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BA (Honours) Social Work (Scotland): Standard pathway

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This degree is made up of 480 credits.

What you will study

There are two ways to start a qualification. You can begin your studies at Stage 1, or, if you haven’t studied for a long time, you can get started by studying an Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification. We know from experience that students who have completed an Access module do better in their subsequent modules, so it could be the vital first step you take to help you succeed in your future studies.

To find out the recommended Access module for this pathway, choose your country in the Fees section below.

Stage 1

As you begin your study towards a professional qualification in social work, you might be asking yourself: Can I manage the demands of this qualification? Do I have the right knowledge to support my academic and professional development? Do I have the study skills to succeed?

Stage 1 of the BA (Hons) Social Work (Scotland) will help you with all of these questions and more besides. 

Studying the two 60-credit compulsory modules – An introduction to health and social care (K101)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K101,,1 and Introducing the social sciences (DD101)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,DD101,,1 – will give you a fascinating insight into the organisation of social care in the UK and many different perspectives on contemporary British society. They’ll also help build your confidence by steadily developing and enhancing your study skills – including digital and information literacy. There’s no better way to begin your journey to your social work qualification and life as a professional social worker – and as you progress through your studies, you’ll return to your learning from these modules time and time again.

Stage 2

In Stage 2 you’ll be able to build on the study skills that you learnt in Stage 1 as you embark on a learning journey that weaves a path through the foundations of good social work practice – picking up crucial skills and knowledge along the way. 

You’ll begin with a 60-credit practice module, Foundations for social work practice (K113)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K113,,1, attending small group workshops led by an experienced social work tutor. Key concepts around communication will start opening up your thinking about how professional ‘practice’ is informed and underpinned by theory. You’ll be encouraged to make connections between your studies and your own experiences – from both your personal and working life – and to help you manage this, we’ll equip you with new skills in reflective writing.

You’ll also learn about child care and child protection in Social work with children, young people and families in Scotland (K229)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K229,,1 (30 credits), and choose an optional 30-credit module from:

  • Challenging ideas in mental health (K272)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K272,,1
  • Death and dying (K260)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K260,,1
  • Dementia care (K235)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K235,,1
  • Diverse perspectives on mental health (K225)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K225,,1

The skills and knowledge you develop at this stage will help form the platform for moving onto Stage 3.

Stage 3

By Stage 3 of the degree, you’ll be ready to start applying what you’ve learnt to your own practice. Two compulsory 60-credit modules will give you the confidence and knowledge to do just this. 

The law and social work in Scotland (K207)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K207,,1 examines the legal framework that shapes and regulates social care decision-making. You’ll cover a range of legal issues related to social care and social work practice including children and family services; youth justice; immigration; community care and housing. 

Applied social work practice (K216)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K216,,1 will help you understand the key roles that social workers undertake and the relevant knowledge, values and skills of the social work process. You’ll also undertake the first of two 100-day practice placements in this pathway.

Modules quoted in qualification descriptions are those that are currently available for study. As the structure of our qualifications is reviewed on a regular basis, the University is unable to guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available in future years.

Stage 4

In Stage 4 you have a choice of 60-credit modules covering:

  • work with children – Working together for children (KE312)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,KE312,,1
  • adulthood and our ageing society – Adulthood, ageing and the life course (K319)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K319,,1
  • communication in interpersonal, institutional and social contexts – Communication in health and social care (K309)
  • managing in the care sector – Leadership and management in health and social care (K313)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K313,,1 – ideal if you’re working in a frontline management role.

To complete your degree, you’ll study the final practice-learning module, Critical social work practice (K315)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q41-1,module,K315,,1 (60 credits), and undertake your second 100-day placement.

The practice module will support you in becoming a confident, critical, analytical and reflective practitioner. The emphasis is on supporting independent learning and you’ll be guided towards sources of information to interrogate and evaluate.

After successfully completing all four stages of this degree, you’ll be able to register with the professional body in Scotland and begin your career as a qualified social worker.

How long it takes

Typically it takes eight years part-time study to complete this qualification, but you can take anything from four (equivalent to full-time study) to ten years, or less if you have relevant previous study that you can count in.


Where will you be resident whilst you study?

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