L5K480 Social Work MSW Postgraduate Taught 2020
Please note: 2020-21 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Summaries of course-specific changes resulting from the impact of Covid-19 will be provided to applicants during August 2020.
For the latest information on our plans for teaching in academic year 2020/21 in light of Covid-19, please see www.durham.ac.uk/coronavirus
The Durham MSW is a 21 month course engaging you with the knowledge, skills and values that underpin social work practice with individuals, groups and communities. Academic study is complemented by two practice placements with different service user groups. Practice experience of statutory interventions with children and families or ‘vulnerable adults’ is complemented by opportunities for innovative practice in the voluntary and independent sectors in areas such as family justice, homelessness, substance use, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, community interventions and self-advocacy. With strong involvement of service users, carers and practice partners throughout the course, the MSW provides strong foundations for practice in any field of social work.
Local and global perspectives
Our approach to social work education reflects the connections between individuals, their families and communities. We offer you a broad foundation for social work practice underpinned by the global definition of social work and emphasise the connections between local and global issues in social work.
Excellent employment prospects
There is very strong demand for Durham MSW graduates by employers in local authorities and non-government organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. Durham MSW graduates have been able to transfer their registration to other countries including Australia, Canada, Scotland and the USA.
The MSW is structured around seven modules designed to meet the academic and practice learning requirements for a degree in social work.
- Social Work in Practice (40 credits): Understanding perspectives of service users and carers; social exclusion; social policy and law for social work
- Social Work in Context (40 credits): Human growth and development through the life course, disability and mental health; social work theories and methods; working in organisations
- Professional and Personal Development (30 credits): Principles, values and ethics; critical thinking and evidence-based practice; skills development; Interprofessional working
- Social Work Practice 1 (50 credits): 70-day practice placement in a partner agency.
- Research in Social Work (45 credits): Research and evaluation design and methods; ethical issues in social welfare research; dissertation
- Advanced Social Work (30 credits): Advanced application of theories and methods; critical analysis of social work policy; protection and empowerment of vulnerable children, young people and adults
- Social Work Practice 2 (70 credits): 100-day practice placement.
Course Learning and Teaching
The MSW is full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 21 months. The course does NOT run to university terms. There are approximately 12 weeks of vacation, including public holidays, during the course of the whole course. In Year 1 the first four months are spent developing the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare you for your first practice placement of 70 days. In Year 2 you undertake a 100 day placement, with a different service user group and in a contrasting setting, where you will gain experience of statutory interventions in social work. Practice placements provide the opportunity to develop a range of skills set out in the Professional Capabilities Framework. You also extend your skills in linking theory, policy and practice, and undertake a research dissertation.
A range of assessment methods is used including essays, observation studies, project reports, case studies, group and individual presentations. Knowledge and understanding of social work law and policy is assessed in a take away exercise. Before embarking on the first placement, you will undergo a practical assessment of your communication skills in readiness for direct practice. Practice placements are assessed by critically reflective accounts of work with individuals, groups or communities and by your practice educator who provides regular supervision and observes your practice. You are also expected to seek, and reflect on, feedback from service users and professional colleagues. Research in Social Work is assessed through a 10,000 word dissertation.
Placements normally take place in the north east region and students are required to travel independently to these.
Subject requirements, level and grade
- Normally a minimum second class honours degree (2:1)
- GCSE Mathematics and GCSE English grade 4 (or C) or above, or equivalent, at the time of application
- Applicants must have sufficient recent experience (in employment, as a volunteer, as a service user or carer) in social care, health care or related voluntary setting to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the capabilities of a social worker as indicated at the entry level of the Professional Capabilities Framework. As a guideline, this period of experience is unlikely to be less than six months
- Applicants for who English is not your first language will be required to demonstrate evidence of English Language Competence equivalent to IELTS 7 with no element less than 6.5.
You will also be required to:
- Attend an interview*
- Demonstrate fitness to undergo social work training.
a. At the interview stage, you are asked to declare any health conditions or disabilities that may affect your ability to undertake a practice placement safely and effectively
b. Upon acceptance of a firm offer on the course, you are asked to complete an occupational health screening in line with national guidelines agreed with relevant professional bodies
c. Provide evidence that you do not have a criminal record that might restrict your opportunities to work with children or vulnerable adults. Candidates will be required as a condition of admission to undertake, or provide evidence of, a current DBS check.
*Candidates who are based overseas and cannot attend an interview in person may be interviewed remotely and should contact the admissions office (email@example.com) if necessary to seek advice.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£7,830.00 per year|
|Home Student||£7,830.00 per year|
|Island Student||£7,830.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£20,000.00 per year|
We also have a limited number of NHSBSA Social Work Bursaries available to eligible students. Further information about NHSBSA Bursaries can be found through the following link:
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Overseas Visit Schedule
Postgraduate VisitsPGVI or
Department of Sociology
The Department of Sociology is an interdisciplinary department with over 50 years’ experience in teaching and research in sociology and social policy, expanding over time to provide a focus for collaboration across the related academic disciplines of criminology, social work, and community development. We are a leading international centre of excellence in interdisciplinary applied social research that shapes and informs social policy and practice, enhances individual, community and social wellbeing, promotes social inclusion, and forms the foundations of research-led education.