If you’re already qualified in social work or a related profession, our Applied Professional Studies course is the perfect way to expand your expertise.

The course gives you the opportunity to develop knowledge specific to your role and setting. Relevant modules are approved and accredited by organisations such as the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). You’ll have the opportunity to build towards a Masters qualification with a range of specialist pathways of study that focus on areas such as:

  • Child Welfare and Protection
  • Management and Leadership in Social Services
  • Adult Services, Support and Protection
  • Advanced Practice Skills in Child Welfare and Protection
  • Social Work Practice Education

Whether you work towards the core Masters or follow a pathway, you’ll find yourself studying under the guidance of an established and trusted teaching team who have helped to ensure the University of Stirling is ranked Joint 1st in the UK for Social Work – The National Student Survey 2017. So wherever you’re hoping your career will lead, we can help you get there.

Top reasons to study with us

#1 Joint 1st in the UK for Social Work – The National Student Survey 2017

#2 Study part-time to fit around your personal and professional commitments

#3 Follow different study pathways tailored to match your professional ambitions

Course objectives

This course is a post-qualifying award designed to support experienced professionals in developing advanced knowledge and skills.


Our academic staff are qualified social workers with a wealth of experience and commitment to the highest standards in teaching and research.


We have strong partnerships with professional agencies, ensuring that the course always reflects up-to-date research, theory and responses to contemporary practice issues.


Follow different routes of study and work towards a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters qualification.


Part-time options give you the opportunity to fit study around your personal and professional commitments. Some modules are delivered at local teaching venues to increase accessibility.

Choose from five-course pathways

You’re free to choose whether you want to work towards a core Masters qualification or follow a specialist pathway. These pathways consist of a selected range of modules drawn from the core MSc programme and are designed to build your expertise in a specific aspect of social care. The pathways include:

Child Welfare and Protection

This pathway is most suitable if you’re already working in child welfare and protection, in areas such as social work, health, education or the police. The course builds professional knowledge and competence through:

  • consideration of key frameworks (such as attachment theory and resilience)
  • critical reflection on multi-professional judgement and decision-making
  • examination of the latest research and practice developments in care planning and intervention

Each of the three modules on the course is delivered over seven days through a blend of direct teaching and structured learning activities.

Award: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate

Management and Leadership in Social Services

A flexible study pathway recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) as an appropriate qualification for registered managers. Participants on the course may come from a health, social work, education, occupational therapy or housing background and may be working in residential, day services or fieldwork settings. The modules involve direct teaching days which include:

  • group discussions and activities
  • structured learning sessions for independent study
  • action learning sets

There are extensive online learning materials to complement the teaching sessions and to support collaborative learning.

Award: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate

Adult Services, Support and Protection

Our Adult Services, Support and Protection pathway is designed to develop your theoretical, ethical and practical understanding of how adult support is delivered. It takes into account the challenges of changing laws, policies and service structures, and helps you to refresh your framework for thinking about adult services as you engage with leading researchers and practice experts.

Award: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate

Advanced Practice Skills in Child Welfare and Protection

Delivered by representatives of the University of Stirling, the NSPCC and a range of experts from across Scotland, this fully accredited programme has been introduced to help you develop advanced skills in child welfare and protection practice with children and families. Unlike most other postgraduate courses in the field, this course has an emphasis on gaining practical skills and experience, and you’ll gain knowledge, skills and experience for working within the most challenging settings.

Award: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate

Social Work Practice Education

This pathway promotes the analytical and reflective practice and aims to equip Practice Educators and, in turn, students for effective practice in complex contemporary social work environments. The course is positioned within the MSc Applied Professional Studies structure. You can choose to combine this award with another postgraduate level study in order to achieve the MSc Applied Professional Studies.

Award: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate

Course details

Enhance your expertise in the areas of social work that matter most to you with our flexible MSc Applied Professional Studies.


Modules are taught through a combination of contact teaching days, structured learning making use of the University’s online learning platform, and self-directed private study.

The student groups are small and classroom sessions are delivered in a seminar style with a mixture of PowerPoint presentations, small group work activity and a high level of interaction between presenter and students.

Classroom sessions are led by University academics and researchers who are actively involved in the social work field; and by external practice subject experts. Their contribution enhances the contemporary relevance of the teaching and brings a critical perspective to the topics covered. This exchange of practice and knowledge expertise is replicated between teaching days through structured learning tasks, online discussion boards and peer assessment.

The online learning platform provides a wide range of learning resources that act as a starting point for self-directed study. This course encourages a high level of reflection on your own practice, as well as application of learning to your professional role.

Course director

Duncan Helm, Course Director

+44 (0)1786 466302


Fees - 2018/2019

2018/19 Home/EU £1,400 per 40 credit module
2018/19 Home/EU £700 per 20 credit module
2018/19 Dissertation fee £2100
Program taught in:

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Last updated November 14, 2018
This course is Online & Campus Combined
Start Date
36 months
1,400 GBP
per 40 credit module - Dissertation fee: £2100
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