of the personal qualities social work requires
  • An understanding of diversity and difference in the context of social work

Self-certification of medical fitness to practice and Disclosure Barring Service Check (DBS)

In line with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requirements, any offer of a place is conditional on a clear police check and self-certification of medical fitness to practice.

Candidates who are successful at interview and accept a place on the course will be expected to pay for an enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check.

English language

For those whom English is not their first language must achieve a minimum score of 7.0 overall or equivalent with not less than 7.0 in the listening and reading sections and not less than 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections for the International English Language Test Score (IELTS) at the time of application.

All modules are subject to change by the university and may differ from the modules you are offered during your studies.

Program taught in:

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Last updated May 2, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 23, 2019
2 - 3 years
4,000 GBP
Year 1 Full-time/Part-time UK/EU fee: £4000; International fee: £6250.
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sep 23, 2019
End Date
June 5, 2021
Application deadline

Sep 23, 2019

Application deadline
End Date
June 5, 2021