School of Health Professions

MA Social Work

Professionally recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), our practice-led degree allows you to achieve professional competency and an ability to relate academic theory and knowledge to social work practice. You'll develop knowledge of social work theories and methods of assessment and intervention, as well as reflective approaches to human needs and behaviour, current social policy and law. You’ll leave us well prepared for employment in social care.

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First choice for health

Delivered by professional experts, our programmes are tailored to you and your career. Together, we address today's most challenging healthcare issues, through research-informed teaching and active, real-world learning.


Key features

  • Achieve a qualification with a degree recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) allowing you to apply to register as a social worker with the HCPC.
  • Develop professionally by spending 170 days in supervised practice settings - with placement opportunities in agencies, in statutory and voluntary sectors throughout the South West.
  • Benefit from a bursary to support you in your studies – available to many students.
  • Achieve a highly desirable qualification in social work.
  • Excellent employability - 95 per cent of our September 2013 graduates are in employment.
  • Our teaching staff - who are leading the way in their subjects, carrying out internationally respected research - will inspire you.
  • Learn from qualified social work practitioners.
  • Gain experience first-hand with the involvement of service users and carers throughout the programme.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • You’ll learn in a variety of different settings and ways and use a wide range of skills and techniques to allow you to do this. In order to begin this process, there is an induction period at the start of the programme that helps you establish supportive networks. Teaching and learning seminars are usually arranged on an average of three full days each week, with the rest of the week allocated for preparatory directed self-learning. Most modules follow a similar format, especially during the first year of the programme. The learning in each module usually involves a combination of preparatory directed self-learning taught sessions and seminars. The student portal provides access to the teaching and learning material and it also has the facility for communication between you and your fellow students as well as your module leader and teachers. This will allow you to work collaboratively and to have your questions addressed. This programme is not part of the Integrated Masters Scheme.
    Core modules
    • SCW701 Social Policy and Law

    • SCW702 Professional Practice

    • SCW703 Contemporary Social Work Theories and Issues

    • SCW704 Ethics and Values for Social Workers

    • SCW705 Research for Social Work Practice

    • SCW706 Integrated Practice I

      This module involves the use of knowledge, theory, methods, skills, and values in practice (within a socio-legal and procedural context). Substantially taught and assessed in service delivery settings, this module incorporates the requirements for practice learning days to be undertaken.

  • Final year
  • Core modules
    • SCW707 Integrated Practice II

      This module involves the integration and critique of knowledge, theory, methods, skills, and values in practice (within a socio-legal and procedural context), as expected in the final year of the programme. Combining classroom and substantial practice based learning it provides students with a repertoire of critical and evidence based responses to complex practice situations.

    • SCW708 Dissertation

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Social Work 4080

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements


Mathematics and English at grade C / 4 or above. Preference is given to applicants who have obtained these grades on application. Preference is given to applicants who have obtained these grades on application. Please note the institution will also accept Functional Skills Level 2 (Numeracy) as an equivalent qualification to the GCSE Mathematics qualification.


2.2 honours degree or above.

You must also have a minimum of 12 months social care experience. This can be in a voluntary capacity working within a range of groups considered vulnerable or marginalised from society.

  • You must pass disclosure and barring service and occupational health checks satisfactorily in order to be able to start this programme. Find all of the important documentation you'll need when applying for this programme.
  • If English is not your first language and you do not have GCSE English grade C or above you will have to achieve an IELTS or equivalent qualification at the grades stated below. 
  • IELTS – 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all elements. If you need to improve your English language to get onto a degree programme at Plymouth University, you can book a pre-sessional academic English course.
  • Meeting the academic minimum is the first stage of an application being considered. You must also submit a strong personal statement in order to be considered further.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,500 £9,500
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) N/A N/A
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Information about loans and funding for postgraduate study.

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges if you are studying at PAHC, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact

If you are studying on a programme where placements are integral to your study there are costs associated with travel and accommodation. Please speak with the programme admissions tutor to find out more.

How to apply

All applications for this course are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code (L508) and the Institution Code (P60). You are also required to populate a Campus Code and when following these instructions please select ‘Main Site’.

Apply for this course on the UCAS website.

For more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

More information about MA Social Work

This programme is informed by a number of factors including, the different backgrounds of members of the student group, the requirements of graduate study and of social work education.

Find out more about learning and assessment

Research in social work

Research is a strong feature on the MA with many publications arising from this. You carry out a dissertation in the final year that focuses on primary research and is well supported by academic tutors.

Our research is centred around the internationally recognised Institute of Health and Community (IHC).

Find out more about the IHC

Four from the University make the finals of the Social Worker of the Year Awards

Current and former students hope to continue Plymouth's success at an awards night later this month.

Read the full story

English Language Centre

We offer a range of courses to help you develop your academic English language skills.

These include pre-sessional academic English courses for undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students along with insessional language classes, tutorials and activities to support students who have English as a second language.

Find out how we can help you reach your potential.

Scholarship for international applicants to MA Social Work

A £1500 fee waiver will be awarded to international applicants who exceed the entry requirements for this programme.

You need to have a BSc (Hons) degree at 2:1 (or equivalent) OR an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) of at least 7.5 (6.5 minimum in each element).

Social work bursaries

All Universities delivering social work education receive a number of bursaries which they nominate students for. If you have been offered a place on MA Social Work, you can be reassured that a place is available, however you are not guaranteed a bursary.

Bursaries will be for both years of the MA; the number and amount of bursaries is confirmed on an annual basis.