Social Work MA/PgDip

 

Course Code

HLST203

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

 

Study mode

Full-time

Duration

2 years full-time (MA)
18 months full-time (Pg Dip)

Start date

September 2022

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Course overview

Study level: Postgraduate

Social work is a rewarding profession which enables you to work with and support individuals, families and communities of all ages who face difficulties or distress in their lives.

Currently accredited by Social Work England, our MA/PgDip programmes have been developed in line with government recommendations in response to the demand for a highly skilled workforce.

  • Grounded in practice, this course will enable you to build on your existing academic, work and life experiences in order to achieve the professional social work qualification.
  • You will undertake two placements2 of 70 days and 100 days (sourced by the university).
  • Our high-quality teaching emphasises the knowledge, skills and values of social work; especially the importance of research-informed, person-centred and relationship-based practice.
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Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Employability

Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

  • Social work is a highly rewarding profession that requires human compassion. Social workers work with people experiencing difficulties and deal with many complex issues arising, for example, from poverty or relationship problems.
  • Your role is to assist individuals, groups and communities to develop practical strategies to improve their situations and make a positive difference – protecting the vulnerable from harm and abuse or supporting people to live independently. It allows you to give something back to society.
  • This course engages the head, the heart and the hands because theoretical knowledge, skills and practical experience and values of human compassion are all essential requisites of an effective social worker. The course provides you with rigorous academic study and a professional qualification upon successful completion of the course.
  • We have been educating social workers for over 50 years and this course is professionally accredited by Social Work England. On successful completion of this MA or PgDip in Social Work you will be eligible to apply to register as a social worker. (Additional costs may apply, please see Accreditation1 and Professional Recognition section)
  • Recognised internationally, the British social work qualification allows you to apply to register for practice as a professional social worker on completion, working for local government, voluntary and third sector organisations, charities or NGOs (additional fees may apply).
  • Upon graduation you will have the opportunity to apply to work in any area of social work, rather than simply qualifying for one particular area, such as childcare or mental health – a distinct advantage giving you greater flexibility in your career choices.
  • This course has been updated to reflect contemporary trends in social work practice, both locally and nationally. The course team have been actively engaged within the West Midlands Teaching Partnership, to improve all aspects of the delivery, including placement and employability.

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course has been accredited1 and recognised by the following bodies:

Social Work England

Social Work England

Regulation of the social work profession is by Social Work England (SWE). This course has been designed to comply with SWE’s requirements and is currently accredited by SWE for the 22/23 intake.

On successful completion of the course, you will be eligible to register with SWE to practice as a professional Social Worker (additional costs may apply). We also encourage you as students on this course to become members of the British Association of Social Work (additional costs may apply). Please check with the membership body for details.


Chartered Management Institute

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

As part of this course, you will undertake a professional development module which is currently accredited by the  Chartered Management Institute (CMI) for the 2022-23 intake. Upon successful completion of the module, you will gain the CMI  Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice  at no additional cost. Further details can be found under the modules tab and on the Professional Development module homepage.



What you'll study

Year one contains a series of modules introducing you to the core learning required in social work education. The suite of teaching aims to provide you with baseline concepts and skills development in preparation for assessed practice, including an innovative new module exploring emotions in social work. You will also complete your first placement of 70 days duration.

All modules are mandatory

Modules

  • The module introduces you to social work as a form of practice that has been constructed over time within legal, policy and organisational frameworks. You will gain an understanding of the dilemmas, conflicts and tensions within and between legislation, policy, organisational structures and practice within diverse service user groups. The contingent nature of social work is considered by examining key historical ‘moments’ in the development of social work, exploring the political, economic and social context of each moment and the forces that shaped the form social work took. The module examines current social work roles and responsibilities and the settings in which social work is practised.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to introduce you to the way in which the law is relevant to social work practitioners and understand and apply key pieces of legislation. Objectives are to explore the English Legal System, introduce key items of legislation including the Children Act 1989, Care Act 2014 and Mental Capacity Act 2005, and to enable the practice realities of the implementation of the law to be debated and discussed by students with practitioner input.

    Compulsory

  • The course as a whole adopts a person-centred perspective on social work practice that encompasses the interaction between people and their social situations, including the impact of social divisions on their lives. This module introduces you to the key components of this overall perspective and gives you a secure grounding in theories and methods that you can use as a foundation on which to build skilled and confident practice while on placement.

    These theories and methods help you to gain greater understanding of what it entails to practise as a social worker by revealing and explaining aspects of problems and responses to you that might not be immediately obvious. In doing so, the theories and methods provide a means of students being able to order the complex situations they will confront in practice, assisting them in deciding what to focus on when they intervene and offering guidance on how to respond.

    Compulsory

  • The overall aim of the module is to ensure that you meet the Professional Capabilities Framework (BASW) at the point of assessment of readiness to practice i.e. the required capabilities prior to first placement. Thus you should demonstrate a range of knowledge, core skills and values in order to engage effectively with service users and carers, work collectively as a member of an organisation and are open to learning and supervision in order to make effective use of your first practice placement. You will also demonstrate an awareness of the Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) for Adults and Child and Family practitioners, alongside an appreciation of Social Work England's (SWE) professional standards and their relevance to social work practice.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of the module is to enable you to develop a critical understanding of human growth and development across the lifespan of childhood to adulthood within context of internal and external dimensions of development. It examines theories of human growth and development throughout the life cycle, and how, at different points people’s identities are shaped by their social, political, economic and cultural locations. There will be a particular focus on how inequality, adversity and oppression can have significant implications on human development and affect people’s experiences. The module aims to develop your theoretical understanding of human development and its practical intervention in practice. 

    Compulsory

  • This module is designed to enable you to develop understanding and knowledge of social work with children, young people and families in a range of settings including agencies and organisations operating in both the statutory and third sector. Learning will incorporate both the context and breadth of issues that children and families social workers encounter to prepare you for practice. It will include the application of legislation and policies related to children’s safeguarding and an analysis of recent developments and their implications to practice, including an exploration of contemporary themes in children’s safeguarding. The module will principally aim to enable you to develop your understanding, knowledge and skills working from a rights-based approach to promote relationship based social work and strengths-based models of assessment. The module will also provide you with an understanding of the impact of poverty, inequality and diversity in the lives of children, young people and families and how you may address this through your practice.

    Compulsory

  • The module aims are:

    • To understand that the principle of individual wellbeing is central to all professional practice with adults under the Care Act (2014).
    • To acquire and be able to apply a range of knowledge, values and skills in order to understand people’s situations, build relationships with them and work directly with them, their families and their carers in order to enable them to achieve the best possible outcomes.
    • To develop knowledge and skills in undertaking assessments, planning care and support and making the best use of available resources to enable people to have better lives.
    • To enable people to experience personalised integrated care and support them in maintaining their independence and wellbeing, coping with change, attaining the outcomes they need, understanding and managing risk and participating in the life of their communities.
    • To understand and counter the impact of poverty, inequality and diversity on social and economic opportunities and relate these experiences to people’s health and wellbeing as well as the functioning of their families, particularly in connection with adult safeguarding and in empowering individuals who may lack mental capacity.

    Compulsory

  • You will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the role of the professional social worker in a range of practice contexts. You will demonstrate, through effective communication, evidence of forming appropriate relationships with professionals and service users. You will be expected to use critical reflection to inform your learning, to ensure your practice is underpinned by professional codes of conduct, ethical principles and social justice. You will also apply your understanding of legislation, theoretical perspectives and evidence-based research to your practice.

    The module will enable you to demonstrate capabilities in working within the nine domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) in relation to the PCF level descriptors for End of First Placement. You will be expected to critically reflect on the relevance of the Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) to social work practice.

    Compulsory

  • You will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the role of the professional social worker in a range of practice contexts. You will demonstrate, through effective communication, evidence of forming appropriate relationships with professionals and service users. You will be expected to use critical reflection to inform your learning, to ensure your practice is underpinned by professional codes of conduct, ethical principles and social justice.

    You will also apply your understanding of legislation, theoretical perspectives and evidence-based research to your practice.

    The module will enable you to demonstrate capabilities in working within the nine domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework (British Association of Social Workers) in relation to the PCF level descriptors for End of First Placement. You will be expected to critically reflect on the relevance of the Knowledge and Skills Statements (Department of Education and Department of Health) to social work practice. 

    Compulsory

The second year is designed to mark your development of knowledge, skills and behaviour, marked by the larger second practice placement of 100 days. You will follow a trajectory of academic study, focusing on applied work, and particular emphasis on independent study at master’s level.

All modules are mandatory

Modules

  • This module will enable you to consolidate and develop your practice, achieved at first placement in a contrasting statutory, voluntary or independent social work or social care setting. The module requires advanced integration and practical application of knowledge of social science, law and social work theory. You will be required to demonstrate that ethical principles of social justice and equality underpin your practice, through respectful working relationships with service users and carers. In addition, you will be required to demonstrate that you can work effectively within an organizational context, including multi-agency and inter-professional settings.

    You will be required to enhance your understanding of the legal, policy and procedural frameworks that underpin your practice. The module will also require demonstration of professional and leadership development and the application of critical reflection, analysis and creativity, to more complex practice situations. You will be required to demonstrate an understanding of risk factors and appropriate responses to safeguarding vulnerable people.

    The module will enable you to demonstrate the capability requirements for qualifying practice at the end of final placement. You will be expected to critically reflect on the relevance of the Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS), to social work practice, in preparation for the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment.

    Compulsory

  • This module will enable you to consolidate and develop your practice, achieved in Year One, in a contrasting statutory, voluntary or independent social work or social care setting. The module requires advanced integration and practical application of knowledge of social science, legislation, theoretical perspectives and evidence-based research. You will be expected to use critical reflection to inform your learning, to ensure your practice is underpinned by professional codes of conduct, ethical principles and social justice. In addition, you will be required to demonstrate that you can work effectively within an organisational context, including multi-agency and inter-professional settings.

    The module will also require demonstration of professional and leadership development and the application of critical reflection, analysis and creativity, to more complex practice situations. You will be required to demonstrate an understanding of risk factors and appropriate responses to safeguarding vulnerable people.

    The module will enable you to demonstrate the capability requirements for qualifying practice at the end of final placement. You will be expected to critically reflect on the relevance of the Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS), to social work practice, in preparation for the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment. 

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to provide you with a framework of knowledge and understanding of how to manage change using creativity and innovation whatever the master’s degree of specialisation you elect to follow, in different types of organisational scenarios.

    You will critically assess strategies for change and change management, and explore the leadership skills required to lead such successfully. You will explore for example, the complexity of innovative strategic plans, implementation plans and how to apply analytical techniques, theories, models and creative problem solving to manage change with confidence.

    Ultimately, you will be given the opportunity to develop an innovative framework to deliver a change management strategy in a changing organisational context. Finally, the module requires you to reflect critically on your personal learning and development needs and how you work with others, from an ethical and professional standpoint to encourage your continuing professional development.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to equip you with critical insights into research design and methodology aimed at enabling you to conduct a small scale systematic and focused investigation into a specific professional practice-related problem/issue. As well as learning about a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research, you will gain practical and theoretical insights into evaluating and appraising research studies. Further, the module will offer critical insights into the relationship between evidence and the development or practice interventions, methods and approaches. 

    Compulsory

  • This module provides an opportunity for you to conduct and report on a research project of relevance and potential benefit to professional practice. It enables you to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the philosophy and principles of research, and competence at each stage in the research process. The module makes an important contribution to enhancing professional capabilities through the research training provided in the master’s degree. In addition, it enhances your ability to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, and engenders self-direction and originality in tackling problems. 

    Compulsory

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

Our broad range of knowledge and skill within the team is reflected in our diverse teaching methods. You can expect to experience large and small-group sessions, personal development groups, individual and group tutorial and some online content.

Teaching and learning foregrounds current practice and the courses incorporate the significant involvement of current social work practitioners and people who have used social work services. While on placement, you will work closely with, and are fully supported by a qualified social work practitioner


Teaching contact hours

During Year 1 you can expect to spend approximately 3.5 days per week at the university during term time from September to December, and January to April. The placement between April and July should involve full-time attendance (around 35-37.5 hours per week. In Year 2, the placement between September and February should involve full-time attendance (around 35-37.5 hours a week).

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

Assessment on the programme mirrors the diverse teaching methods with an approach to meet various skills and competencies as required by the regulation of the programme. This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Assignments
  • Reflective logs
  • Portfolios
  • Class tests
  • Practical skill demonstration
  • Vivas

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.  


International experience opportunities

Each year the faculty offer international experiences, and social work students have previously visited Finland and the Netherlands.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2


Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a honours degree 2:1 or above in any discipline, and must have a minimum of 3 months (or equivalent) experience either full time/part time paid or voluntary in the field of social care, health or education. This must be evidenced by a work-based reference.

Applicants with a 2:2 degree classification may be considered on an individual basis and will need to demonstrate substantial work experience either paid of voluntary and demonstrate how their experiences, knowledge and skills will enable them to study at master’s level. This will be at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor.

Additional entry requirements:

  • Occupational health assessment, to assess fitness to undertake the practice component of the degree.
  • Criminal record check, via Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service or equivalent for non-UK residents.
  • All successful candidates will be expected to have Key Skills level in English and Mathematics. This is equivalent to GCSE grade 4/C or above.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications; speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

Chat with UK admissions


Fees and funding

2022/23 Tuition fees

Student Full time Part time
UK £10,600 (MA) | £7,066 (PgDip) MA 2 years, PgDip 18 months Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.


Facilities

Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities4.

People walking in front of a building which has a big library sign

The Library

The Lanchester Library is open 24/7, 364 days a year and has 1,400 study spaces, including group and silent areas. It also currently offers more than 550 computers and an additional 120 free-to-loan laptops.

Beautiful building surrounded by trees on a sunny day

Jaguar Centre

Our refurbished Jaguar Centre has been specifically designed to provide facilities and services to support our postgraduate students including: social spaces, computer suites and separate areas for small group study.

Glass modern building with a spire in the background

TheHub

TheHub is the centre of student campus life. It's also home to: The Health and Wellbeing Centre, The Spirituality and Faith Centre, The Tank Studio, The Careers and Add+vantage Office and the Enterprise Hub.


Careers and opportunities

Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work

On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to practise effectively as a skilled person-centred social worker.
  • Show respect for persons and for diverse organisations and communities, promoting social justice and combating processes that lead to oppression, discrimination, marginalisation, inequality and social exclusion.
  • Evaluate and evidence how to support people to gain, regain or maintain control of their own lives, choices and decisions, insofar as this is compatible with their own or others' safety, well-being and rights, fostering dignity, choice and independence and effecting change.
  • Engage in professional relationships with service users and carers that are characterised by openness, reciprocity, mutual accountability and explicit recognition of the powers of the social worker including statutory intervention.
  • Analyse, make and implement difficult decisions (including restrictions on liberty) in situations that involve the potential for harm, including critical reflection on ethical principles and dilemmas.

Social Work MA

On successful completion of the course, in addition to the outcomes listed for the PgDip, you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate how to deal with complex, multiple and sometimes contradictory accountabilities (for example, to different service users, carers, employing agencies, professional bodies and the public)
  • Appraise and demonstrate modes of working collaboratively with other professionals in interdisciplinary contexts and demonstrate leadership qualities and professional autonomy.
  • Critically employ research evidence and knowledge from a range of sources (including theoretical perspectives and evidence from international contexts) to inform understanding and to underpin action, reflection and evaluation.
  • Develop creative and innovative responses to the social, political and economic challenges and demands of contemporary social welfare legislation, policy and practice.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding and work within ongoing contested debates about the nature, scope and purpose of social work.
  • Critically evaluate the principles of developing and proposing strategy for leading strategic change.
  • Demonstrate understanding and ability in conducting small scale ethical social research.

Graduates from social work qualifying programmes at Coventry University have excellent career prospects in the caring professions, supported by our close links with local employer partners, who are actively involved in the design, delivery and assessment of the programme.

There remains to be healthy employment rates in the local area for qualified local authority social workers, however past graduates have also gone on to wider range of positions in the NHS and voluntary sector.

Where our graduates work

Past graduates have benefited from particularly helpful working relationships with local employers who make up the West Midlands Teaching Partnership, and especially Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. 


How to apply

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  • 1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2022/23 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.