The BA (Hons) Social Work degree is the recognised professional qualifying training for social work. Skills for Care has adopted the following definition of social work proposed by The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
“A profession which promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work".
Social work is concerned with social justice and enabling positive change to occur in the lives of individuals, families and communities. The profession operates across the wide spectrum of human and social activity. Social work can be active in seeking to influence and shape how organisations and governments view what can be described as ‘social’ problems. Social work is a developing profession in a changing world and the opportunities for personal development and advancement are considerable.
The BA (Hons) Social Work degree programme at UCS provides a rigorous and challenging learning experience to prepare students at both a personal and professional level for the demanding requirements and expectations of social work. It prepares individuals to work in the public, private and voluntary social care sectors in posts which require accountable and effective professional social work skills.
The programme is designed to meet Quality Assurance Benchmark Statements for Social Work. The programme incorporates The Professional Capabilities Framework from The College of Social Work based on the work of the Social Work Reform Board which builds on the Department of Health requirements for social work training. It also prepares students for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), ensuring that students understand and adhere to The Standards of Proficiency in readiness for qualifying as required by the Health and Care Professions Council (2012). Students are also expected to work to the standards of conduct, performance and ethics using the HCPC’s guidance on conduct and ethics for students.
Social work is a regulated profession. From 1 August 2012 qualified social workers will be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and may use the protected title of Social Worker. The College of Social Work’s Professional Capabilities Framework sets out key capabilities expected of you as you develop in your career. In order to register, on completion of your degree, you will also have to have met the HCPC’s Standards of Proficiency necessary for safe and effective practice within the profession. This will enable you to practice as a qualified Social Worker.
As well as regulating individual social workers, the HCPC also regulates the performance of social work courses and the College of Social Work will be offering an endorsement scheme for education providers which our programme expects to be part of when it has been clarified.
On successful completion of the degree programme, students may choose to undertake other post-qualifying studies in social work.
Once qualified and registered, graduates may choose to work in a variety of interesting and rewarding settings in the statutory, voluntary, private or independent social care sectors. The traditional employers of social workers were local authorities and other public organisations such as NHS trusts in departments providing services for children or adults. Increasingly social workers are looking to the voluntary and private sector for career opportunities together with other initiatives such as the creation of social enterprises, whereby social workers set up their own company and contract for work. For more information on these and other aspects of social work visit: www.basw.co.uk/social-work-careers
The key aims of the programme are:
To develop critical and reflective social workers who can contribute to the service and employment needs of local social work, social care and the community
To enable students to develop a critical understanding of the subject specific knowledge and values underpinning professional social work practice
To enable students to develop a transferable range of communication, cognitive, analytical and decision making skills
To prepare social workers who can demonstrate a critical approach to research and evidence based practice.
The BA (Hons) Social Work programme at UCS has several notable strengths which have been highlighted through feedback from previous graduates and other contributors:
Tutor availability – the tutors are both accessible and visible providing academic guidance and general support.
Diversity of skills – the tutor group possess a diverse range of practice experience and skills. Many of the tutors retain current links to direct practice and bring this wealth of contemporary experience to the programme.
Clarity of teaching, learning and assessment – teaching and learning is enhanced through the provision of a wide range of information which specifies how students will be supported in their learning and how they will be assessed and supported throughout the programme.
Transferable skills – the skills, knowledge and experience gained from the programme can be highly beneficial in terms of personal and professional development leading to diverse opportunities in the world of work.
Collaborative input – the UCS programme places great importance on the involvement of local communities through the active participation of service users, external educators and community representatives. Similarly, the support offered to those who provide workplace practice education to students on placement promotes a shared commitment to enhancing the learning experience.
Positive employability – many of the Social Work graduates report rapid progression into paid employment.
Content and Modules
First year modules include:
Values, Ethics and Dilemmas in Social Work
Human Behaviour and Lifespan Development
Introduction to Social Work and Social Care
Applied Social Sciences for Social Work
IPL - The Professional Person
Preparation for Social Work Practice
Practical computer skills for Social Workers
Second year modules include:
Mental Health and Social Work Practice
Law, Policy and Practice
Introduction to Research
Assessment and Direct Practice
Assessed Practice Placement and Professional Practice Workshops (integrating module)
IPL - The Service User
Third year modules include:
Policy and Legislation in Social Work and Social Care
IPL - The Organisation
Assessed Practice Placement and Professional Practice Workshops (integrating module)
Read the full Programme Specification for this course here:
Teaching and Learning spans two semesters each academic year, Semester One runs from September to January and Semester Two from February to June. A full time student is expected to take four modules each semester. The expected college day will be 9.30am and 4.30pm each day. The likely attendance commitment at UCS is approximately two and a half days per week in Year 1. This is a guide only and attendance requirements can vary throughout the year.
A part-time student will take one or two modules each semester. Students can expect to have to attend for four hours per module for the twelve weeks of the semester and to spend at least an equivalent amount of time per week in independent study. Students will be provided with timetables when they join the course. Opportunities for part-time study are limited in that there needs to be a sufficient number of part-time students each year in order for this pathway to be open.
Assessment is through a combination of written work, presentations, role plays and direct observations of practice, research and a practice learning portfolio of evidence. Practice educators and service users and carers contribute to assessments.
It is important for student’s to recognise that private and self-directed study is an essential component of any undergraduate programme in addition to the structured timetable. Students will need factor this commitment in to their personal planning overall.
The Practice Placement Experience
In addition to a ten day student observational placement in Year 1, each student will be offered experience in at least two practice settings in Years 2 & 3. Assessment will be by means of a combination of portfolio, direct practice observations, audio or video tape recordings of practice, self-evaluation and service-user and carer feedback.
It is a requirement from September 2012 that each student will undertake assessed practice gaining required experience and learning in practice settings. The change from the current 200 days to 170 days with 30 days development of practice skills will be phased in between September 2012 and September 2013.
Each student must gain experience in at least two practice settings with social work tasks involving legal interventions and providing services to at least two different service user groups.
Application and Interview Procedure
Initial applications are managed through UCAS the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK. Once accepted for interview, student applicants are provided with a pre-interview pack which outlines the structure of the interview process and provides links to essential reading and preparation. The interview consists of a piece of written work, a group discussion and an individual interview. Feedback from previous interviewees indicates this has been an enjoyable and positive experience.
Feedback from previous applicants indicates they were very pleased with the quality of information provided and the fairness of the interview day experience. Student candidates will be requested to prepare to provide evidence of sufficient understanding of The Professional Capabilities Framework , at entry level, which is:
1) Demonstrates an initial awareness of what social work is, with a basic understanding of the role of the social worker and the nature and appropriate application of professional authority
2) Demonstrates self-awareness together with a satisfactory level of personal emotional resilience and adaptability and the motivation and commitment to qualify and practice as a social worker
3) Demonstrates the ability to empathise with respect for others and openness to their views, with a willingness to change their own views and opinions
4) Demonstrates the potential to reflect, think analytically and critically with recognition of some of the formal knowledge base of social work
5) Demonstrates an understanding of difference and diversity together with a strong sense of values which reflect those required for best social work practice
6) Demonstrates intellectual and academic ability and curiosity with satisfactory communication skills, both spoken and written, which reflect the requirements and rigours of undergraduate study
7) Demonstrates an ability to reflect, analyse and learn from their own life experiences (broadly defined) with an understanding of how this learning might contribute to their role as a social worker
8) Demonstrates an understanding of how appropriate networking, organisational, inter-professional and team membership skills are essential for the development of social work for the benefit of self and others.
School of Applied Social Sciences
The School is newly formed, creating two Divisions, one covering Children, Young People and Education and the other Social Policy and Social Work. Research interests within the School include poverty and minimum income standards, informal care and the effects of preventative interventions for older people to maintain independence within the community, alternatives to hospital admission for people assessed under the 1983 Mental Health Act (Amended 2007), work with the Youth Sector Development Fund evaluating rural support strategy, prison law and policy and the implications of new technologies for childhood. The School is also a key provider of teacher training in the region, through the SCITT schemes based in Ipswich and Clacton.
The School has a proven track record in bringing together high academic standards with real world professionalism and works closely with various national and local government agencies. The school is well placed to bring the academic rigour required to challenge and push boundaries.
Find out more about:
The School of Applied Social Sciences
What is included in your tuition fees
At UCS your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for. Read full details of the included and additional costs for BA (Hons) Social Work. Please note, UCS reserves the right to change this information as and when required.