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Social Work - BSc (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2025/26 Entry. Switch to 2024/25 Entry

If you want to have a positive impact on people’s lives by providing solution-focused support for social and interpersonal difficulties as well as promoting human rights and wellbeing, then social work could be the career for you. One of your key roles as a social worker will be in safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, working directly with people to support choice and independence....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City South
  • School School of Education and Social Work
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

If you want to have a positive impact on people’s lives by providing solution-focused support for social and interpersonal difficulties as well as promoting human rights and wellbeing, then social work could be the career for you.

One of your key roles as a social worker will be in safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, working directly with people to support choice and independence. From providing early intervention to enable a family under pressure to stay together through to supporting someone with mental ill-health, social work is challenging and often emotional, but also a very rewarding career with a variety of routes and specialisms open to you once you qualify.

We have over 50 years’ experience training people to become social workers in the super-diverse and cosmopolitan city of Birmingham. Our BSc (Hons) Social Work degree programme will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to meet the professional competencies required of a social worker and make a difference to people’s lives.

Our BSc (Hons) Social Work degree programme is designed to support you to become an excellent practitioner able to work with children and adults in a variety of social work settings spanning voluntary organisations, children and families, youth justice, adults and mental health. Successful completion of the degree will enable you to apply for registration with the social work regulator, Social Work England, and to hold the protected title of “Social Worker”.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

We provide an academic learning with you as students at the centre of our planning. While we do deliver some online lectures, most of your time will be spent in sessions on campus and in service delivery settings within the community on practice-based placements, reflecting the nature of social work as both an academic and practical discipline.

You will learn in a range of ways, including lectures, workshops and seminars, complemented by online resources and independent study. Your lecturers and tutors will include experienced social work academics, current practitioners, academics from other relevant disciplines, and service users and carers who are ‘experts by experience’. Each will assist you to develop the knowledge, skills, values and professional capabilities you will need for effective social work practice in today’s complex world. By bringing together these elements, you will learn to identify and navigate the complexities of social work to promote and protect wellbeing.

The course involves direct practice experience through professional (work experience) placements. These are provided by our practice partners in both the second and third year of the course. While on placement you will be supported by a team of people, including a dedicated and 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.

Recent changes to our course plan mean that you will experience a range of assessment methods in addition to written assignments, such as role plays and presentations.

“Some of my colleagues envy the teaching we received at Birmingham City University when they hear what we covered.”
Taiwona Kanjanda

Why Choose Us?

  • We celebrate diversity and culture - we are proud to have one of the most diverse student groups in the UK, with more than 50 per cent coming from ethnic minority groups.
  • We support you through exciting and challenging placements to develop your work experience and practical skills against the core competencies needed to be a social worker.
  • We will develop you to be a skilled, resilient and empowering leader, making sure you'll be fit for social work in the 21st century when you graduate.
  • Experienced and dedicated staff team will support you throughout the course, along with access to a personal tutor.
  • The course covers all aspects of social work, enabling you to aim for careers in specialist social work agencies as well as roles in education and health. Our graduates have found jobs in children's and adult services, as well as in the private and voluntary sector.

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Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. Booking isn't open yet for this event, register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: 28 September 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2025/26.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

Essential requirements

120 UCAS Tariff points. Learn more about UCAS Tariff points.

Please note: If you qualify for our BCU Accelerate scheme, you could receive an offer that is two grades below our normal entry requirements. Find out more about BCU Accelerate.

Applicants will also need to complete an interview for this course; see interview arrangements below.

If you have non-standard qualifications but you have significant relevant experience, you may be eligible for our portfolio route - see additional information below for further details.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Prior to enrolling on this course, successful candidates will be required to obtain a satisfactory occupational health check and an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) via the Faculty, as well as a Social Work declaration check. You will receive details of what is required if you are offered a place on the course. If you have any queries please refer to DBS Frequently Asked Questions or contact admissions@bcu.ac.uk.

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

DBS check

You will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for this course. Your first DBS check is included in your fees.

Placement expenses (mandatory)

There may be some costs for travel or temporary accommodation associated with placements. The NHS Learning Support Fund can help with these costs. Information about what the fund covers and eligibility criteria can be found online

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

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.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Our advice for applying to a health care course

Applying for a course and preparing for an interview can be a daunting process, so we have created a series of films to help you through the process, including what to put in your personal statement.

More guidance

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

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

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Download course specification

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Course structure

Our social work degree course links theory directly with practice, enabling you to engage effectively and sensitively with vulnerable groups. You'll graduate as a professional capable of ensuring the users of social work services have the maximum possible independence while still safeguarding them from harm and risk. We'll help you develop and maintain the confidence of service users, protecting their rights, effectively promoting their interests and ensuring equality.

Our degree is designed to prepare you in the best way possible for direct practice, partnering with employers to ensure you get experience in a variety of settings. You'll have the chance to work alongside a range of vulnerable groups and individuals with differing needs on placement. This may involve working in a day-care setting, for groups who require a few hours of attention daily, or in the community, carrying out assessments, developing care plans, identifying and responding to risk, managing complex caseloads and prioritising work, as well as delivering appropriate services.

In year one you'll start your training with six modules that will introduce you to what social workers do. This includes anti-discriminatory practice, law and social policy and theory related to human growth and development, as well as other vital areas of social welfare. The final two modules of year one focus on developing your core communication and assessment skills, which are essential for effective practice. 

In the second year, you'll continue to build your knowledge base about the demands placed on modern social workers with a further five modules as well as your first major placement (70 days). The second year also includes an introduction to research methods.

In the final year of the social work degree, you'll develop more of your evidence-based skills and hone your knowledge of law and policy. The course features a longer, 100-day placement. You'll finish the course by working on consolidating your skills of critical reflection, giving you a robust platform from which you can begin to practice as a social worker.

Course breakdown

Year One

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year Two

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year Three

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Employability

Employment opportunities

After successfully completing our social work degree, you are eligible to register with Social Work England, enabling you to practise as a professional social worker.

With half of the course taking place in practice settings, this course is highly regarded by employers. The experience you will gain with us as a social work student gives you excellent employment prospects.

Placements

Placements take place across a range of agencies including local authorities, voluntary and independent organisations, in a variety of settings such as residential, day care, schools, housing, hospitals and Social Work teams.

A significant period of time on the programme is spent on placement, observing and engaging with the realities of social work with at least two contrasting placements with different service user groups, and the final year placement will always involve working and learning in statutory social work interventions.

You will undertake a minimum 170 days of placements over the three years of the course, working in different settings with service users and professional colleagues. In addition, you will be expected to undertake 30 skills days within the core skills modules during Year One. Group learning is an important part of ensuring you engage with a diverse range of undergraduate peers and staff.

Our broad partner network means we are able to offer placement opportunities in the public and independent sectors, drawing on strong links with Birmingham City Council, Walsall Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, and Warwickshire County Council among others as well as charities including Barnardo’s.

More about our placement opportunities

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Our facilities

Our School of Education and Social Work is based at our City South campus in leafy Edgbaston.

We’ve spent £41million expanding the education facilities at City South. These facilities offer hands-on practical experience, replicating the spaces you will come across in professional practice. Alongside classrooms and lecture theatres, we also have a range of specialist teaching and learning spaces for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.

As well as subject-specific rooms, our facilities include the Primary Innovation Lab, which houses £24,000 worth of LEGO. This room is a special resource for our education students, offering an innovative and creative way to approach subjects across the curriculum – from computing to English, mathematics to art. The lab responds to research that children and young people learn best from practical experience.

Our Social Work students have access to a home environment room and mock hospital wards which offer an opportunity to gain experience of working with service users in different situations.

Computer facilities

The Seacole building has two open-access IT Suites which offer PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. There is also an IT Helpdesk for quick and easy help with your computing or internet issues.

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.

In addition to desktop PCs, we also offer a laptop loan facility, allowing students to borrow a laptop for up to six hours while on campus.

Our staff

Caroline Lee

Associate Professor and Subject Lead for Social Work

Caroline qualified in 1999 and first practiced as a generic adult social worker in Warwickshire before moving on to the Learning Disability Resettlement Team in Birmingham in 2002. In 2004 she qualified as an Approved Social Worker and continued to specialize in working with adults with a learning disability accessing forensic services, before...

More about Caroline

Fungisai Mushawa

Senior Lecturer

Fungisai qualified as a social worker in 1990 and has worked as a social worker in generic, rehabilitation, hospice and local authority settings. Fungisai has worked as a Child Protection Social Worker, Fostering Social Worker, Independent Social Worker and as a Team Manager in these settings.

More about Fungisai

Michael Greenhouse

Michael Greenhouse is Lecturer in Social Work. Prior to working in education, he has worked as a supervising social worker, fostering assessment social worker, and in child protection teams. He has expertise in direct work with children, relationship based practice and social work skills, and holds academic qualifications in psychology and social...

More about Michael

Simon Hall

Senior Lecturer

Simon qualified as a social worker in 1995 and has worked as a practitioner and manager in most adult service user groups. He has also managed post qualifying social work training provision within a local authority for a number of years.

More about Simon