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Social Work MA

Develop the confidence and competence to challenge inequality and safeguard the most vulnerable in society. Prepare to work in this rewarding profession and gain eligibility to apply to register with Social Work England to practice as a social worker.


Course length: 2 years full-time
Start dates: September 2024
September 2025
Location: Edge Hill University
Subject(s): Social Work
Faculty: Health, Social Care and Medicine
Department: Allied Health, Social Work and Wellbeing
Students sit behind a desk and engage in a group discussion during a seminar in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine.

Ready to change lives for the better? If you’re a graduate from a relevant discipline and want to commit to a career in social work, this course is the perfect match for you.

Our MA Social Work degree, delivered with support from our partners in the Cheshire & Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership, combines perspectives from social care, health, education and other relevant disciplines.

Benefit from hands-on experience in work placements. Make the most of the knowledge and experience of academics, practitioners, employers, policy makers, service users and carers. Their backgrounds are in social care, social work, health education and other disciplines, so they have a lot to teach you.

Our social work course is approved by Social Work England (SWE). This means on successful completion of this course you’ll gain eligibility to apply to register with SWE as a qualified social worker.

Social Work England logo.
Cheshire & Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership logo.

Course features

  • International students can apply

  • Professional accreditation

  • Professional practice placements

What you'll study

Our MA Social Work degree is underpinned by the national requirements for social work education and training as agreed by Social Work England and The College of Social Work. Studying with us, you’ll develop skills and expertise in:

  • human growth, development, mental health and disability
  • assessment, planning, intervention and review
  • communication skills with children, adults and those with specific communication needs
  • social work law and policy
  • partnership-working and information-sharing across professional disciplines and agencies
  • safeguarding
  • working with conflict

In Year 1, you’ll examine the historical and contemporary functions of social work in society. You’ll consider the legal and social policy frameworks within social work practice. At the same time, we’ll help you sharpen your communication and interviewing skills. When you successfully complete an assessment exercise, you’ll complete a practice placement.

Year 2 is designed to develop your competency to practice in specialist social work contexts and to build on your research skills. You’ll have the opportunity to do another practice placement and complete a dissertation.

We expect you to take control of your studies with extra reading and research outside lectures and tutorials. There is plenty of extra support available for developing your academic skills too.

Throughout the course, you’ll also take part in skill-based days to support your professional development and prepare you for your future in this field.

Compulsory modules:

Expand all
Contemporary Social Work Practice
Placement 1
Placement 2
Research and Practice
Social Work Law and Policy
Social Work Theory and Methods
Specialist Social Work Practice with Adults
Specialist Social Work Practice with Children, Young People, Families and Carers

How you'll study

Academic-based learning will be delivered through lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops.

You will spend 170 days in practice learning placements supported by 30 days of assessed social work practice skills across the programme. These placements are organised and monitored by the University. You will be responsible for travel and parking costs while on placement, where you will also undertake supervised and assessed work, all of which will contribute to the outcome of your degree.

As practice education is arranged in collaboration with the Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership, most placements will be drawn from the partnership’s geographical footprint across Greater Merseyside, Cheshire West and Chester, and West Lancashire.

You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.

How you'll be assessed

The programme is assessed through a combination of essays, presentations, text analysis, group work, portfolios, carers’ assessments, video/audio diaries, role plays and examinations. Practice learning will also be assessed, using a range of techniques.

Who will be teaching you

Social work education at Edge Hill University is provided in collaboration with the Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership. The teaching partnership comprises of four universities, eight local authorities, two community NHS trusts and one voluntary sector organisation.

You can expect input from staff with expertise and knowledge of a range of health and social services settings, together with high quality and emergent research profiles. Contributors to the programme also include people who have direct experience of services, expert practitioners, magistrates, politicians, senior managers and policy makers.

Entry criteria

Entry requirements

You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or upper second-class honours (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject, such as social sciences, psychology, or health and social care. Applications will also be considered from students who have a 2:2 and are from an under represented group in Higher Education, that is: have caring responsibilities, considerable work experience, or are a care leaver. Such applications will be considered on an individual basis.

You must evidence GCSE English Language at Grade 4 or above, as well as confirmation of your ability to use basic IT facilities including word processing, internet browsing and use of email.

You must also have relevant paid or voluntary work experience and be able to relate this to the skills and values of social work. An interview, written exercise and group-based task form part of the selection process.

If you are called for an interview, you will be assessed by a pre-prepared short presentation and an individual interview with emphasis on the ability to communicate with others/group-based skills. The interview will be conducted by a member of the academic team and a colleague with lived experience. You will be expected to demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Professional attitude
  • Commitment to complete the degree and work as a social worker
  • Commitment to equality and diversity
  • Good communication skills, including competence in written and spoken English
  • Understanding of the social work role

Social work is a regulated profession and you will be required to adhere to the standards set out by the regulator regarding Conduct & Ethics and Health & Character, while also adhering to other codes of professional conduct.

If you accept an offer of a place from Edge Hill University, you will be required to complete a Declaration of Suitability for Social Work. This is a Social Work England requirement where you must demonstrate fitness to practise in relation to your conduct, health and character. It includes applying for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure indicating that you meet the mandatory criteria of ‘Clearance to Work with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults’. Further information will be sent to you after you have firmly accepted an offer.

We recognise that in many instances, there is no simple criterion of suitability, therefore each case will be assessed individually. You are not required to make a declaration about health problems that do not impact your capacity to study or practice, or that in the normal course of your studies or social work duties would not present a risk to others. If you declare any health problems the programme will, within its rules and regulations, respond sympathetically. Any chronic health conditions will typically be referred for an occupational health assessment.

International students are encouraged to apply, and are subject to the same processes as other candidates, with the addition of IELTS 7 and visa requirements.

If you are wishing to transfer from other institutions or programmes through RP(E)L, you will be considered for admission against the following criteria:

  • Prior learning at the appropriate currency to demonstrate that you meet the necessary pre-requisites for study at the level required
  • Adequate levels of achievement in order to succeed at the level required

RP(E)L in respect of practice learning is not permitted under any circumstances for anyone applying to start the programme. However, in exceptional circumstances, you may apply to transfer from one UK, Social Work England approved undergraduate/qualifying programme to another, having already successfully completed practice learning requirements. In such circumstances, , via the appropriate process and referral to the Practice Issues/RP(E)L panel, you must provide signed, verifiable practice learning documentation to evidence that all comparable practice requirements have been successfully completed. In addition, you will need to submit a short, written piece before the formal interview as a means of assessing comprehension etc, and to ascertain your possession of basic IT skills.

English language requirements

International students require IELTS 7.0, with a score no lower than 6.5 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

If your current level of English is half a band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, our Pre-Sessional English course might be for you.

How to apply

There is an online application process for this course.

Apply for September 2024 Full-Time.

Please see our international student pages for further information about how to apply as a prospective international student.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

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Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine

The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine offers outstanding facilities for the education and training of health and social care professionals.

The contemporary teaching and learning resources include leading edge clinical skills facilities, an 860-seat lecture theatre, and a variety of teaching rooms and social learning spaces.

Where you'll study

Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine


Tuition fees

UK Full-Time


a year



a year

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

You may be eligible to apply for a Social Work Bursary. Residency conditions and additional eligibility criteria apply. You should be aware that while all eligible students can expect to receive the placement allowance, universities are allocated a certain number of Social Work Bursary awards and will nominate some of their students to receive one. Receipt of a Social Work Bursary is therefore not guaranteed and there is no right of appeal. Please visit the NHS social work students page for further information.

Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals can ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). If you are an EU student who does not have settled or pre-settled status, or are an international student from a non-EU country, please see our international student finance pages.

Your future career

On successful completion of our Masters in Social Work, you’ll also be eligible to apply for registration with Social Work England. Our strong connections with employers and partners, who contribute to the delivery of our course, means you’ll be fully prepared for social work practice when you graduate.

Once you graduate, you’ll have the flexibility to choose from a variety of social work fields to begin your career. This could be working with children, adults and communities in the statutory, voluntary, private and charitable sectors both nationally and internationally. It’s up to you whether you decide to specialise in one area or try your hand in different areas of social work. Perhaps you’ll start in child protection then change to adult social work, learning difficulties, or even social justice.

As social work is a regulated profession, you’ll be expected to adhere to the standards set out by the professional regulator, as well as other profession-specific organisations and agencies, such as the British Association of Social Workers.

Course changes

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Track changes to this course

Download our course leaflet