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 Sciences and 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

The MSc Social Work programme is one of the qualifying Social Work courses in London, which means it has an advantage to compete against fast track postgraduate programmes such as Frontline and Step up to Social Work. The market for the MSc courses remains strong it attracts a diverse range of students due to the widening participation agenda. This is not necessarily true particularly of other postgraduate programmes that have been criticised for the lack of a diverse student group.

Standards the programme is designed to meet
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.
• Social Work England is the social work governing body the programme currently conforms to. The Social Work England Professional Standards must be met.
• The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) are hosted by the British Association Social Workers (BASW). The PCF guides the development of social workers’ capabilities and confidence in managing risk, ambiguity and complexity at nine levels of practice.
• The Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS) Children & Families and Adults have been developed by the Chief Social Workers to set out what is expected of qualified social workers in specific practice settings and roles and at different levels of seniority. The KSS map onto the Practice domains of the PCF (Knowledge, Critical Reflection and Analysis, Interventions and Skills) and should help guide everyday practice.

Combination of learning techniques
Learning and teaching will consist of real time and virtual support to augment learning, a structured programme of formal lectures, workshops, seminars, presentations and student-led discussions. 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. 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.

Placement learning comprises 50% of the programme. A 70-day placement in the Private, Voluntary and Independent Sector is undertaken in the first year and a 100-day placement with statutory duties is undertaken in the second year

E learning
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.

Students Support
• A week-long induction programme is designed to help students orient themselves to the programme and begin to get to know the staff and their peers.
• Academic Tutor support is available to all students.
• Students are advised of the support, disability and dyslexia services from the point of induction.
• Students are advised of the counselling service from the point of induction
• 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.
• Academic Mentors have been employed to provide drop in sessions, individual or group sessions regarding essay, dissertation, case study writing referencing etc.
• Service users and carers’ involvement in the curriculum ensures the students learn from and gain insight into the needs of service users and carers in practical ways to support their academic learning.
• 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 and fitness to study.

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
• 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 Professional Standards in order to meet Social Work England’s requirements for social work registration and achieve the qualification level in the Professional Capabilities Framework.

Course learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes incorporate and depend on a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice.

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

1. Apply methods and techniques appropriate to their own research or advanced scholarship in Social Work

2. 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

3. Evaluate critically current research in Social Work

4. Evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses

5. 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

6. Exercise self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level

7. Advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level

8. Exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations

9. Learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development.

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: 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

Module Code

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 Social Work England Professional Standards. Social Work students are expected to understand and work towards these professional standards in preparation for when they apply for registration. Students should ensure that during the course, including whilst on placement, they do not do anything that contravenes the Professional Standards or the policies and procedures of their placement provider.

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 9 to 26.

4 It is the responsibility of all students to read the Social Work England Standards and the relevant University Regulations (accessed via the University’s online Student Handbook) to familiarise 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 Principal Lecturer for 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 Principal Lecturer for 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.

Please check the latest course handbook for the full course specific regulations

Modules required for interim awards


Level Title of available award Requirements

PG Cert Applied Social Studies Any combination of modules totalling 60 credits

PG Dip Applied Social Studies Any combination of modules totalling 120 credits

PG Dip Social Work All taught modules totalling 120 credits, including SW7059, SW7047, SW7055, SW7049, SW7052, SW7053, SW7054, SW7051, SW7050 and SW7061.

MSc Social Work All modules

An aegrotat award would not provide eligibility for admission to the Social Work England Register. There shall be no aegrotat awards for containing the title Social Work.

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The student’s Personal, Professional Development Plan (PPDP) creates an opportunity for the student to identify their overall professional goals related to the PCF and Social Work England’s Professional Standards. Students are given the PPDP at the start of the readiness to practice module, SW7055 Communication, Skills and Values in Social Work. They also complete these during each of their professional placements.

The mid-way placement meeting is an opportunity to review the student’s PPDP. The student must have begun to complete this prior to the mid-way stage meeting by stating their goals for the end of placement. This should be shared regularly in weekly supervision in order for it to be discussed and signed by the tutor, practice educator and student during the mid-way meeting.

Before the end of the placement the PPDP should be completed and signed by the Practice Educator and Placement Tutor. The completed and signed form must be included in the placement portfolio.

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditations & exemptions

The Social Work MSc is accredited by Social Work England. You must successfully complete and pass all your assessments to register as a social worker with the organisation.

If you successfully complete all modules apart from the dissertation module, you can gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work. This option will also allow you to join Social Work England register.

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

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

This qualification will lead to professional registration with Social Work England and typically students are employed as social workers in a variety of agencies across the public, voluntary and independent sectors, working with different client groups or services. Recent graduates have been employed in the local authority social services departments, mental health trusts, drugs and alcohol services, children’s centres among others. Graduates have the opportunity to progress to senior social worker and advanced social worker roles, team leader and managerial roles and education including practice educators with 2 years’ experience. Students who demonstrate research potential maybe encouraged to undertake doctoral studies or publish.

Career opportunities

You will be qualified to practise social work (subject to the requirements of registration with Social Work England) 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 topics taught on this course, you'll have the benefit of being able to work in multiple fields of social work.

Our graduates have taken up posts in both statutory and non-statutory settings and with different 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 class honours degree (2.2) or above
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/grade 4 or above, or Functional Skills English at Level 2 (or equivalent)
  • employers references are needed to demonstrate a minimum of 12 weeks 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
  • an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for the Child and Adult Workforce that's registered with the DBS Update Service

If you’re shortlisted, you'll be invited to attend an interview day. On the day, you'll undertake a test, participate in a group exercise and have an individual interview.

As part of the admissions process, you'll need to complete a criminal convictions, health and personal circumstances self-declaration check; present your original qualification certificates and your passport.

Due to statutory requirements, we are not able to offer sponsorship under the Student 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 may be considered for admission, but please note that this case an international criminal conviction check will be required and that the applicant must be able to make a UK DBS application and recieve the result prior to being made an unconditional offer for the course.


There may be an NHS bursary available for applicants. Recommendation for the bursary is based on how well you perform in your interview and test. Find out more about the bursary.

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        
SW7049 Practice Learning 1 Core 20        
SW7052 Assessment Planning and Professional Ethics Core 10 NORTH AUT TUE PM
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 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        
SW7051 Evaluating Research Core 10        
SW7061 Effective Social Work Practice with Children an... Core 10        
SW7P29 Social Work Dissertation Core 60