Course specification and structure
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PMSOCWRK - MSc Social Work

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Science Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Advanced Diploma in Professional Development
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Social Professions
Subject Area Social Work
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

This course will provide the opportunity for those aspiring to become social workers to develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities that lead to registration with the professional body, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). As the course conforms to the HCPC requirements, students must meet the Standards of Proficiency and will learn in a stimulating, challenging and supportive environment. There is variety of learning and teaching methods including placement learning, which comprises 50% of the programme. Learning and teaching will consist of real time and virtual support to augment learning, a structured programme of formal lectures, workshops, seminars, presentations, skills days and student-led discussions, and role play. Students' learning will be structured around the weekly contact time with the teaching team and will be complemented by students' independent work based on the guidance supplied in lectures, group work, tutorials and interactive workshops and placements. Enquiry based learning and problem based learning will be used to help students to comprehend theoretical concepts. Students will be required to engage continuously and constructively with the course. WebLearn is a virtual learning environment designed to support students learning, providing access to wider reading and resources to help to prepare for each session e.g. websites, policy documents and articles and or to revise and deepen knowledge after sessions e.g. lecture notes. The Library has an extensive electronic catalogue including e-books and e-journals that can be accessed remotely and there is a dedicated Academic Subject Librarian. Other important learning support is available through drop ins with Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) and through the virtual Study Hub resources. A key feature of the programme is partners, service users and carers’ involvement in the course. Students will be able to bring together skills gained across the programme through their dissertation. Students’ progress is monitored and assessed throughout the programme and informal and formal feedback is given in relation to their fitness to practise as a social worker.

Course aims

The course aims to

Develop a professional identity of a social worker, which is underpinned by a commitment to social work values, ethics and the professional code of practice
Facilitate a critical awareness of diversity and current forms of oppression and enable students to develop strategies to combat oppression which is unjust and/or illegal
Ensure that the teaching of complex theoretical knowledge, skills and values is based on their application in practice
Promote a systematic understanding of the research, knowledge and skills at the forefront of social work
Enable students to become accountable, reflective and self-critical and critically integrate knowledge from research and theory to underpin their practice and professional development
Enable students to demonstrate autonomy and originality in solving problems, and act independently in assessing, planning and implementing interventions at a level of professional excellence at qualifying level
Ensure that the overall curriculum design and delivery is informed by service users and carers
Recruit students from a wide range of educational, ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds
Facilitate the critical understanding of inter professional learning and working in multi-disciplinary teams through its inter-professional curriculum initiatives
Ensure that each student is assessed rigorously against the Standards of Proficiency in order to meet the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) requirements for social work registration and achieve the qualification level in the Professional Capabilities Framework required by The College of Social Work (TCSW).

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of the MSc students will be able to:

Apply methods and techniques appropriate to their own research or advanced scholarship in Social Work
Apply knowledge with originality, based on a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in Social Work
Evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in Social Work
Evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses
Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
Exercise self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level
Advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level
Exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations
Learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development

Principle QAA benchmark statements


Assessment strategy

The course will use variety of teaching and learning styles and there are, in turn, reflected in the variety of assessment tools employed through the course. Within the general principle of mixed mode formative and summative assessments can be found a diversity of instruments: practical reports, reviews, presentations and essays, portfolios, open book examination, practice based presentations, observations and assessed practice. Transferable skills have been embedded in the learning outcomes of the course modules. It includes formative assessment, so that students can test and assess their own performance before handing in or presenting work. The MSc includes a dissertation based on the student’s own area of interest but must be relevant to social work.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Students will undertake two assessed placements: normally one per year. They are usually in different agencies with contrasting experiences, adults or children and families. One placement must include statutory work. Students are allocated a practice educator who assesses their practice.

Course specific regulations

Course Regulatory schedule for Social Work Programmes and the Fitness to Practise procedures - Social Work

Social Work Course Regulations

Course Regulatory Scheme

Course Regulatory schedule for Social Work Programmes


This schedule forms a part of the Regulations for all Social Work programmes and should be read alongside the University’s Regulations, which govern courses and the responsibilities of students.


1 All University students are bound from the commencement of their course or from the point of enrolment, by all relevant Regulations, Procedures and policies.

2 Students enrolled on all social work programmes are governed by:

2.1 The University’s Academic Regulations which govern the standards of the University’s awards, the responsibilities of students and the formal roles played by staff in relation to admission to courses and programmes of study, assessment of student’s work and conferment of awards;

2.2 Regulations and Procedures, which govern the conduct of students, in particular, the Regulations applicable to all students in cases of Misconduct – incorporating a Code of Discipline; Fitness to Study; Fitness to Practise Social Work; and,

2.3 Responsibilities placed upon students regarding not only their conduct but also their professional suitability and fitness to practise, as set out in the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (HCPC, 2012). The HCPC expects that registrants and anyone who wishes to be admitted to the HCPC register will meet those standards. The HCPC Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for students describes the standards required of student social workers as they go about their daily work and at qualifying and post qualifying levels.

2.4 All breaches of the professional standards/codes will be progressed in accordance with the Fitness to Practise Social Work Procedures or other University Regulations or Procedures as appropriate (see 2.2 above).

3 In addition, social work students on the qualifying programmes have specific regulations governing professional practice placements that are also outlined below in paragraphs 10 to 47.

4 It is the responsibility of all students to read the HCPC Standards and the relevant University Regulations (accessed via the University’s online Student Handbook) to familiarize themselves with all responsibilities and requirements

Issues that may affect a student’s suitability to commence or continue training as a social worker

5 Students must familiarise themselves with the Fitness to Practise Social Work Procedures, which set down the suitability requirements and the process for reporting and investigating any breaches.

6 It is the responsibility of each student to bring to the attention of the Head of Social Work or nominated staff member in a timely manner, any matter including ill health of any kind that could be considered to have a bearing on their continued suitability for social work training. Likewise, students are required to bring to the attention of the Head of Social Work any matter as indicated above that could be considered to have a bearing on the suitability of another social work student

7 Failure to disclose any circumstance or information affecting a student’s suitability occurring prior to entry to the course or subsequent to enrolment shall be deemed a breach of the University’s Code of Discipline and shall be progressed in accordance with the Student Disciplinary procedures (see 5 and 6 above).

Exemptions and credit transfer

8 Students will not normally be exempted from any part of the Social Work programme, including the transfer of credits acquired by prior certificated learning and experiential learning due the extensive professional standards that must be met and the capabilities embedded across the whole course. For this reason it is not normally possible to offer credit for prior learning or transfer onto a Social work programme from any other programme including social work at another institution.

Attendance requirements

9 Students are required to attend all placement and skills days. In the event that any of these days are missed they must be made up. Where students are absent for 2 weeks this must be reported to NHS bursaries and payment stopped.

Placement Requirements

10 All students are required to undertake two assessed practice placements, lasting in total a minimum of 170 days, in two different social work agencies or services, as determined by the University. The statutory minimum number of days in the first placement shall be 70 days and in the second placement shall be 100 days; failure to complete these days in full will be deemed a failure to complete the placement.

11 At least one of the placements shall provide experience of statutory social work tasks involving legal interventions and of the provision of services to contrasting user groups.

12 All social work students have to undertake, complete and pass their practice placements in a timely way as part of the requirements for the professional award. The University is responsible for providing and approving the quality of the placements in relation to the professional requirements.

13 Agencies offer placements to the University and students are matched to placements in accordance to the required learning outcomes and professional standards. Students’ travel and personal circumstances are taken into account, but the overwhelming priority is gaining a suitable placement. All students will be offered a maximum of three opportunities to gain a placement. Students who fail to get an approved placement will not be able to complete the professional programme.

14 There is an application process that students must prepare for in order to maximise their acceptance by the agency - the process is similar to a job application including an interview. At interview students are required to present their complete and up to date DBS documentation to the agency. The agency has the right to reject unsuitable candidates and there is no right to appeal.

15 Where a student is successful at interview and is offered the placement – the student must accept the placement – the University will be under no obligation to provide further opportunities to gain a placement if the student refuses a placement or unilaterally leaves their placement.

16 If a student is turned down for a placement after being interviewed by the agency the Placements Office will seek feedback from the agency and, if this is available, will forward this to the student. When feedback is available a student is expected to reflect on the feedback and take this into account when preparing for the next placement interview: the student may be required to meet with the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice or nominated staff member to discuss the interview. The aim of this meeting will be to analyse the reasons for the rejection and to assist the student in preparing for the next placement interview.

17 If the student is turned down after a subsequent interview with a different agency, or with a different representative of the same agency, the student will be required to meet with the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice to discuss both interviews. A third placement interview will be sought for the student only after the student has met with the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice. In the event that the student fails to secure a placement on the third attempt, the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice may recommend to the University’s Awards Board that the student's status be terminated.

18 A student who has not passed the first placement shall not be permitted to start the second placement.

19 Supervision of the student will be undertaken by a designated practice educator or in the case of agencies utilising a long-arm practice educator, supervision will be undertaken by one or a combination of both an on-site supervisor and a long-arm practice educator, as described in the Learning Agreement under ‘Supervision Arrangements [using the agreed templates]. Unexpected and unforeseen exigencies in an agency may necessitate the supervisory arrangements to be temporarily varied.

20 During a placement there are two planned 3-way /4-way meetings – the initial meeting and the midway meeting any additional meeting will hereafter be referred to as a Placements Concerns Meeting (PCM).

21 The Practice Assessment Panel (PAP) undertakes a quality assurance process by acting as a Subject Standards Board in respect of practice placements and shall be governed by Section 8.1 of the University’s Academic Regulations.

21.1 Membership of the PAP shall comprise:
• the Head of Social Work or authorised Deputy who shall Chair the PAP
• the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice;
• the BSc and/or MSc Course Leaders; Tutors; and,
• an appointed external examiner (with practice knowledge and experience).

19.2 The quoracy of the PAP shall be:the Head of Social Work (or authorised deputy); the Senior Lecturer Professional Practice or Course Leader and an external examiner. The authorised deputy will be an Associate Dean of the Faculty. In circumstances where the Associate Dean is not a qualified social worker, there will be a requirement for the PAP to include two external examiners.

19.3 Attendees of the PAP:
• Practice

Modules required for interim awards

Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Social Studies - Any combination of core and other modules drawn from across the Faculty to the value of 60 credits

Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Social Studies - Any combination of core and other modules drawn from across the Faculty to the value of 120 credits

Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work - All Social Work cores, excluding the dissertation, to the value of 120

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditations & exemptions

The Social Work MSc is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You must successfully complete and pass all your assessments to meet the Standards of Proficiency as defined by the HCPC. This will then allow you to register as a social worker with the organisation.

The course is also compliant with the Professional Capabilities Framework as defined by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). Once registered with the HCPC, you’ll be eligible to join BASW. This will further boost your employability.

Career opportunities

You will be qualified to practise social work (subject to the requirements of registration with the Health and Care Professions Council) and be eligible to become a member of the British Association of Social Workers. This is of major importance to your career as a social worker.

Because of the diverse tpoics you'll study, you won’t be limited to working in one particular field of social work.

Our graduates have taken up posts in a variety of settings and care groups. These include working with children and families, mental health settings, working with older people and supporting those with learning disabilities.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a second upper class honours degree or above in a social science subject
  • GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or Key Skills Communication Level 2 and Numeracy Level 2 (or equivalent)
  • a minimum of six months' previous experience (at the point of application) either in a paid or voluntary capacity of working directly with vulnerable people, normally within a social care or health context
  • a reference from a current or previous employer/organisation where you've gained the aforementioned experience

Please note, we are not offering university equivalence tests to applicants offered a place on this course.

If shortlisted, you’ll be invited to complete an online written test. Successful completion of this will then see you invited to an admissions day where you’ll be required to take part in an observed group activity and complete an individual interview. Service users and carers, and practising social workers participate in the selection process.

Your offer of a place will be subject to satisfactory health, enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and suitable references.

You’ll also be required to show original documentation confirming your stated qualifications in order to receive an unconditional offer of a place.

Please ensure your application highlights how you meet the above criteria. Given the volume of applications per year, any form that does not meet the above conditions will unfortunately not be processed.

Due to statutory requirements, we are not able to offer sponsorship under the Tier 4 visa route for this course. We will be happy to consider those falling into this category for an alternative suitable course on request. Overseas nationals who already hold an alternative visa in a suitable category or have been granted permission to remain in the UK indefinitely, and EU nationals may be considered for admission but please note that an additional international enhanced police check will be required.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
JACS codes L500 (Social Work): 100%
Route code SOCWRK

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SW7047 Professional Law for Social Work Core 10 NORTH AUT MON AM
SW7049 Practice Learning 1 Core 20 NORTH SPR    
SW7052 Assessment Planning and Professional Ethics Core 10 NORTH AUT TUE PM
SW7053 Critical Aspects of Human Growth and Development Core 10 NORTH SPR MON PM
SW7054 Safeguarding Children and Adults Core 10 NORTH SPR MON AM
SW7055 Communication, Skills and Values in Social Work Core 10 NORTH AUT THU AM
          NORTH AUT FRI AM
SW7059 Social Work Theories and Perspectives Core 10 NORTH AUT TUE AM

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SW7047 Professional Law for Social Work Core 10        
SW7049 Practice Learning 1 Core 20        
SW7052 Assessment Planning and Professional Ethics Core 10        
SW7053 Critical Aspects of Human Growth and Development Core 10        
SW7054 Safeguarding Children and Adults Core 10        
SW7055 Communication, Skills and Values in Social Work Core 10        
SW7059 Social Work Theories and Perspectives Core 10        

Stage 2 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SW7050 Practice Learning 2 Core 20 NORTH AUT+SPR WED PM
SW7051 Evaluating Research Core 10 NORTH AUT MON AM
SW7061 Effective Social Work Practice with Children an... Core 10 NORTH AUT MON PM
SW7P29 Social Work Dissertation Core 60 NORTH SPR MON PM