Social Work - MSc *

Attendance:
Full Time
Starting:
September 2018
Campus:
Fees:
£5,900 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2018 entry (view all fees)

This course is pending HCPC approval.

We have over 45 years' experience in training people to become social workers in the super-diverse and cosmopolitan city of Birmingham. If you already have a degree and want to become a professional social worker, successful completion of this generic course will enable you work with children and adults in a variety of areas and to apply for registration with the regulator to obtain the protected title of social worker.

Once you are registered, you will be immediately ready and able to engage in social work with any vulnerable citizen group in any setting. This includes working with children and families, adults, disabled people, older people and/or people with mental health problems in the local authority, health, or private, independent or voluntary sectors. 

What's covered in the course?

You will experience student-centred academic learning on campus and practice-based learning in a service delivery setting, in the community.

Academic learning will include a carefully blended mix of face to face lectures, workshops and seminars, complemented by online resources. In addition to practitioners and academics from other relevant disciplines, teachers include experienced social work academics, practitioners, who are currently in practice and service users and carers who are experts by experience. They will assist you to obtain the knowledge, skills, values and professional capabilities you need for successful social work practice in today’s world. This includes legal, theoretical and research knowledge, the core skills of reflection, assessment, communication, resilience, report writing and leadership, and the values of being empowering, person-centred, strengths-based, results and outcomes focused. 

Half of the programme involves gaining invaluable direct practice experience through placements, provided by our practice partners and overseen by our dedicated practice tutors. You will experience two placements one in year 1 and the second in year 2. Whilst on placement you will be supported by a qualified practice educator who will always be a registered social worker.

Our practice partners include Local Authorities and established private, independent and voluntary sector agencies. There are a number of innovative projects that allow you to experience social work in the growing area of educational settings.

Our experienced academic staff have worked in a variety of social work teams and settings including child and adult safeguarding, foster-care, physical and learning difficulties, sensory impairment, and mental health and hospital social work.

You will be taught at our modern City South Campus and have access to Mary Seacole library, personal development department, careers support, disability services, accommodation services, financial advice, student counselling services, students union, study spaces, laptops, skills rooms, and a variety of shops and cafes. 

“This course is an exciting and welcome addition to our existing suite of highly regarded pre and post qualifying Social Work programmes.”
David Childs, Head of Department

Why Choose Us?

  • An opportunity to study in the super-diverse and cosmopolitan city of Birmingham.
  • We have over 45 years of experience in working with social work students, social workers and delivering social work education. This includes a deep commitment to pursuing excellence, and advancing human rights, social justice, equality and anti-discriminatory practice.
  • You will have access to a named personal tutor who can offer academic and pastoral support throughout the programme.
  • We offer a student-centered environment, and remain sensitive to your differing circumstances, aspirations, abilities, background and areas of special interest.
  • You will experience high quality practice placements, inter-professional learning and opportunities to engage in international exchange.
  • We are employability driven. You will have opportunities to practice at mock employment interviews and have attended a number of workshops with employers who are looking to recruit social workers. This means you will have the skills, understandings and personal attributes that make you more likely to gain employment and be successful in your chosen social work pathway
  • Study in our £41 million City South Campus, with access to state-of-the-art facilities and learning environments
  • Experienced and dedicated staff team will support you throughout the course, and you will have access to a personal tutor. If you've been away from education for a while, we also have a range of excellent resources to help you with study skills such as essay writing and research

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 30 June 2018. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Birmingham City Council Children and Adult Services
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Children and Adult Services
  • Dudley Metropolitan City Council Children and Adult Services

And in jobs such as:

  • Community Mental Health Social Worker
  • Child Protection Social Worker
  • Complex Care Social Worker - Adult

pg drop in 2

Postgraduate drop in event

Drop in to our informal postgraduate event - our staff will be on hand to answer all of your questions.

Book now: 18 May 4-6pm

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Peter Simcock.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of design and is due to be reviewed and approved to meet our quality standards.

Entry Requirements

UK and International Students
Essential

You should have completed a degree with a minimum of 2.2 or higher in any discipline. You will also need GCSE's in English and Mathematics, Grade 4 (previously a C) or equivalent.

You should have 3 months or more practice based experience involving working with people. Working in a care, support, or people development capacity is preferred but not essential. Applications will be considered on an individual basis.

You will need two positive references, one from a recent education institution and one from recent employer. If you do not have an employer reference, a character reference will be required. 

You will need DBS and Occupational Health Clearance.

Applicants need to confirm prior to interview decision/offer that they have the ability to use basic IT facilities.

International Students
Essential

Successful applicants must meet the International English Language Test (IELTS) at Level 7, no element must be below 6.5.

International Students

Entry requirements here

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2018 FT 2 years £5,900 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2018 FT 2 years £12,000 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Admissions Process

The admissions process is designed to evaluate your potential to undertake social work education at Masters level and professional practice.  Your application and personal statement are screened for eligibility against the entry requirements, in order to make a shortlisting decision.  If you're successfully shortlisted you'll be invited to an admissions day at the University. During the day you will be evaluated in a number of areas, including your written analytical skills and your interpersonal skills.  Admissions days also involve individual interviews with academic staff and service user and carer representatives.  The Admissions process is mapped against the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) at entry level: you will have to meet these criteria in order to be offered a place on the programme. 

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements

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*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Sorry, this course is not available part-time

Year One

Law and Social Policy
20 credits

During this 20 credit level 7 module you will be introduced to the English legal system and learn the foundation laws and policies that influence and are used in social work practice with Children and Families, Adults, Youth Justice and Mental Health. You will also understand and evaluate the skills and process of presenting evidence in court. You will be assessed by written examination. 

Ethics, Values and Anti-Discriminatory Practice
20 credits

During this 20 credit level 7 module you will be introduced to the standards of conduct, performance and ethics required in professional social work practice. There is a significant emphasis on understanding identity and difference and learning how to be an anti-discriminatory practitioner who can value diversity, empower vulnerable people and promote equality, human rights and social justice. You will be assessed by a 3000 word written essay.

Core Skills for Practice

During this level 4 module which is an essential professional requirement, and a pre-requisite to your First Placement, you will develop and practice the core skills for professional social work practice.

The main skills covered are reflection, verbal and non-verbal communication, observation, interviewing, assessment, recording and report writing, emotional intelligence and resilience, advocacy, assertiveness and leadership. You will be assessed by a practical skills examination including reflective discussion. 

Theories and Methods for Social Work Practice
20 credits

During this 20 credit level 7 module you will study and apply to a case study the main theories and methods which guide and inform the social work practitioner. These theories include attachment theory, psychodynamic theory, ecological systems theory, cognitive and behavioural theory, and person-centred, strengths-based, solution-focussed, task-centred and crisis intervention approaches. You will be assessed by a 3000 word written essay based on a case study. 

Research Methods of Enquiry
20 credits

During this 20 credit level 7 module you will study different and competing approaches to engaging in producing reliable and valid knowledge for practice. You will study quantitative and qualitative approaches, be able to evaluate different levels of quality to knowledge depending on how it was created, and learn how to search for high quality information. By the end of the module, based on your own social work focused research question, you will have designed your own research project or written a protocol for a systematic review. You will be assessed by a 3000 word written essay based on a case study. 

First Placement

During this level 5 module which is an essential professional requirement, and a pre-requisite to your Last Placement, you will engage in 70 full days of practice learning in a service delivery setting.

Supported and supervised by a qualified practice educator, who is also a registered social worker, you will engage in case work with vulnerable people. You will be assessed by a portfolio of evidence, completed over 70 days during practice learning. 

Year Two

Safeguarding Law and Practice
20 credits

During this 20 credit level 7 module you will build on the law and social policy module in year 1 through deeper and wider learning about safeguarding law and policy. Your understanding will be developed through insight into high quality inter-professional practice and discussion of findings from a range of Serious Case Reviews / Safeguarding adults reviews and Inquiry Reports. You will be assessed by an individual presentation. 

Last Placement

During this level 6 module which is an essential professional requirement, you will engage in 100 full days of practice learning in a service delivery setting.

Supported and supervised by a qualified practice educator, who is also a registered social worker you will be expected to work more independently and to engage in statutory social work tasks involving legal interventions. You will be assessed by a portfolio of evidence, completed over 100 days during practice. 

Dissertation
60 credits

During this 60 credit level 7 module you will initiate, plan, design and carry out an investigation into an area of professional practice. Taking forward your ideas from your research methods module in year 1, you will complete a piece of work around your chosen topic in order to demonstrate capability in the planning, execution, analysis and evaluation of a Research Project, or a Systematic Review. You will be assessed by 15000 word dissertation comprising either a research project or systematic review. 

Enhancing Transformative Capabilities in Professional Practice
20 credits

Your goal in undertaking this 20 credit level 7 module will be to further enhance one or more of the following capabilities that can transform your professional practice, the organisation and community you work in and the lives of the citizens you serve: leadership, innovation, resilience and/or taking a strengths/asset based approach. You will be assessed by a 3000 word portfolio of evidence. 

Course structure

Year 1

Year 1 will begin with an invaluable induction week that provides opportunities for you to meet other students in your cohort and the teaching team, and to become familiar with your campus and essential information about your course, especially support services.

Essential information will include your teaching timetable, course guide, assessment schedule and assessment regulations. Information will be provided on what to do should you become ill or have personal difficulties.

Teaching in year 1 will focus on the foundations of law and policy, values, ethics and anti-discriminatory practice, core skills, theories for social work practice and understanding how to research.

You will develop a deep understanding of emotional intelligence, social justice and anti-discriminatory practice, practice the skills of communication and assessment with vulnerable people, shadow a qualified social worker and attend a well-being retreat. There will be opportunities to engage in international exchange and to gain invaluable practice experience during your first 70 day practice placement.

Year 2

Teaching in year 2 will focus on safeguarding law and policy, effective inter-professional practice, and further enhancing professional capabilities that will assist you to make a real difference in society e.g. leadership, resilience, innovation and/or strengths-based approaches to professional practice.

You will build on the introduction to research in year 1 by working on your chosen dissertation topic. You will be supported by a supervisor during your dissertation.  

You will gain further invaluable practice experience during your second practice placement of 100 working days. This placement will involve statutory tasks involving legal interventions. During your journey through practice you will be supported by a qualified practice educator.

By the end of year 2 you will be highly professional and work ready, and a creative enterprising problem solver. You will have opportunities to practice at mock employment interviews and have attended a number of workshops with employers who are looking to recruit social workers. 

Attendance

During academic modules you will have a maximum of 24 hours face to face teaching and learning each week spread over sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is reserved for guided and independent study.

Based on student feedback and evidence of what works best for learners, the final week of each module is set aside for independent study to enable you to have significant space to successfully complete your assignment and submit it on the final day of the module. If you have received a statement of reasonable adjustments from BCU, you would have additional time to submit as specified on your official statement.

During practice placements you would be working at least 35 hours per week at a practice agency. This would ordinarily take place from Monday to Friday for a minimum of 7 hours each day, during the duration of your placement. 

Teaching breakdown

A typical teaching day at BCU will include teaching from an experienced social work academic or practitioner followed by at least one application to practice session looking at how the topic applies to social work practice today. There would be opportunities for you to ask questions, for you to provide your perspective and for small-group discussion and debate with your peers.

You will reflect on your own identity in a wide and deep way and come together with other students in your cohort who are similar and different to share your perspectives and understandings of the relevance of your identities in society and in social work practice.

You will study emotional intelligence and resilience. This includes attending a well-being retreat with your peers where you will reflect on your own abilities in these critical areas and develop a plan to further enhance your emotional intelligence and resilience.

You will read some of the most influential Serious Case Reviews / Safeguarding adults reviews ever published in the UK and have the opportunity to discuss and debate the associated best practice issues, policy recommendations and outcomes. 

Employability

By the end of the course you will have the knowledge, attitudes and skills that employers need and want.   You will also have the skills that will ensure your future and ongoing success as a social work practitioner.

The skills that enhance your employability are developed through our teaching and learning strategy which has a significant focus on embedding core skills whilst at University and developing these further during your practice placements. 

Placements

There are two major practice-based placements that ensure, by the end of your course, you are work-ready, employable and prepared for social work practice.

Your First Placement in Year 1 will be for 70 full working days and your Last Placement in Year 2 will be for 100 days. In order to ensure you have a ‘generic’ qualification i.e. you will have gained the experience to apply for and work effectively with either adults or children once you qualify (or during your career), we ensure that, if you are placed in a setting working with adults in your first placement, you will be placed in a setting working with children in your last placement or vice versa.

During each placement you will be given learning opportunities and support from a qualified practice educator to help you to meet the social work professional capabilities framework at first or last placement levels.

In your last placement you will be enabled to take on more complex work, work more independently, exercise more initiative, demonstrate higher levels of judgement and leadership, and collaborate on more equal terms with other professionals.

We will take into account your preferred area of future practice and do our best to ensure that your last placement is within a setting or has learning opportunities that helps with your future career aspirations.

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Industry Links

We work in partnership with over 20 different social work agencies. These include social work organisations in the local authority, private, and independent and voluntary sectors. 

In the local authority sector our main partners are Birmingham City Council, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall Metropolitan Boroughs, and Wolverhampton, Shropshire and Warwickshire Councils.

In the private, independent and voluntary sectors we work in partnership with national and regional organisations like Barnardos, Women’s aid, Shelter, Acorn Fostering, Headway, St Basils, St Andrews, African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI) and a number of innovative projects that place and support social work students in schools.

Our practice partners work with us to interview new applicants, assist with induction and help deliver the teaching on the course.  They are also part of our assessment of readiness for practice and provide qualified practice educators who support, supervise and assess students on placement.

They provide high quality practice placements that enable students to work directly with vulnerable people, have opportunities to meet the professional capabilities framework and be ready for employment. 

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses cutting-edge learning facilities.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.

Home Environment Room

The Home Environment room is the perfect setting for teaching communications skills and allows us to simulate a community setting for our students. It is particularly useful for paramedics, mental health and learning disability nurses and also midwives.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Peter Simcock

Peter Simcock

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Peter joined the Department of Social Work at BCU in January 2018, having previously been Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Staffordshire University since 2010.  Peter’s academic life began with a Law degree at the University of Hull, after which he worked in Liverpool for a Community Law Centre, a Youth Centre and a charity working with deafblind people. He was also involved in prison visiting. 

Peter returned to the University of Hull to complete his MA/Diploma in Social Work and then worked for Age Concern, Hull in their Community Welfare Department. He then moved to the West Midlands and from 2001 to 2008 worked for Wolverhampton City Council in various social work roles including social worker within a Physical and Sensory Disability Team, senior practitioner (Deaf and Deafblind Adults), and assistant team manager.

In 2008, Peter moved to Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council as senior social work practitioner for Deaf and hearing impaired services, working with children, young people and their families, and adults. For his last six months at Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council he was Acting Team Manager of the Sensory Support Team.

Albert Moylan

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Born in the Republic of Ireland, Albert obtained a degree in Commerce and initially started out on a career in business. He discovered that his interest in people, social problems, inequality, deprivation and disadvantage far outweighed his interest in commerce.

After moving to the UK in 1986 and settling in Birmingham, Albert qualified as a social worker and practised generically within Birmingham City Council with all adult client groups. He qualified as a Social Work Practice Teacher in 2005, and started to work closely with a number of local universities. After a period as a practice learning coordinator and off-site practice educator with Birmingham City Council Learning and Development, he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Social Work with Birmingham City University in 2007. In addition to teaching, Albert took on the role of Subject Quality Coordinator, and was Programme Director for the BSc (Hons) Social work Degree from 2014 to 2016.

Albert is a member of the Teaching Teams for the BSc (Hons) Social Work Degree, Social Work Practice Educator Training Programme, Approved Mental Health Professional Programme, Faculty MSc in Safeguarding, and the MSc in Social Work Programme. He has a special interest in identity, equality and social justice, the value of internationalization and having a global outlook, and enhancing the quality of social work education and social work practice.

He is currently Module leader for Equality, Diversity and Anti-discriminatory Practice in the BSc (Hons) Undergraduate Social Work Degree and is Deputy Programme Leader for the Social Work Practice Educator Training Programme and the MSc in Social Work.

Gero Kaur

Lecturer

Gero qualified as a Social Worker in 2000. Upon qualifying as a Social Worker Gero worked within a Local Authority generic adult team. She started supervising social work students on placement when she was promoted to Senior Practitioner in 2002.

In 2005 Gero gained employment as a Practice Educator within a Local Authority Learning and Development Service. Whilst undertaking her role as a Practice Educator Gero successfully completed the Practice Teacher Award and subsequently gained the Assessor of Practice Teacher Award.  Gero’s role as Practice Educator included supporting and assessing Practice Educators completing the Enabling Others Award at the University of Birmingham.

In 2010 Gero joined Birmingham City University as a Lecturer within the Skills and Simulation Department. This role included Module Coordination for the Social Care Assessment of Vulnerable Women Module which is a post qualifying module for Midwives and Health Visitors. Gero then transferred to the Social Work Department in August 2013. Gero is currently the Module Coordinator for the First Practice Placement Module.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295