MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Professional Development (Social Work)

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Course Director
Rachel Hubbard

Page last updated 12 October 2023


The flexibility of our Professional Development Framework means you can work towards a wide range of awards, including BA(Hons) for students who do not already have a degree; a Graduate or Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma, and a full Masters.

This Professional Development (Social Work) programme is linked to current trends in the social work profession, and offers qualified social workers the opportunity to consolidate, extend and develop their practice. Based on the principles of credit accumulation and transfer, you can negotiate your own programme of study and work towards a Professional Development (Social Work) award - from a BA(Hons) to a full Masters.

The Professional Development (Social Work) course is not accredited by Social Work England as a route to qualify as a social worker. The programme course is designed to support the continuing professional development of already qualified social workers.

If you are interested in qualifying as a social worker via through a UWE Bristol course, you could consider Social Work BSc(Hons) or PG Dip Step Up to Social Work.

The course is unique in that you can choose learning opportunities from within and outside UWE Bristol to maintain, improve and broaden your knowledge and skills and develop the personal qualities required for your professional life.

The emphasis is on work-based learning and we encourage you to think critically about your own practice in a wide range of situations. This includes those associated with inter-agency and inter-professional work - in the context of the BASW Professional Capabilities Framework, Department for Education, and Department of Health and Social Care, Knowledge and Skills statements and Social Work England Professional Standards. You will also have opportunities to explore service user and carer perspectives in relation to service provision with the service users and carers involved in the programme. We work closely with you to help define and develop the best approaches to achieving your personal goals, through self-directed study and peer learning.

The programme has a direct positive impact on the quality of your practice and contributes to the development of your organisation.

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible to study though the scheme, you should have gained a professional qualification in social work e.g BA/BSc Social Work, Diploma in Social Work, Certificate of Qualification in Social Work, and currently working in a relevant social work role.

Careers / Further study

Students who successfully complete this course will enhance their opportunities for promotion and specialism.



This programme is very flexible, and you will liaise with the programme leader and the relevant people within your organisation to develop a learning plan that supports your personal and professional goals.

Your learning is supported by a wide range of online learning materials and tutorials. The only compulsory module is the Work Based Learning Project, which will reflect your individual route.

Work-Based Learning Project

This requires evidence of work, research or volunteering. You will have an appointed supervisor to plan and guide your work to evidence how you have developed your social work practice. The extent of work involved in this module depends on the award route you take.

You also select from a range of modules relating to social work and professional practice, and can choose taught modules from a wide range of UWE Bristol courses as well as bringing credits obtained from other Higher Education Institutions that we will assess and, if appropriate, accredit to your award.

In particular, you may want to consider modules offered by the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences.

You can provide evidence of your learning from other in house courses and study materials by undertaking Independent Study or Evidencing Work Based Learning modules. You may wish to use the Accreditation of Experiential Learning process to evidence your learning and gain additional credits.

The table below shows the credits that you need to achieve a particular award and the number of credits you will need from the Work-based Learning Project module.

AwardCredit totalCompulsory UWE Bristol Work-Based Learning project module
Degree with honours360At least one 40+ credits in size at level 6 or above
Graduate Certificate60At least one 15+ credits in size at level 6
Graduate Diploma120At least one 15+ credits in size at level 6
Postgraduate Certificate60At least one 15+ credits in size at level 7
Postgraduate Diploma120At least one 15+ credits in size at level 7
Masters Degree180At least 40+ credits out of a total of 60 UWE Bristol credits

You may also want to explore other options for learning by UWE Bristol such as the activities offered through Making Research Count.

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

Teaching and learning methods depend on the modules you choose to study. As well as presentations and lectures from UWE Bristol lecturers, we also work with practitioners, researchers and managers with expertise in specific areas of social work. There are many opportunities for small group work and discussion to facilitate peer learning.

We work closely with social work agencies to design and deliver the course. Practitioners and managers are involved in teaching, assessing and quality assurance of the programme to ensure it reflects current developments and best practice in social work. Members of the social work service user and carer hub group contribute to the programme in a variety of ways.

For more detail see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

You negotiate your study time with your employer. Taught modules are usually delivered one day a week or a couple of days a month.


Assessment for the work-based learning elements of the programme is through coursework, which typically comprises reflective essays and work-based projects. Assessment techniques reflect the practical and applied nature of the programme.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Study facilities

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

Get a feel for the Health Professions facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

For information about fee bands, funding available and how to apply, please see the fees and how to apply page.

Please note there is also a registration fee of £200.

How to apply

How to apply

Discuss first with your manager and staff development department and then apply by contacting us on

Extra information

If the course you are applying for is fully online or blended learning, please note that you are expected to provide your own headsets/microphones.

For further information

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