Two students talking


Social Work

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Full-time: UCAS
Tariff points:
Health and Social Sciences
Glenside Campus
Three years full-time, four-five years part-time
Part-time, full-time
Programme leader:
Tillie Curran
Key fact:
Ranked as one of the top Social Work course in The Guardian University League Table 2017 , this professional qualification provides the experience, knowledge and skills you need for a career head start.

Page last updated 13 September 2017


Why study BSc(Hons) Social Work?

Studying social work helps you understand the support that society's most vulnerable individuals and groups need to ensure their welfare. You will explore the critical issues that affect people's wellbeing and learn how to help them deal with their challenges. Studying social work will prepare you to safeguard the best interests of vulnerable adults and children, promote independence and be capable of practising as a qualified practitioner with the skills to deal with all of today"s most pressing social problems.

Why study our course?

BSc(Hons) Social work at UWE Bristol is ranked as the top course of it's type in the UK by The Guardian University League Table 2017. The course focuses on skills for practice and on contemporary issues in social work. Completion of our Social Work course provides eligibility to apply for registration as a Social Worker in England with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You will gain the knowledge, critical understanding, experience and skills to make informed judgements in complex situations, and the ability to work with a wide range of service users, carers and other professionals to enhance wellbeing. You will be taught by experienced and enthusiastic staff, most of them qualified and registered social workers. All our staff maintain active links with partner agencies and practitioners.

Real-world experience

Social Work gives you a direct route into practice and employment with 170 days of the course spent on placement working with our partner agencies on a wide variety of issues in statutory, voluntary, private and independent organisations. The relationships you build with placement providers, along with the fact you will gain a professional qualification, will provide you with invaluable experience. This will greatly improve your employability.

Where it can take you

When you complete the degree you can apply for registration as a social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council. You must be registered with the council in order to practice as a Social Worker in England. As a qualified registered social worker you will be able to work with adults or children in many different roles across all sectors and our students often find careers with the organisations they have trained with on their placements.

Accreditations and partnerships:



The course has been developed to fulfil the aims of national reforms to social work practice and education and builds on the nationally recognised strengths of its teaching to date. This includes a stronger emphasis on skills for practice and on current issues of particular concern in social work such as mental health, domestic violence, drug and alcohol use and work with asylum seekers and refugees.

Year one

These modules will ask you to reflect on what you bring to the course, how this informs the way you engage with others, and the issues you should be alert to when meeting people as a Social Worker; psychological and sociological theories for understanding individuals, families, groups and communities;  law and policy; and how the legal, social and organisational context of social work shapes what Social Workers do. There will be opportunities to 'shadow' Social Workers and you will be asked to explore how understanding the communities in which people live can inform effective social work practice.

  • Skills for Relationship-Based Practice
  • Perspectives on the Life Course
  • Social Policy and Law for Social Work
  • Developing Professional Social Work Practice

Year two 

These modules will start the year and develop your understanding of how psychosocial theory and research can inform your practice, and your knowledge and specialist skills for working in a range of practice settings. Later, there will be 70 days of practice learning in one of the many voluntary and statutory sector agencies with which the course has links.  Linked to this you will consider how different professions can work together to provide better services. University teaching will run alongside this placement.

  • Theory and Research for Social Work Practice
  • Engagement, Empowerment and Intervention
  • Law and Knowledge for Social Work
  • Service Improvement: A Collaborative Approach
  • Reflective Practice in Social Work

Final year

You will firstly undertake a short intensive module to develop your understanding of law, policy and procedure in situations of harm and risk. This is followed by a practice placement of 100 days.

  • Protection and Risk in Social Work
  • Critical Reflective Practice in Social Work 1
  • Critical Reflective Practice in Social Work 2
  • Dissertation

Plus one of the following optional modules:

  • Social Work with Adults at Risk
  • Social Work with Children and Young People
  • Working to Strengthen Communities

A key theme in the course's approach is learning about best practice including:

  • how to think critically and creatively in complex situations
  • understanding how law, policies, theories, research and other evidence inform practice
  • exploring value conflicts and dilemmas
  • skills development for empowering practice
  • inter-professional working

This structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

All teaching contributes to the development of skilled Social Workers. A range of teaching and learning methods is used including formal lectures, seminars, project work, enquiry-based and online learning, individual self-directed study and assignment preparation. You are encouraged to reflect on your own and other's experiences in and outside the university to assist your learning and development.

Social work teaching staff have a wide range of practice, research and teaching experience in health and social care. The Department has established links with several universities and colleges in Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland and Greece. It is now part of a European thematic network linking 25 countries to further develop the understanding of the social work profession and its commonalities and differences.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check

Online Learning

Online resources are an integral part of what the university offers.  As a minimum reading materials and lecture notes are available online, and most modules will require you to use Information Technology (IT) to help you research, undertake and present your work.

IT facilities are available on all campuses and at the main Frenchay Campus there is 24 hour access to computing facilities.

Study time


The course begins at the end of September. To accommodate teaching alongside a final placement of 100 days students will complete the programme and qualify in July rather than June.

Where placements run over Christmas and Easter periods of leave will be planned, but these may be shorter than the standard university vacations.

Part-time options

You may enrol on the course to study part-time. You will negotiate a pattern of study to suit your circumstances and take modules alongside full-time students. There is no distinct and separate part-time course. 


Methods of assessment include written assignments, assessments under controlled conditions, presentations and evidence of competence in practice. Reflective diaries and progress files are likely to be an integral part of the course.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check


Professional accreditation

Graduates are eligible to apply for registration as a social worker with the HCPC. You must be registered with the Council in order to practice as a Social Worker in England.


A substantial part of the course is spent on practice placements, enabling you to develop and apply your professional skills in a real-world environment. You will undertake a total of 170 days on placement 70 days in Year 2 and 100 days in Year 3. We work closely with our placement partner agencies to provide opportunities to experience a wide range of issues in statutory, voluntary, private and independent organisations. You will be supported on your placements by a Practice Educator and a University Placement Tutor, with University teaching running in parallel to help you apply law, policy, skills and theory.

Study facilities

Our 24/7 library facilities have been rated in the top quartile in the National Student Survey, you can access computers at all campuses and the University subscribes to a wide range of software packages that support study. Computer skills are vital for your academic studies and future employment and we'll ensure you have all the support required to make the most of our IT resources.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Learn from experts

You will be taught by experienced and enthusiastic staff most of them qualified and registered social workers by current social work practitioners, by people who have experience of social workers working with them, and by those who care for them. With encouragement to reflect on your own and other's experiences in and outside the University, this 360° perspective contributes to the development of rounded and skilled social workers.

International opportunities

We have established partner links with universities and colleges in Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland and Greece, and we are now part of a European thematic network linking 25 countries to further develop the understanding of the social work profession across international boundaries.


Careers / Further study

On completing your degree you will be eligible to apply for registration as a Social Worker with the HCPC. You must be registered with the Council in order to practice as a Social Worker in England. As a qualified registered Social Worker you will be able to work with adults or children and can apply for jobs in the statutory, voluntary, and independent or private sector.

After graduating, many of our students are employed by their placement organisations and careers have included Care Coordinator for North Somerset Council, Care Officer for South Gloucestershire Social Services, Family Social Worker for Chapter 1 Social, Social Worker for Bristol City Council, and Support Worker for Hereford Family Marches Network. There are also many opportunities for postgraduate study and research degrees.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Be inspired

Read about a day in the life of a Social Worker.

Useful links

Prospects - careers in social care


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year450

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those that students could reasonably expect to incur during their studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

For information about funding for undergraduate courses see our funding pages.

You may be eligible for a social work bursary in years 2 and 3 of the course. Details about this bursary (which will be paid in 2018 for 2017 entrants) are not yet available. Information on other funding for this course is available on the full-time student funding pages. Please note that there are no bursary payments to students in the first year of their course.

Social Work Bursary

In recent years social work students have been eligible to apply for a bursary in their second and third year. The bursary has only been available to students from England and applicants from Wales should note that the bursary paid by the Welsh Assembly is paid only to Welsh students who study in Wales.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 120
  • GCSE: For all applicants, a minimum of 5 subjects at grade C/4 or above to include English Language and Mathematics, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement:

    Applicants whose first language is not English must meet communicating and comprehension skills to International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) at Level 7.

  • A-level subjects: Sociology, Psychology, Law or Social Science subjects preferred. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken on to full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 30 level 3 credits at merit.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

Please note we do not accept deferred entry applications for this course.

Applicants who do not meet the requirement to have five GCSEs but have significant life and/or work experience will be considered on an individual basis. However, the requirements relating to Maths and English apply to all applicants.

Applicants who have obtained recognised qualifications at higher education level may be able to claim credit against modules in the course.

Applicants must have some knowledge and direct experience of working in social work or social care.

We frequently accept the completion of further or adult education courses as an appropriate entry qualification. Completing an Access or Foundation course may be a good move for people who have been away from formal education for a number of years.

Additional Selection Criteria

As well as meeting the academic entry requirements, applicants should meet the following selection criteria:

Health assessment/declaration/vaccinations. If offered a place you will be asked to complete an Occupational Health questionnaire and attend any subsequent medical assessment if required. Social Work students will be offered relevant vaccinations prior to undertaking placements. You will be required to provide an annual self declaration confirming you meet the regulatory body requirements of good health.

Disclosure of criminal background

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply and all convictions, including those which are spent, must be disclosed. This is in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. Applicants who are offered a place must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will be required to complete a Disclosure Application Form. All information will be treated in confidence and only taken into account when absolutely necessary.

Completing the application form

We will be looking for applicants who show that they understand and have a clear commitment to a career in Social Work. Your personal statement should include:

  • why you want to study Social Work,
  • details of any direct experience working in social work or social care,
  • what you want to achieve in social work practice,
  • what knowledge and skills you think you can bring to the course.

It will enhance your application to include details of your direct experience, for example on placement, work experience, voluntary or paid work, to include total hours worked, and your roles and responsibilities in different settings.

Selection Event

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview and will also be required to complete a written test. The interview will be conducted by a member of academic staff and either a social work practitioner, or a service user or carer who works with the course.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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