Durham University

Durham University

Social Work

This programme aims to prepares graduates for professional social work practice with children and families, and with adult service users. It is run in partnership with local service providers in the statutory and voluntary sectors, and with service users and carers who contribute to all stages of the programme.

Entry requirements

A minimum Upper Second class Honours degree (2:1); GCSE Mathematics and GCSE English grade C or above, or equivalent, at the time of application; Applicants must have sufficient recent experience (in employment, as a volunteer, as a service user or carer) in a social care, health care or related voluntary setting to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the capabilities of a social worker as indicated at the entry level of the Professional Capabilities Framework. As a guideline, this period of experience is unlikely to be less than six months. Applicants for whom English is not a first language will be required to demonstrate evidence of English Language Competence equivalent to IELTS 7 with no element less than 6.5.

Course modules

Year 1: social work in practice (40 credits); understanding perspectives of service users and carers; social exclusion; social policy and law for social work; social work in context (40 credits); human growth and development through the life course, disability and mental health; social work theories and methods; working in organisations; professional and personal development (30 credits); principles, values and ethics; critical thinking and evidence-based practice; skills development; inter-professional working; social work in practice 1(50 credits); 70-day practice placement in a partner agency within the region. Year 2: research in professional practice (45 credits); research and evaluation design and methods; ethical issues in social welfare research; dissertation; advanced social work (30 credits); advanced application of theories and methods; critical analysis of social work policy; protection and empowerment of vulnerable children, young people and adults; social work practice 2 (70 credits); 100-day practice placement concurrent with advanced social work.

Assessment methods

Academic learning is assessed through essays, observation studies, project reports, case studies, group and individual presentations. Knowledge and understanding of social work law is assessed in a take away law exercise. Fitness for practice learning is assessed via a DVD showing your communication skills and a field visit during which you will shadow a qualified social worker. Competence in practice is assessed by a practice assessor and through case studies of work undertaken on placement. Research in social work is assessed through a dissertation proposal and a dissertation.

Sponsorship information

Students are funded by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), which also provides a maintenance grant.


Qualification Study mode Fee Course duration
MSW Full-time £ 14,900 per Academic year (overseas fees) 22 months

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Durham University Durham DH1 3LG North East

Key information

School of Applied Social Sciences
Telephone number: 
0191 334 1473